What does 'Audio Quality' actually mean?

When we talk about creating great podcasts, we often look at audio quality as one of the key elements. Why? Because having good quality audio will make your podcast sound more professional, and will present you, your guests and your organisation in a better light.

There are 3 main components:

1. Recorded audio

It's important to start with appropriate recording equipment. It may sound obvious, but sometimes, we find that novice podcasters don't even use a microphone! If you're going to start a podcast, the very least you can do is in invest in a good quality microphone - and they're not expensive, you can pick one up for around $140. Just make sure it's a USB Dynamic Microphone like this one (not an affiliate link).

We share more about equipment in this video.

Microphone technique is also important. For example, if you're too close to the mic, the audio may get so loud, it will sound distorted. If you're too far away, you'll sound distant, and the audio might get echoey.

Correct microphone technique and equipment setup is something teach in our training courses, so if you're looking for personalised recommendations and coaching, get in touch.

2. Audio levels

Have you ever listened to a podcast where the theme music was SO LOUD, you had to turn the volume all the way down, but when the host started speaking, they were so quiet, you had to turn the volume all the way back up again?

This shows an inconsistency in audio levels, where the volume is different between the music and speakers, or even between the speakers.

To give your audience an easy and enjoyable listening experience, it's important to create a nice consistent sound throughout the episode. So, do your best to ensure the levels are set correctly during recording, and make sure you use a professional editor who knows how to tweak the audio in post production to get it sounding just right.

3. The mix

Having a great mix means the podcast generally sounds seamless, with smooth transitions between the different sections and appropriate narration and soundtrack music. When not mixed well, a podcast can have abrupt fades, jarring transitions, music that plays for too long, loud spikes of audio and even sections of silence that make the listener think "Umm...what's happening?"

All of these things can be distracting for the listener, and take their attention away from your great content. A professional editor is trained to create a smooth, easy-to-listen-to mix, so it's worth the investment if you're time poor and don't have the capacity to learn all the skills of audio editing and mixing.

So there you have it - the 3 elements of audio quality! When all of those elements have been done properly, listeners can focus on the content and enjoy the experience - meaning your message is more likely to engage and stick with them. Plus, it will make your podcast more shareable!

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