Finding the best place to record your podcast: Tips for best sound and comfort

Next to bad sound from a bad microphone, echo is the worst enemy for your recordings.  A room that is too echoey can significantly degrade the sound quality of your podcast episodes and reduce the listening pleasure for your listeners. Therefore, choosing the right recording location and, if necessary, using sound absorbers or diffusers is crucial to minimize annoying echoes and reverb effects.

person podcasting

Echo – death to your podcast

Echo or reverb is when sound returns to its source and is audible there. You might be familiar with it from towel washday. When you take the towels out of the bathroom everything sounds... echoey. 

Think of reverb as if you threw a tennis ball against the wall. It’ll probably come back at you, like an echo. 

If the reflecting surface is far away you’ve probably heard it as a discrete echo. 

Why does it matter for your recording room? You can probably already imagine.

person recording a podcast at home

Is it OK to record podcasts in an office?

Offices are typically sparsely furnished and have a cool, professional character. High ceilings, smooth walls, PVC or laminate floors without carpeting, big windows. 

Nice and bright for working, but not so great for a podcast.

A good room for podcasting will have many elements that absorb or deflect sound.

Remember we were talking about a tennis ball against a flat wall? You would probably quickly learn how to throw the ball so that it comes right back to you. 

But imagine if you had a big bookcase in front of you.

The books are different sizes and stick out different amounts. When you throw the ball against it, it will probably hit the corner of a book and rebound at an angle.

The same goes for sound.

What can you do to improve the sound?

Don’t worry. You don’t need to record in a closet like vocals for songs used to be. A few small changes in the room can make a big positive difference.

  • Carpet. Even a small rug can make an audible difference. With a carpet you cover up a big echo surface, and get better sound right away.
  • Open closets and drawers. It might not look very neat, but the more corners and angles you have in the room, the better the sound will be deflected in different directions.
  • Cover the windows. If you have curtains or drapes in front of the windows, use them to cover the flat panes.
  • Hang jackets on the coat rack. The material might have a smooth surface, but usually it’s a little undulating and soaks up sound.
  • Baseball cap. Yes, a baseball cap improves the sound, since the brim material and curve minimize echo.

Is it worth buying sound-absorbent materials?

The short answer: Yes! 

But it’s not always possible to set up an office like that, and often the materials just don’t look very good.

person confused by sound

Awesome, Part 5 is finished! ✅

Continue now with Part 6: Quiet please, Recording! 

Part 6
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