Beginner’s Guide to Starting Your Own Podcast 2021 Tips
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Recording and producing audio clips has gotten easier in recent years, so easy that it’s probably one of the reasons so many people have decided to start their own podcasts these days.
Technically speaking, a podcast is just an audio recording that is broadcast periodically through distribution channels (RSS). Your podcast can be anything: music, narration, interviews, various conferences, etc..
More than that, today we can easily share our recordings with everyone (via iTunes and other directories). All of this makes podcasting a great thing if you have the desire to work and aren’t afraid to listen to your recorded voice.
But how do you do this effectively? Well, we are here to help.
The problem with sound quality
The most important characteristic of a good podcast is the quality of the audio. It’s not the quality of the content; audio quality.
No matter how good your content is, no one will listen to it unless the experience itself is enjoyable. Really it would be a huge loss if your great content was obscured by poor sound. Makes the whole process unnecessary.
Some of the things you need to manage are:
- background noise,
- dynamic and
- nice mix.
Equipment and software
It is important that you have decent recording equipment. For podcasters, the “good enough” package is usually just a good micro USB (like Samson C01U).
Basically the general rule is spend over $ 60 on your mic; Please note that this excludes all types of headset microphones.
As for the software, there are professional applications such as Sonar X1 or Studio One, but their use is a big learning. You have to spend time learning how to solve them.
These apps are only needed if you are a musician who records multiple tracks, uses multiple effects, and processes audio for CD output.
Otherwise, my advice is to use Audacity, which is free, easy to use, and quite good. You can record a track, process it, save it, or distribute it to podcast directories. Alternatively, you can use live streaming.
If you prefer recordings, skip the next section.
Live broadcasts aren’t difficult and to be fair, they involve a lot less actual work hour by hour.
When you stream your podcast live, you don’t have to deal with any post-processing. Everything is immediately broadcast over the Internet to your listeners. The only part that’s actually more difficult is getting the audience to tune in.
From a technical standpoint, you can podcast live from your own computer, but it can drain your bandwidth and the experience may not be optimal for your audience.
Doing it through an external server is a better idea, as it gives you the assurance that your live program can be broadcast to all listeners in the world.
You can try various streaming audio servers like this IceCast hosting or other platforms running on IceCast technology.
These live streaming services also offer software that makes it easy to connect to your server and send your live stream.
Podcasting the traditional way begins with a recording session. Before you begin, make sure that the environment you are in allows you to record a track relatively quietly.
Unless you are recording in a dedicated studio room, some basic rules are:
- choose a room with a lot of furniture (this will consume the echo effect)
- close all windows and doors
- turn off your TV, radio and any other sound emitting device
- and place your microphone away from the computer so as not to pick up noise from the computer
Recording with Audacity
Recording with Audacity is pretty basic. Start by setting your microphone to Preferences> Devices. Create a new track and press Recording.
Start by making a test recording. Just record for a few seconds and see if all went well. It’s made for make sure the recording is working. Better to find out now than after you’ve completed the entire podcast.
If you have any problems during the actual recording, you do not need to end the session. Just keep talking, then take care of the awkward parts of the editing process.
Most podcasts are typically 20 to 40 minutes long. I’m not saying it’s mandatory, but you probably shouldn’t be doing yours any longer than necessary.
Who has time to listen to someone speak for a full 30 minutes? Plan what you have to say.
The reality is that whatever you do, your microphone will still pick up noise if you are recording in home conditions. This is another reason I love Audacity. It helps get rid of white noise.
It’s a two-step process: select an empty space on your track (like a long pause). To go Effect> Noise cancellation and click Get Profile. This creates the noise profile for your track. Then select the entire track, go to Effect> Noise cancellation and click Okay. This will eliminate the noise.
In the second step, you can play around with the settings if the results you get are not satisfactory.
Audacity usually does a great job the first time, but in some cases some tweaking may be necessary.
Here’s the full tutorial on noise reduction in Audacity if you’re interested.
Equalization is usually the first step in standard speech processing. Basically, it makes your voice much more interesting and appealing to the listener.
In most situations, you will find that the raw recording of your voice is not deep or clear enough. Both problems can be solved with an equalizer.
Select your entire track and go to Effect> Equalization. This is what you will see:
To make your voice deeper, take the left line and crank it up a bit (see photo).
To make everything sound “clean,” do the same with the line on the far right. In most cases, the midrange does not require any adjustment.
Here is a sample output:
You can experiment with this to find the perfect spot for your voice. The above was how it worked for me.
When is compression reduce the volume of loud sounds or amplify soft, hard-to-hear sounds. Compresses the dynamic range of the track.
This process makes your audio much more enjoyable to listen to. Compression is important because it is impossible to speak at the same volume throughout the recording.
There are always parts which are louder and others which are quieter.
To apply compression, select the entire track and navigate to Effect> Compressor.
The most important parameter is the threshold. You can start to set it somewhere between -10dB and -14dB. Preview your changes, see if you like them (have all loud sounds been reduced?), And adjust if necessary.
This is the last step in this process. When it comes to publishing your work, export your recording as an MP3 file (File> Export). MP3 will make your podcast accessible to everyone.
Hosting your MP3 file (and podcast) is something you can still do on your standard server, but it can create a lot of data delivery and bandwidth issues.
Audio file sizes, although smaller than video, can consume your bandwidth quite quickly. It’s much better to send it to Amazon EC2, or some other cloud service, or publish everything live as I described above.
So what’s your experience with podcasting? Planning to release one soon?
Final Words: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting Your Own Podcast
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