An area that’s often overlooked when people are planning to record a podcast is the sound and how the area around you can affect it.
Acoustics and soundproofing play a huge role in how your voice comes across when recorded, so a few expert tips are all you need to bring professionalism up.
How do you soundproof a room for podcasting? If you’re planning on recording a podcast at home, it’s easy enough to soundproof the room you’re in using carefully placed panels and barriers on walls, floors, doors, and windows.
To take it a step further, acoustic treatments and specialized microphones can achieve an even better sound.
A podcast that sounds as if it was professionally recorded is going to be far more successful in attracting and keeping listeners than something homemade, so it’s all about making some minor but smart changes to your space.
This guide will show you the tips and tricks needed for soundproofing any room to be podcast ready.
Do You Need A Soundproof Room for Podcasting?
As podcast hosts, we’re only as good as the audio we record, and this includes whatever is picked up in the background (see also ‘How To Reduce Background Noise On Mic‘) (see also ‘How To Reduce Background Noise On Mic‘). As well as having a good microphone, the acoustics and soundproofing of the space you record in are essential.
Although there are lots of post-production tools you can use to edit the sound, it’s best to treat the room first to eliminate outside noise, as many popular noise reduction plugins end up creating more distortion. /
With the right soundproofing and acoustics, you won’t have to worry about what’s going on around your studio so you can focus solely on delivering good content.
In some homes, the space you’re recording in might not need soundproofing as there’s no external noise to worry about.
Even if sound reduction isn’t needed, it’s worth looking into what acoustic treatments would be suitable so you can ensure there’s minimal echo and good sound absorption as you record.
Applying acoustic treatments to the room is relatively easy and you can find various acoustic panels and materials these days. Simple fixes like using an area rug on the wall, covering any glass, or using bass traps on the corner and wall joints.
All of these, and your soundproofing efforts, will come together to make a huge impact on the sound quality of your podcast.
The Best Size and Layout of the Room
Before you decide on a room to record your podcast in, you should assess all of the spaces available to you and see what they offer.
People are often surprised to find that some rooms are better than others for this type of production, with smaller spaces often being best.
You’ll need to also consider what gear you have and make sure there’s enough room for everything to fit on a desk. Don’t go overboard as you don’t want to have to record in a larger room just to fit all of your supplies.
You’ll want at least a foot of distance between you and the microphone that will allow you to sit naturally, so account for this as well.
The most important thing is choosing somewhere that’s as free as possible from noise, both external and internal.
This can be interior items like fans, fridges, and air conditioners, or outside noise including neighbors, pets, wall plumbing, and heavy traffic. The quieter the space, the less you’ll have to work at soundproofing it.
How to Soundproof a Room for Podcasting
Sound can travel through most materials found in the average home, which is why we need to target all sides of the room to ensure the area is done correctly.
These are the four key zones you should focus on when soundproofing and how to tackle each of them:
If you’re serious about creating a recording studio, you won’t mind adding another layer of drywall to the existing walls and using a material made specifically for soundproofing.
Add some fiberglass in between the new and old walls for another layer of sound absorption, which should keep most of the noise out.
There are other cheaper and easier options that might do the trick, including using soundproof or acoustic panels on the walls in the right places.
Any obvious cracks in the wall can be filled with acoustic caulk or sealant, being sure to choose one that’s made specifically for sound absorption.
The main reason why doors fail at keeping sound in is not because of their structure, but rather the gaps and spaces all around them.
A solid wood door is the best option for preventing sound from entering, so avoid anything with glass in it if this is your goal. If you do have glass in the door and can’t afford to replace it, cover the glass up during each recording.
To permanently prevent sound from getting through the door, use an insulating product like a soundproofing seal which can be placed on top of the existing doorway.
Otherwise, seal up the frame around the door with caulk or sealant. For the gap between the door and the floor, a simple door sweep or door bottom should do the trick.
Windows are the eyes to the outside but they can also be the ears as well, and there’s a good chance most of the annoying external noises stopping you from the recording are coming from here.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent noise from traveling through the windows:
- Double pane windows are more effective at dampening sound and should be left closed while you’re recording. Likewise, using a thicker glass on a single pane window will prevent sound from coming in. This might not always be possible if you can’t afford to replace it or don’t own the home, so covering up the window is another good option.
