Tips for New Podcasters from Lead Audio Editor Mike Lalonde

by Darrell Darnell | Pro Podcaster Stories

“Find a quiet space. Even if you have to sit on the floor in your closet. Get away from as much noise as you can, shut your windows, and find a quiet comfortable space.” -Mike Lalonde Click To Tweet

Today’s Episode:

Mike Lalonde is the lead audio editor for Pro Podcast Solutions. I’m happy to have Mike on the show to talk about sound quality, what makes a great podcast, and tips for beginning podcasters. Mike is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where it snows, gets cold, and is the perfect base for someone who works from home. Mike shares how his love for music and being in a band sparked his interest in audio production. He decided to pursue that passion and started freelancing and working on audiobooks. 

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Mike through an email he sent me. That was four years ago and now he is the lead audio editor for PPS. Every new show goes through Mike as he tweaks it, gets the sound perfect, and creates a template for moving forward. We have a great conversation talking about what beginners can do to get good audio quality. Hint: It starts with a quiet recording environment and the right microphone. Mike gives tips on how to record in a quiet area, things you can do to get better sound quality from your microphone, and microphones for beginners. We also talk about why you might want to hire an editor. 

We geek out on audio software, plugins, and tools that can help produce a great sounding podcast. We also talk about things hosts can do to make their show stand out, unique questions to ask, and calls-to-action. Mike gives a lot of examples and shout outs to some of the hosts that we’ve been fortunate enough to work with. I am so fortunate to have Mike as a lead part of the team. He talks about the example and work ethic of his parents. This definitely shines through with Mike’s work ethic, skill set, and passion for audio. We also talk about the Canadian band that was the beginning of his inspiration.

“I wouldn't recommend going too crazy on the gear if you're just starting out. A USB mic could do the job.” -Mike Lalonde Click To Tweet

Show Notes:

  • [03:42] Mike has been with PPS since February of 2016. His first project was an audiobook for PPS then he began working on podcast audio.
  • [06:05] Mike was one of the first PPS editors. 
  • [07:04] Mike handles all of the audio, sound, and templates for new clients. Once everything is worked out and established then another audio editor on the team may take over. 
  • [08:52] He began in music. He and his friends started a band. That’s when Mike got into Audacity, Cubase, and Logic. They also had a lot of outboard gear for EQ etc. 
  • [09:42] They also helped other bands out with music recordings. Mike enjoyed audio production and started looking for gigs on Elance. This is how he found his first audiobook gigs and a couple of podcast gigs. 
  • [10:59] He enjoyed audio work, and after sending a cold email to Darrell, he started doing audio for PPS.
  • [11:02] The first podcasts that Mike listened to were about video games.
  • [11:48] Mike plays guitar, bass, and drums. 
  • [13:14] Mike’s in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where there’s snow. That’s one of the reasons he works from home.
  • [15:19] The first tip Mike gives for new podcasters is to record in a quiet space. Close your windows and reduce as much noise as possible. Get comfortable and don’t shuffle around. Also do some test recordings with your microphone.
  • [18:27] Learn basic microphone etiquette. Don’t put the microphone right in your mouth. Make sure you’re not wearing bulky clothes or jewelry that will rub on your microphone.
  • [19:35] A sock or a windscreen will help disperse air and get rid of the plosives. 
  • [20:36] USB microphones are great for beginners. If you have an audio interface you may need a microphone with a preamp like a condenser microphone. A lot of people have had good luck with SM 48s or SM58s. 
  • [23:11] One podcast misconception is people are seeing it as a hobby or a niche industry, but the podcast industry is huge today. 
  • [26:19] You can use a podcast to grow a huge community. You don’t have to be famous to become a host.
  • [28:27] Mike and Darrell talk about calls-to-action. Amy Porterfield is great at this. Jen Briney has a lot of community engagement. She does entire episodes reading messages from her fans. Kasey Bell gives away freebies in every episode. She also encourages community engagement with community questions.
  • [31:39] Stephen Spencer breaks down his episodes into a checklist. At the end, he gives a one-sentence call-to-action inviting people to check out the show notes.
  • [32:31] They all put in the time and effort to provide extra content for the listeners.
  • [36:20] We talk about things that make podcasts stand out. For example Sip, Suds, & Smokes has fun sound effects. Jen Briney’s show is community supported. Things like music breaks can help with the flow. 
  • [39:41] Stephan Spencer always asks guests, before the interview, what would make this the best interview that they have ever had. Mike shares this and other unique questions that some of our shows ask. 
  • [43:50] Watch plosives if you want to get your sound as clean as possible. Get a good stand and use a pop filter. Talk into the mic. 
  • [45:15] Darrell uses an Audition plugin called Kill the Mic Rumble. 
  • [47:58] It’s a good idea to remove pets before you record.
  • [49:17] Mike shares software tools and plugins that he uses. 
  • [50:45] Try sitting in silence when you first record to have a recording of room tone. Also separate tracks for the different speakers. 
  • [51:48] Most people start with Audacity and then move on to something like what we use which is Adobe Audition.
  • [53:45] There are so many tools you can use for audio editing, but the easiest way to make it easy on yourself is to hire somebody to do it for you.
  • [54:16] Having someone edit your audio is like paying to get YOUR time back. You can focus on what you do best. You also get access to a team of professionals. 
  • [56:44] Mike had his first job when he was 14. He learned from his hard-working parents that if you want something you work for it.
  • [57:58] Mike shares his favorite Canadian band. He has seen them live and got a book signed by Geddy Lee. Geddy is why Mike started playing base. 
  • [01:00:21] Darrell’s takeaways: Find a quiet space when recording and do test recordings. The microphone we recommend is the ATR2100X. It’s important to create an engagement piece. Get your guest comfortable before hitting record. What benefit will hiring someone allow you to have? Hiring someone can save you time. You also get expertise and wisdom.

“Last year, the podcast industry made almost 500 million dollars. It's supposed to be up to a billion dollars by next year. The industry is growing fast.” -Mike Lalonde Click To Tweet

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