Doing live audio monitoring correctly during a podcast or livestream

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Live audio monitoring while we are broadcasting to social media and even while we are recording matters. It’s important because if the audio turns out badly, the content will suffer and might become unconsumable.

In this article and on this podcast episode, I discuss how we can do a better job with live audio monitoring.

Why does bad audio happen to begin with?

It can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • Missing a good microphone
  • The software picks up the wrong microphone
  • Problem with microphone, like it’s not plugged in or not connected correctly.
  • Wrong setting on the microphone, like the wrong mic gain.

The issue I run into the most is when, which I use to live stream and record picks up the wrong microphone. It’s an easy fix in the audio input, but first I have to know that it’s picking up the wrong microphone. In this case that would be the one on my laptop, which is a ways away from me

Live audio monitoring on a single-person podcast

How you monitor the audio can also depend on what kind of recording you are doing. For example, when it’s just me on a show, I don’t have to monitor a guest’s audio.

I use these headphones, which I can plug into my maono microphone on my desk.

headphones for live audio monitoring

I didn’t think I would like this as it can be distracting to hear yourself while talking. But the way these headphones playback the audio works well. It’s not super loud but it’s just loud enough to hear whether or not my audio quality is good.

Live audio monitoring with a guest

Most of the episodes of my Business Storytelling Show actually have a guest and myself on. The guest is typically remote. The headphones plugged into my mic (as explained above) don’t actually monitor the guest’s audio, but only monitor mine. So here’s my workflow in that case:

  • Before going live, I plug the headphones into my microphone and check my audio. I also ask the guest if they can hear me well.
  • Then I put my headphones on their hook underneath my desk
  • From there I check my guest’s audio levels and listen to their audio on my Bestisan Bluetooth speaker.

Alternatively, to listen to my guest, I can also plug my headphones into my laptop via:

Live audio monitoring as the producer

I have produced a number of shows in the past. So that means, I’m not on-air at all, but run all the production on the back end. In that case, I don’t have to monitor my own audio at all and my microphone should be muted anyway.

As a producer, basically, you can use the same setup as monitoring with a guest as the host except you don’t have to worry about your own audio. I typically just check the audio at the beginning, make sure the levels are the same, and listen on my Bestisan Bluetooth speaker. Alternatively, I could also listen with headphones connected to my laptop.

Making sure we have good audio is important and these are the ways I monitor my audio live while broadcasting live or recording a podcast episode that would publish later. The biggest trick is to remember to actually run through the steps. I’ve had episodes where I forgot about it and my audio doesn’t sound good when I play it back. That’s not a good experience for anyone involved.


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