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How to Record a Phone Call for your Podcast in High Quality

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How to Record a Phone Call for your Podcast in High Quality

If you’re starting an interview podcast in the post-COVID era, you’re faced with a dilemma: how do you get high-quality audio when you aren’t in the same room as your guest?

The odds are good that you’re considering rigging some kind of recording device or downloading a cheap app to record your phone calls. But, you’re probably concerned that the resulting audio will sound about as good as the messages left on your childhood home’s answering machine.

Thankfully, recording remote interviews for your podcast using your phone is possible—as long as you use the right equipment and setup to ensure studio-quality results. Read on to learn how!

What Do I Need to Record a Podcast?

First, let’s look at the essential equipment you’ll need to record podcasts from anywhere. Starting a podcast from scratch doesn’t have to be that complicated, but you’ll need a few tools at a minimum, including:

  • Recording software
  • Editing software
  • A microphone
  • Headphones
  • A podcast camera

Let’s take a look at each component below.

Recording Software 

First, you’ll need something to capture the audio (and ideally, video) from your podcast recording sessions. 

There are many podcast recording software options out there. You can go with whatever voice memo or recording app that comes pre-loaded on your device—but as they say, you get what you pay for.

If you’re serious about creating high-quality, studio-level recordings, look no further than Riverside.fm. Our software comes with essential features like:

  • Browser-based software, with nothing for you or your guests to download or install.
  • Locally recorded audio and video, so your end result doesn’t depend on the quality of your internet connection.
  • Separate, uncompressed 48kHz WAV audio tracks and up to 4K video tracks for each host and guest.
  • Progressive uploading to the cloud, so your recording is ready as soon as you press “end”.
  • A Magic editor that automatically merges tracks into a polished final product.
  • Automatic transcriptions that convert your podcasts and videos into text.

Because Riverside is browser-based and uses local recordings for each participant, it’s easy to hold remote interviews from anywhere in the world that still sound like they were recorded in the same studio.

And for podcasters on a budget, Riverside is an affordable choice; after recording your first 60 minutes for free, basic plans start at only $7.50 per month.

Editing software

While Riverside does offer basic automated editing with the Magic Editor, you’ll probably still want to use another editing software in post-production for the best quality podcast episodes. 

The type of editing software you choose depends on your skill level and budget. There are many pro-level options, but some are highly complex and have a steep learning curve. And depending on your budget, you may not want to overpay for flashy features that you won’t get around to using anyway.

We recommend:

Check out our guide to choosing podcast editing software in 2021 for more detailed reviews.

Microphone 

To be taken seriously, you should record your podcast with a dedicated external microphone. Don’t rely on the built-in mic in your laptop or phone; good audio quality is the name of the game, and built-in mics just can’t cut it.

But choosing the right microphone for you is a complicated process. You’ll need to decide on factors like:

  • Polar pickup pattern
  • Dynamic vs. condenser 
  • USB vs. XLR

If all these technical words sent your head spinning, don’t worry—we have a guide to choosing a podcast microphone that walks you through the decision process.

Headphones

Everyone on your podcast should be wearing headphones while you record. Why?

  • Headphones prevent audio echo and bleed.
  • They let you hear your voice, which gives you more control over the audio levels in real-time.
  • Wearing headphones automatically improves your microphone technique.
  • They let you monitor any external audio that may be being picked up, like background noises or buzzing.
  • They help you edit better since headphones cancel out noise that isn’t part of the audio file.

Podcasting headphones come in many styles and price points, so you should choose whichever fits your needs and preferences. But we suggest that you look for lightweight, padded, and adjustable options that will help you stay comfortable for even the longest recording sessions.

Podcast Camera

You may not plan to publish video content at first, which is understandable. But there are so many benefits to video podcasting—especially since the exponential growth of the podcasting world means increased competition and saturation.

Video podcasts can help you stand out in that ever-growing crowd of content creators. And they enable you to diversify your content channels by publishing clips of your shows to YouTube and social media.

So if you do choose to record video for your podcast episodes, you’ll need a podcast camera. We recommend choosing one with a resolution of 1920x1080 (1080p) and a frame rate of 24fps or 30fps.

How to Record Phone Calls for Your Podcast with a Guest

Don’t fret if your interview podcast has gone virtual (whose hasn’t after COVID?) or your guest can’t make it to your studio. There are a few great ways to record phone calls for your podcast.

The simplest way is to use a voice recorder app, but it comes with a few drawbacks. You may want to use a podcast recording software—like Riverside.fm—that lets you record remotely at a higher quality.

Let’s look at both options below.

