Looking to start a podcast? Primacoustic is here to help! In order to create a great sounding podcast, you will first need to start with great sound. A computer and interface microphone(s) are obvious pieces to start with, but even the best equipment won’t sound great in a lively or reverberant space. The advent of “prosumer” audio equipment has allowed home recordists to attain results previously reserved for professional facilities, but the gear is only part of the overall equation.
For years, recording studios, radio stations and broadcasting facilities have used Acoustic Panels to calm the ambience of a space and the same principles apply to podcasting. To control the reverb or echo of your space, covering as little as 20% of the wall surface makes a huge difference. Primacoustic, a leader in broadcasting and studio acoustic treatment, makes it easy to install affordable room kits that are tailored to spaces from below 60 square feet, all the way up to 200 square feet.
Why does my space need acoustic treatment?
Most rooms are rectangular, with a combination of hard, reflective surfaces-drywall, wood floors, windows, and doors. The sound will bounce between a parallel surface unless there is something to absorb or diffuse (scatter) the sound. For most applications, absorption is the answer as it prevents sound from creating secondary and tertiary reflections giving the content focus, accuracy and intelligibility.
How to absorb sound?
Placing acoustic panels on both the walls and ceilings captures reflections from different angles and directions. The ‘Live End, Dead End’ principle (or LEDE for short) used in various recording facilities is also recommended for a podcast room layout. When you add ceiling clouds to the room, the mix or presenter position becomes cocooned in absorption allowing the microphone to capture the intended audio voice.
How to achieve great sound quality?
If you are using several microphones for your podcast, you want the content to sound similar for different voices, you don’t want one voice clear and precise and the other(s) to be washy and unintelligible. To accomplish this you will need an even distribution of absorption. Compression, limiting, and Digital Signal Processing will never make up for bad sound. A well-recorded voice in a controlled environment will need little in the way of processing to make it articulate and balanced.
Acoustic panels should provide natural, uniform attenuation through the entire audio spectrum so the results will sound natural. Foam or thinner panels will not absorb at lower frequencies. 2” thick Glass Wool fiber panels provide a flat response curve over the frequency spectrum. Analyze what you are doing – for speech and most music applications the 2” panel will generally perform well. If recording music, especially heavy bass music, bass traps and thicker (3”) panels might be more appropriate.
When it comes to optimizing room acoustics for podcasting, adding in acoustic treatment before you ever press record on your first podcast will pay dividends later on, as you’ll spend less time EQ’ing your voice track or fussing with noise-removal software to try and alleviate problems that are best addressed at the beginning with the room itself. However, if altering your space remains off-the-table, don’t worry as you’ve still got options! Portable solutions like the Primacoustic VoxGuard DT help to control the ambient space around a vocal mic and block external noise, while allowing you to easily stow it away when not in use.
Transforming a room into a podcast space is not as difficult as you may think. Covering 20-30% of the wall surface area with an efficient absorber will tame the reflections in most rooms and provide the professional sound results you are looking for. Just like for content, there’s an old audio saying – “garbage in, garbage out”. If you aren’t getting great sound recorded, it may well be the space and not the gear. The technical staff at Primacoustic can work with you to achieve the results you want, contact us today for a free quote.