Even if you are recording your podcast from a room with big acoustical conditions there are still ways you can quickly improve room’s audio:
- Perform basic insulation to windows and doors,
- Use large and heavy curtains and carpets
- Use pillows and portable shield booth to dampen the sound even further.
Many people don’t have the luxury to work in a very silent and noise friendly environment recording a podcast. However, there are still solutions and steps you can take to quickly upgrade your podcasting “studio”.
Below tips will assume that:
- You don’t have designated room which you can dedicate to podcasting, so extensive soundproofing is not possible,
- You can’t extensively modify the room from which you are recording, so acoustic panels are out of the question,
- Everyone is busy – implementation of those tips should not take longer than 3 hours maximum including ordering materials
To better understand how room’s acoustics impact the audio quality of your recording we recommend our article: Podcasting room acoustics – how your room impacts your audio quality?
1. Seal cracks in all windows – cost: <$15
Windows can leak a lot of outside noises like heavy traffic, animals, children playing, etc. Old windows frames can have cracks but there can be also gaps between frames and walls. To close those gaps and stop noises from leaking in you will need a special window caulk designated for interior and exterior use. It should be weather resistant and mildew resistant.
There are many caulks available on the market with reasonable pricing. Our simple recommendation would be to use the Red Devil window caulk.
2. Insulate all windows, doors and electric sockets – cost: <$30 (depending on the size of the window and door frames and number of sockets)
After you have sealed creaked frames and gaps in the installation you can soundproof inside of the window frames. Any standard self-adhesive insulation will work fine. The application is really simple and should not cause any issues and results can be great if you live in a noisy neighborhood.
Next, use the same seal strip around your door frame to prevent noise coming in from the rest of your home. If you live in a noisy apartment building or noisy neighborhood consider applying seal also to your main door or other windows in your home depending on where the noises are coming in from.
In large apartment buildings, walls can carry a lot of noise from other apartments. Consider sealing electrical outlets with cheap and easy to install insulation foam gasket.
Bonus tip: in case of doors noises can always get in through the gap between floor and doors. To insulate this you can use a door sweep. There are two options to consider:
- surface mounted door sweep – cheaper, easy to install, not very elegant,
- fully mortised hidden inside the door panel sweep – a bit more expensive and far more difficult to install but on the other hand more elegant solution.
3. Install heavy curtains – cost: $25-50 (depending on required length)
Use heavy curtains to cover the windows and create additional soundproofing barrier. The curtain should be as heavy as possible and reaching all the way down to the floor, preferably even slightly lying on the floor to seal the bottom gap and preventing noise leaking.
Bonus tip: change curtain railings from rod type sticking out of the wall to a rail mounted on the ceiling. This way you will close the top gap and prevent additional noise from leaking in.
4. No carpets allowed? Buy large blanket – cost: $10-25 (depending on the size)
An ideal solution would be to have a carpet fully covering the floor and if you downstairs neighbors are very noisy to have a soundproofing mat underneath your carpet. If you can’t install a carpet buy and have a few available heavy blankets lying around so whenever you start a recording session you can use them. Cover corners where the floor meets with walls and then use the rest to cover the open space of the floor.
Blankets can be kept and also used to cover other surfaces which can create reverb and impact audio quality like wardrobes or any other pieces of furniture with large smooth surfaces (including glass).
5. Buy pillows – decorate home and improve quality – cost: around $10 for a pillow and cover
Decorate your home during the day and when you record simply use those pillows and cover with the exposed corners. Pillows can be especially useful to cover exposed trihedral corners – those are places where 3 large open surfaces meet like wall-wall-floor.
6. Have a portable isolation recording shield box – cost: <$40
If space is an issue and you can’t have an isolation shield address this problem with a portable isolation booth. It is very lightweight and compact. Once folded it doesn’t take a lot of space and is easy to hide and later to quickly assemble it again.
The portable isolation booth shields from unwanted sound sources arriving and getting picked up by the microphone. To maximize the benefits and shield mic on all sides making sure that the surface from facing your mic is also protected and insulated and is not feeding back sound to your mic.
Choosing the right microphone is also very important. Dynamic mics are less sensitive and gather much fewer background noises. Check our recommended microphone picks for podcasting summarized here: Podcasting Microphone Buyers Guide.
7. Manage schedule and work around outside noises – cost: free
Try to work out the schedule of your neighborhood. Consider:
- When does the heavy traffic start and when does it end
- What time neighbors children are back from school and play outside
- Do your neighbors have noisy habits like watching tv or listening to music loudly in the afternoon
- Do your neighbors have some other noisy habit routines like playing musical instruments or doing laundry at certain times of the day
You need to figure out when the external noises are the lowest and schedule your recording sessions at this time. Typically mornings are an overall good time to record in home studios or hours before the afternoon after people have gone to work.
In conclusion – transform your room for the time of the recording:
- Close all the windows and doors in your apartment to block from all noise sources
- Pull down the window curtains
- Enable your door sweep
- Turn off and unplug as many electronic devices as you can – tv, a/c to eliminate low hums and electromagnetic interferences.
- Use as little light sources as possible. Avoid lamps generating a low-frequency buzzing
- Record on cooled down computer to avoid noisy fan getting recorded
- Use all the available pillows to cover exposed corners
- Use available blanket (or bedsheets) to cover large, smooth surfaces – floor, wardrobe, and other furniture
If you want to find out more and conduct more thorough soundproofing of your podcasting studio you will find more solutions in Silent home podcast studio – detailed and easy soundproofing guide.
To improve your audio quality it is important also to set up your microphone correctly. To find out more about this visit: 17 useful microphone setup tips for pro audio.
An additional way to attract more listeners is to improve your vocal style and technique. We are covering this in our material 13 vocal tips for Podcasters to get more listeners.
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