When you are hosting or appearing on a podcast, you want to sound your absolute best, so here are six simple tips on how to set yourself up with a microphone so you sound amazing.
The Golden Rule
The key to great sound lies in capturing the best audio quality from the start. While Bluetooth mics or the mic built into your laptop are functional for meetings, they won’t make you sound great on a podcast.
The solution is very simple though.
Finding a pair of old wired earbuds or a headset with a microphone arm, will give you a BIG jump in quality. We’ve had many guests who borrow their kid’s gaming headsets and they work great! For the absolute best quality, get your hands on a USB microphone. They’re not expensive and a good investment for you. We’ve some recommendations below.
This sounds silly but one of the easiest ways to improve your microphone, is to speak into it! Many people speak into a mic which is an arms-length away, resulting in a hollow sound which turns people off listening after a few minutes. Position your microphone closer to your mouth, ideally about a finger distance.
Sometimes if you say words beginning with the letter p or b, it booms off the microphone creating an popping effect we call ‘plosives’. To avoid it, angle the microphone about 45 degrees off-centre and point it at the corner of your mouth. This minimizes those pesky popping sounds caused by bursts of air hitting the microphone.
The room you choose to speak in has a massive impact on the quality of your voice. An office full of hard surfaces like desks, walls and windows and sometimes make you sound like you are in the bathroom! The simple fix is to move. At work, a board room can work well. At home, a room full of soft furnishings like a living or bedroom really soak up wanted noise. If want to be extreme, doing your podcast interview in a car, or even a wardrobe delivers spectacularly good results. For audio only podcasts, it’s ideal.
Silence the Noise
If your room has noisy distractions like fans, air conditioners, or air purifiers, switch them off. Your audience cares about what you’re saying, and these are distractions!
Get Your Settings Right
Apple and Microsoft have a wonderful habit of setting the default level on microphone inputs way too low. Get into your computer settings/control panel and under ‘sound’ make sure the input level is set around 80%. It’s a crucial step because if your microphone is too low, you definitely won’t be heard.
Some or all of these tips will really help improve the quality of your microphone and voice so all you have to do on the podcast is sit back and enjoy the experience.
Here are three microphones we recommend based on quality, price and usefulness:
Headset: Most headsets with a microphone boom arm work well. We had a particularly good experience with this one from Harvey Norman which cost €40.
Dynamic: This classic microphone plugs gives great sound AND is very effective at blocking background noise. Both the Samson Q2U and Audio-Technica come with a stand, sound great and are well under €100 at Amazon. We always recommend dynamic mics.
Condenser: These are majority of mics you will see for podcasting. While they are richer sounding, they are more sensitive and pickup background noise easily. However, if you have a quite space that doesn’t sound ‘hollow’, they deliver great results. A Blue Yeti is very popular and costs around €160 at Currys.