Making a good sounding podcast

285. Making a good sounding podcast Part 1

Having worked with thousands of business owners to create a podcast for their business, I’ve created The Recurring Results Roadmap for Podcasters™.

It’s a step-by-step guide to growing your business to 7+ figures using your podcast.

Importantly, it removes the guesswork so you know exactly what to focus on at all times to generate that recurring revenue.

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Download The Recurring Results Roadmap for Podcasters™ here.

If this is your first time here, this is Should I Start A Podcast. I’m Ronsley Vaz. Each week you’ll hear me, and a star-studded guest lineup, dig deep into the podcasting process. We’ll bring you tactics, tips and tricks to use in your own podcasting journey. We’ll teach you how to build an audience. And we’ll show you how to keep them coming back, show after show.

So if you want to start a podcast, or expand your current audience, this is the show for you.

Coming up in this Should I Start A Podcast episode …

  • How to record your podcast show. The recording principles that are so important.
  • Laughter for engagement
  • What is a cardioid mic? How do we create engagement with our voice?
  • Building practice, good sound, & value into your podcast
  • The value of “top & tail” … its an audio term
  • How to use music & the use of a good intro
  • The psychology of editing your transcript by removing just 2 words

If you’ve never heard of our work before, there are 3 things that I think you would benefit from right now…

1. Listen to this playlist of How to Podcast for Business.

2. Get the the Recurring Results Roadmap (if you haven’t already).


Here is the transcript of the entire episode for those who like to read …

Ronsley Vaz
Hi, everyone. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to our regular Tuesday for me one day for you guys, I suppose who are in the US and Canada. And I love seeing the flags by the way, that is pretty cool. Anyway, we speak every week around this time about podcasting for business. My name is Ronsley. I’m joined by some of my really cool friends here, Holly Scott James. And today, what I thought we’d talk about is what makes a good sounding podcast. And I suppose there’s going to be different ideas. And I think sometimes we listen to a podcast and we go, Oh, my God, that doesn’t sound right. And there’s all these little things as podcasts is that we pick up that we don’t really want to hear new podcasters pick up, especially when you start a podcast for business. So anyone in here, when you’re thinking about starting a podcast for business, and yet, if you have a question, who would love to hear your voice, and we’d love to be able to help in any possible way, there’s some legends here in the room cannot ask for a better collective wisdom. So let’s start with this. Anyone can take the talking stick off me, the thing that I want to start off with is what makes a bad sounding podcast when you listen to you go, I hope new podcasts don’t do this,

Catharina Joubert
I’m gonna take this okay, sick of you. Just because I deal a lot with this kind of thing. When I started, I didn’t pay enough attention to volume levels. So this is really important and can easily be fixed from the start. Because if you have a volume that’s too low, and somebody is going to put your podcast on in the car, obviously, you’ve got loads of other noises going on. This is what we call like radio standards. And if someone can’t hear you, and they constantly have to adjust the volume, nobody wants to do that. It kind of spoils the experience, you can have a brilliant conversation, a brilliant podcast, but if they have to adjust the volume the whole time, that interrupts the conversation, and takes away from the value. So that’s one issue with the volume is having a too low. But the other issue is also when you have a guest on that perhaps their volume is much higher than yours or the opposite. You need to kind of equalize that out. Because that’s another annoying thing is when you have the host on one volume, you can hear them perfectly fine. And then when they switch to the guest, suddenly you have to change the volume. And then you have to change it back again. So this is not hard to get right. But it’s not obvious at the start. So pay attention, listen to your podcast in a car, listen to your podcast in different situations. Listen to it on a phone, listen to it through a computer to check where your volumes levels are.

Ronsley Vaz
first cab off the rank. Well done, Catharina, It was amazing. Because when you think about bad sounding podcasts, it’s easy for us to say, hey, that was a bad podcast. I just hate the sound of that. But actually pointing out what’s wrong with it and giving critical feedback is difficult. Thanks for that, Holly.

Holly Shannon
Yeah, so my tip that I would give would be around laughter.

I think that when the mic is a certain distance from your mouth, and you’re talking and doing your podcast, it’s very typical to stay the same distance through all of the emotions that you have during it. But when you hit a point where maybe you’re having a good laugh with the person that you’re interviewing, you need to learn the etiquette with the mic to pull away a little bit. So it’s not like a screech are really loud. And I’m sure everybody on this stage or anybody who listens to podcast can attest to those certain times where like, when they got excited, and everybody was laughing, all of a sudden, it gets really loud. So I would say always be cognizant of loud bursts of sound like laughter

