What Kind of Speakers Should I Get for Podcasting

What Kind of Speakers Should I Get for Podcasting

[inaudible 00:00:00] Hello, lovely learners. The Esteemed Pod Sound School is happy to
have you back. You’re nearly done with the season for beginners. Let’s learn about the very important topic
of studio monitors with Studio Steve, and remember out of clutter. Find simplicity from discord Find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Let’s go. Welcome back, Podsters. So glad you’re here. Today we’re going to discuss studio monitors. When we talk about studio monitors, we aren’t
talking about computer monitors as in the screens to our computers. We are talking about speakers or loudspeakers
that are used by audio professionals to monitor the audio of their projects and mixes. Well, why don’t they just call ’em studio
speakers? Well, among audio engineers the term ‘monitors’
refers to the design of speakers in that they will produce an accurate reproduction of the
sound. You will hear studio monitors described as
uncolored or transparent … which further refers to the design of this type of speaker. We want the most natural sound with an open
and even range of frequencies so that we can hear everything that is happening in our recordings. These studio monitors are very different than
consumer speakers that you will buy for your entertainment or home theater system, for
your computer, or for your car. Consumer speakers are designed to emphasize
certain frequencies over others, which in turn will make for an imbalanced mixing situation. So for example, if you were to listen and
mix your podcast through speakers designed for a home theater that have a boost in the
low range to give you a more cinematic experience, you will naturally want to reduce the low
end of your voices or the low end on the music. And this will leave your mixes thin and lacking
in warmth. Another type of monitor that you’ll be using
for your podcast recording and mixing are headphones. During recording and mixing, you will use
headphones to reference and control your levels and make adjustments to your mixes. You’re also going to need headphones while
recording because you will be muting your speakers, so that the sound of the speaker’s
don’t get recorded into the microphone or cause feedback. The same naturalistic design of speakers is
also the objective behind the construction of studio headphones. There are many great headphone companies on
the market that have become very popular and are used constantly by the listeners of podcasts. But these consumer headphones are built to
emphasize certain frequencies over others. For example, the popular Beats headphones
are built with an emphasis on bass and low end. It’s wonderful to get a little more low end
out of such small speakers, and it can make for a great listening experience. But for mixing this is not preferred. Another example would be any of the various
earbud options. The speakers in these headphones by their
size alone will never be able to produce accurate bass representation. If you were to mix your projects using earbuds,
you would have zero control over how the low end of your mixes turn out. When it comes to choosing speakers and headphones
to reference and mixer projects on, it is crucial to choose studio or professional grade
options to achieve good mixing results. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy the
most expensive monitors and headphones on the market. When you are shopping for monitors and headphones
you will get many different opinions on which are the best. This is really just a matter of taste. There are a few monitors that are industry
standards that you will find in most recording studios, but I am of the strong opinion that
really any studio monitor or any studio headphones will achieve great and comparable results. It’s how you use the monitors that’s important. [inaudible 00:04:13] Just that’s important. So let’s talk about how to properly use your
studio monitors. First things first: setting up your room and
positioning your studio monitors. When you step into a professional recording
studio and you see the delicious and intimidating selection of studio monitors on display … not
only have those monitors been precisely placed where they are specific to the dimensions
of the control room, and where the engineer will be sitting, but they have also been tuned
to the room using an advanced type of gear called crossovers. For our home studios, we don’t need to go
to this extent to get a good setup happening. First we need to look at our room and make
the best placement options for where we place the speakers. This is another area where what we’ve learned
about acoustics comes into play. When we are listening to our mixes through
our speakers, we want to hear what is coming out of the speakers. We don’t want to hear the reflections bouncing
off of the walls. How crazy and precise you want to be here
can make a big difference in your mixing experiences and your results. But for simple podcasts where we aren’t really
utilizing the panning spectrum and mixing together many tracks of audio, there is a
lot more lenience on speaker setup. Most simply, what you want to think about
is symmetry and balance. It’s a good idea to setup your two speakers
apart from each other directly in the middle of the room against whatever wall you choose. If your room allows for it, check that the
wall to the left of the speakers and that the wall to the right of the speakers are
made of the same material. For example, try not to have the left speaker
close to a window and the right speaker next to a sheet rock wall. This will give you an unbalanced mixing experience. Glass reflects sound at different frequencies
than sheet rock, so your left ear will have a different experience than your right ear. For more information on setting up your speakers
in your specific room, check out PodSoundSchool.com/BLOG. So we’ve picked a good symmetrical spot for
our speakers and for our workstation. Now we need to adjust the speakers to where
we are going to sit and listen from. Here we’re talking about something called
the near-field monitoring, which is really just a type of monitoring used when being
close to our speakers. It’s a way to achieve a nice balanced mixing
experience. The easiest way to do this is to imagine an
invisible triangle. This triangle is even on all sides. The center of the left speaker is one point
of the triangle. The center of the right speaker is another
point of the triangle. And the center of your head is the last point
of the triangle. If your speakers are closer together, then
the triangle will be smaller and you will be closer to the speakers. If your speakers are farther apart, then the
triangle will be bigger and you will have to sit farther away from the speakers. You can think of sitting in this position
as the ‘sweet spot’ for referencing your mixes. A fun way to get really precise with this
is to pull out the tape measure and measure the distance between all three points. This is a common practice for assistant engineers
in big studios when they are calibrating the recording session. Something to keep in mind here is also the
height of the speakers in relation to your head. This is the primary purpose for speaker stands,
and for those audio production work desks to raise the speakers up to our head level
while we are sitting. Okay, fun! We’ve got our speaker’s set up in the best
possible position in our room, and they are calibrated to where we will be sitting. Now the last thing we need to do is to tune
our ears to our studio monitors. Wait a minute, what? Tune my ears? Yes, your ears. You remember I just mentioned that in my opinion
any studio monitor will work just fine. Well, that is because of this practice. Tuning your ears to your monitors. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Really all you need to do is listen to your
monitors. A lot. Listen to your favorite music through them. Watch some Netflix through them. But the best practice is to select a production
that you would most love your podcast to sound like. Make sure that it is top of the line and produced
at the highest level of professionalism. Sit down in your near-field triangle and really
listen to this production many times over. Focus on the levels. How loud are the voices in relation to the
music? Focus on the EQ. What do the voices sound like? Are they low and warm? Do they have a lot of high end? This is a process of familiarizing yourself
with your speakers and what good professional audio sounds like through your specific setup. So there you go, Podaneers. You should be ready to finalize that shopping
list and get your podcast studio up and running. I’m excited. And if you have any questions, you can contact
me at Studio Steve at PodSoundSchool.com. And until next time, happy casting. Another sweet and salty episode, darlings. Goodbye for now, lovelies. And remember … what lies behind us and what
lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

4 thoughts on “What Kind of Speakers Should I Get for Podcasting

  1. This is great! Know I know the difference between regular speakers and speakers and headphones designed for recording. Thank you!

  2. I really thought I'd be okay with my computer speakers because I figured that's what people are listening on, so it would translate well.

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