Podcasting 101: Microphone Technique

Proper use of a microphone when recording is absolutely essential if you want clear and easy to understand audio for your podcast recordings. You want individuals who are listening to your podcast to be able to clearly understand what you are saying, as well as make them feel like that can listen to you for a couple of hours. This is where both proper use of a microphone and vocal range is absolutely key to a successful recording.

In this section:

(click on the link to skip to the section):

Tips for a Successful Podcast Recording:

  1. Keep the Microphone 6-12″ from your mouth:
    Keep the microphone as close as possible to your mouth to avoid any unwanted room sounds, but do not get TOO close because the closer you get to the microphone the more distorted your voice will get, creating a “muddy” or bass effect on your vocal recording, which can be difficult to fix in post.
  2. Direct the microphone toward your mouth from below or above.
    This minimizes the “popping” sound that you will sometimes hear when you record audio, especially when you use words that contain the letter “p” or “t”.
  3. Use an external pop filter
    Most microphones have a built in windscreen which provides an extra layer against popping sounds, but a popping filter can reduce this even further.
  4. Keep the microphone away from reflective surfaces
    Reflection caused by hard surfaces such as table tops or musical stands can adversely affect the sound quality recorded.
  5. Speak directly into the microphone.
    High frequencies are directional and if you turn your head away from the microphone, the sound captured by the microphone will get noticeably duller.

(Ref. “Microphone Techniques” by Shure Education Publication. To view full publication click here)

If you’re more of a visual learner then here is a video UMBC

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Using the Vocal Booths

(Level 2 – Bon Marche Building, University of Technology Sydney)

This video featuring Journalism Lecturer, Eurydice Aroney, demonstrates proper microphone technique in the context of using the UTS Vocal Booths on Level 2 of the Bon Marche Building. This video has some good tips and advice on how to record audio using a standard mic for podcasting/vodcasting and the free-ware program Audacity.

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Using the Phonebooth Recorder

(Level 5 – Journalism Workroom – Bon Marche Building, University of Technology Sydney)

This video features Journalism lecturer, Cath Dwyer, as she demonstrates how to sucessfully record an over the phone interview using the Journalism Workroom’s phonebooth recorder and the freeware program, Audacity.

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Microphone Resources:

  • Media College – How Microphones Work:[ www.mediacollege.com/audio/microphones/how-microphones-work.html]
    If you would like to know how a microphone works this basic introduction is a good place to start. This tutorial also outlines three of the different types of mics available – dynamic, condensor and directional.
  • Media College – How to Use Microphones: [www.mediacollege.com/audio/microphones/how-to-use.html]
    Selecting the most appropriate microphone for the job you are undertaking, positioning the microphone to achieve the best results and tips on mounting your mic and hand-held mics.
  • Creative Cow  The Basics of Audio: [library.creativecow.net/articles/perry_peter/audio_basics.php]
    This tutorial gives ‘Real Basic Audio Stuff’ tips and guidelines on sound frequency, the types of microphone available, microphone placement and technique and an introduction to cables and connectors (balance/unbalanced signals).
  • Media College – Using Hand Held Microphones: [www.mediacollege.com/audio/microphones/hand-held.html]
    Some general rules to keep in mind when using a hand-held microphone to pick up human speech. This site includes a link outlining the different directional properties of microphones.

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