So, you’ve finally recorded your own podcast only to hear a strange noise in the audio? Well, that strange noise is a sign you should soundproof your podcasting room.
Regardless of whether you already HAVE a podcast or you’re thinking about starting one, quality of sound is probably the most important thing for a podcast. It’s ALMOST above actual content (almost). Nobody wants to sit through noise regardless of how interesting the story might be.
Getting the most expensive recording gear can help, but the sound won’t be good enough until you soundproof the room you’re working in.
Look soundproofing is boring:
Let’s just stick together on this one, and get through it. Follow these steps and you’ll have a lovely soundproof podcasting room ready to rock and roll, and you can put memories of spending hours researching this stuff far behind you, deal?
How to Soundproof a Room for Podcasting
Going to a professional studio isn’t always an option, especially for podcasting. Studios are expensive and many people believe that you don’t even need them for podcasting as you can easily improve the recording conditions at home (like we’ll show you here).
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make your at-home studio a bit more suitable for podcasting. Some require more effort while others are rather simple, so choose and do at least a few.
Now that we got that cleared let’s go through some ways to soundproof a room. Note that you don’t really have to do each of these things, though you totally can if you want to. The point is in improving the audio quality of your podcast. So, the more you do, the better the sound you’ll get.
Chose the best room for podcasting
Not many people have the freedom to choose which room they want to record in. Still, if you can choose, make sure to do so wisely. You want a place that’s far away from as much noise as possible, and also one that has naturally thick walls or doors, and isn’t near the noisy street.
If you cannot devote an entire room, then read how to build a soundproof booth post to achieve practically the same thing.
The most important paragraph about podcast soundproofing coming up in 3..
People often don’t even notice specific noises that are in their houses. For example, you’re probably used to the sound that your air-conditioner or heating system make so you don’t even hear it anymore. However, it’s there, and your mic WILL pick it up.
Make sure to really listen to the noises coming from each room before choosing one. Not only that, but actually set up your mic and record a few minutes of talking in each room, and SEE which room sounds the best.
Pick a space that’s far away from these noisy things, but make sure also to consider other factors. Does the room have many windows? Is it right next to the street? As we said, think this through well to determine what exactly you have to do to soundproof it.
Make sure it’s a small studio
Less square footage is better for a podcasting studio because there’s less space between your mouth and the walls of the room. With more square footage, there’s more distance for the sound wave to travel and get wider (louder).
So, as the sound wave travels from your mouth to the wall that’s 12ft across you, it grows more and more. They then bounce off that one and another sound wave comes, expands and bounces. In very little time, you’ll have many large waves going off from wall to wall creating echo you’ll be able to hear on your recording. For this reason, pick a smaller room to record in.
Identify all the noise
Once you’ve picked a room in which you want to record your podcasts, it’s time to start soundproofing it!
The best way to start is by first figuring out where the noise is coming from. Sit down in that room and listen for about ten minutes. It’s recommended you do this at the time you’d typically record. Listen to what noises appear and try to determine what could be causing them.
This way, you’ll learn what’s causing the problem, and can work more effectively on eliminating it.
Cover all the gaps
Have you noticed how there’s a gap underneath your door? Most doors have this gap, and it’s where the sound will come in from unless you eliminate it.
You can buy a commercial soundproof door jam that’s made specifically for this purpose though that’s not the most affordable option. If not, just put a thick piece of foam or a mat.
Cover the windows
Windows are a real issue especially if you have neighbors on the other side. They could throw a BBQ party or trim bushes with a chainsaw right when you want to record your podcast. We find that when you try and record a podcast is exactly when the random outside noises start.. The larger the windows, the more sound the mic will pick up from outside.
You could get your windows double-glazed. This means getting a second sheet of glass to your window while trapping some still air in between. The combination of two glass panels and air in between protects your room from heat, cold and noise. Again, it’s not the most inexpensive option.
A more affordable option is to get some thick curtains. If you’re wondering what kind, just go for the thickest you can find. These will do wonders in absorbing the noise coming from the window.
Consider a room divider
You’ve seen these in offices, right? Surprisingly, room dividers reduce external noise which is precisely why people use them in large offices. For even better results, throw a large blanket over the top. It sounds and looks funny, but it will eliminate most noise from outside.
Soften the walls
Think about all the hard surfaces in your room and how you could make them soft. The softer a surface the more sound it absorbs. If you want, go all the way and buy some professional acoustic foam (see our materials list), but note that there are also more budget-friendly options.
