So you have your gear, now its time to record a show. If you are doing a solo podcast, its pretty easy. Just open up Audacity or QuickTime and start to record. However if you’re recording with a cohost, things are a touch more complicated.
If you are able to record in the same room as the other person, that might be the best option as you’ll get more natural conversation. If you do so, remember that podcasts are an audio medium and the visual nature of your conversation will not be seen by your audience. Also make sure you record in such a way where there is little to no bleed over of each others voice in the other person’s microphone. If there is and you have any crosstalk it can make for an echoey mess.
For many shows however, recording in person is impossible or impractical. For those shows its best to get on some sort of conference call. You can record you call with apps like Call Recorder for Skype. Skype also lets you record the call in the app, but it comes as a single file which makes editing difficult since crosstalk is impossible to separate and its much harder to correct for any volume differences between hosts. Call Recorder will give you your voice on one track and everyone else in the other. So for shows with more than two people, it’s also not the best option. Whenever you record Skype, you are susceptible to call drop outs and degradation of quality. For that reason, I highly recommend not recording Skype for anything but a backup or syncing purposes.
What I do for all my shows is a double-ender, meaning each person records their own local track and sends it to the editor. The nice thing about this is that everyone’s recording is direct from their microphone, with no loss in quality. In order to sync everyone’s track, I start the call by counting down 3, 2, 1 and everyone claps. This isn’t a perfect method because of audio drift between computers, but in my experience its pretty reliable. If audio drift is an issue, you can try putting multiple sync claps in a recording or using a recording of Skype to sync to.
I hope this helps you start to record your podcast with a cohost. When I added Chris to The Prog Rock Block, the show became far better and more fun to make. So find yourself a cohost and start your podcast!
After announcing my new business, I got a few requests for tips on how to get started with a podcast. In this post, I will cover picking a microphone, mic technique, and how to prep your room before recording.
I encourage you to check out Marco Arment’s mega review of podcast microphones. If you’re just getting started, I’d personally recommend getting the Audio-Technica ATR2100. It’s a dynamic microphone, meaning it won’t pick up nearly as much room noise as a condenser microphone. It also is a USB microphone, removing the need for a XLR interface. That said, the ATR2100 does have a XLR input as well, making it a versatile microphone if you ever get a mobile recorder or a mixing board. I recently moved to this microphone myself.
Before switching, I used a Blue Yeti. Back when I got it over 6 years ago, there weren’t nearly as many microphone options as there are today and I wanted it for a variety of purposes including music recording and in a shared environment. I also wanted it to work via USB so I didn’t need to lug around my audio interface (I primarily used it away from my desk). If I just worried about recording podcasts, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s a condenser microphone so it picks up even the smallest sounds. That said, my podcast cohost Jun chose it just last year since he also wanted to record music. You can get great sound out of it if you use good mic technique and set it up in a good environment. Speaking of which…
Check out Dan Benjamin’s video on microphone technique. Around 4:30 he discusses microphone technique, however I recommend you watch the whole video if you want to learn more about microphones and how to set them up. I personally recommend you get a pop filter and a shock mount for any microphone you use. Pop filters reduce plosive sounds while a shock mount will reduce sounds from vibrations in the room, such as hitting your desk or moving the microphone. I have my microphone mounted on a boom so that its comfortable to speak into the microphone with proper technique. Both microphones I recommended come with desk stands, but you’ll find they are too low to use with good technique. I’ll warn you the Yeti can get expensive to mount, unless you rig it up like I did (would not recommend).
You want to make sure you record in a low echo environment. Some podcasters will joke that you should record in a closet for the best sound. Since I record in a carpeted extra bedroom, I haven’t had to worry much about dampening the room to reduce echo. However, you might find yourself wanting to add soft materials to the room if you find it to be echoey. You can buy acoustic tiles or I’ve even heard of people putting some blankets near the walls to help.
Hope this post helps you get started with your recording set up. Next up, I will share with you how to record a podcast with a cohost.