5 Rock-Star Tips to Improve Audio for Videos and Podcasts

You might not think of yourself as a rock star, but you are.


As a cutting-edge Internet marketer, you know that videos, audios, and podcasts can present information in an engaging, entertaining manner, and you’ve decided to make a commitment to incorporate rich media into your marketing plan and your products. Right now. No more waiting. You’re taking the bull by the horns.

Website and blog visitors love these presentation formats because they can obtain information quickly instead of wading through lengthy text-based posts and articles. Because they are more engaging than text, podcasts, audios, and videos also help visitors retain more of the information you present. In order to keep them listening and watching, though, you have to make sure that your presentations contain quality audio sound.

Your audience members do not expect the same professional audio quality that they would expect from high-budget movie and television productions; however, if your voice cannot be heard clearly or your presentations are laden with background noise, viewers and listeners will quickly look elsewhere for the content they want.

The same is true for your audio and video products that you sell. There’s a higher level of expectation from someone who just handed over their hard earned cash to buy your media product. If you take a little extra time and effort to ensure a superior recording, everybody wins.

The time to think about your audio recording quality is before recording, not in post-production editing. Plan and Prepare first, THEN Record.

These five tips can help you improve audio to keep your audience members paying attention:

Tip #1

Avoid depending on your video camera or webcam’s microphone for audio. These devices are acceptable for video chats; however, they cannot produce the level of audio quality that your audio members expect from a professional podcast or video. Instead, use a quality external microphone when presenting content.

There are several options when it comes to choosing a microphone. You can purchase a simple desktop microphone for about $20 at an electronics store. This type of microphone is appropriate if you plan to sit at your desk while recording your video or podcast.

A lapel microphone might be a better choice, particularly if you want to produce video presentations. These models clip to your shirt or jacket and are barely visible. If you are on a budget, you can pick up a corded lapel microphone for about $30 – as long as you do not plan to move around during the presentation, you can simply conceal the cord beneath your shirt. If you will be moving around or writing on a whiteboard, though, you might opt for a cordless version, which typically costs $200 or more.

Budget tip: This little guy from Audio-Technica is a favorite among those needing to have great sound recording on a shoestring budget.

Tip #2

Hang acoustic foam from walls that will not be visible in the finished video. This is particularly important if you are recording in a small room such as a home office. Acoustic foam can reduce or eliminate noise from nearby rooms, and can also significantly reduce echoes that can bleed into your video or podcast audio. There are several available styles, including pyramid, wedge, and grid foam. Also, acoustic foam is available in 1-inch, 2-inch, and 3-inch thicknesses. As you might expect, thicker foam offers more effective sound control than thinner foam.

Wedge and grid foam styles are typically more expensive than pyramid styles. You can purchase 1-inch pyramid foam squares for less than $1 per square foot.

Budget tip: While some audio snobs pros might balk at the idea, you might want to try other budget-friendly options. I’ve read that some people use Egg Crate Bed Pads, carpet padding, or really thick blankets to some success. Many moons ago I remember reading that a popular podcaster would record his podcast audio sitting in his closet and covered with a blanket.

Tip #3

If you are recording in a home office, turn off your home’s heating and cooling system just before you begin recording your video or podcast. Noise from air vents can show up in your audio and can be very difficult to remove with editing software. At the very least, cover vents in your recording room with a heavy blanket during recording sessions to decrease the level of noise produced by your furnace or air conditioner. And don’t forget about the little fan you might have blowing on you. It’ll sound like a freight train when you play it back for review.

Tip #4

Run an audio test before you start recording your presentation. Record about 30 to 60 seconds of audio while reading a portion of your presentation script. Play back the recording and listen for any background noise, echoes, or other distractions that might reduce the quality of your audio. This can save you time later because you can identify and fix audio problems early instead of discovering them after you have recorded your entire podcast or video.

Keep in mind that, while audio editing software can reduce some types of noise, such as echoes and ambient noise, you shouldn’t rely on software exclusively. Applying noise filters after recording will not likely make your audio crystal clear. It can also reduce the volume of your voice, which can make it difficult for viewers and listeners to hear you.

Tip #5

This one is for folks that are using a headset with a built-in mic. The mics sit very close to your face. Position the mic to just in front of the tip of your nose. This keeps it out of your own “blast zone” (aka, the wind coming out of your nose and out of your mouth). It might seem a little high to you, but if you’ve ever listened to a recording where you can hear the person breathing like they’ve just run a marathon, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s distracting to the listener, but completely avoidable by adjusting the position of your mic. I’ve also seen people accomplish this successfully by placing the mic closer to the chin area. Just do a “wind check” before recording anything. Put your hand where you plan to put your mic, and then blow. If you feel the wind, adjust. Then do a test recording to make sure your voice is being picked up enough. If not, adjust again.

Taking the time to improve the quality of your audio will result in professional videos and podcasts that will keep your audience members coming back for more. Professional audio presentation increases your perceived authority, which can help establish you as an expert in your niche. This, of course, can put you far above your competitors in the eyes of your audience.

Find out more about my media editing services here. Let us join you on this new adventure! You record, and we’ll do the rest.

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About Andrea Kalli

Since 2007, Andrea has been helping entrepreneurs develop their business dreams through solid online marketing strategy planning, implementation, marketing, and maintenance. "Your goals are my goals. We do this together." ~Andrea

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