Do you feel that your audio quality doesn’t match your video’s visual quality?
Maybe you notice a lot of ambient noise, low volume, or unwanted pops.
These can all lead to negative reviews of your videos.
YouTube viewers expect high-quality everything, so finding the best setup to record audio should be a priority.
You don’t need to worry about this issue. There are a few small changes you can make to your workflow which can increase the quality of your audio. You won’t even need to spend much more time on post-production.
Here you’ll discover tips on how to get good audio for YouTube videos, learn more about different kinds of microphones, and ways to streamline your workflow.
You’ll quickly improve your videos and add quality to your channel.
Just remember, the best audio is the one you don’t even notice because it sounds so good and smooth.
How To Get Good Audio For YouTube Videos
To get the best possible audio for your videos, you’ll need to project your voice properly, avoid any unwanted sounds, record in places with less ambient noise, invest in good gear, and position it correctly, and make slight changes in post-production.
Here’s how you can achieve each one.
Project Your Voice
Even though you might want to have a conversational tone on your videos, you still need to speak a bit differently when recording.
People can naturally mumble and change intensity when speaking with others.
For recording, you can still be more or less intense in different parts, but you need to project your voice like you’re doing a presentation, speak clearly, and don’t move around too much.
This way, your microphone will pick up your voice at a more constant level.
This doesn’t mean that you need to stand like a statue or sound like those professors whose voices would make you fall asleep in class.
You should still feel free to speak in your natural way. You just need to be mindful about speaking clearly and with some power.
Avoid Unwanted Sounds
Lots of people make noise without even realizing it.
They can unconsciously tap the table, rub their legs, scratch their heads, or grind their teeth.
If you do any of these things, you should try to find a way to stop or at least to minimize the effect.
Microphones can pick up on these sounds and intensify them, which can sound weird on your videos.
You wouldn't want to be listening to your favorite podcaster and get distracted by the sound of them tapping their foot, would you?
Record In Places with Less Ambient Noise
It can be tough to find the perfect place to record audio.
Just like videos that are affected by glare or intense shadows, audio recorded in echoey rooms will come across as unprofessional.
Your viewers might decide to move on to another video instead of listening to low-quality audio.
If you’re recording in your studio and have a bigger budget, get some sound insulation panels to absorb unwanted ambient noise.
Even just adding carpets and pieces of furniture to make the room sound smaller can make a big difference.
If you have a faceless channel or are recording voiceovers for a travel vlog, set up in a closet.
You can even open your wardrobe, set the mic up between the doors, and hang a blanket behind you. This will reduce ambient noise and make your audio sound much better.
Find the quietest places in your home and get creative. If it seems weird but works, it’s worth doing.
Invest In Good Gear
Your camera's internal microphone can give you good audio, but having the right dedicated microphone is going to make an enormous difference to your sound quality.
You can choose from many different options and pairings for the best results.
Lavalier microphones are small and inconspicuous and can be connected wirelessly or with a micro jack straight to the camera.
Shotgun mics are directional, so will only pick up what’s in front of them. There are also USB mics which you can use in your studio and which are quick to set up.
There are so many options, so here is a quick list of the best microphones for YouTube:
- RØDE VideoMic GO II - best camera-mounted microphone
- Blue Yeti Nano - best USB microphone
- RØDE smartLav+ - best lavalier microphone for smartphones
- Shure SM7B - best dynamic microphone
- Deity Pocket Wireless - best wireless microphone
Depending on which microphone you choose, you might need to invest in an audio interface to record.
You’ll also need good accessories like mic stands, pop filters, a windscreen, and some cables.
Position Yourself and Your Gear Correctly
When you get your YouTube equipment, you’ll need to set it up in the right way.
Remember that you’ll need to strike a balance between where the mic will pick up the sound most clearly and where it will be out of your shot.
Lav mics aren’t very noticeable, but you’ll want to position your shotgun mic above or below the camera and point it right at your mouth.
You’ll also need to position yourself correctly. You should stand up straight so you can speak more clearly. Don’t stand too far away, otherwise your voice will sound thin and can lack energy. However, don’t stand too close either.
Some sources will tell you to get as close as possible to the mic. That’s not always true.
Being too close to a microphone can cause a booming effect. The mic can also pick up on your breath more intensely. Try to stay at a distance of about two inches (five centimeters) from the mic’s capsule.
With a good shotgun mic, you can stay a bit further away as it’s going to cancel out a lot of the ambient sound and focus in on your voice.
Another bonus of setting up your equipment correctly is that then it will be ready for next time.
If you have your mic in the same place, you can start recording more quickly. Also, the sound quality should be the same because you haven’t changed spots.
Make Changes in Post Production
Post production software comes with lots of audio editing features as well as video editing features.
Use these to your advantage. If you’re not comfortable with sound production, here is one simple tool you can use that will make a big difference to your sound quality.
Find a high-pass filter (sometimes called a HPF) in your software’s audio tools.
This removes any frequencies below a certain level. Your science teacher might have told you that humans can hear down to a frequency of 20Hz, but your hearing gets worse as you get older.
Most people won’t notice if you remove frequencies up to around 50-60Hz with the high-pass filter and it will clear up the rest of the sound.
If you have a higher voice, you can even go up to 70-80Hz. Everything above this level will come through, but below will be drastically reduced.
How To Prepare For a Good Recording
You’ve already seen how you can increase the quality of your videos’ audio. Now here are some tips to make the whole process smoother, which will lead to even better recordings.
- Write a script or outline - the more prepared you are, the better the recording. Write out what you’re going to say on camera, or at least a few highlights, so that you feel ready. You’ll make less mistakes and you can add lines that might only appear from trying out ideas.
- Practice out loud - once you have your script or outline ready, practice it a couple of times before recording. But don’t mumble it to remember the lines. Read out loud so you become more comfortable with the words and hear how they sound in the space you’re in.
- Set your levels - if you’re using an audio interface that needs to be regulated, speak a few lines into the mic and boost the levels. You should aim for around -12dB on your audio workstation. This will give you room to make changes in post and to avoid digital clipping from having the levels too high.
- Get into position - as you saw before, picking the right spot is a great way to improve your sound quality. You don’t need to get too close, but don’t be too far away either. Run a few tests and see where in the room works best.
- Start recording - you’re ready to go! The more prepared you are, the looser you can be when you start recording. Have fun and your viewers will notice how comfortable you are.
Better audio quality equals better content quality.
There’s no denying it.
Pay attention to the most famous YouTubers in the world and you’ll notice that they all have professional sounding audio.
With a few small changes to your setup, you can start heading in the same direction.
How do you work on your audio quality? Feel free to share your own tips with your fellow readers.