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Podcasting 101: Studio Space and How to Create Clean Recordings

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

Ok, you probably don’t have, or need, an actual studio. If you do have one already, that's terrific and you can stop reading right now.

There is a chance you have a studio available to you without you knowing it--at your local library! Public libraries are full of free resources we don't think to look for, and recording space and equipment is one of them. Check online to see if your local library has one, or go there and ask!

But what if your library doesn't have one, or you want to record too frequently to travel there every time? You could spend a lot of time, money, and effort building one in your home, or converting a closet. But for many podcasters, it’s not worth it just to cut down on background noise and echo.

There are, however, some things you can do to improve the space you use to record. If you record in a big, rectangular, empty room, you’re going to get lots of echo from what you’re saying off the walls. Untrained listeners may not be able to tell why, but they’ll be able to tell that your audio isn’t as clean and professional sounding as you probably want.

So how can you treat your recording space to make the cleanest audio you can?

Try to minimize flat, sound-reflective space around you and your mic. To do that, you can cover your walls in materials designed to bounce the sound in non-echoey directions, or even have bookshelves and other uneven surfaces around you. You can make a temporary cushioned space by building a fun blanket fort to record in. You can record in a full closet, clothes on all sides to muffle unwanted sound.

There are always downsides to optimal recording conditions. You don’t want noise in your background, so no fans, open windows, or loud air conditioners, and a lot of these methods will make you overheat. If you’re recording long podcast episodes, that can become extremely uncomfortable.

We at FN have yet to solve this particular problem--one of us likes to freeze plastic bottles of water to use as ice packs during long recording sessions, but that barely takes the edge off. Oh, how we suffer for our art.

Got any tips for staying cool during recording? Leave them in the comments!

P.S. Check out this video for a cool explanation on how acoustics work! They use nerf guns and everything.

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