Your Recording Environment
How Does My Environment Affect My Recording?
When making a recording, your microphone will often pick up more than just your voice – from background noise to the characteristics of the room you're in, the environment you make a recording in can have a huge impact on the sound of your final recording. For a professional-sounding recording, you likely want to eliminate as much as possible any extraneous sounds during your recording; you want your listeners to hear you, and only you, and unwanted background noise can range from distracting to completely disruptive.
How Can I Improve My Recording Environment?
Improving your recording environment typically involves two areas: removing background noise, and eliminating room sound.
Background noise is any unrelated sounds that your microphone might pick up. While many microphones have a pickup pattern that emphasizes sounds coming from directly in front of the microphone (which is usually you), all microphones will be succeptible to some degree to picking up background noise. The first step here is to find yourself a quiet room where you're not likely to be interrupted, and eliminate sources of noise such as people and noisy appliances.
Eliminating room sound is often more involved. When you speak in any room, a listener (or a microphone) will not only pick up your voice, but also the various reverberations and echoes of your voice off the hard surfaces in the room, such as the walls and floors. An extreme example of this is how your voice might echo in a large hall or a tiled washroom, but the effect can occur in any room. When making a recording of your voice, you typically want to eliminate this type of sound as much as possible. As such, you may want to move from a room with hardwood floors to a carpeted room (or get a rug), and in extreme cases some podcasters choose to buy acoustic foam panels to place on the walls of their room to further cut down on reflected sound.