Here's everything you need to know about creating an affordable podcast-ready PC and professional studio for creating high-quality podcasts.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

February 16, 2007

3 Min Read

Tips and Tricks for Quality Podcast Recording

Here are a few tips, taken from professional recording engineers, to help make your podcast sound its best.

Avoid Ambient Noise: Any noise that is not related to your presentation will take away from your message. Radio and TV programs running in the background are obvious mistakes, but listen carefully to your recordings for background noise such as air conditioners and PC fans. Find a quiet location for your recording, and consider adding some cloth or other sound-absorbing material to any hard surfaces that might reflect unwanted sounds in the direction of an open mic.

Improper Recording Levels: Nothing shouts "amateur recording" like a voice that is so low, you can't hear it. Or one that is so loud, it's distorting. Or, worse of all, a recording level that fluctuates. Follow your recording software's recommendations for recording levels, and learn about good microphone technique.

Bad Microphone Technique: Professional voice artists and vocalists like to get one to four inches away from a good microphone. Then they stay in that position to achieve optimal recording levels and a natural-sounding recording. You should do the same.

Four Steps Toward Publishing a Podcast

OK, you've got a PC, a quality microphone, and the software needed to do your podcasting. What's next? Well, you do what all good radio and television producers do: plan your production. Then you'll do your recording, set up an RSS feed, and publish it. Once you've gone through the cycle once, it will be set up. So all you'll need to do is update your podcast with new recordings. Here are the steps:

  1. Plan your podcast by doing whatever research you need on the topic. Avoid the temptation to just "wing it." Even if you vary from your script, having something in writing provides a useful roadmap and will help your production be (and sound) more professional. Produce your MP3 by using your podcast studio PC and software to record your material. When you're satisfied with the quality of the recording and its content, covert the audio file to an MP3 that can be easily handled by your audience and packed into an RSS feed. For a step-by-step guide to doing a podcast recording from start to finish, check out Audacity's Tutorial for Podcasting. For this first time, you'll need to set up your RSS feed with your Webmaster or see samples of HTML learn about RSS and XML code from one of the many podcast tutorials, like Podcast411.com. Once this is set up, updating your podcasts will be easy. Your listeners, who have already signed up, will get your podcast automatically. Upload your MP3 podcast for the world to hear!

Once everything is set up, updating your Web site with regular quality podcasts is straightforward. With regular podcasts, you will reach your customers directly with the latest news and offerings from your business. Whether you use your podcast studio to reach out to your clients or helping them reach out to theirs, podcasting is an effective and inexpensive way to use PC and Web technology to keep in touch with customers on the go. Now, that's great advertising!

ANDY MCDONOUGH is a professional musician, composer, voice actor, engineer, and educator happily freelancing in New Jersey.

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