Issue 5. Getting the best sound out of your area.

Jun 18, 2021

If you’re podcasting from home the last thing you want is a neighbour starting to mow the lawn or trim a hedge just as you hit record, this happened to me the other week.

If you’re podcasting from an office you don’t want Dave from accounts barging in to tell you something exciting… nothing exciting happens in accounts!

So how do you get the best sound out of the area you have?

Tell everyone to shut up!

It goes without saying you need to let everyone know that you’re recording and ask them to shut up, open doors quietly and not start hoovering.

Put a sign on the door to remind folks that your creative juices are following.

If something happens that disturbs the recording then re-record.

Soundproofing

This can be difficult and expensive.

Soundproofing means stopping unwanted sound from entering the recording area so we’re talking about sealing off an area and pretty much building a small home studio. This is hard.

You really need a dedicated room that’s already quiet.

You need to treat the walls, ceiling and floors with soundproofing materials.

Internal and external windows need to be like bullet proof glass and heavily double-glazed.

It’s really hard and expensive to soundproof a room so only do this if you’re making many ££’s from your podcast.

Another option for soundproofing is to buy a purpose built recording booth which would sound amazing but they do cost a lot so not an option for everyone.

Deadening A Room

This is by far the best option for any podcaster, it doesn’t need to cost a lot and can improve the quality of your audio by millions of percent.

The idea is to stop the sound waves from bouncing off hard surfaces like walls and ceilings and going back down the microphone.

We’ve all heard podcasts that sound like they’ve been recorded in the bathroom!

Record in the wardrobe. I know it sounds silly but it really does work and I’ve done it myself in hotels. You have lots of soft clothing and its a small space so perfect to stop sound bouncing around. The big problem is that it’s not comfortable.

You could try recording in a room with lots of soft furnishings, hang blankets, rugs, cloth, ancient tapestries from the walls and stop the sound bouncing around.

You could buy some of those foam soundproofing pads and stick them on the walls. All of this will help to reduce the sound bouncing around.

Record with a blanket over your head. It’s been done many times!

Deadening a room doesn’t mean you’re soundproofing it. You’ll still have the problem of external noises and you may have to rerecord from time to time but it will noticeably improve the sound quality.

Building a blanket booth

This is what I did at the beginning of the pandemic and to be honest I’m going to carry on recording in it for the foreseeable future as it sounds great.

What I did was buy one of those cheap plastic greenhouses and ditched the plastic cover.

The frame was metal which was great and I set it up in a corner of my home office.

I then bought a LOT of moving blankets from Amazon, a bunch of cable ties and covered the metal frame with three layers of blankets.

I got myself some LED strips for lighting, a plank of wood for supporting the monitor, keyboard and audio interface, wheeled in a chair and away we go.

One thing I made sure of was that the microphone was on a freestanding mic stand so that when I touch the keyboard it doesn’t vibrate into the mic.

All my podcasts are now recorded in the booth and I have plans to add some better lighting at some point.

All this cost around £80 (less than $100) keeping in mind I already had the audio gear.

If you want a great sound that’s also cost effective I would recommend building a blanket booth. It’s not going to be soundproof so you may need to rerecord every now and then but it gets rid of sound bounce and gives you a nice cosy area to work in.

Have you built a booth? Let me see the pics!

What I’m listening To

I’ve just finished listening to Newfield a brand new audio drama from Roaring Box and I liked it.

I didn’t think I would as I’m not a big fan of audio dramas, some are OK but most I’ve listened to are meh!

I did enjoy Newfield. It must be down to the production, actors and the general feel of the pod.

Its a horror and a little bit sweary and just two episodes long.

Give it a listen and also check out the video below of an interview with the sound designer of the pod by one of the actors.

Newfield

When High School Senior Jane Barnes moves to Newfield, she discovers the quaint New England town’s cruel history has a surprising importance to her own life.