How to record a podcast remotely?

With or without quarantine, we may need to record a podcasts remotely whether with co-hosts or with our interviewees (who may live far from home and thus avoid paying for an overpriced train ticket for example 😉 ).

The Covid-19 pandemic and the successive lockdowns that followed have made remote recording a real necessity for podcasters. 💻🎧 Until life gets back to normal – and as long as social distancing is the rule – remote recording is the only way to continue publishing episodes regularly.

But while this trend has really grown in popularity among podcasters with the health crisis, it’s a practice that existed before and is likely to continue even after the pandemic.

Because, with or without lockdown, you may need to record your podcast remotely at any time; either because you’re co-hosting your show with someone who lives far away, or because your guests couldn’t travel (or you don’t have the budget to pay for a train ticket for example 😉).

For this, you need to have a bit of preparation to avoid a collective fiasco! But don’t worry, to make sure it goes well, we explain everything here ! 🚀

Recording a podcast remotely

A good equipment is the key to record a podcast remotely

Making a quality podcast (whether it’s recorded remotely or not, by the way) depends on the equipment you have. For this first step of preparation for remote recording, you must therefore evaluate not only your own audio equipment, but also the equipment of your guest(s).

✌️2 scenarios exist:

Your guests are not podcasters and have no specific equipment 🙅‍♀️

In this case, you should guide them on how to equip them. For example, ask them to wear headphones during your interview or at least headphones with a microphone close to the mouth. It will do the trick, although they produce a lower quality sound. 

On the other hand, they should avoid wireless headphones with a microphone very far from the mouth, or computer microphones that create a mediocre sound, as if they were in a cave…

Your guests have recording equipment 

If you are recording remotely with another podcaster or with someone who has good equipment, invite them to record their track on their own with their own audio equipment and software. 😁 And then, ask them to send you their file after your interview. 

Don’t be too quick to claim victory! Having good equipment is not enough. You really need to trust their expertise (or his taste in audio mixing) because you won’t hear their recording (on their software) before they send it to you. 😬 In any case, it is better that you record in duplicate on your side, on your software.

Recording a podcast remotely

What equipment to record a podcast remotely? 🎙️

As we said before, we strongly advise you to have a good microphone and not use the microphone of your computer. This would result in poor sound quality. Even if we know that it could be tempting to choose the audio equipment already provided by your computer.

Depending on your budget, there are different types of microphones:

  • Blue Yeti (150€): This is the classic microphone for podcasters. Very practical because it is very easy to use, the Blue Yeti plugs into your computer via USB. It is also equipped with volume and gain buttons which gives it a fairly accurate sound. Be careful with your environment because it picks up all the little noises.
  • Bird UM-1 (60€): If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your equipment to record a podcast remotely, this fixed microphone is a good alternative. Very easy to install, you won’t be confused by complex features. But be careful: to use it properly, you need to buy a microphone stand and a pop filter to avoid recording too many unnecessary sounds.
  • Rode NT-1 (160€): If this mic is a little more expensive than the others, it is also one of the most recommended mics for podcasters. The sound quality is almost perfect. Its advantage: it offers a warm sound and a real clarity. A must for podcasters!

To learn more about what kind of microphone you should purchase to record a podcast, you can read our article !


To record a podcast remotely, choose your room carefully 

There are some very simple tricks to optimize the sound of your podcast. One of them is to isolate yourself in a small room with a lot of furniture, pillows, clothes… to reduce the echo. 🗣️

If you ask the podcasters you know, you would be surprised about how they record their episodes. Some of them interview their guests sitting in their closet or inside their dressing room. Others under a blanket. 😂

The ultimate goal is to minimize the reverberation effect that you might pick up in a room that is too big and not well furnished. But it’s not enough to be in an acoustic room yourself, your guest(s) must be as well. Before you start your remote recording, make sure you explain to them the conditions you want.

To help you, here is a list of things to remember before you press “Record”: ⏺️

  • Ask people around you to be quiet during the remote recording
  • Put the phone on silent
  • Avoid tapping on the table, playing with paper, or eating while recording. 
  • Provide a glass of water to avoid too much mouth noise.
  • If you use a video app, inform your guests and/or warn them that they will be recorded (they may have planned to stay in their pajamas that day!)
  • Send a Google Calendar invitation to your guests and kindly ask them to warn the relatives who live with them (so that they avoid noisy activities at that time, like vacuuming the next room…)

What software should I use to record a podcast remotely? 

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of software to record a podcast remotely has multiplied. In addition to the timeless Skype and Zoom, there are now tools such as Zencastr, Squadcast or Riverside.fm. 😁

Let’s take a look at these different platforms to see which one suits your project best.

Zencastr

Be careful, don’t forget the “r” otherwise it will send you to another solution. Zencastr is an
online tool that does not require any download. It is a free basic version but if you
choose the paid version, you will be able to enjoy other features.

The benefits of Zencastr to record a podcast remotely:

  • This software is very visual and user-friendly, so it is easy to use (convenient for your interviewee)
  • Each guest is recorded on a separate sound track
  • With the free version, you get your files in mp3 (with compressed sound). With the paid version, you can recover your files in wav. 
  • The free version is limited to 2 guests. It’s unlimited with the paid version.

