Elementary school Christmas plays (or holiday pageants) are an interesting experience. In reality, you’re probably only there to see YOUR kids do their thing. But the reality is that you’re often unable to hear them for a reason that afflicts many podcasts, too.

Signal to noise ratio.

It’s one of the things I often talk with podcasters about when I’m consulting or even when I’m sharing strategies and insights in groups. I might not call it that and I might not go into all of the details. But it’s one of the things that is often overlooked and it can make a HUGE difference.

In fact, many times the production questions we see are REALLY about signal to noise ratio.

  • I have this recording and there’s something off. How do I fix it for my podcast?
  • What’s the best podcasting microphone?
  • How close do I need to be to the microphone?
  • How do I get rid of the popping P (plosive) sounds?
  • How many microphones do I need to use to record a panel discussion?

In many ways, those questions are really about signal to noise ratio (and not making your editor crazy) and I’m going to illustrate three underlying issues (kinds of noise) and one fix today using my son’s Christmas play at school.

Why am I such a stickler about this (I know I’ve talked about it before). Well, because you can’t control the listening environment because everybody’s listening by themselves. They’re inviting you into their daily experience and that comes with noise.

So it’s all the more important that we minimize the noise in our delivery (things about our styles that make it hard to hear or understand), the noise in the recording environment (echo / room reverb, fan noise, neighbors mowing the yard, dogs barking), and that we do what we can to amplify or point a sonic spotlight on the most important parts – typically the dialog.

Here’s your action: 

Go back to an episode you published a month or two ago and listen again for the three things you can control – your delivery, your recording environment, and what you do to highlight what’s most important.

Are there any adjustments you’d like to make moving forward?

Let me know what you’re planning to do. Hit me up on Twitter (@TopTierAudio).

Resources Mentioned

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