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Do I Need Soundproofing For My Podcast?

podcasting tips Mar 22, 2018

Today I want to talk with you about whether or not you need soundproofing for podcasting space.

When you listen to some podcasts, you can hear the pristine sound from the microphone and there's hardly a speck of ambient noise that happens in the background.

By perception, it may seem that these podcasters have a room that is filled with soundproofing foam and expensive carpet that is deadening the sound. In some cases, this is true but in most cases--especially whenever you’re starting your own podcast--you won’t have the ability to utilize soundproofing.

USES OF SOUNDPROOFING IN PROFESSIONAL SETTINGS

Soundproofing is typically used in radio stations and voiceover sound booths all across America. Obviously, it's used to eliminate any of the ambient noise that is bouncing off drywall or concrete walls.  But it is also there to prevent any sounds from entering into your studio.

These types of studios invest TONS of money for quality equipment for the obvious reasons. But I think it’s important to understand that soundproofing isn't something that has to be an absolute in your overall strategy.

Podcasting is an unusual format where you can record at a restaurant, at a sporting event, or simply in your own bedroom. It doesn’t mean that you need to have any type of soundproofing.

In fact, soundproofing is probably used the best whenever you are recording a voice over for a radio commercial or an audio book. Other than that, soundproofing inside of your bedroom may not necessarily be something that you need to invest and right away.

Let’s consider a couple of things when it comes down to starting your podcast.

1.      Consider the cost to start your podcast. Consider the essential equipment that you’re going to purchase for your podcast to get you off the ground and running. Then, you need to consider how much you will spend for hosting each month.  These are the two essential costs that you will need to incur when you start your podcast.

2.       Consider the style of your podcast. What type of podcast are you going to do? Is it going to be a podcast that sounds more like it’s a man-on-the-street type podcast? Or is it going to be something where your podcast sounds like it’s in a deadened room? You need to figure out what type of style your podcast is going to take as you develop what your podcast will sound like.

For instance, my podcast Be The Experience is a combination of recording in my home-office, my master bedroom, and of course, most of the recordings are done through my iPhone recorder.

The reason I record through my iPhone is because I want the listener to experience the "feel" of the location when I’m interviewing my subject. In other words, I want them to hear the background noises to get a frame of reference of where I’m interviewing my subject. Sometimes, ambient noise is a lot better than having deadened noise.

3.       Consider your room size and how much soundproofing foam you will need to purchase. If you’re dead set on creating your podcast studio inside of your home and you want it to be soundproofed, it may cost you a lot of money.

Consider the amount of foam that you’re going to purchase--which can be purchased on Amazon between $35-$60 per square foot.

Sometimes you can buy panels, other times you can buy used foam.

If you’re going to purchase any type of foam for your home-studio, you will incur costs that will range anywhere between $300-$700 to fill an entire room. THAT'S JUST FOR THE FOAM! 

You can’t forget the glue that you need to purchase so that you can stick the foam on the walls and glue isn't cheap.

Other things you may want to consider is that gluing foam to the walls can get messy.  What happens when you want to change up the foam on the walls? There will be significant mess on the walls from the glue. 

You don't always have to use foam and glue, though.  Some soundproofing come in panels that you can hang on the walls by simply drilling.

Also, most soundproof rooms usually have an enclosure within the room. In other words, it’s a room built inside of another room so that you can truly deaden any type of sound that is escaping the room and sound that is trying to get in. This could cost a ton of money.

ALTERNATIVES TO PROFESSIONAL SOUNDPROOFING

1.       You can purchase an isolation shield on Amazon for about $60. Even though this shield won’t deaden most of the sound that is bouncing off of the walls, it can at least reduce some other sound that is coming from your mouth, into the microphone--and of course--onto the walls.

2.       Use THICK BLANKETS!  When I first started out, I actually didn’t wanna be a podcaster. I wanted to read voice overs and get paid for my voice in commercials. As a makeshift studio, I used the closet in the back of my house and lined the walls with thick blankets. Even though it wasn’t the prettiest setup, it got the job done. Any type of sound that I had recorded into my microphone sounded like it was recorded at a radio station or some type of professional studio.

Amazon sells thick moving blankets in 12 packs. You can get 72 x 80” blankets that could be lined around your closet or room. It’s certainly a lot more affordable than having to buy $500-$600 worth of foam and the glue--even panels.

If you don’t have the money for moving blankets, just use regular bedspreads that are old and unused.  You might as well put them to use!

SOUNDPROOFING IS BASED ON YOUR RECORDING PHILOSOPHY

Soundproofing is a techie subject with a lot of podcasters, especially those who are purists.

Some feel that they need soundproofing in every type of situation, whereas people like me don’t think that you need soundproofing to achieve the goal of capturing a quality interview.

At the end of the day, this is all about your personal philosophy and how you want your podcast to sound. Whether it’s something that sounds like it came out of a professional recording studio or something that is a little more relaxed, that’s all going to be up to you.

AFFORDABLE SOUNDPROOFING CONSTRATINTS

For the beginning and intermediate podcaster, I would say, go down the more affordable road with something like moving blankets or an isolation shield.   Just be aware that there will be some constraints with some of those materials when you start recording.

For example, an isolation shield doesn’t give you the opportunity to really monitor who is talking with you if you have someone in the studio. But it works great if you’re doing a remote interview over the phone.

Moving blankets can make a room feel warm if you have too many people inside of that room. It’s definitely capturing a lot of the heat that is being admitted from the bodies in the room. That’s something to think about.

Do you currently have soundproofing inside of your room?

How are you recording your podcast?

Is it more relaxed or do you want it to sound more professional?

Leave a comment down below.

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