Top 5 tips for recording audio.
In this blog I’ll quickly go over some basic tips for getting the best out of your recordings whether you’re a journalist or a podcaster. I’ll also teach you the best way to record large groups of people to separate channels. These are all techniques that I think everyone should know, whether you are just starting out or even if you use an editor.
1) Background sound
Obviously, you want to be finding a nice quiet environment away from loud fans, ac units, washing machines etc.
Once you’ve found your recording environment, you will want to make sure you’ve captured about 30 sounds of acoustic sounds from your environment (no voices). This will generally remove any random unpleasant background noises with two clicks and is the single best tip for advancing your sound, especially if you do dramas or other fiction-based podcasts.
Lastly, remember to leave a gap of atleast a second or two before and after recording, this will become clear in my upcoming editing tips blog.
2) Mono or Stereo?
You’re going to want to make sure that you know the difference, as well as what is more suited to your podcast. Mono is generally the easiest for new podcasters, especially if you only have one presenter, but sometimes you’ll want to record in stereo (see tip 4).
When recording in stereo make sure your recording is coming out of the left and right channels as it will save you a bunch of hassle. If you do accidentally record to one channel this can be fixed with tip 4 and extracting to mono files.
3) Volume Levels
You’re going to want to make sure that your recording isn’t too loud or too quiet, so check the levels on your desk or portable recorder to make sure that your recording is peaking just below -6. Recording a short conversation beforehand is a great idea to check what your levels will be when in full flow of conversation.
You want to make sure you are peaking in the yellow, as peaking in the red can decrease the quality and be unpleasant for listeners to hear. When it comes to editing, you are going to want to turn up the gain, bringing up your levels up so that the peaks (the highest and loudest parts) stop just below -1. You’ll also want to make sure that all dialogue is generally above -12. This will mean you should have a consistent volume throughout without it being too loud or quiet.
4) Recording two people on separate channels
This will make it much easier to edit individual voices and will work whatever editing software you use. We’ve all been there… you have that one guy who is much louder/quieter than everyone else. Then editing becomes a nightmare because you have people overlapping in the recording, laughing or interrupting each other. When dealing with two people on separate mics, it’s actually super simple! On your mixing desk or recorder make sure to pan one microphone all the way to the left and the other all the way to the right.
Then if you use Adobe Audition like me, just hit ‘edit’ and ‘extract channels to mono files’. Then go to ‘Multitrack’ and add a mono track before dragging in your files. This method should work regardless of what recording software you use however if you are using Adobe Audition the next method is generally better and more consistent with less mic bleed.
5) Recording three or more people on separate channels
This tip is for if you are recording more than three people or are recording two people using in a interface. Open a new multitrack session in Audition, then click ‘Default Stereo Imput’ click ‘Audio Hardware’ then click the box next to device and find your interface on the list, then click ‘okay’.
Once you’ve done that you can click ‘Default Stereo Imput’ again, then hover over ‘Mono’ and click the number of the line your microphone is plugged into on the interface.
You will then need to repeat this second step for each track you are wanting to record to, the easiest way to remember this is to have yourself on mic 1 recording to track 1, a co presenter on mic 2 recording to track 2 and so on.
Hope all these tips helped you out. I’ll be uploading a blog of editing tips soon so if you have any suggestions for that or If there are any tips you feel I missed please drop them in the comments below and kindly follow me on Instagram/Twitter @daynesaudio where I’ll announce when I upload a new blog post.