5 Ways To Make Your Podcast Recording Sound Better
Updated: Jun 26
Podcasting has become one of the most popular forms of inspiration, entertainment and education over the past decade. Listening was up four times between 2014 and 2023 with over 53% of Americans having listened to a podcast last month.
From comedy to politics to true crime, there's a podcast for everyone. But a great podcast isn't just about the content. Really you ask? Well, the content of the show needs to be good otherwise why would anyone listen?
Your recordings need to sound great - here are a few tips on how you can make your podcast deliver sonically.
Invest in Good Audio Recording Equipment
If you’re going to record at home / office / studio - your mic needs to be decent quality. The built-in microphones on your laptop or phone won't cut it if you want your podcast to sound professional. A good mic will sound sweet, enable your voice to have depth, resonance, be heard clearly and allow you to eliminate background noise. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a microphone, but do some research and find one that fits your budget and needs. If it’s one with compression or settings - make sure you know what every button and dial does.
Pro tip -- speak into the microphone -- line up your guest and mic so you don’t have to move your mouth away from the mic.
Choose a Quiet Room To Record Your Podcast
Background noise is distracting and takes away from what your podcast is saying - while the video version of your podcast will have subtitles, the audio only version won’t. So… don’t record in a room with big windows next to a busy road. Find a room that's away from traffic, appliances, kids, people playing guitars, airplanes and other sources of noise. Believe it or not, a wardrobe is one of the best places to record. If you can't find a quiet room, consider buying some soundproofing foam blankets and pillows or other materials that will reduce the noise.
Pro tip -- pillows, carpet, rugs and clothes do make a difference when you’re trying to record in your closet or bedroom, even draping a blanket over your head.
But if you really want to sound great, hire a studio.
Take Time to Properly Edit Your Audio
Just gonna upload your podcast without editing?
Would you upload a video to YouTube without editing? Would you post a photo to Instagram without a filter? Would you try and edit a video even though you have no idea how to edit?
I’m not going to explain to you why editing makes your episode sound better. Ok this is a blog post, so I will.
Editing cuts stories that went too long, removing words / phrases / coughs / sneezes and anything else that shouldn’t be included, and of course, gets rid of unwanted comments or noise, helps you to adjust volumes and add effects like noise gates and compressions.
You don't need to be an audio engineer to edit your podcast, but it does take some practice and also knowing your tools. There are plenty of online tutorials and resources to help you get started (we like Mike Russell https://www.youtube.com/@MikeRussell.
Pro tip: Get an editor to edit, and an audio engineer to mix & master. It's worth it.
Scripting Can Make Your Story Shine
Ever got up at an open mic night to tell jokes and been boo’d off the stage because your impromptu jokes sucked? Or seen a wedding speech made “off the cuff” that went half an hour too long because all the stories were repeated? I’ve seen both these things happen. And it wouldn’t have turned out so bad if they just wrote down some notes to help keep their performance on track.
If you know what you’re going to say before you hit record, that will help enormously. If you have bullet points, that’s great - you’ll sound very natural. If you have a script, that’s best - but do make sure to add in some ums and ahs so it doesn’t sound like you’re reading.
No script will mean that the episode you are making will lack direction or flow.
If you aren’t going to script in advance, be prepared to edit.
Pro tip: Once you’ve finished editing your podcast record - could you script in some thought track / voiceover for your host to read giving a greater perspective on the topic?
Make Creative Choices That Help You Sound Different
When you read the word podcast - what do you hear? Is it an interview show with 2 people, where one is being interviewed? Do you hear NPR or Gimlet podcasts? Or do you hear something more fantastical - perhaps an audio sitcom or radio play?
Whatever you’re making - whatever your reference is… make sure you sound different. Whether it’s the music, the tone, the voices, the story, the style… stand out by having something to say in a way that’s different. Don’t be afraid to make some bold choices to be heard.
There are a lot of podcasts out there. About 300k were active last month and there are about 5 million shows, with about 60 million episodes. The ones that are getting the most listens are doing a few things right… we hope these tips help.