Podcast Recording and Equipment

It is a pleasure to have you as a guest on Stories and Voices. On this page you will find information on how to make the best quality remote audio recording.

Recording software setup

We will need to record both of our audio sources separately. Each person’s volume levels and audio effects will then be edited individually in the post-recording production, then joined together. Doing this will result in an excellent sounding final podcast episode. To achieve this, we need to use some simple audio recording software.

Using Zencastr

Using Zencastr is the preferred method to produce our recording. The quality of the recording will be excellent. I will send you an email or message with a link to our Zencastr recording session. You will not be required to create an account or log in. To use Zencastr, you will need a computer with the following specs:

  • MacOS 10.10+ or Windows 8.1+
  • Google Crome Browser or Firefox Browser. Safari will not work.
  • Microphone

Suppose you are not able to record using a computer. In that case, we will need to use a mobile phone or tablet and use Skype or different recording software.

Using Skype or other VOIP Applications

If you have a Skype account and the app installed on your device, this is the next best way to record our conversation. I will record only your voice from the Skype output in my studio. You don’t need to do anything else. If you don’t have Skype, we will need to discuss how to record your part of the conversation separately.

PHONE OR TABLET ONLY

Suppose all you have access to is a smartphone or tablet. In that case, earbuds with a microphone will be fine if you can do these things below to create the best recording environment.

  • Silence all notifications on the device you are recording from.
  • Find a quiet space without room echo.
  • If your only space has an echo, try to situate yourself near an open closet with hanging clothes and face into the closet during the recording. Alternatively, a closely positioned free-standing coat rack works nicely as well.
  • Don’t hold the earbud microphone part any closer to your mouth; the distance it hangs freely is correctly positioned.

LAPTOP OR Desktop COMPUTER Without a PRO MIC

Using the built-in hardware microphone in a laptop or desktop computer is not sufficient for recording a conversational podcast. The system echo cancellation and overly high-range these devices exhibit make for a terrible quality recording.

  • We will use Zencastr for the recording. The setup and instructions are located on the page where the recording takes place. You only need to keep your browser open until the final file is uploaded. This takes a short time.
  • Use headphone earbuds with the laptop or desktop computer. Also, I recommend investing in a lavalier microphone (see below) if your computer or laptop supports an external mic through the headphone jack.
  • If using a laptop, please follow the Phone or Tablet tips above.
  • If using a desktop computer, turn off the external monitor and put a light blanket over it and the keyboard area. This will help reduce sound reflections. Don’t do this if you have an iMac; just cover the desk if possible.

Laptop or Desktop COMPUTER WITH A PRO MIC

If you have a pro mic and USB audio interface, you probably know about sound reflections and recording quality. Here are a few tips that make for an excellent remote recording.

  • We will use Zencastr for the recording. The setup and instructions are located on the page where the recording takes place. You only need to keep your browser open until the final file is uploaded. This takes a short time.
  • Alternately, if you have the experience to locally record your audio, producing a double-ender podcast is highly preferable. We would connect via Skype or Zoom or some other VOIP service for our conversation. Each of us will then record our audio locally.
  • With either method, make sure to check your gain settings so you record in a range of -12db to about -6db.

RECOMMENDED PODCASTING EQUIPMENT

Lav Microphone

I highly recommend you purchase a lavalier microphone to use with your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

  • BOYA BY M1 Clip-on Microphone is about 15-20€. (https://amzn.to/2KJyVSZ)
  • If you have an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning port, you will need an adapter. The Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter is <10€. (https://amzn.to/37a7mtk)
  • If you have an iPad with a USB-C port, you will need an adapter. The Apple USB-C to 3.5mm adapter is <10€. (https://amzn.to/3fAQTSQ)

It is a good investment and will significantly improve your audio quality. The BOYA BY M1 is the model I use, and I find it produces excellent quality audio. Podcastage has an in-depth review of the BOYA mic. Skip to the summary recommendation here.

Complete Setup

If you wish to purchase your first complete audio setup to produce or participate in podcasting or video streaming, I recommend the devices below. This would be a good starting setup that is also good quality. If never upgraded, it would last years and years for quality audio production. Of course, other more expensive options will produce different sounding recordings or have more input and output flexibility. Still, these devices below are an outstanding value for the audio quality they produce. For about 420€ total, this is an excellent long-term investment.

The UMC202HD USB audio interface (that is the UMC204HD’s less capable sibling but has the exact same preamps) is reviewed and recommended by Julian Krause. Skip to his summary recommendation here. Bandrew Scott at Podcastage reviews and recommends the RØDE PodMic dynamic microphone. Skip to his summary recommendation here. Mike at Booth Junkie absolutely loves the Sony MDR7506 headphones for recording (just not for mixing).