Being forced to stay at home during quarantine or lockdown can be frustrating, scary, and down-right annoying at times, but it definitely does have some silver linings! For one, it’s a really great time to start a podcast! Podcasts are so versatile! They are a great outlet for your personal thoughts, hobbies, or niche interests, and could even be a really fun activity to do with your family! But starting a podcast can also be really great for business. More and more, businesses are using the podcast medium to build their brand, reach a bigger market, as well as using them as a channel to foster more personal relationships with their customers.
Related read: 8 Reasons Why Starting a Podcast is Good for Business
But you may be thinking that you are unable to tackle this project as you don’t have a fancy recording studio in your spare room. Well, then today’s post is definitely for you! We’ll show you just how easy it is to create a home podcast recording studio that will have you recording professional-sounding podcasts right from the comfort of your home.
We start with…
The basics for any recording studio is the achievement of great sound quality. And the keyword in achieving great sound quality is control. So your first step in creating your home recording studio is going to be picking an area of your house that you will have the most control over. This control extends to internal ambient noise, as well as external noise. Picking a room or space in the quietest part of your house is a great first step because if your recording space is already on the quiet side, it will make your job of building a great home studio that much easier. Not only that but choosing a quiet spot will also make the task of editing your recording much simpler. It’s important to note that it doesn’t need to be a big space. In fact, in some cases, the smaller the better, as you will have more control of how the sound waves behave in a small space. Your aim is to create a space that is as conducive to optimally recording sound as possible.
Which brings us to…
Location, Location, Location
In terms of the location of your home recording studio, you’re looking for a space that produces a recording with no echo, little to no reverb, and a full, rich sound. So where exactly is the best place to record from? As was mentioned already, what you essentially need to look for is a quiet room or space, but in particular, you want a place that has a number of furniture items in it, as these items will help absorb the sound. By breaking up the sound waves, furniture, such as a carpet or a couch, helps prevent a lot of echo from making its way onto your recording, which is one aspect that you won’t need to adjust in the editing process. Essentially, the best rooms in a house for recording are the ones that are carpeted, have curtains on the windows, and have a fair amount of furniture in the room.
A bedroom or living room can make a great recording space, but we’ve also got some out-of-the-box ideas up our sleeve…
A closet could also be a really great place to record from! Think about it. It’s small, so you’ve got the control aspect down pat! It also has no windows, so there is a very small chance of outside ambient noises creeping onto your recording, and it’s full of echo-absorbing clothing, perfect for giving you a rich recording.
Or how about your laundry room? It’s also small, and if you cover the washing machine and other appliances with blankets, as well as the floor, you’ll effectively reduce reverb and echoes, and you’ll achieve a high-quality recording.
But we’ve got one more creative idea for you! Especially if you’re thinking of starting a podcast and getting your whole family in on the act. How about a recording fort? How fun! Think blanket teepee full of pillows and cozy comforters! Not only will you have tons of fun designing and building your “studio”, but it will give you a great-sounding final product.
Whichever space you choose, you just need to fill it with as much sound-absorbing material as possible and you’ll have a great place to record your podcasts, so feel free to get creative with what you use to sound-proof your new studio.
Now that your prime location is locked down, you’re going to need some equipment to officially turn your sound-conducive space into a fully-fledged recording studio.
First and foremost, the most important piece of equipment in any recording studio is the microphone (obviously!), and a high-quality microphone can really do wonders for your recording. But if you don’t happen to have one lying about while you’re stuck in quarantine, the microphone on your mobile phone can also give you a great-sounding raw recording. You will just need to put that extra effort into creating a sound-conducive recording space to ensure that your final product sounds amazing. If you are going to use your mobile’s microphone, another piece of equipment you can easily build at home is a recording box. Essentially, a recording box is a mini sound booth in which you will place your microphone (or your phone) to further improve the quality of your recording.
You can buy these online, but if your home deliveries have been limited to only the essentials, you can easily make a recording box from items you will find in your house. All you need is a decent sized box to house your mic, and sound-deadening material, such as fabric, foam sheets, or even egg cartons to line the inside of the box. With a little precise cutting and some hot glue, you’ll have your very own mini sound booth to help capture amazing audio for your show.
Set your box up within your new recording studio, and you’ll be recording like a pro in no time.
The last aspect you need for creating that professional-sounding recording studio right in your home is your recording and editing software. Now you can just use your mobile’s onboard voice recorder for the initial recording, but there are some great, user-friendly software you can use to easily capture and edit your audio. One of the most popular choices is Audacity, an open-source, cross-platform audio software. Not only is it free and easy to use, but it offers a variety of recording and editing features, including a multi-track recording option, which is perfect if you’re conducting interviews or if your show will be having multiple hosts. You could also use GarageBand (now offered for free for all iOS and Mac devices), or Adobe Audition, but this one does come at a price. However, many businesses that offer podcast editing services are still up and running during this time, so you could always sign up for one of their services. They’ll do the heavy lifting and get your show sounding amazing!
We’ve given you our guidelines for setting up a great home recording studio, but we’re not done yet! To help get your show off the ground as seamlessly as possible, we’ve included our top tips for getting a sweet-sounding recording in your brand new studio.
Handy Recording Tips
- Before you start the actual recording, do a test recording first. Hit “record” and let your device record for several minutes. Speak a few sentences as you plan to for the actual recording. Use this trial run to check any ambient noises that might be sneaking onto your recording (a fan in the other room, your refrigerator, etc.) as well as checking whether your mic setup is producing great audio or if you need to make some adjustments.
- When you record, aim to keep your mouth about 8 – 10 inches away from the microphone. This distance can help keep plosives or fricatives (think words with “p’s” or “s’s”) from creating unpleasant or distracting sounds on your recordings.
- Aim to keep the space around you and your microphone as open as possible as this will help to minimize echoes. Your DIY recording box will be a great asset to you with this.
- Turn off all devices that are not being used to record your podcast. Nothing can ruin a recording quicker than a ringing mobile or beeping tablet!
- Do a little planning before you start recording. You don’t have to have a full script, but an outline will definitely help your recording go much smoother, and will consequently result in far less editing.
- When it comes to saving your final audio, you have a number of options available. The most common format for the final product is MP3, due to its small size. Podcast streaming services such as iTunes and Stitcher readily support MP3, so this would be a good choice for your edited episode. However, formats such as WAV or AIFF are preferable for the actual recording and editing process. They provide higher quality audio as they are less compressed.
Related read: How to Plan for Recording Your First Podcast Episode
So if quarantine or lockdown has you bored out of your mind, frustrated that you are not able to do anything more productive for your business, or are simply up for an exciting new challenge with your family or flatmates, starting a podcast is a remedy for all of the above! Whether your decision to start a podcast is founded in your desire to continue to build your brand or promote your business through this time of crisis, or whether it’s just a fun, creative way to pass the time, getting a great sounding, high-quality recording from the comfort of your home is definitely possible. Follow our strategies for creating a great home recording studio, and in no time, you’ll be sharing your podcast with the world.
Related read: How to Start a Podcast 2020 Edition