Anna Vocino
Yeah, I’m gonna piggyback on that. That was awesome. And by the way, Catarina, that was like, my first thing I was gonna say was, there’s some really big podcasters number one who don’t normalize what the levels are. So they’re really loud. And then the guests are very quiet and vice versa. And it’s shocking to me, because I know these big podcasters have producers that should be checking levels beforehand. So definitely check levels if you can beforehand. If you’re just going live and you’re bringing your guests on, you’re gonna have to adjust levels on the fly. But if you’re producing your podcast, as well as doing the interview, you kind of got to wear both hats at the same time. And it does get complicated, but you can do it. Just make sure you have the sound program running and have people on two different tracks so that you can go in and normalize the levels or just raise up whoever’s low and in fact what I’m recording club casts to some people come through really quiet some people come through loudly and I have to adjust it on the fly. And you kind of listen like a live switcher. For the people who shoot live television, there’s live switchers, meaning if you switch the cameras you almost like up and adjust the volume up and down for your input levels. And Holly the laughter thing is so true. And there is a mic technique and anybody who’s using The microphone should know. Because it’s not necessarily intuitive. If you’re going to be purposefully being loud into a microphone, you’re using your voice for a certain effect. But just you’re right, it’s so it’s very simple. Just literally lean your head back when you’re laughing or back off the mic a little bit. Most of us are using podcast or radio specific mic, so the cardioid capture area is very small. So you don’t have to move your head that far off the mic to do it. But a good way to know that you’re doing this is if you’re wearing headphones, during the recording of your podcast, if you’re wearing headphones, you will hear what you actually sound like in your headphones. And you’ll hear that if you’re distorting the mic through laughter or yelling or whatever, you’ll hear it, which is the opposite advice that I give when people are doing voiceover. I don’t want people if you’re doing actual voiceover and something in that way that’s creative. I don’t want you to be an engineer headspace. And I would say take off the headphones, because you’re getting a performance and you need to be in performance mindset. But like with podcasting, we gotta have to walk both. And along the lines of laughter, I wanted to share a new thing. And this might get a little sticky, but I’m still going to just kind of lay it out there. And that is the idea of nervous laughter. And when we are speaking our mind or making a point, and that we fully believe in, it’s rare that you will hear nervous laughter. But if we’re new, and we feel nervous, it’s all very genuine. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, but dilutes the message that you’re getting across. If there’s a constant nervous laughter, I know that there’s a lot of folks that there was really good things to say, but it it would be a turn off. For me, it has been a turn off. For me, I’ve kind of like, I don’t know, it just bugs me to hear like giggling or nervous laughter the whole time. And sometimes we do it. Because we are filling the time thinking of what to say next, a lot of speech disfluencies come out of that when you um, we all do nervous laughter to fill that space of thinking of what we’re going to say next. And instead, embrace the pauses, embrace the silences, you can take a beat to think of what you’re going to say. The great thing about podcasting is you can always edit it out later, or just leave it in. And if folks want to listen on time and a half, they can listen on time and a half. But I just find that I like to listen to speakers who make their point and don’t giggle through it, I guess is the best way to put it. Amana done speaking,

Scott Mitchell
I want to jump in. And piggyback on that too. And I think that’s spot on. And I think it’s interesting. I mean, first off, if you’re new to podcasting, sometimes you just have to start. So don’t worry too much about the technical stuff, just get out there. But I do think it’s really important to think of this, if you’re going to take it seriously. You have to practice, right, you have to be aware of how you sound. And I think one of the things that is so interesting is like you were saying and it’s like this nervous laughters or little things like that. We all have these tics that we’re not always aware of until we start doing things. So I think that’s why one, if you are newer, it’s good to practice and listen to yourself. And second, I think no matter what level you’re at, I think it’s important just like if you’re running a camera or something else, you want to test what’s going on before you start your podcast, because you don’t want to end up recording something and then something you know, that’s hard to fix them in post is already messed up. So it’s always I think, important to have some headphones on, listen to yourself for a second, make sure the levels are correct, or at a good place before you start. And then I would say one mistake that I made early on, when you’re doing interviews, it’s very easy, like in normal life to say, Uh huh, right, yeah. Because you’re kind of like interacting with the person and kind of confirming and it’s a, almost a social thing. It’s a form of feedback. But in an interview, when you’re doing the podcast, it’s really important to just shut up which sometimes can feel unnatural. I know, for the first few interviews I was doing on both camera, podcast related type stuff, it was difficult for me to do that. And you have to just kind of not say anything, listen. And then when they’re done speaking, jumping, clubhouses, by the way, is a great way to practice that. So I’m Scott, and I’m done speaking.