You may have seen people use egg cartons for these purposes. These do have some acoustical value and will prevent some noise from coming in (The key word here being SOME. They’re nowhere near as good as other soundproofing options or even a blanket). However, if you opt for this method, use them with caution because these are indeed, highly flammable.
Another, safer thing to do is hang some tapestrys on the walls. The more surface you cover, the more noise will be absorbed. You can even put rugs on the walls, too, which works great. Wallpapers are a better option than paint. Textured wallpapers are even better than the normal ones.
Acoustic foam panels are something you’ve definitely seen, if not in professional studios than on YouTube. Lots of people are now putting this up in their studios and home offices. Is it effective?
First of all, it all depends on the kind of foam you choose and how you glue it. A loose application can create more noise than eliminate any, so you really have to know what you’re doing.
Also, if you opt for this method of soundproofing, you should use quality foam. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive, but keep in mind that many suppliers use cheap foam that isn’t actually effective. Surely, some foam is better than none, but be careful how you glue it and with what.
Put up some paintings
Take your favorite pictures and paintings and put them up on the walls. This will create a barrier between inside and outside so the sound can’t get in as easily. You have to put them up strategically on the walls the most noise comes from. Also, it’s crucial you fixate the frames otherwise they could move and make even more noise.
Get cushioned furniture
This is an optional step, and it depends on whether you have a room large enough to pull it off. Nonetheless, do as much as you’re able to as even the smallest steps can make enough of a difference.
Anything like a sofa, couch, lazy bag and a few padded chairs would work well. Make sure there’s lots of padding and cushioning to absorb the sound waves. The idea is to eliminate hard surfaces and what better way than bringing in a soft and cozy sofa.
Cover the floors
We mentioned how you could use a rug to cover the walls, but don’t forget to cover the floors, too. The floor is usually the largest hard surface of the room, after walls, and it’s the one that will create most the trouble. For this reason, you shouldn’t overlook it.
One way to do this is to open the floor and install a subfloor for some more mass and thickness. You place it on the studs made from MDF or plywood panels. Usually, you’d use some soundproofing sealant to reduce the noise even more. After this, you put back the surface floor. However, this only works if you have a room under the one you want to record in. It will eliminate any noise that could come from the room under.
If there’s no room under you, a simple rug is a solution. Surely, you can choose between many other things that could soften the surface a little bit. Rubber mats work as well as thick carpeting.
Consider your equipment
The quality of your equipment has a lot to do with the quality of sound you end up with. High-end directional mics and gear will always result in better quality than your old-school headphone/mic combo. One great podcasting mic is the Blue Yeti.
So, once you’ve done all in your power to soundproof your room and improve the acoustics within it, it might be the time to consider investing in some proper equipment. Of course, you can do this as you go, but you’ll notice the improvement quite quickly.
Create a soundproof box for your mic
If you’re just starting out and don’t want to splurge on any expensive equipment, that’s fine. While most mics will do just fine for podcasting, some are better than the others. However, once you soundproof your room with methods we explained above, the quality of sound will already improve significantly.
Still, there’s another thing to do if you want to take the extra step. You can purchase a soundproof box for your microphone, or build one yourself.
Make a simple box that’s big enough to surround your mic. Make sure to cover it with foam, carpeting or whatever else that could dampen the noise coming from the sides.
Podcast soundproofing FAQ
Where else could I record?
If you don’t have many rooms to choose from, try the closet since many people recommend it as an alternative. Though it may seem funny to sit in a closet to record a podcast, you’ll notice how great the quality of the audio is. Closets are usually proof to sound thanks to all the clothes hanging in there.
The clothes on the racks prevent the sound from getting to the hard surfaces of walls. This might give you better sound quality than the one you’d get in your living room. A car is also a good option because it has fairly nice acoustic and not as many hard surfaces.
Is soundproofing the same as acoustics?
Acoustic qualities of your room have very little to do with how soundproof it is. However, this is equally as important, and you should pay particular attention to it if you want to achieve the best audio quality of your podcast.
Luckily, acoustics can be improved in a few simple ways you can do by yourself. Think about it as some of these things can be done while you’re already working on the soundproof qualities of your at-home studio.
We bet you thought it was harder to soundproof a room. Go ahead and start now that you know it’s actually simple and there are many ways in which you can do it.
Pick some of the methods you can apply, and you’ll see how much the sound quality improves. Remember, it might take some trial and error until you figure it all out. Listen to the noises that appear and figure out what’s causing them so you can make the right steps in preventing them from appearing on your recording.
Some really useful tools or articles are: