How To Record a Podcast Remotely
In this article we will do a simple, quick, high-level overview of how to record your podcast remotely.
In the podcasting industry, the subject of remote podcast recording is evolving very quickly, due to hardware, software and remote recording studios constantly being developed and iterated.
What is Remote Podcast Recording?
Remote recording is the answer to these very frequently asked questions:
- How do you record a phone call?
- My guest lives in Africa and I’m in the U.S.; how do I record that conversation?
- My co-host recently moved to a different city. We used to record at my home, now how do we record?
The goal: capturing the audio of two or more people that are not in the same geographical location.
Due to a global pandemic almost every one, from enterprise, to brick and mortar stores, to schools to, well, you name it, have at some point ended up having to use a video conferencing platform that facilitates remote conversations, such the ubiquitous Zoom.
Zoom video and audio conferencing allows us to remotely converse with one another all over the world, offering up simple and easy ways to record the conversations.
But Zoom is not the only solution. There are many platforms that essentially behave like Zoom but have been created specifically for podcasters or another kind of content creator, providing high quality recordings.
What Remote Podcast Recording Is Not
Although there are many solutions to recording conversations remotely, that doesn’t mean that the platform you choose will magically produce an incredible piece of audio that you can instantly use as a podcast episode. More likely than not, you’ll have to do at least some minimal editing to the recorded audio.
Things To Think about Before You Start Recording
The biggest issues when it comes to the quality of a remote recording often have to do with slow internet connectivity, especially having super-low upload speeds.
Generally speaking, most platforms can work with 5 mb up and 5 mb down, but the lower the speeds, the more potential for issues. In the western world, most urban locations can provide adequate speeds.
If you or your guest happen to live in a rural locale or outside of the western world, connectivity could become an issue.
It doesn’t matter how professional the remote recording platform is if bandwidth causes you to not be able to connect, to hear your guest, or for them to hear you.
- Forgetting to press record.
- Not wearing headphones.
- Not choosing the appropriate mic input.
All of the above can cause your recording to be less than optimal. Even if you have a checklist to remind yourself and your guest, you will forget, or they will forget.
- The microphone, computer or internet is dying in the middle of the recording.
- The platform that you were using quit unexpectedly.
- There was some weird snafu and your recording didn’t record or is unusable.
Yes, all of the above happens. The more that you record remotely, the more you’ll encounter unexpected podcasting fails.
The Remote Recording Platform
Requiring minimal hardware and software and only simple technological know-how, Zoom is a good tool with which to step into remote podcast recording.
- Most people know how to use it or have at least heard of it.
- It provides a very simple way to automatically record conversations in the cloud or locally to your computer.
- If a guest only has a smartphone, they can use the app.
- If a guest doesn’t have internet, they can call the number that Zoom provides.
Unfortunately, video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype and Google Meet were not built for podcasting.
As mentioned before, quality is reliant on many variables. Essentially low cost and low difficulty, but also low and inconsistent quality. And this may be ok, for now…
Choosing a Remote Podcast Recording App and Studio
Apps built for podcasting are hands down the best choice if looking to create the best sounding audio conversations. Using some of these platforms works so well that often you can not tell that those speaking to each other are not in the same room.
Most of these platforms not only provide the way to remotely connect, but they also record locally, promising consistent quality every time.
Here are some examples of remote recording platforms that have been built with podcasters and content creators in mind:
For a monthly fee, you can choose a package that works for you and your podcast needs, including attaining high-quality audio files for you and your guest with a modicum of difficulty.
The Double Ender
In podcasting, the most reliable way to get high-quality audio is by something called a double ender.
A double ender is when you connect using a platform like Zoom, but each of you record your side of the conversations locally to your computer or digital recorder. Once you are finished recording, all the individual files are sent to whomever will be editing the episode.
The editor then has the opportunity to adjust each track individually if someone’s gain was too low or too high, or if one of the tracks had a weird noise or someone coughed.
Working with each track independently gives the editor the chance to adjust cross-talk or interruptions for a seamless listening experience.
Since each track was recorded locally, you get the cleanest quality that you can and avoid connectivity issues that arise when using audio that was created on the cloud.
You can record your own track in one or two ways:
- Record directly into your computer using software like Audacity, Garageband, or Quicktime.
- Record into a digital recorder such as the Zoom H6 or Tascam DR–40x.
The problem with this remote interview setup is that it is the most difficult technically.
Your guest/s need/s to know not only how to download the recording software (if they don’t have it installed), but also use it. Then, they will need to send you their audio files.
Sometimes setting up a date to record can be challenging, and having to teach someone how to do all of these steps to record on their end can be quite overwhelming.
The ONE Most Important Thing: YOU Need To Sound Fantastic
Regardless which way you choose to facilitate your remote interview process, you want to make sure that you, as the host, sound the best that you can.
You might not have control over your guest’s sound or location as much as you would like, but you can certainly make sure that you sound the best that you can.
This means taking the necessary time to prep your studio environment. Bonus: have your guest follow these tips as well!
- Use a microphone (preferably a dynamic microphone)
- Headphones (to cut down on echoes and interference being picked up on either end of the conversation)
- An audio-friendly environment: a relatively quiet space (no fans or loud appliances running,) and don’t get too close to windows. Note that carpeting and soft furniture/drapes/cushions are ideal for atmospheric absorption of sound.
- Put devices on silent to avoid a phone notification or computer notification.
- Make sure that your audio is selected and turned on, and do your very best to monitor yourself so you can hear when you are on or off mic.
This should provide a recording-friendly environment and result in the quality audio you are looking for each time you record a new remote podcast episode.
The ease of recording a remote podcast opens the doors to being able to invite anyone from anywhere to your show. Remote recording gives you the ability to share conversations across the world with essentially a Zoom call.
Beyond the Zoom call, podcast platforms focusing on supporting podcasters to record the best conversations possible are under constant improvement to help the podcasting industry easily step up their game.