Awesome. Scott, I just wanted to piggyback off of what you said, those two things resonated with me so much, is make sure you test your recording sound and level and what everything sounds like. Because you don’t want to be in the situation that I’ve been in where you realize the candle that you have to add a little atmosphere to the room is actually sputtering and making these really obnoxious noises the whole time. And you have to go back and re record. And then the second thing you said is not saying yeah, yep. When interviewing people that is so hard to get used to, especially as someone as animated as myself, I really want the other person I’m talking to to know that I hear them. And as a coach, I’m in the habit of repeating back to them what they say. And sometimes I just need to quiet myself and just sit there, sit on my hands and close my mouth. And then what I wanted to add to the conversation here, and this is dependent on what kind of action Like you’re using, in the beginning, a lot of people start with the Blue Yeti or similar mic that has a gain knob. And if you have a gain knob be where the Gain knob. Because if you have your gain too high, it will pick up absolutely everything, it’ll pick up the fan in the background, it’ll pick up you moving in your chair slightly, you tapping the table. And for us, we didn’t know what was going on and what was causing all these noises. And then when we upgraded to the Shure SM seven B, when we upgraded to a dynamic mic, we realize that you can tap the table you can move around, everything’s fine. And so getting to know your equipment, and getting to know if you do have a gain knob, make sure that is turned down pretty low. Obviously, you need it loud enough so you can hear your voice. But you can always make those changes in post production. I’m Gregory and I’m done speaking,

Ronsley Vaz
it was fantastic. I mean, I love the discussion, because everyone kind of stuck to the perspective of how to record better I suppose. And we spoke about volume levels, we spoke about listening to our own volume, obviously speaking on listening to on voice through headphones atmosphere in the room was a big one. And I think in different forms. When we edit arms and ahhs out, we land up removing a lot of the atmosphere from the room, and that lands up sounding really bad. And it lands up sounding very produced in a way that you cannot explain it. But you kind of go this doesn’t sound right. So there’s pauses and the breaks and, and having the right atmosphere in the room and conveying that atmosphere to your listener, I think is something that’s super important. So we spoke a lot about the recording parts and getting the basics right in terms of recording on two channels is probably one of the big ones that allows you to remove different background noises off different channels, so on and so forth. Let’s talk about once you’ve recorded, what are the things that we’ve got to do to like, make our podcast better, I’ll sort of start this off with, I believe that topping and tailing any recording is probably the first thing that people get Miss for some reason, topping and tailing. And then also the introduction for a podcast is, is really, really important when it comes to putting the podcast out there after the recording factors. So the first part of the production of your podcast is like super valuable and super important for your listeners, and keeping your listeners. So let’s sort of look at that from a podcast sounding good angle and creating a good sounding podcast. How do we add these elements after we record because what tends to happen in the recording phases, we kind of go, Hey, I’m starting the podcast recording now. Hi, James, welcome to the show. And you start, you think that that is the top but that top can be moved around. And that could be the start of a conversation that was mid sentence. And you can give that context. And that could be the top of your podcast recording and even the tail could be different. So I would love to hear different perspectives on you know, topping and tailing and introduction for your podcasts, James.

James Whittaker
Yeah, for me, music is a big one, I feel like again, it depends on the type of music that you have. But I think just adding a little bit of music can just break up what can be a little bit monotonous sometimes through the voice. So once my podcast has been recorded having the opportunity to add some music that fades in, it’s got a cool intro, it’s getting people pumped up and excited. Because I think for all of us as podcasters, we reach a point at different times where we’re just not as super hyped up to do our podcast as we are normally. So I actually listened to my music intro just to get me pumped up beforehand. So having an opportunity to include some music at the start at the end. And then I also include like a that let’s get ready to launch audio clip about three quarters the way through when I do the winaday rocket round for my podcast. And I’ve received more feedback on people say that they love the rocket round than they do the actual interview, which is the main the main part of it. So that’s been something it’s worked out really well for me. And even just having like a different voice, being able to introduce you can be worthwhile, like I was introducing the show myself. And I reached a point where I wanted to step it up a little bit and try some new things. So I ended up finding someone else to be able to record a new intro for me, that’s worked out really well. And if you can do that and bring people into a really cool fun experience, then they’re going to be more likely to learn and if they’re more likely to learn there’s more likely for them to transform and and recommend it to their friends. And I think a lot of good things can happen from some very simple tips like that.

Anna Vocino
I just wanted to just give a little tips on intros. I think the shorter the better. There was a tendency a few years back to make really long intros that was like the entire bio of the person and then and I always if somebody ever gave me a script I would write that was so long I’d write them back and say you’re gonna lose your listeners like let’s just We got to get to it, like don’t write some big flowery thing about, you know, Anna Chino was in 1973 born and then she did it. Now she’s ready to do this podcast and this podcast is gonna cover this, that and the other thing, and then all the things about Anna, but you know why she’s great about podcasting and it’s just so long be like, get the music, get people pumped up, don’t over do it with the intro stuff and people want to find out more about you, obviously, they’re going to want to go to the website, they’re gonna want to go to the show notes. So I just wanted to give that little tip about intros. I think if you’re going to not do your own intro, pick a slightly contrasting voice to your own. I think that that’s more effective, I get confused. Sometimes when I hear just like a slightly more professional version of your own voice, people want to tend to have a tendency to want to pick voices that sound like they’re theirs. And it’s, it gets confusing to the listener. So I just think that it’s like, it’s clear that it’s a professionally produced thing. If it’s at least slightly contrasting if not contrasting voice to your own. But it still is a voice that matches the energy and the theme. And the message of your show. A contrasting voice to my voice would be like a really a sexy, intimate voice. But that wouldn’t match the theme of what I’m doing for fitness confidential. So you just want to pick something that still matches the energy of what your your show is. But I just want to speak to that. I mean, I’m done speaking,

Holly Shannon
and a vo chain was born in 1973.

