Everyone thinks recording a podcast is easy. That may be true, but you want to be sure the end product has not only good content but also good quality.
Written by Alan Jacob
A podcast is a great way to promote your business, share information, get your name known, and more.
A podcast, or a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading, remains a popular tool for communication, even with the rise in popularity of videos. Think about the number of people who commute as an example. Listening to a podcast helps them pass time, learn new things, and be entertained.
After all, one of the key components of podcasts is that they are usually available as a series or a subscription. So you want people who listen to one podcast to come back for more.
Let’s look at how to mix your podcast.
As much as possible, soundproof the room where you’ll be doing the recording, and minimize any kind of background noise that will jump into the recording.
Recording the podcast is the first step to making your mixing job easier.
Have Dedicated Microphones
Differences in volume can be a nightmare when it comes time to edit, so the best way to solve that problem is before recording. Ensure each speaker has their own microphone, and you’ll be able to adjust volume to ensure they sound similar in the final product.
A common problem when there are several speakers is having them speak at once, or have to use the same microphone.
Remember that in a podcast, there is only the audio – only the voices – that your listeners will hear. So your vocals need to be top-notch. Bad editing can kill the best content.
The other key point to remember is that people are usually listening to a podcast on earbuds, so distracting noises and bad edits will stand out even more than on a home sound system.
That doesn’t mean you have to edit out every pause or “um,” because you still want it to sound like natural human speech. The pace should be natural. You also want to be sure that the listener can’t tell you’ve made an edit.
When you mix your podcast, be sure to edit out distracting sounds and annoying noises.
These are the most common editing tasks when you mix your podcast.
Ums and Ahs
As mentioned, you don’t want to edit out every stumble made by the speaker. It’s natural to have some pauses in human speech, but an overabundance of stuttering can be distracting.
Use your best discretion to edit out the worst stumbles.
Maybe not all breathing is heavy, but there are two components to consider when it comes to editing breathing in a podcast.
If breaths are all edited out, the podcast will not sound natural. But sometimes a deep breath before or after a sentence can sound like the speaker is struggling to breathe.
It’s best to leave those breaths that sound natural and lower the volume of those that don’t.
Mouth clicks and lip smacks
Lip smacks and clicks can be muted, as long as they don’t occur in the middle of a word. If they do, you may be able to slice out the click and crossfade the word back together. This doesn’t always work, so be careful that it doesn’t end up sounding unnatural.
You may have to leave some noises in the podcast or re-record a certain section.
The dreaded SSSS
One of the best ways to eliminate the dreaded hiss of an SSS sound is by correct microphone placement when recording.
If you sit too close to the microphone, the sound will be amplified and distorted. Don’t sit too close, and place the mic “off-axis,” in other words, slightly off to the side instead of right in front of your mouth.
In this setup, the microphone is still directed towards your mouth, but at a 45-degree angle to the side, so sounds like SSS will go past the microphone.
Another adjustment that can be made is fluctuations in voice volume. People often get quieter as they reach the end of a sentence.
Watch for those drops in volume and adjust them with what’s called clip gaining. This is a balancing act because too great of an increase will cause background noise to also get louder.
Avoid bad edits like a sudden change in ambient noise, or clipping off a word.
Sudden Increases in Volume
Similar to drop-offs, having a speaker that suddenly speaks much louder is also distracting. That can be one speaker that suddenly increases in volume or the difference in tone between two speakers.
Use channel faders to ensure one speaker or volume setting isn’t much louder than the rest.
Sudden Starts and Stops
Sometimes an edit seems like a good idea, but the clips end up too close together without a natural transition.
Let’s use an example.
Say your podcast will be recorded in different locations, maybe some in a studio and some in a mall. Jumping from the studio clip directly to the mall is jarring to the listener.
Use crossfades to bring together clips that have different background sound, significantly different speaker volumes, and other jarring transitions. A crossfade could be as simple as inserting dead air as ambiance and fading from one clip to the dead air to the next clip.
Listen With Your Eyes Closed
Finally, you need to listen to the final product with a critical ear. Close your eyes and listen, just like your subscribers will be doing.
Does everything sound even? Are there unnatural jumps, clicks, or volume changes?
Remember the rule about being ruthless when editing. Follow that rule as you listen to your final product.
Podcasts are an excellent way to share information, build your brand, explore new ideas and get new customers.
The content is vital, but it isn’t as simple as “record and share.”
A podcast needs to be as enjoyable for the listener as it was for you to create, so knowing how to mix your podcast is part of making it successful.
Alan is a head of content marketing at DJ City. With a tech background and passion for music, he writes about the latest trends in audio, tech and business world