I’m going to take a stand and boldly say it. Good audio quality is essential for a successful podcast.
Before you cry fowl, I know that there are popular podcasts that have subpar audio quality.
I’ve heard them. I’ve cringed. They’re still succeeding.
I also admit there are times when content is more important than high-fidelity audio.
In my opinion, these are exceptions rather than the rule. For most of us, poor audio quality can be a major distraction for listeners and can even lead them to stop listening altogether. With as many podcasts as there are today, you cannot afford to lose a listener because poor audio quality took away from your content. In fact, according to a study published in 2018 entitled “Good Sound, Good Research: How Audio Quality Influences Perceptions of the Research and Researcher,” audio quality can influence a listener’s perception of a speaker’s credibility. Further, good audio quality can make a podcast more engaging and enjoyable for listeners, which can help to build a loyal audience.
One of the key factors in determining audio quality is the quality of the microphone being used. Investing in a high-quality microphone can make a big difference in the overall sound of a podcast. Take note that a good microphone does not have to be expensive. With a budget of $50-$70, you can sound like a million bucks.
It’s also important to consider the environment in which the podcast is being recorded. Background noise and echo can be major distractions for listeners, so it’s important to find a quiet, well-controlled space for recording. If your room does not have carpet and is echoey, I highly recommend using a dynamic microphone over a condenser microphone. The former picks up less room sound.
In addition to the microphone and recording environment, the way the audio is processed and edited can also impact the overall quality of a podcast. Proper use of equalization, compression, and other audio processing techniques can help to improve the clarity and punch of a podcast’s audio.
Podcast editors joke that podcasters want to “fix everything in post.” The truth is that it’s like any type of recording — GIGO. Garbage in, garbage out is a concept common to computer science and mathematics: the quality of output is determined by the quality of the input. The better the audio quality captured, the better chances that you’ll have stellar audio rendered out in your final edit.
That’s not to say that miracles are not possible.
Watch this video that features some of my favorite audio plug-ins:
Hearing is believing. Not every audio track can be saved. But sometimes, the improvement is incredible. I hope that you’ll rally with me for great audio for everyone. Please do your part.
Overall, good audio quality is an important aspect of a successful podcast. It can help to engage and retain listeners, and can ultimately lead to a more successful podcast. Investing in the right equipment and going the extra mile to create a pleasant listening experience can pay off in the long run.
Do I care about good audio quality too much?