Anna Vocino
Thank you for my intro.

Holly Shannon
Sorry, I couldn’t resist that.

Scott Mitchell
I think first it’s when you’re newer at this, you’re not necessarily going to have a background in sound, I still don’t have much of a background in sound at all. I’ve just learned like trial and error. And it’s a lot of fun if you’re a nerd like me to do that. But you can actually for not much money. And pretty easily. You can use things like fiber, if you just want someone to run some like high and low pass filters, or just basic stuff on your audio if it’s not coming out the way you want it. So that’s one thing, there’s some simple things like that. So you don’t have to be an expert to do you know, a good job with the sound side on editing, I think an editing to me, and I think this is a personal choice thing. It’s not like a hard and fast rule. But to me, I think that editing the reel, there’s a lot of value in editing, in terms of looking at the content itself. And when I do I do a lot of solo casting without guests. And when I’m doing that I have a lot more freedom to control what I’m saying. So I might go, you know, on a little tangent and say something that I think is really strong. But maybe then in editing, I can go back and say, you know, this is good, but I already made that point. Or you know what, there’s another point I want to add. And the cool thing about audio is you literally can then go back and re record a section or add something. And so the editing process with with a podcast allows you a lot of opportunity to really create value for your listeners. And it’s a lot of fun to do that too. So but it is a preference. You know how much you want to do that how little you want to do that. But I do think there’s an opportunity and post to actually go in and shape your story a little more, tighten it up a little bit here add a little bit here, that’s I think a really cool thing you can do with audio. So and it’s a lot easier by the way to do that in audio than in video. Because in video, if you create an edit, it’s very easy a lot of times to see the edit in the video. But in audio, it’s extremely easy to cover that up and not know that there’s actually been a cut and then something added or taken away. So yeah, that’s something I would say is kind of interesting to play with. I’m Scott and I’m done speaking

Catharina Joubert
at it’s actually really hard to know how much to edit how much to cut out how much of the ohms and ahhs to keep because I’ve been on a guest on a podcast, a couple of podcasts where they didn’t do any editing. And as a guest, I did not quite enjoy listening to that. Because then you suddenly notice yourself going, you know, like all these filler boys are and sometimes you just want somebody to sometimes take some of those out. But there’s a balance. So don’t overdo it, where it sounds really, really choppy and really quick. And people don’t speak this way. And you know, it’s just all mashed together because every single pause has been taken up. So there should still be a natural flow to the conversation.

James Whittaker
Anyone who posts a fairly detailed transcript like my podcast episodes appears what I like to think about it as like a digital magazine. And there are two words that are connected that I always are not always but I cut out 90% of and it just completely shifts the tone and makes it very, very effective. And those words are I think, I think you would be astounded how often those are included. And it shifts it away from being a little wishy washy from the the experts and things that you have on your show into being much more concise and much more direct and powerful into what they’re doing. Also, when it comes to intros for the show. I want to make sure people aren’t getting confused on the show intro which is something that you might record once that is the start of then everything that you do every episode that you do, versus that particular episode intro where you might be providing a little bit of a background on one of the guests and one of the questions that I don’t love is when people say tell me about yourself Something like that. So what I like to do is spend about one and a half to two minutes at the very start laying up the guests like a lot of it’s taken from their bio, but it’s really a comprehensive idea of who they are. And basically, just to line them up so you can start the interview with some really cool questions with some depth. So people don’t need to wonder what the backstory was, or you don’t have to ask those questions. It’s going to provide that generic stuff that I’ve spoken about in many, many interviews to

Ronsley Vaz
this sort of big point. I think, James, that you mentioned in Catharina, I’m just I love the points that you make and stress on especially because I think when it comes to some of the things that were spoken about, I’m not sure whether new podcasts or a new person getting into podcasting can there’s so many spinning plates, right. There’s so many different things to think about. And getting the balance strike between sounding great, making sure that the guest feels comfortable getting the intro right, making sure that all the things are leveled. And sound good is there’s a lot of moving parts there. And that’s not even talking about the fact that we can later take that content and create images and articles and show notes and all this other stuff from it. So there’s so much work involved


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