While you don’t need to build or rent a studio to create meaningful content that serves your audience, the quality of your audio and video can make a significant impact.
Whether that impact is positive or negative can depend on the settings you use when recording your content. Since so many of our conversations are happening virtually, it’s important for your Zoom settings to be optimized from the start.
What we’ll cover:
- Double check your internet connection
- Use higher quality equipment
- Reduce background noise
- Record separate audio files
- Optimize your audio settings
Double check your internet connection
The first step is to make sure you and your guest are receiving strong Wi-Fi signals, or a wired internet connection. A weak signal will affect the quality of the recording, as audio quality is directly related to the amount of bytes of information transferred per second.
Use higher quality equipment
Headphones are essential for a good quality Zoom recording and should be worn by each participant. Any microphone - computer or external - will pick up sound coming out of the speakers, resulting in an echo or Zoom trying to suppress the echo (more on this later). If everyone wears headphones, the microphone will only pick up your voice(s).
While microphones are less essential, a good quality microphone will pick up a wider range of frequencies and produce a more natural sounding recording.
Reduce background noise
Zoom is notorious for eating up lots of CPU which can lead to your computer overheating and the fan spinning wildly. When recording a podcast, you want to eliminate this background noise.
If you’re recording an audio-only podcast, try turning the video off when recording the interview. This will lighten the load on the CPU and ideally reduce the heat produced.
If you’re recording audio and video, be sure to uncheck the ‘HD’ option in Zoom, under Settings -> Video.
Record separate audio files
Under Settings -> Recording, make sure that ‘Record a separate audio file for each participant’ is selected. This means you will be recording a separate MP4 file for each person on the call with each file missing the sound from the other participants. This is essential for clean editing and removing cross-talk.
Optimize your audio settings
Under Settings -> Audio, uncheck ‘automatically adjust microphone volume’. In recordings, this setting can make the volume inconsistent and difficult to edit. Just make sure you have the volume of the microphone correct before starting the call.
In advanced settings, check ‘show in-meeting option’ to “enable original sound” from microphone’. When the “enable original sound” option is selected in a call, it will turn off the echo cancellation and background noise suppression that is responsible for one voice cutting out another as they speak over each other.
When no headphones are being used and Zoom recognizes it’s picking up an echo, it will try to suppress it and will cut out the other participants’ voice briefly as it tries to stop the echo. This leads to really patchy tracks that are unpleasant to listen to.
If everyone is wearing headphones and you are in a quiet room, you won’t need this option.
The best way to achieve great sound is to:
- Record in a quiet, well-treated room.
- Use a decent microphone with proper mic technique
- Make sure the internet connection is strong
- Make sure everyone is wearing headphones