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Audio Solutions Question of the Week: How Can I Produce the Best Sound for My Podcast?

Question: How can I produce the best sound for my podcast?

Answer: With over 464 million listeners, the podcast industry is one of the fastest growing. Whether you are interested in content that’s informative, entertaining, or artistic, you will be able to find something you like and start listening – or producing.

Below, is a simple “How to Start a Podcast” guide we have prepared to give you all the information you need to get started in podcasting or improve the audio quality of your content.

The end quality of a podcast is dependent on the quality of what goes in, and we are not talking about the subject matter! It has been observed that bad audio is less tolerable than bad video, so if your content is primarily consumed in an audio format, like most podcasts are, then it needs to sound great.

Here are a few pointers to make your podcast sound professional.

Podcast Equipment: What You Need to Know


Invest in a good mic. There are many affordable USB options that eliminate the requirement for an audio interface. USB mics are easy to use and simple to set up. Audio-Technica’s USB podcasting microphones, like the three highlighted below, can get your show up and running quickly, providing professional sound for an affordable price.


Based on the popular AT2020, this cardioid condenser mic offers high-resolution audio up to 24-bit/192 kHz, along with automatic gain and noise-reduction controls.


Based on the highly regarded AT2040, this hypercardioid dynamic mic brings all the benefits of a dynamic mic via a USB interface.


This StreamSet™ combines the legendary studio sound of the ATH-M50x headphones with the clarity of the iconic 20 Series microphones to provide a professional-quality headset.

If you already have an audio interface, you might want to consider one of our XLR podcasting models instead.

When you conduct interviews remotely, discuss your guest’s equipment beforehand, as it will have an impact on the overall quality of your podcast.

Dynamic vs. Condenser Microphones


Dynamic mics require the user to speak directly into the front of the capsule, resulting in minimal off-axis sound capture. These mics are very forgiving of the recording environment (i.e., if there’s background noise, or the room has reflective surfaces, these factors won’t affect the recording much).

NOTE: These mics must be directly in front – and within eight inches – of the user. If video content is being created, the mic could be in the shot, potentially obscuring the presenter’s face.


A condenser mic is generally more sensitive than a dynamic, resulting in more detailed pickup. This allows the mic to be positioned farther away, and not directly in front of the presenter. Two people can also share one condenser mic in an interview situation – a benefit, since using two USB mics simultaneously is often not a straightforward process.

When using a condenser microphone be aware of your surroundings, as the mic will be affected by reflective surfaces and will also pick up room noise, such as typing on a keyboard or shuffling papers. For best results, try to acoustically treat your environment to dampen reverberation. This could include adding some simple wall hangings, closing curtains, etc.

Microphone Position

Consider your mic positioning, especially if you’re filming your podcast too.

  • While many USB mics come with a convenient desk stand, using a floor mic stand or a table-mount boom arm will provide better isolation from desk noise (e.g., someone bumping the desk), especially when used in conjunction with a shock mount like the AT8455.
  • The AT2040 and AT2040USB dynamic mics need to be positioned in front of the presenter, so using them with a boom arm like the AT8700 is ideal.
  • Invest in a pop filter as it sets a minimum distance between you and the mic and helps alleviate the “pop” plosive sounds from the mechanical impact of fast-moving air on the microphone. The AT2040USB has a built-in foam pop filter and the AT2020USB-XP comes with a small detachable metal pop filter.

Recording Device

Most people use a computer to record their podcast since it interfaces easily with USB microphones.

  • Audio-only podcasts shouldn’t need an especially powerful computer; a standard home computer will work just fine.
  • For video content, check your computer’s specifications to make sure they meet the minimum requirements for the type of video production you’re interested in.
  • Other recording devices include smartphones and hardware recorders. These are good for recording when you’re out and about. Always check to make sure your microphone is compatible with your equipment.


During the recording process you’ll need to hear what the other person is saying, especially if your guest is remote.

  • Choose a pair of closed-back headphones, like those from our M-Series.
  • Don’t use speakers in the room as the microphone will pick up the audio coming from them.

Environment: Finding the Right Space and Sound

To achieve the best possible sound, you need to assess your recording environment.

  • Find an appropriate space, ideally a small room with nonreflective surfaces. This will give you a “dry” sound without any ambient reverb. Reverb can be added to the recording later; you can’t remove it easily. A carpeted room with curtains and soft furnishings is ideal.
  • Spend time in the room listening for background noises that might make it into the final recording. NOTE: As mentioned previously, a condenser mic will pick up more background noise than a dynamic mic.
  • If your guest is being interviewed remotely, they need to be in a suitable space too, so you can have a consistent finished product.

Recording: Keeping Audio Quality High

If you are interviewing your guest remotely, you will not be able to control everything. Have a conversation with them beforehand about their equipment and environment to attempt to minimize any adverse effects.

  • For remote interviews, a stable internet connection is required. If you are worried about your internet connection, turn off the video component on the conferencing app you’re using – audio connections require much less bandwidth.
  • Some video conferencing apps give you the option to record your conversation. If possible, record the audio for each participant separately so you can capture the local mic source at both ends. This will allow your guest to be recorded at the same resolution as you, which will sound better than a compressed version of their voice received via the internet. NOTE: Record your guest at your end too just in case something happens to their file.
  • Work at a 48 kHz sample rate with a 24-bit depth for a great-sounding end product. This is currently the professional broadcast industry standard. Most modern computers should be able to cope with this easily. If necessary, you can drop to 44.1 kHz and 16-bit, which was the standard for CDs for many years. At the other end of the spectrum, Audio-Technica’s AT2020USB-XP can record up to 192 kHz at 24-bit. Experiment with these settings and use the highest your system will comfortably cope with. NOTE: The higher the sample rate and bit depth, the bigger the file size, so your computer’s storage will fill up quicker.

Finally, familiarize yourself with the basics of audio dynamics and effects processing, such as compression, EQ, gates, and reverb, as these will help you improve the finished product. Most digital audio workstations (DAWs) come with these tools, and many have good presets that will help you learn and achieve great results quickly.

If you have additional questions about using Audio-Technica products for podcasts, please contact the Audio Solutions Department for assistance.