Podcast recording is more complex than it appears. It involves far more than just finding the right podcast recording software. You need the appropriate tools to ensure high audio quality in your recording.
There’s a lot of preparation involved in the process.
This article discusses everything you need to create quality audio and record podcasts that people enjoy.
How to Record a Podcast
There are several ways to record podcasts. The method you choose depends on several factors, including your podcast’s nature and budget. You also have to consider whether you’ll be in the same room as any guests you invite to your show. The good thing is that there is no single best way to record a podcast. The method you choose depends on your circumstances.
You have four choices when recording a podcast.
Audio Editing Software
Audio editing software is best for podcasts where you’re in the same room as your guest. Furthermore, this software allows you to track your podcast’s sound quality and provides valuable tools for editing.
Using this software is the easiest way to record a podcast. Most examples also let you tinker with podcast recordings before you release them to the public.
Video Conferencing Software
There are several reasons why you may use video conferencing software for your podcast. You may need more recording space to build a podcast recording studio. Alternatively, your guests may not be able to visit your studio.
Either way, this option allows you to create a video file you can upload as a podcast. Software like Zoom and Skype work best for this option.
Portable Recording Device
As the name implies, a portable recording device is helpful for recording podcasts when you’re on the go.
There are better ways to record a podcast. But portable devices can do the job, especially if you have a quality device that can produce a solid audio recording.
Remote Recording Platforms
Similar to video conferencing, a remote recording platform allows you to create high-quality audio for podcasts that feature guests from all over the world.
For example, the podcast host may be in one location with their guests or co-host in another. These platforms bring you all together digitally, allowing for remote recording using the web.
What Do You Need to Record a Podcast?
Before taking the first steps on your podcasting journey, you need the right equipment for the job. The following are the critical pieces of podcast equipment you require:
- Microphones for you and your guests
- Recording software, which varies depending on the type of podcast you create
- Headphones for you and your guests
- A camera, when recording video
- An audio interface that allows for tweaking and editing
These are the essentials. There are also some things that are good to have because they either clean up your audio track or enhance the look and feel of your podcast:
- A pop filter to limit the effect of plosives on your recording
- A mic arm for your USB mic
- Lighting to enhance the look of your studio
- A shock mount to keep your mic stable, so you don’t create unwanted background noise by accidentally moving your microphone
Before You Actually Start Recording
You have the equipment needed for recording audio for a podcast. You also understand some of the best ways to record a podcast. Next up, you need to prepare your episode.
This process goes beyond setting up a podcast voice recorder and hitting record. There are several things that go into how to record a podcast.
1 – Plan Your Podcast
You’re raring to go. You have your digital recorder set up, and you’re ready to hit record and start talking.
That’s one of the biggest mistakes novice podcasters make.
If you don’t have a plan for your podcast, you risk having it go off the rails. You might veer off on a tangent that distracts from your main subject. If you’re interviewing somebody, you may not have the right questions to make the most out of the opportunity.
Simply put, you must plan your podcast and the topic you’ll cover.
Start with research. Identify your ideal listener. In other words, who will be most interested in the topics you cover.
Your research helps you determine your podcast’s tone and the subjects it covers. If you talk about technical issues, you need to plan to use a professional style. But if you have a more casual audience, you can take a more free-form approach.
Regardless, you need a plan in place to help you keep your podcast on track.
2 – Write a Script
Like planning, writing a script helps you keep your podcast on course (for more advice on writing a script, read here). However, there’s some debate over the type of script you need to create.
Some prefer a flexible approach, meaning their scripts are little more than bullet points detailing the topics they’ll cover. Others take a more rigid approach, resulting in a detailed script that they’ll read almost word-for-word.
Your approach depends on the type of show you produce. A light touch with the script works if you want to create a freeform podcast. But you may need a more detailed script if you want to cover specific details, such as when creating a how-to podcast.
3 – Gather Your Equipment
We’ve already covered the essential equipment you need, so we will only spend a little time on that subject. What’s vital here is that your equipment allows you to record audio automatically while keeping ambient noise to a minimum.
It all starts with your choice of microphone. A standard USB mic allows you to create digital tracks that upload automatically to a digital audio workstation.
