Yes, you can… here’s how!
Recording audio for a podcast is not the same as recording audio for a platinum-selling album or blockbuster movie. In this post, I’ll help you understand what ‘good’ means in the world of podcast audio recording and tell you how to record audio at home with a smartphone.
1. Good Is ‘Good Enough’
Smartphones generally record good-quality audio when you consider the ways in which people listen to them. For example, the majority of podcast listeners are using headphones or ear-pods, and this is a good thing because researchers at UC San Diego, UCLA and UC Berkley have found that when people listen to audio through headphones they feel a greater sense of empathy and intimacy with their hosts. This is great for you if you’re using your podcasts to express your passion for a subject.
Next up is the humble smartphone speaker. These aren’t known for their audiophile clarity and sparkling sound however they do a great job of getting the message across when playing your podcast.
So if these are the main ways in which people listen to our podcasts why do we feel the need to spend hundreds on a mic and studio set-up when it just isn’t necessary?
A smartphone can ROCK your audio recording… so use it and let your ears decide and start recording your podcasts at home with your smartphone!
2. The Room You Record In Is ‘Everything’.
If you’re in a room that is good for recording then the device you use to record with matters less. For example, if you’re recording in the bathroom then you will find you have an echoey sound with some unpleasant frequencies getting emphasized that ruin your recording.
If you can get yourself set up in a fairly small room, with plenty of soft furnishings and curtains drawn you can significantly cut down these unwanted reflections from walls and windows and create a drier, more ear-friendly sound.
My preferred way of achieving this for my clients is to suggest that they record in a bedroom, with the curtains drawn and with their smartphone placed on a pillow approx. 30cm in front of them. This gives a good starting point from which to experiment with getting the best position for the best sound quality.
Remember: it’s the room and its contents that have the greatest impact on your audio recording. Recording podcasts at home with a smartphone works really well if you get these things right.
3. What To Do With The Audio You’ve Recorded.
This is a much bigger topic than I can discuss in detail here but in a nutshell, you need to get the audio processed using audio production or music production software. For example, there is a software called Audacity that is free and immensely popular. There is a bit of a learning curve involved in getting the most out of the software but it is very well-supported on YouTube with tutorials and the like.
The main steps involved are:
edit out unwanted sounds and/or mistakes
EQ for warmth and a pleasant vocal sound
compress to ensure even dynamics
normalise for maximum loudness but check here for the standards you’ll need to achieve.
So there you have it! You certainly can record perfectly good podcast audio with your smartphone and you certainly have no excuses now for not getting that podcast launched!
I hope this helps and get in touch if you have any questions!