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How To Make The Perfect Podcast Studio

Making a professional podcast studio takes more than just plugging a mic into your laptop if you want that crisp, full, and professional audio quality like the kind your favorite podcaster has. Read below for the seven big things you need to consider when approaching creating your perfect podcast setup. 

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1. Find A Quiet Environment

The first step when you’re wondering how to make the perfect podcast studio is a quiet environment. This is the first key step to ensuring utmost professionalism in your installation journey. A professional podcast studio space should be used solely for podcasting purposes, and should be free from any background noise such as voices talking or papers shuffling. While recording, only the necessary people should be present in this space. It is also key for this space to be located far away from other noisy spaces in the building. Whether this is a train rumbling by, the HVAC running on high, or a nearby conference room where there is often loud discussion. Your perfect studio space must be free from all sound interference. Considering this initially will make the remaining steps much easier.

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2. Sound Treat The Space

We know what you’re thinking — didn’t we just cover that? Sort of…There are two things to consider when regarding acoustics. Firstly, you must ask yourself how much noise is coming into the space? Secondly, if there is a noise made in the space, how does it sound? You want your space to be able to produce the best and most professional ‘sound.’ If your chosen space is too large, there is potential for your audio to sound echoey or boomy. The wall directly across from the speaker should be equipped with sound treatments, or absorption materials, to make sure that the speaker’s voice does not reflect off the surface in front of them. It is important to note that the absorption treatments should not be installed in excess; it should allow for some soft ambient room sound to provide utmost richness in vocal quality. 

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3. Make It Comfortable

Having good ergonomics is a crucial step where it is important to visualize how you or your content creators will utilize your future professional podcast studio. You want to make sure the placement of your microphone is in the correct position so the speaker can maintain a comfortable posture over a long period of time. All furniture should be stable and free of any creaks – shims are your friend! Anything that rattles or moves should be padded or removed to limit sound interference. Table tops should have soft surfaces, so when setting down objects, such as a pen, there will be minimal sound. Installing carpet on table tops is a great solution to help combat this. As reflected in our Recording Studios page, we believe strongly that if everything is “mise en place” in your studio, your content will follow suit. 

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4. Get The Right Mic

Having a good mic may seem obvious, but it is also an important step in how to make the perfect podcast studio. The goal is to get the best radio sounding voice. You want to use one that, in conjunction with the mic stand, will let you get within several inches of the mic. You should avoid using a recorder that is on a table top or a computer mic. There are plenty of different types of microphones out there that may fulfill a diverse set of needs. Here we will break down a few different types. H4N recorders, or handheld recorders in general, should only be used for note taking or room capture. Dynamic Mics are most typically used. They are able to capture only the sound that is directly in front of it and very little from the peripheries or behind the speaker. Some examples of this type of mic are SHURE SM7B, Neumann BCM705, SHURE SM58, and Shure SM57. Condenser mics are usually suited for something like a vocalist recording live music, which is not necessarily the goal for a podcast studio, though they are still usable. If you are using a condenser mic, you’ll need a very well treated room without background noise. You will also need to have a strong pop filter and a more advanced compressor system that has more control and can compress more heavily. Examples of these mics include Blue Yeti, AKG C414, and the Neumann U87.

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5. Properly Name Your Files

Organization is your key to success. Creating a file naming system that matches your production style will allow you to navigate with ease. Titling each individual file with name of show, name of episode, ep number, take number, and date (For Ex: ShowName_EpisodeName_EpNumber_TakeNumber_Date) is a great standard to follow. When you produce dozens of podcasts per week, it is paramount for you and all your staff to be educated on this disciplined and consistent filing system. In the case that something goes wrong, you will have a plan to remedy the situation quickly. This is also an important part of file security and system maintenance. You want your tech and post production teams to easily be able to move and organize files as well. We cannot advocate enough for a robust file naming process – do it! 

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6. Protect Your Content

Protecting yourself goes beyond organization. Strong file security, and in some cases IT services, will also be crucial to your success with your professional podcast studio. When creating hundreds of hours of content, keeping files in a shared storage location will allow you to keep backups of your backups. Redundancy is your friend. At the very least, files should be saved to the key three locations: an external hard drive, a local computer drive, and to the cloud. At the commercial production level, maintaining data security across these locations is vital. If files get deleted, there must be a protection plan in place to ensure you don’t lose data, i.e. your livelihood. Some popular services include Dropbox and Google Drive, but for larger and more complex files, you will want to invest in a NAS system. While this system integration can be complicated, it will allow you to work quickly and efficiently. If you decide to use this file sharing service, checkout a company like Synology. We use them here at SPL and love it. If you are wondering which file storage will work best, please feel free to reach out for guidance in the right direction.

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7. Collaborate Like A Pro

Simplicity and consistency are critical to effective communication. Whether you are utilizing a platform such as Zoom, Google Meets, or Riverside.fm, streamlining your workflow and maintaining a robust system of integration will not only be important for your own organization, but will also enhance your guest experience. A simple and streamlined user interface is critical to ease of work flow for both your guest’s and your content creation teams. Like our work with Gimlet Media, you want your guests to be able to click one link and “boom” they’re being recorded. Same goes for your content creators – you don’t want them fumbling through tabs and multiple steps, you want them comfortable and at-ease. This way they can focus on creating great content. Lastly, capturing actual phone calls is still vital and can be very tricky. If you “hit a wall” trying to figure out capturing phone calls, it may behoove you to contact an integrator such as ourselves at SPL. 

We hope this helped give some insight into how to make the perfect podcast studio. If you are interested in integrating video streaming or recording into your podcasting world, check out our Video Conferencing page or give us a call. We are happy to help if you have any questions in your journey to that golden audio quality we all strive for. Our team is always available, even if you just have questions, we are passionate about creating professional podcast studio quality and want to bring it to as many people as we can. Thanks for reading!

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