A few people have asked me to share how I’m recording audio.
Before I became a mindfulness meditation teacher, I trained and worked as an actor, so have a little experience in working with voice and recording professionally at home.
Please note, this information refers to recording for spoken voice and podcast only.
No matter how much money you spend, if external noise is leaking in, this will disrupt recording.
How to create a simple DIY soundproof environment at home?
1. Create a sound screen in front of you like the green one I made (see image). This is soundproofing material glued to a folding wooden screen. I made it myself for less than $50.
An alternative DIY-sound screen can be made with a clothes drier and a thick blanket or duvet! (see image).
2. Deaden sounds from behind by sitting with your back to an open closet full of clothes (see image).
3. Close all doors and windows, and record when it is not raining heavily.
4. Pause recording when unavoidable sounds intrude.
I used to live right next to the train station (honestly!) and I could still make excellent recordings. I would listen out for trains and pause during the arrival and departure of each train. No amount of soundproofing or editing could get rid of this.
You’ll also find things like birds or animals jumping on the roof are uncontrollable, so listen out and just pause ’til it’s over.
This can be an excellent mindfulness practice in itself.
No matter how well-equipped your studio is, your recording quality can only be as good as your voice.
It can help to warm up your voice and speech properly before recording.
How to do this? Voice coaching or singing lessons can really help, and a voice professional can show you a range of exercises suited for your voice.
My warm up routine consists of:
1. Breathing exercises, although a breath meditation using abdominal breathing is pretty much as good.
2. Singing in the shower, and doing scales through the whole vocal range.
3. Doing a facial massage, exercises for the lips and tongue and tongue twisters.
4. Reading several pages of text aloud, using the high, middle and low parts of my vocal register.
This takes me about 20 minutes in total.
RECORDING AND EDITING EQUIPMENT
1. In all pictures above, you’ll see a pop screen. This is the black circular thing in front of the mic. These can be bought off Ebay for $15 or less. They are used in professional studios to block excess air from the ‘popping’ sounds made by your lips like ‘p’, ’s’, ‘b’.
2. Get a studio quality uni-directional mic. I use an Apogee Mic plugged straight into my Macbook. The Apogee Mic also comes with a cable to plug direct into iPhone. An Apogee Mic costs around $200 USD.
Charge your computer fully before you record. Why? Charging during recording can create unwanted electrical background hiss. This cannot be removed from recordings during editing.
A mic stand can be helpful, I just use the small one that came with the Apogee and rest it on some books.
3. If you’re looking to use editing software, Garageband on iPhone or Mac is really simple and free when you purchase the hardware. Another great free software for computer (not so user friendly, I find) is Audacity.
Why uni-directional? It will only pick up the sounds coming from one direction.
One Direction. Get it?
…sorry, couldn’t resist that one!!!
Happy recording, Everyone.