How to Mic for Podcast Recording in a Noisy Environment

How to Mic for Podcast Recording in a Noisy Environment
How to Mic for Podcast Recording in a Noisy Environment

You know the content you want to talk about, you have the gear to record, you’re ready to go except for one glaring detail, you don’t have a quiet place to record!

How to Mic for Podcast Recording in a Noisy Environment will detail some strategies which will allow you to record great audio in less-than-ideal spaces. When you’ve lined up the talent and the timeslot, the recording must happen.

First off, let’s consider what kind of microphone you have.

Does it have a cardioid pickup pattern (shown as heart-shaped)? Is it omni-directional, bi-directional, hyper-cardioid? Depending on the pattern, we’ll take a different approach to sound treatment.

The best options are hyper-cardioid and cardioid, as they reject noise from behind the mic, and along the sides. They are designed to zero-in wherever they are directed (pointed). In the case of the hyper-cardioid, there is a bit of pickup from the rear, but this can be mitigated by baffling the backside of the mic or making sure there is no direct noise source behind the mic.

Micro or Portable Booth

A booth is ideal, but sometimes a micro or portable booth for only the mic itself is all you need. You can create a micro-booth for the mic, which will reject sounds from anywhere but the front.

By building this box around the mic, you are blocking the extra reflected sounds of your own voice from bouncing off walls, floors, ceilings, tables, windows, and the like, from entering the mic.

Who’s being recorded?

Just you, or you and a friend? Is this an interview? A discussion? The content will somewhat dictate the space requirements. If you’re only recording yourself you have many options. If you’re recording with another…we’ll cover that in another post.

So you’re recording just yourself, great!

Your voice is the podcast. You read that right…your…voice…is…the podcast. When you see it broken down to its essence, you understand what needs to be captured.

Your voice.

There’s a flipside to this equation. Anything other than your voice can be a distraction, so we’ll want to avoid recording anything that isn’t your voice.

To achieve this simply yet lofty goal, we’ll need to situate you in a quiet place. Not ‘A Quiet Place’ like the movie, ‘cuz that’s just terrifying! But a quiet space, like a recording booth which most folks have at home, right? Oh, is it just me and my close circle of fellow Voice Artists who maintain a dedicated, soundproof recording booth?

OK, next best thing, a closet. You’ve heard of closets, right? So, a decent sized walk-in closet with a lot of clothing hanging up is often a fantastic space to record. The fabrics and textures soak up reflected sounds, leaving little chance of echo and reverberation.

No Closet, On the Road? Use Your Car.

Unless your car is an antique, you'd likely be surprised by how well modern automobiles treat acoustic energy. They're designed to reduce reflected noises, echoes, reverberations and vibrations. They are filled with sound-absorbing materials and comprised of myriad diffusive surfaces. All of these aspects lend themselves to making a modern car a handy vocal recording booth, provided you can park in a relatively quiet place.

Get a clamp for the mic stand, attach it to your steering wheel and have at it. It even makes a cozy environment for a very comfortable interview but again, recording two voices...another post.

Name a Situation, We'll Offer a Solution.

I could go on and on detailing other locations and make suggestions, but I think it would be more fun to answer your specific questions and solve your specific needs. In that vein I invite you to comment on this post and share your audioscape with ModPod and the world.

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