Soundproofing and acoustics for podcasters
Talk to any home podcaster or voiceover artist, and they will tell you that one of the perils of recording at home is that of the acoustics of the room used for recording.
Professional recording studios are equipped, at great expense, with special soundproofing material, but the cost of such soundproofing is out of the reach of home podcasters and voiceover talent, and many homes are not best suited for recording voice – painted walls, reflective windows, and non-absorbent wall-coverings will all result in sound waves being bounced around your room and picked up by your microphone.
The second hazard in home recording is background noise – your PC fan, other people in the house, passing traffic, and even a purring cat can all be picked up by your mic, and with many listners using inner-ear headphones, extraneous background noise can be a serious distraction.
So what is the answer? Putting your walls in non-reflective material, closing your curtains and covering your noisy PC with something that absorbs fan noise can all lessen these effects.
A Voice Booth
If you’re serious about recording at home, you may find that a sound booth, is the answer – you can buy a rather snazzy home walk-in voiceover booth from Dolphin Music, but priced at over £3,000 this may be out of your reach.
Portable Reflection Filter
Rather than going to the expense of treating your room acoustically, there’s a rather handy solution from SE Electronics, the portable Reflexion Filter. Our podcast team’s using one of these at the moment, and reaping the benefits.
Effectievly, this fixes to your mic stand, and near-on eliminates reflection from behind and to the sides of a microphone. It’s great for reducing reflections, echoes and background noise. If you’re recording in a room that has not been acoustically treated, this product could be the answer.
There are two products in the Reflexion family, the Professional and Project versions, the latter being around half the price. These have been scientically created to reduce nasty room noise, and are surprising effective. We’ve reviewed ours here: Reflexion Project Acosutic Filter Review.
We alos note that Maplin has brought out a similar solution – their Portable Microphone Absorber and Diffuser, whch claim to surround your microphone and reduce the transmission of unwanted room influences such as reflections. At the time of writing, this audio diffuser is only available via the Maplin website, and not in Maplin branches. We’ve not tried it.
On a budget
If your budget doesn’t stretch to the Absorber and Diffuser the minimum that you should invest in is a pop shield for your microphone to reduce breath noises as much as possible, and do what you can to “dampen” the sound in your room using curtains, or strategic draping of a duvet (as one of our team did in their early podcasting career!).