The disadvantages of Zencastr for recording a podcast remotely:

  • If you or one of your guests has an internet connection issue, you will lose the files. Yes, including your guest’s because the file is saved on their computer during the interview before being uploaded to the site at the end of your session
  • At the end of the session you must ask your guests not to immediately close their laptop while the files are loading into the platform – otherwise you will lose them.

For more information: https://zencastr.com/

Zoom

Another big winner of the Covid-19 crisis, Zoom is one of the most used remote meeting software in the world. Both in the professional world and in everyday life, to chat with loved ones who live far away. 

In the podcast industry, many content creators have chosen Zoom to record their episodes remotely. Here are the pros and cons of this software. 

Very practical and user-friendly, as long as you install it, a free basic version and then paid subscriptions to get unlimited meeting time for example (they did not offer free during the quarantine though).

The benefits of Zoom to record your podcast remotely: 

  • Good network quality
  • You can share your screen (to comment on a movie poster together, for example)
  • (our favorite feature on the team 😂) you can put a virtual background (beach, moon…) and even upload your own file
  • International customer service team and multilingual support
  • You can record the conversation (M4A audio and MP4 video) directly with the app and the audio is automatically extracted from the video
  • You can record a separate track for each participant but you have to (knowing beforehand) configure it in the recording settings

The disadvantages of Zoom to record your podcast remotely:

  • In the free version, the meetings are limited to 40 minutes, you have to upgrade to Pro at 14€/month to move to a 24 hour time limit
  • The guest must download the application and understand that he/she must click on the link of your invitation that you send by email or sms
  • The guest must have configured their account to allow you to register, if this is not done you will spend a few minutes explaining how to allow them in…

Read our article for more information about Zoom to record a podcast remotely.

Skype

Let’s continue with the most famous of all: Skype. Almost everyone has it or knows it. Free, it often suffers from a bad connection because there are too many users at the same time.

The benefits of using Skype to record a podcast remotely:

  • Skype is a safe bet that everyone knows. So it’s very easy to offer this alternative to your interviewees
  • It is an easy to use software
  • You can share your screen with your contacts.
  • You can also record your call and, if the internet cuts out, you can have the file uploaded directly to your computer.

The disadvantages of using Skype to record a podcast remotely:

  • You can record only the audio or also the video. But, in all cases the file will be in MP4 format (so you will have to extract the audio and convert it). If you don’t want to do this, you need to add an additional application to Skype like Ecamm recorder (which is a freemium software).
  • The recording is only done on one track. It is therefore quite problematic if you speak at the same time and it is difficult to manage the audio mix according to the recording conditions of each speaker.

Read our article for more information about Skype to record a podcast remotely.

Logo Riverside.fm

Riverside.fm

A newcomer to the recording software market, Riverside.fm is a paid platform that was launched in 2020. Let’s find out its pros and cons together.

The benefits of Riverside.fm to record a podcast remotely:

  • At the end of your recording, you can download your audio and video files in .wav format (more qualitative than .mp3 format).
  • Riverside.fm is very easy to use.
  • The platform is full of innovative features like call recording, live streaming to social media, and video editing in your browser.

The disadvantages of Riverside.fm to record a podcast remotely:

  • Be careful the files you download from Riverside.fm are very large.
  • The number of hours recorded is limited and increases according to the subscription you choose.
  • Since the platform is fairly new, there may be some bugs but nothing that really impacts the recording of your podcast remotely.

Squadcast Logo

Squadcast 

Squadcast aims to be one of the best remote podcast interview platforms. 

The benefits of Squadcast to record a podcast remotely:

  • Squadcast offers a waiting room that allows you to make sure your guests are ready and that everything is running smoothly on their side (and yours).
  • Each audio track is recorded separately, which makes post-production easier.
  • Your files are downloaded automatically. So you have very little risk of losing them. 
  • You can download your files in .wav and .mp3 formats.
  • Squadcast records up to 4 people at the same time on the platform.

The disadvantages of Squadcast to record a podcast remotely:

  • As with Riverside.fm, the number of hours recorded is limited and increases depending on the subscription you choose.
  • The platform is the most expensive of all those we have just seen. It costs at least $10 per month to use Squadcast. 

And one last tip for the road: 😎 Be careful not to put your interviewee on speaker, ideally connect 2 pairs of headphones (with a double-jack) and configure your computer so that the interviewee’s sound comes out of one pair of headphones and your own voice from the other.

Put each pair of headphones in your ears and you have recreated a stereo feedback system that is quite useful for recording!

Now you know how to record a podcast remotely and how to ensure that your sound is of the highest quality!

To summarize, here are the things you need to pay special attention to before recording your podcast:

  • Your audio equipment
  • The surrounding sound
  • Room acoustics
  • Registration limit (either by number of hours registered or by number of guests registered on the platform)
  • If the audio tracks are recorded separately or not
  • The format of your audio files (.wav being the best)