You have seen those professional YouTubers and course creators in sound-proof rooms with large expensive microphones in their setup. And it’s natural to assume you need a lot of investment for great audio quality. I had the same thought. But I didn’t want to invest much while creating my first course. So I did a little research (of course, I mean “I did a little googling”) and figured out some hacks from different resources. I used some of them and here is a set of tips from my personal experience.
(Note: Before reading further, you must also know that I live in a very noisy place, but I was able to achieve amazing audio quality following these tips)
1. Get an economical lapel microphone
This is the only investment you will need to make. Look up for “Lavalier microphone”. You can get one for less than $15. I bought an AccsPro® Lapel Microphone. It’s even better if you get an extra cable, just in case you need to record one or two “talking head videos” connecting the mic to your phone kept on a tripod stand away from you. Please note that buying this mic alone will not automatically enhance the quality unless you follow the next tips too.
2. Clip the microphone at a good distance from your mouth
This is important. If you clip it on too close to your mouth, your breathing will add a background noise. And if it’s too far, the voice will be low. About 4 – 5 inches worked for me. You might have to try recording and listening a few times before you get it right.
3. Change the audio input settings on your system
On Mac, you need to go to System Preferences > Sound > Input. Select your device and lower the volume to about 50%. This is reduce the sensitivity of the mic, so it will record only the loudest of the noises around, which is your voice, and hence avoid the sound of fan and other machines in your room. On Windows follow the steps on this page and most importantly, set the level to around 50.
4. Sit in a closet
Did you say “What??” I know this sounds ridiculous. I don’t mean “inside” a real closet of course. It’s just to give you an idea. If you sit in an open room in front of you while recording, there’s going to be a lot of echo. While in a closet, the clothes and doors will absorb the sound and there will be zero echo. I actually did try this method (I have one closet which is really big, so I sat right in front of it and closed the doors 50% to cover as much possible) and it gives the best quality! If this thought makes you claustrophobic, make sure you sit facing a wall or sit in a corner of your room (facing the corner) and there are objects around you to absorb the sound (without echoing it back).
Additional tip: If you can’t sit in such a place for too long, record your video without audio first. Then write a script. And then you can quickly read out the script and record a voiceover. It surely takes more time to first take a video, then write and then record, but it will reduce the errors and re-recording and/or editing.
5. Enhance the audio using an editor
This is it. Use the same settings for each of your videos to achieve consistency throughout your tutorial or course. Go ahead and create some great content!