Digital media is without a doubt, a huge part of the every day life of so many of us. YouTube and podcast creators are developing highly successful and profitable careers in digital content creation for audiences around the world. No matter what your interests, hobbies, political views or demographic, there is powerful and engaging content out there for you.

With over 5 billion YouTube videos viewed every day, and up to 300 hours of new content uploaded every minute, there is no slowing down for this growing giant. YouTube is now the second most viewed website on the internet (behind Google).

Podcasting has seen a meteoric rise to popularity in recent years, with ad revenue from podcasts increasing by over 600% between 2015 and 2019. Podcasts allow creators to develop more meaningful and in-depth content, with longer length recordings being readily accepted and desired by the consumer.

Interested in joining the digital media revolution as a content creator? There are some important things to consider from a sound and audio perspective, to ensure you have a good chance at finding success, and it can depend on which platform you choose to focus on.

This post will focus on podcasting and YouTube production, but we also have information on how to set up your home recording studio for music production.

 

Why is audio quality so important?

Take a listen to some of your favourite podcasters or Youtubers. What do they all have in common?

They all sound like they’ve been recorded well with a consistent standard in audio quality. Sound is clean and crisp, and there is very little or no echo or reverberation of sound.

High quality audio doesn’t distract you from the content of the show, it welcomes you in and allows you to enjoy listening, learning, and being entertained. If you have quality content to release to the world, you owe it to yourself to put in a bit of extra effort to ensure the listener can actively engage with you.

A lot of work can be done to reduce echo and noise in post production editing software. But, without the skills to properly edit this audio, it can be expensive to employ or pay someone to edit the audio for you.

Considering proper acoustic treatment for your YouTube or podcast studio setup can make it much easier to achieve clean and crisp audio quality, without relying on too much post production work.

High quality audio shouldn’t be something to strive towards, it should be the standard. It’s a sign that you take your show seriously, so your consumers should too. A quality studio setup can be crucial to success.

If you’re listeners can’t understand you, don’t expect them to stick around

Acoustic Treatment for Podcast or YouTube Studio Setups

One of the most obvious indicators of a sub par video or podcast is audio quality, and addressing the acoustics of your recording space from the beginning can save you big headaches down the road.

Reverberation time is one of most important factors to consider when assessing the acoustics within a room. Spaces which are mostly empty and have lots of hard surfaces such as hard brick or concrete walls and floors will experience high reverberation times. This will drastically effect not only the acoustic comfort in the room, but also negatively impact the quality of audio recorded and influence the potential success of your production.

Reverberation can be incredibly difficult to remove from a recorded piece of audio so your best bet is to stop it from happening in the first place. There are a few ways we can reduce reverberation within a space;

Sound Absorption

The most common way to mitigate reverberation within a room is by installing some form of sound absorption. When effective absorbing materials are installed, sound must travel through the material onto the wall before it can bounce back into the room to your ears (or to a microphone).

Sound absorption is a huge part of what we do. Most of the products that we offer, feature Class A sound absorption, which allows up to 90% of excess reverberation to be absorbed in a space.

Sound Proofing

Often used as a catch-all term for reducing sound within a room; however, soundproofing really only refers to sound that enters from outside the room, through walls, ceilings/floors or windows. Proper soundproofing can be expensive and difficult, with reconstruction often required to achieve a truly soundproof space. Definitely overkill for the average or beginner podcaster or YouTube creator, but could be something to consider particularly for a podcast studio setup down the track.

YouTube Studio Setup

When it comes to a YouTube video, there are 2 significant parts; the video and the audio. Beginners often focus solely on the video quality of their content, spending exorbitant amounts of money for the best camera they can afford, only to overlook the audio portion of their production.

It can be argued that audio is actually MORE important than the overall picture quality of the video itself. Studies have even proven that it doesn’t matter how stunning the video quality is; if the sound quality is poor then the viewer is likely to react negatively to the complete experience.

Audio can be just as important is video.

How to ensure good YouTube audio?

1.  Consider what kind of videos you will produce

Improving the recording environment may not always be possible. If you are producing lifestyle or outdoor videos where all audio recording is done at the time of the initial video production, then you will rely on microphones and recording equipment to ensure audio quality is up to standard.

2. Include a voice-over or recording room in your YouTube studio setup

If you plan to record your videos in a specific room or area of your house, it is a good idea to add acoustic treatment to the space to help improve the quality of the audio recording. You could also consider setting up a voice-over room where you record additional audio that can be over-laid on the video during the editing process.

