How to improve the sound when recording a podcast from a mobile phone

Podcasting microphone

The podcasts are conquering more and more users, and in front of the simplicity needed to start creating them (just enough a mobile and own headphones with microphone provided by the manufacturer of the smartphone) the truth is that the audio quality often make the difference (beyond the content, of course) when the number of podcasts has multiplied almost to infinity in recent years.

A smartphone can be enough to record a podcast with sufficient audio quality

Through the following tips you can achieve an improvement in audio quality when making audio recordings, especially those intended to be part of a podcast, either as an author or as a guest, without necessarily resorting to the use of an external microphone to record the podcast.

-Mobile speakerphone is not an option: If it is not a one-sided voice recording but a conversation that is being recorded by the interlocutor you have to rule out the “hands-free” mode that uses the smartphone’s speakerphone to listen to the other party’s conversation. The audio of your voice will be picked up by the microphone with a certain delay over the recording being made by the other party and the result will be an annoying cacophony of echoes.

-Safety distance: Although when talking on the mobile phone it remains close to your face, when recording your voice it is advisable to move the microphone slightly away from the bottom of the phone, at least 10/20 centimetres from your face. Test recordings can be made to check the optimum distance, also taking into account the circumstances. It will not be the same to record in conditions of maximum silence as in the middle of a street with noisy traffic. For recordings of a certain duration, it may be advisable to place the smartphone on a tripod or stand, or on a stack of books or boxes. This also minimizes possible noises caused by small movements of the hand holding the phone.

-Inside the cabinet: Strangely enough, the inside of a closet, or at least standing in front of the clothes hanging in it while the doors remain open, can offer an unsuspected sound quality. This is because the fabrics absorb sound waves and prevent the microphone from picking up the bounce that would come from harder surfaces such as the walls of a room. The result is a more muffled and pleasant sound.

-Best wired: Although wireless headsets have greatly improved in quality, both in audio playback and in picking up sound through the microphone, the quality of a wired headset is still preferable, even a mid-quality one, very capable of competing against all but some of the best (and most expensive) wireless headsets. In addition, a wired headset doesn’t run out of battery life and doesn’t suffer from possible interference.

-The cell phone is also a microphone: Smartphones include an almost unmanageable number of devices that just a few years ago could only be carried in a suitcase: camera, video camera, music player, video player, computer… and although to record a podcast it seems almost inevitable to use an external microphone, we must not forget that the microphone built into mobile phones is capable of capturing the audio with high quality.

-Local recording: For podcasts in which you participate with other speakers, even if you are recording by the host using a mixing desk or through the remote recording made by some programs and applications (Skype, Zencastr, Zoom…), it is advisable to make a local copy, which to begin with will offer better quality since it can be done with a better microphone and without the possible quality problems arising from the ups and downs in the Internet connection. Later a mix can be made that includes the locally recorded audio, which would be sent over the Internet as an audio file with the highest quality.

-Sending without compression: Thanks to services such as Google Drive or WeTransfer you can send the file resulting from the local audio recording without editing or compressing it, so that the receiver has the same in the highest quality.

-Separate track recording: If possible, it is desirable, either if it is done through a platform that allows it (Hindenburg, Rode Reporter…) or through a mixing console or audio interface. This allows to manage separately the different audio sources of those who participate in the recording to correct possible deficiencies or incidents during the recording.

-Airplane mode: A call or notification of receiving a message or email can interrupt or even ruin your recording, so it may be a good idea to turn on airplane mode to prevent this.

-Avoid noises: Disconnect the landline (and mobile), mute the computer, turn off the TV, even disconnect the doorbell and the telephone or (although it is a sacrifice in summer) turn off the fan and / or air conditioning. Any possible noise caused by any appliance or device can be annoying.

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