An XLR mic is a better choice if you prefer an analog approach. XLR mics often provide superior audio quality, but you must also hook them up to your call recording tools using a special cable.
From there, you need to choose your recording platform. A remote recording platform works best if you don’t have guests in a studio. You’ll need a portable recording device if you’re on the go.
4 – Create Your Recording Setup
For studio-based podcasts that involve multiple people, you’ll need a digital recorder. These devices help you create quality audio and enable you to hook up multiple microphones into a single device.
Alternatively, you can use a USB audio interface. An interface acts like a USB mic because you connect it directly to your computer. However, the interface contains ports through which you can run multiple XLR mics. They’re a good choice for computer-based podcasts who need flexibility in addition to great podcast audio.
5 – Find the Right Software
Let’s assume you’re not using a digital recorder for your podcast. In that case, you need the right software to create an audio recording for podcasts.
The nature of this software varies depending on whether your podcast is recorded locally or remotely.
For local podcasts, it’s best to use a digital workstation, such as Audacity. These software platforms allow you to record automatically and edit before you publish your podcast.
For remote podcasts, video conferencing software like Zoom does a good job. In Zoom’s case, you get automatic audio and video recordings that you can upload immediately or tweak in your editing software.
Finally, you have the option of double-ender recorders. These devices record audio directly to the computer to which they’re connected. So, you record onto your computer, and your guest records onto theirs.
This approach gives you multiple audio tracks with which to work. It also prevents issues like audio glitches and calls dropping from affecting your podcast.
What to Consider After You Create the Recording
Your job isn’t done once you’ve recorded a podcast. There are several editing and post-production steps to take before you’re ready to publish.
Step 1 – Account for Background Noise
Your podcast audio recorder is likely to pick up noise from the background as you speak. This noise comes in two varieties:
- Electronic background noise that your equipment generates
- Ambient sounds and noises from your studio or recording environment
Both can distract your listeners from the conversation, meaning you may need to clean this noise from your recordings. A good background noise reduction tool does the job.
However, you may not need to focus too much on this noise if it doesn’t distract from the recording. Some even use background noises to create an atmosphere, especially when recording on the go.
Step 2 – Add Music and Sound Effects
The right music and sound effects give your podcast a little extra bit of polish that makes it more appealing to listeners.
It’s a good idea to create intro and outro themes. These themes can be short. A jingle lasting a couple of seconds often does the job. As for the rest of your recording, consider using music when transitioning between subjects.
For sound effects, only use them when they enhance your recording. For example, you may use sound effects to emphasize your points if you’re telling a story. It’s best to edit these effects into the audio once you’ve finished recording rather than trying to add them as you record.
Step 3 – Edit the Podcast
Editing is a time-consuming task. You also have the choice of not editing at all, which may work if you’re going for a warts-and-all feel (if you want more advice on editing a podcast, read here). Unfortunately, this approach often leads to a poor listening experience.
On the other hand, over-editing can create a disjointed feel. Having quality audio also won’t matter if you edit so much that it takes a ton of time to release your podcast to your audience.
Balance is the key when editing. Focus on the following issues:
- Eliminate conversation stoppers, such as awkward pauses and your “ums” and “ahs.”
- Cut off-topic subjects to keep the podcast’s length appropriate for your audience.
- Eliminate any environmental noise that distracts from the conversation.
Step 4 – Upload Your Podcast
Once you’re satisfied with your recording, your last step is to get the podcast online.
You’ll need to create an account with a podcast hosting platform. Examples include Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Some podcast recording software packages, such as Alitu, feature hosting as part of the package.
Thankfully, these platforms often make uploading your recording as simple as possible. They’ll tell you which audio or video format to use and guide you through the process as you upload.
Master Podcast Recording
You now know how to record a podcast. You’ve gathered the tools you need and understand more about the planning and editing stages. Plus, you know the various ways to record your podcast.
All that’s left is to get started.
The information provided in this article covers the nuts and bolts of recording your podcasts. However, it’s up to you to choose appropriate topics, plan episodes, and ensure your podcast appeals to the appropriate audience.
No matter where and how you choose to record, always have a plan in place. Know what message you want to deliver and what you want your audience to get out of the experience. From there, create a recording setup that allows you to capture that message as vividly as possible.