3. Control reverberation with acoustic treatment

All rooms will have some level of echo and reverberation, which can drastically affect the quality of audio recording. If your selected space has a lot of hard surfaces such as walls, concrete or wooden floors and not much furniture, you will definitely encounter issues with reverberation and your audio quality will suffer.

Our acoustic panels can be easily stuck to walls using double sided tape or even Velcro. These fabric wrapped panels absorb up to 90% of excess noise and reverberation within the room. For a small room, even a few panels attached to the walls can improve the acoustic performance and result in a much clearer audio recording. We can even custom print designs onto the fabric, allowing you to add logos, images or anything you desire to your recording space, whilst also improving the acoustic performance of the room.

Podcast Studio Setup

Imagine loading up a new show on Netflix, only to realise that its been filmed in 240p low resolution straight out of the early 2000’s? You wouldn’t get through the first 2 minutes before becoming frustrated with the display.

The same approach is taken towards listening to a new podcast. In comparison to something like YouTube, podcast audio is even MORE important. All the consumer has to go off is your voice, so you only have a few seconds to gain their attention. There is no video to assist them in understanding your message, so if the audio is not pleasing to the ear, you can be sure that the listener won’t be hanging around for too long.

Investment in your podcast studio setup can save you time and pain down the road!

How to ensure good podcast audio?

1.  Buy a decent microphone

This seems obvious, and it is. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely blow the bank on the cream of the crop. Bear in mind that depending on your recording environment, you may not need anything too special.

Don’t let the term ‘entry level’ turn you off from purchasing a product, especially if you are just starting out with your own podcast. Keeping your investment low can help release any pressure to succeed in the early stages, and leaves you room to improve moving forward. And the good news is, your audio quality can still be great with an entry level microphone.

Check out The Podcast Host article about the best podcasting microphones on the market.

Make a good first impression on listeners with crisp, clean audio.

2.  Add acoustic treatment

Installing effective sound absorption can drastically increase the quality if your audio recording. Editing audio in post production takes technical skills and knowledge that you may not have. Acoustic wall and ceiling panels from Resonics can reduce echo and reverberation by up to 90%, which will make audio sound much more clean and crisp without even having to edit it in post production.

If you also plan to accompany your podcast with video, we can provide unique solutions to ensure the room is designed in line with your brand. We can even print a custom design onto your panels, to add a unique design element to the podcast studio setup.

Quality acoustic panels can absorb up to 90% of reverberation

 

Where to position acoustic panels in your YouTube/Podcast studio setup?

Reducing echo and reverberation is the best step you can take to improve the quality of your audio recording.

Consider Primary Reflection Points

These are the first reflection areas you should address in your YouTube studio setup. These reverberations are produced by sound striking the wall directly after it leaves the source (you) and bounces around the room. Primary reflections are also known as mirror points, due to a common method involving a mirror to identify the first contact that sound will have with the walls. However, as you will naturally be moving around a little bit when recording, there will not be an EXACT  or fixed primary reflection point to identify.

Where to position panels?

Your best bet is to focus on treating the walls directly behind and to the sides your camera, where most of your sound will be directed. It is especially important to treat the corners of the room, as this is where sound tends to bounce around and be reflected back into the space.

It only takes a few panels to make a big difference

 

To sum up:

It can be frustrating, distracting and irritating when your sound quality is sub par on a podcast or YouTube video. With a few simple acoustic panels,  you can drastically improve the acoustics in your podcast studio setup environment. If working you are seriously looking to have a go, why not look further into assessing acoustics in your studio.

Understanding acoustics is central what we do. For more information about principles surrounding acoustics and its benefits, visit our newly launched Acoustics Page.

 

Resources:

  1. “37 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures & Statistics – 2020”. Merch Dope. N.p., 2020. Web. 8 Sep 2020. URL: https://merchdope.com/youtube-stats/
  2. “Podcast Statisics (2020)” Music Oomph. N.p., 2020. Web. 7 Sep 2020. URL: https://musicoomph.com/podcast-statistics/

  3. “The influence of video quality on perceived audio quality and vice-versa” Journal of Audio Engineering Society Web 8 Sep 2020. URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/243786211_The_influence_of_video_quality_on_perceived_audio_quality_and_vice_versa
  4. “The Best Podcast Microphones on the Market” The Podcast Host. N.p., 2020. Web 8 Sep 2020. URL: https://www.thepodcasthost.com/equipment/the-best-podcasting-microphones-on-the-market/