How to Improve the Audio Quality of a Recording

We started working with podcasts because I was an avid podcast listener. I would be listening to a conversation, hanging on to every word, and then it would happen …

The guest would bump his mic at the exact moment when he said the one thing I wanted to hear, and I’d miss out.

Our content should connect and engage, not frustrate and push away.

Since I run a podcast production company, I’ve learned that most people think any sound problem can be repaired with the simple twist of a knob. If only that were so.

Quality Audio Defined

Audio quality can be as subjective as Picasso’s art in a museum. One person says it’s brilliant … the next walks away scratching their head.

Let’s start with what quality audio is not.

You can tell audio needs to be improved when you hear:

  • Hum
  • Buzz
  • Hiss
  • Room reflections (echoes from the recording room)
  • Microphone handling, bumping sounds
  • Other foreign sounds: animals, lawnmowers, keyboard clicks, etc.
  • “Plosives” (the explosive sound consonants make when spoken into a microphone)
  • Extreme audio processing (audio effects that create an unnatural sound)
  • On the other hand, quality audio can be defined in one word: natural.

Quality audio sounds as if you’re talking around a kitchen table or with a client in your office. Your sound should be a “welcome mat” that invites the listener in for what feels like a face-to-face conversation.

How to Record High-Quality Audio

How do you accomplish that? How do you improve audio quality? Here are 10 tips that will help you produce the “welcome mat” experience.

1. Value your listeners

Podcasts and blogs are similar.

In the same way, that good website design helps attract and keep blog readers, quality audio attracts and keeps listeners around. Quality audio isn’t about making you sound good, it’s about engaging your audience.

2. Invest in the right microphone

You knew this one was coming.

Microphones are the most important element of quality audio, but podcasters don’t need fancy, expensive ones.

If you record a monologue or interview-style podcast in an office or room in a home, a dynamic microphone is what you need. Other microphones work, but they can require more resources to coax out good sound.

Here are a couple of guidelines about microphones to avoid:

  • The headset microphone that came with your smartphone. While those are great for appearing live on Facebook, they’re not ideal for podcasting.
  • A condenser microphone. They’re made for the acoustics in big, fancy, recording studios. Unless you’re planning to build a recording booth in your garage, leave these microphones in the store.

3. Use a microphone stand

Some podcasters like to record with the microphone in their hands. Unless holding the mic is absolutely necessary, avoid that technique.

Another common microphone-stand mistake is connecting it to a surface your hands or feet easily touch. If it’s a desk-mount stand, try connecting it to a nearby piece of furniture that’s not touching the desk. Or, if it’s a floor-mount stand, make sure the feet rest on carpet or padding.

Otherwise, the small movements you make during recording can transfer up the stand and into the microphone, which produces distracting sounds.

4. Find a great place to record

Before you start to figure out how to get the best audio quality from your mic, you need to find a great place to record. This item alone is a quick win for good sound.

Before you record, double-check that your room doesn’t reflect your voice back into the microphone. Carpet, furniture, wall decorations, and non-parallel walls all help calm the reflections. Trying a smaller room, or even a closet, is often easier than acoustically treating your current recording space.

You should also keep outside noises to a minimum. Common offenders are:

  • Fans
  • Refrigerators
  • Furnaces
  • Cars
  • Phones and other electronics
  • Open windows

5. Speak near the microphone

Even though you’re looking to improve audio quality, nearly everyone shies away from the microphone. Don’t.

Even a slight distance from a mic makes you sound static like you’re in a cave.

You’ll want to nearly kiss it. Make it your friend, and it will make you friends as you build your audience with audio content marketing.

6. Set up a pop filter

The downside of speaking near the microphone is that it causes “plosives.”

“Plosives” are simply the air from consonant sounds disrupting the sensitive components of the microphone.

The pop filter, a screen that goes around or in front of a microphone, is a tried-and-true solution. Expensive or cheap, they’re all about the same.

7. Select an audio interface

Although many recommend using a mixing board, I’ve found that the never-ending knobs create more headaches than freedom.

The simplest solution is to plug your microphone into an audio interface, which converts your analogue microphone sound into digital, so your computer can understand it.

As a side note, even if you’re using the Audio-Technica 2100, it’s still a good idea to utilize an audio interface instead of a USB connection. It produces a much more detailed and clear sound.

Better recordings strengthen your message

Remember, audio equipment exists to enhance your message.

Who you are and what you have to say is invaluable … the gear is just a method of transporting the gold.

Conclusion

The important thing to remember is to experiment until you understand the sound you are trying to achieve. Once you have figured out what you want, your recording can be edited with audio software designed for audio editing. When making an audio recording, ensure that the quality of the recording is as good as it should be.

You can give your recordings a professional sound by using a microphone and headphones for an optimal experience. If your project requires music, adding music should improve the overall quality of your work.

FAQs

How do I record high-quality audio?

  • Silence everything you don’t want your microphone to record.
  • Put your mobile phone in airplane mode.
  • Minimize echo.
  • Block wind from reaching your microphone.
  • Upgrade your microphone.
  • Adjust your levels.
  • Start with a sound cue if you’re planning to do some syncing in post.

How can I get better recording quality?

Over on Android, Titanium Recorder (Android only, free with ads) provides one of the most complete solutions for sound capture. Tap the menu button (three dots) on the top right and go to Settings. Here, you can adjust the sample rate, bit rate, and gain to capture as much detail as possible for your recorded audio.

What affects the quality of a sound recording?

The sound quality of reproduction or recording depends on a number of factors, including the equipment used to make it, processing and mastering done to the recording, the equipment used to reproduce it, as well as the listening environment used to reproduce it.

What causes sound distortion?

Unwanted distortion is caused by a signal which is “too strong”. If an audio signal level is too high for a particular component to cope with, then parts of the signal will be lost. This results in the rasping distorted sound. This is where distortion occurs.

What is the best recording quality?

For pristine quality, always record in uncompressed formats like wav or aiff, at atleast 44,100 khz and 24 bit. Any subsequent processing like mixing, editing etc will not result in any degradation of the quality.

FAQ:

Q: What is the best audio recording program?

A: Ableton Live 10. The top music recording software on our recommendation list is Ableton Live 10. … Audacity. Audacity is a free music recording software that is great for beginners as it has a ton of effects,high-quality sound,loaded with plugins and many editing features. NCH WavePad Audio. … Sound Forge Pro 13. … Adobe Audition. … PreSonus Studio One. …

Q: What is the best audio recording device?

A: Technics is best-known for the SL-1200 turntable, an industry standard used by DJs for decades. The SL-1500C might not be designed as a DJ deck but it’s certainly a return to form.

Q: What is the best audio recording software for Windows 10?

A: Joyoshare VidiKit. Joyoshare VidiKit – Audio Recorder is a trusted audio recorder for Windows 10 and Mac. … Windows Voice Recorder. Published and released by the Microsoft Corporation in 2013,Windows voice recorder is a universal application available for your PC,tablet and Windows phone. Audacity. … Ardour. … Free Audio Recorder. … Wavosaur. … Ocenaudio. …

Q: What is the best free audio recorder?

A: But moving Siakam for future parts for a rebuild does not sound … best record in the league, the Jazz will be a playoff contender and we could see Donovan Mitchell take another big step in his on-court play and leadership. One of the biggest winners in …