In Module 5 I want share my Top 3 Tips for making recordings at home.
There are a number of considerations you need to make when choosing to record your audio products at home.
Planning your recording session is essential and key to achieving great sounding results.
But just like good comedy, achieving great recordings is also about “timing”.
In previous modules I've touched on the practical things you need… such as equipment, how to minimise echo and so on, but this time I wanted to dig a little deeper.
My Audio Background
As regular visitors might already know, my background is in ‘radio'.
I'm a presenter (on Heart FM & Smooth Radio in the UK), but I also do voice-overs for commercials and run a production company too.
So audio is a big part of my life.
The tips I'm about to share have come about after many years of doing voice-overs for radio stations from my home studio.
A Quick Side Story
I was once recording with a well-known Australian presenter, who needed to present his national radio show (which is heard all over Australia) from my home studio.
We were old friends, so I was happy for him to come over and use my studio.
It was early Sunday evening here in London, which means breakfast time in Australia.
He came over to my place, we fired up the microphone and just as we were about to ‘go live'… my upstairs neighbour started hammering.
Remember this was a Sunday evening and my neighbour simply wanted to complete a DIY project in his flat… and who could blame him?
The only problem was, we were sure that the good people of Australia didn't want to hear the loud banging of someone putting together a chest of drawers from Ikea!
So I quickly dashed upstairs, knocked on his door and explained to him what was happening.
I had to ask if he'd mind waiting a few hours until we'd finished in the studio?
Well, the good news is that he was really accommodating and did agree to stop, but only if he could have the autograph of my famous visitor. :-)
One signed photo later, peace & quiet was restored, which mean the good folk ‘down under' were none the wiser.
But that serves as a good lesion to anyone who plans to record at home. Make sure you are good terms with your neighbours. :-)
My Top 3 Tips For Always Getting Great Recordings
- Make sure you pick a time when you're not going to get disturbed.
Switch off your mobile, unplug your home phone and try to record at a time when it's unlikely someone's going to ring your doorbell (such as the postman). If you're recording in summer, you may find your neighbours are mowing their lawn or children are playing, so you may need to remain flexible.
- Location is key.
Try to choose a quiet room (such as a back bedroom) that's away from traffic noise. If you live in a busy street choose a time when traffic isn't going to be so heavy.If you live under a flight path, hang some heavy curtains to absorb the sounds of planes passing overhead and use a ‘directional' microphone that will limit the amount of background noise that is picked up.
- Close your windows.
Simple but effective. Doing this will help stop stray noise making it onto your recording. You'd be surprised how many recordings can be ruined by someone shouting from outside or, as I experienced recently, a flock of geese flying by! :-)