How to Build a Podcast Studio: Get Professional-Level Audio Quality, Wherever You Are
Maybe you’re done with renting recording studios. Maybe you don’t have any in your area. Or maybe want a more flexible recording schedule.
This is probably the right time to start considering building your own podcast studio at home. And contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to build and you can do it on a budget.
In today’s post, you’ll learn how to set up a podcast studio at home.
- How to set up the room
- Gear you'll need
Ready? Let’s get started.
Podcast Studio Setup: How to Prepare the Room
The recording space you choose will have an enormous impact on your sound quality. So, before ordering any equipment, decide which room will be most suitable.
The ideal room for your podcast studio should:
- Be small, to avoid echoes
- Not have any external walls or shared walls with your neighbor
- Not be near a busy common area of the house
- Have few or no windows
- Not have any appliances that may cause unwanted noise (e.g: AC, a boiler, or a computer with a loud cooling fan)
- Have soft furnishings and surfaces, like carpeting, curtains, pillows, and wood furniture.
But, what if you’re just starting out and don’t have a spare room with those conditions? Then, you might be able to set up a podcast studio in your closet. See? Budget is no limitation. However, you should also add sound treatment to your room/closet.
How to do Sound Treatment for Your Podcast Setup
First things first, soundproofing and sound treatment are two different things. Soundproofing involves completely sealing off a room from external noise and can be very expensive. Why? To soundproof a room you must seal up all gaps in windows or doors and block your rooms with heavy, dense materials.
On the other hand, sound treatment implies controlling how the sound is absorbed and diffused within the room. In fact, it's all about improving sound quality.
To sound-treat your room, you’ll need:
- Acoustic panels
- Bass traps
- Diffuser panels
Let’s take a closer look.
Acoustic panels absorb sound reflections and reverberations when mounted to walls and other flat surfaces. In other words, they reduce echo. Acoustic panels can be either:
- Wood-framed panels, filled with sound-absorbing material
- Bare foam panels
These panels can be attached in a temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent way, depending on your needs. Moreover, it’s fair to say that you’ll likely go over budget since you’ll probably end up needing more panels than you anticipated.
A bass trap captures low-frequency sound waves in the corners of a room, where they tend to gather. In other words, they absorb bass/mid/high frequencies. Generally, they’re made of either fiberglass or foam.
The sound of a room can turn out to be unnatural if all surrounding sounds are absorbed, so diffusers can help liven things up. Using diffusers preserves the natural tone of reflected sound. And unlike acoustic panels and bass traps, diffusers are three-dimensional shapes that scatter sound.
Nevertheless, there are diverging opinions concerning diffuser panels. Some creators think of them as a must in a podcast home studio setup, others don’t.
5 Key Pieces of Podcast Studio Equipment
The amount and type of audio equipment you purchase will depend on your needs and budget. However, we recommend you include these in your shopping list:
- A set of light and comfortable headphones
- A condenser microphone
- A PC or Mac
- Recording & editing software
- An audio mixer
Ideally, you should use sound-isolating headphones. That way, you can closely monitor your audio output. Since you’ll wear your headphones frequently, it’s best if they’re comfortable and not too heavy. Plus, it’s important for them to have a sturdy cable and an L-shaped plug.
See which models we recommend and how to choose the best podcasting headphones for you in this guide.
There are two main types of microphones you should know about: Dynamic and condenser microphones.
Overall, dynamic microphones may be efficient for your home studio setups as they don’t capture much ambient noise. However, as a downside, you’ll need to speak straight into the mic to get the most sound out of it.
Meanwhile, condenser microphones offer greater sound gain and quality. Yet, they are also more susceptible to ambient noise.
Moreover, there are two types of connectors to consider: USB and XLR. USB mics plug directly into your computer. Meanwhile, XLR mics plug into an audio mixer (which is connected to your computer).
Need help choosing your next microphone? Discover our top microphone recommendations.
A computer is essential for recording and editing your podcast. Luckily, podcasting is far less technically demanding than video editing or 3D modeling. So most modern PCs and Macs will do.
But, whether you’ll buy a new computer or revamp your old one, we recommend these minimum specs:
- A Ryzen Z or Intel i7 microprocessor
- An SSD NVME 2.0 hard drive
- At least 16GB of RAM
Audio Recording & Editing Software
A Digital Audio Workstation or DAW is the software you’ll use to record, edit, and mix your audio. We recommend you try the following:
- Audacity - A budget-friendly option that works with all operating systems. One disadvantage is that it doesn’t offer multi-track recording.
- Reaper - Lightweight and affordable.
- Hindenburg Journalist - A tool specially designed for podcasts, interviews, and radio.
Audio Interface (or Audio Mixer)
If you’re recording solo and using a USB condenser microphone, you won’t need an audio interface. But if you plan on having multiple people in the studio to record, it’s an essential tool.
An audio interface lets you record and monitor individual audio inputs separately in your DAW. For example, let’s say that you have a guest who has a louder voice than the rest, with the audio interface, you can lower their microphone’s gain. Thus, all your guests will sound at the same volume.
This could also be achieved by tweaking the audio in real time with an audio mixer. However, we only recommend using a mixer instead of an audio interface if you’re streaming your episodes live and not recording them in advance. You can learn more about this type of gear and why it differs from the audio interface in our beginner’s guide to audio mixers.
Today, we learned how to set up your podcast studio at home. It’s fair to mention that each item comes at a variety of prices. However, we recommend getting the best equipment you can afford.
Remember that the more steps you take to improve sound quality, the less time you’ll spend editing unwanted noises in post-production.
However, making your own podcast involves a lot more than just high sound quality. Writing a good script, assembling the right team, and promoting your show effectively are also fundamental steps.
Pro tip: Short videos are the best content format for growing your show’s social media audience. And with Audiotease, you can create eye-catching audiograms effortlessly, no editing skills required.Curious? Create your first audiogram today, for free.