Sound Matters (At Least A LIttle)
January 29, 2016
I was listening to a new podcast the other day, and one thought came to mind:
GET ON THE F'ING MICS!
The hosts were, to put it mildly, not terribly familiar with mic technique. They'd drift away, talk to a producer (they have a producer!) who was totally off-mic, virtually undetectable... it was a mess. Anyone with any experience who heard the tape would have told them to go back and re-record.
Oh, but that's the e-word... experience. In podcasting, it's rare, and it's not held in terribly high esteem outside the more slickly-produced public radio-style shows. Many other shows just wing it on the technical end, because you can and because there is no program director watching that kind of thing like there... well, like there used to be in radio.
But you're not like that, right? You know that while being anal about sound quality is pointless when it's all going to be on an MP3 anyway, bad sound -- talking off mic, shrillness, muffled, levels all over the place -- will drive away listeners and kill any chance you have of keeping them listening past the 30 second mark.
So take some care in recording. Know what kind of mic you're using and whether you need to get up into that thing or back off, check the levels throughout the show, and when you're cleaning things up in post, use something like Levelator to fix the levels. And most importantly, before you upload to Libsyn or Soundcloud or Art19 or wherever, please, listen back to the whole thing and make sure it works. Do it for yourself, and do it for people like me who are out there listening. I'm getting tired of nails on a chalkboard.