Podcasting for over a decade has put me through every potential recording issue imaginable. Even as podcast microphones and apps get better, podcasts can continue to run into a slew of common recording mistakes.
Here are the most common podcast recording mistakes, and how you can prevent them from happening in the first place.
Ask Everyone to Wear Headphones
Make sure everyone is wearing headphones, and that the headphones are set to low to mid volume. If someone isn’t wearing headphones, and you’re recording over the internet (with Zoom, Skype, etc), the other panelist’s voices will pick up on your microphone, and it’ll cause an editing nightmare.
Equally important is making sure the volume in your headphones isn’t very loud. Certain types of headphones will let the sound leak out and reach your microphone.
Beware of Apple Headphones with a Mic Attached
The headphones that Apple has sold with their iPhones are comfortable and sound great for the size, so many people use them for conferencing / recording. However, the microphone that’s attached to the headset will pick up the slightest brush against your hair or face, potentially causing bad noises in the recording.
This is actually an extremely common issue, and too often podcasters don’t warn their co-hosts when they hear the noises during recording.
To prevent these noises, keep the microphone away from their face and hair. If the user has longer hair, make sure their hair is behind their back. If the microphone is still resting on the person’s face, hair, or neck, ask them to hold the microphone away from themselves whenever they speak, or to remain physically still while speaking.
There aren’t many tools to remove this noise (one that comes to mine is De-Rustle in RX7 Advanced), so it’s best to take care of this at the source.
Mute or Remove Your Cellphone (No Vibrations Either)
We all carry our phone with us at all times, and usually when we’re sitting at our desk, we have the phone right by our keyboard. Chimes and vibrations from your phone will pick up on your microphone, so make sure you have the phone muted or in another room before recording.
Your phone’s vibrations can also rattle through your desk and into your microphone, so simply having sounds muted isn’t going far enough. These phone noises are easily removable in editing, unless the sounds are happening while you’re speaking. Score some extra professionalism points by having your phone completely muted.
Stay Close To Your Microphone
Guests are not experts at recording a podcast, so it’s up to you to guide them in the right direction. Make sure they’re staying close to their microphone, and looking toward their microphone when speaking. Don’t let them sit back or look away as they speak.
Buy A Pop Filter
P-words like ‘popcorn,’ ‘Potter,’ ‘podcast,’ etc cause ‘plosives,’ which are shots of wind from your mouth. They hit your microphone and make it sound like a gust of wind just blew into your recording. (To experience a plosive for yourself, hold your hand in front of your mouth and say the word ‘podcast’ loudly. That rush of air mostly occurs with words with a ‘P’ in them).
A pop filter will catch the plosives and reduce or prevent them from hitting your microphone. It’s important to stop these from being recorded because they are not pleasant to listen to. There are a variety of pop filters available, including screens that sit in front of your mic, and covers that will go over top your mic.
If you’re hearing an issue with your guest or co-host’s audio, chances are that that issue will still be there during the editing process. If you hear an echo, a noise in the background, lots of cell phone beeps, etc, stop the show for a moment and try to figure out what’s wrong. This will save the editor a lot of time and stress, and ultimately help you create a better listening experience!
These steps will help you create a great sounding podcasting week to week. I will update this post with more recording issues and preventative measures as I run into them myself 😅