- Seal any cracks around the window at the top and bottom edge of them using a specialized window caulk. Focus on the inside of the window frame and ensure there are no gaps there either.
- If you’re unable to do any sealing because you’re in a rental property, try hanging a longer curtain or specific soundproofing curtain that touches the ground and reaches to the top of the window to block the sound.
Soundproofing the Floor
If you live somewhere with multiple levels, you might need to soundproof the floor of the space you’re recording in. This might also be required if your home has hardwood floors, as the sound of others walking on them can travel.
The easiest approach for soundproofing the floor is laying carpet or using an area rug to absorb the sound in a specific area.
If you find that this still isn’t enough, apply a soundproof mat first and then lay the area rug on top of it, with the double barrier hopefully being enough to absorb the sounds from below.
How a Directional Microphone Can Help
The most important piece of gear a podcaster will ever own is their microphone, and there’s none better than the directional microphone.
These specially designed mics come with a direction or axis that they’re most sensitive to, which means there’s a certain way they should be spoken into, and they include side address and top address types.
When it comes to podcasting equipment, having a microphone that’s designed to record sound right where you’re speaking so it doesn’t also pick up external sounds is essential.
You’ll be able to speak clearly into the microphone without having to worry about what the background noise is doing.
8 Tips to Improve Sound Quality
Your podcast doesn’t have to be recorded in a professional studio just for it to sound good, especially when you have tips from the experts to rely on.
Here are some other methods you can put to use in your home to transform any space into a specialized studio.
Find a Small Space
It might be tempting to set yourself up with a big desk and a cool office because that’s what you envisioned when you were going to record a podcast, but it might not deliver the best audio results.
Sometimes, choosing a smaller space is better because there’s less space for the sound to bounce which means fewer echoes as well. If you have a closet or smaller room, these are usually best for recording spoken audio like podcasts.
Use a Pop Filter or Windscreen
The two most popular pieces of gear for podcast recording are pop filters or windscreens, each having pros and cons to be considered.
The premise of both is that they reduce a lot of the noise from things like movements and breathing that are picked up even more closely when recorded in a quiet space like this.
Have a Microphone Stand
Although it might feel natural for some to talk into their microphone while holding it, it’s not usually feasible for a podcast.
You’ll want to invest in a microphone stand made specifically for the microphone you choose and keep it set up in the right spot wherever you choose to record. Having a steady mic means the audio is consistent in how it’s recorded so it gives a more professional finish.
Get the Right Position
The way everything is positioned in the room and how much space you have between yourself and the microphone is crucial for getting the audio right. If you’re too close to the microphone, it’ll sound distorted, and if you’re too far away, it’ll be muffled and quiet.
Run through some test recordings where you say a few sentences at different angles and distances, and make note of the mic’s placement each time. The microphone should end up slightly off-center and away from your face for the best results.
Listen to Yourself
It can be a challenge to hear yourself speak on a recording, especially if you plan on sharing that voice with the world through your podcast.
However, a good podcast host makes a point of listening to themselves and making a note of where they need to improve.
The biggest area for concern is the plosives and sibilance which includes sounds like ‘t’, ‘p’, and ‘b’, as if you pronounce these too harshly it can distort the sound.
Learn the Gear
Whether it’s your directional mic or some acoustic panels, you should research how to use the gear on your own so that you can get the most out of them. Even just being able to tinker with the settings to get the perfect audio can make a dramatically positive difference.
Only so much can be achieved during the production phase of recording a podcast, so the rest needs to be handled during post-production.
This includes editing, balancing, and cleaning up the audio so that it’s crisp and professional, with minimal interruptions. Don’t rely on post-production to do all the work, but you will need it to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Place one large, irregular item in the center of your recording studio, if space permits. The premise behind this is that the sound will be diffused by the large item which means less bouncing back and echoing in the mic.
Soundproofed and Smooth
With a few changes and some attention to detail, you can transform even the most basic space into a professional podcast studio. Whether it’s soundproofing or acoustic treatments, a little bit can go a long way, so follow our tips to see what’s possible.