The Simple Approach: Voice Recorder App

Many call recorder apps are on the market, like Cube ACR, OpenPhone, and Automatic Call Recorder. Many of these apps are VoIP business calling apps that include call recording as a feature of the (often paid) subscription.

The downside to using a voice recorder app like this is that many of these apps are designed merely to keep a record of phone calls with customers, not as a way to preserve crystal-clear audio for later publication.

While voice recorder apps can get the job done, they just aren’t built for high-quality audio preservation. Because phone signals use a limited frequency range, even the best recorders will still sound like a phone call recording. 

Your guest’s side of the conversation may end up sounding fuzzy or muffled, which can frustrate and even turn off your listeners.

Riverside.fm

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for remote podcasting, you may want to turn to Riverside instead. Riverside’s user-friendly platform lets you invite guests with a click, and they can join via their browser or the Riverside iOS mobile app. It’s as simple and easy as a phone call but with vastly improved audio quality.

The audio and video are automatically recorded locally to each participant’s device and uploaded progressively to the cloud as you hold your conversation. The resulting recording is uncompressed and professional-quality, making it sound like each participant was in the same room. 

For more information on how to record video podcasts remotely, check out our guide here

Other Ways to Record Phone Calls for Your Podcast

If you’re looking for still more methods for recording remote interviews, you may want to consider:

TapeACall

This iPhone call recording app lets you record incoming and outgoing calls directly from your mobile device.

Zoom

Zoom is a good option for podcasters on a budget since the first 40 minutes of a recording are free. However, the audio and video are compressed to reduce file transfer size (the result is far from studio-quality).

Skype + AudioHijack

While Skype recently introduced a recording feature on its own, you’ll get better audio quality using AudioHijack, a third-party call recorder. But as with Zoom, using video conferencing software means sacrificing video and audio quality for the sake of the connection speed.

How to Record Phone Calls for Podcasts Using an Audio Interface

Unfortunately, some podcast guests aren’t willing to do anything other than sending you their phone number. They want a simple phone call from you, where they’ll answer your questions but expect you to do whatever you need to do to create a podcast out of your conversation.

In that case, your best bet may be to use an audio interface to ensure that at least your end of the conversation is of high quality.  

To do this, you’ll need to take the following steps before making the call:

  • Plug your smartphone into the audio interface using a ⅛” cable (you may need to use an adapter if you have a newer iPhone that doesn’t have a standard headphone jack)
  • Plug your microphone and headphones into separate inputs on the audio interface
  • Adjust the input and gain levels before hitting record
  • Begin recording—and remember that your guest will only hear you through the built-in microphone on your phone, so keep your phone close to your mouth when talking.

Tips for Recording Audio on Your Cell Phone

If you have the proper setup, you can get nearly the same quality by recording your podcast on an iPhone as you would using a desktop. The key is to use tools and tricks that capture the highest amount of audio data possible. 

1. Use a Good Mic

As mentioned above, you need a dedicated external microphone regardless of your recording device. Built-in mics just aren’t good enough for podcast-level audio. Check out our guide to choosing a podcast microphone for tips on picking the right mic for you.

2. Find a Quiet Place

Your environment also affects the quality of your podcast recording. 

Choose a quiet room where you can reasonably expect to be left alone and distraction-free. Try to pick a carpeted room with furniture; the more soft surfaces there are, the less reverb and echo for your microphone to pick up. 

And don’t forget to turn off or silence your phone notifications!

3. Use Good Audio Recording Software Like Riverside.fm

If you want the best results, you should use the best software. Our new iOS app brings Riverside’s professional-quality recording software straight to your iPhone. 

Each participant is locally recorded in full HD, regardless of the quality of the internet connection. No more worrying about lagging wifi on the go! And the recording is saved in lossless WAV audio and up to 4K video, which means the highest and clearest resolution for your podcast episode.

Recording Phone Calls for Your Podcast FAQ:

How do I record a live conversation?

You have many options to record a live conversion for your podcast. The simplest is to use a voice recorder app for your phone call, but if you want clear audio, your best bet is to use software like Riverside.fm.

Is it a crime to record a phone call?

Federal and state laws vary when recording phone calls without the other person knowing about it. In the U.S., federal law dictates that only one party (the caller) must know the phone call is being recorded. But in fifteen states, including California, Illinois, and Florida, the law requires that all parties to the phone call consent to recording. 

Can you take calls on a podcast?

Yes—and taking live call-ins can be a fun way to include your audience! Riverside.fm has a live call-in feature that lets listeners request to have their calls accepted by the host during the recording. 

Does recording software affect sound quality?

The software you use affects the sound quality of your recording. Many software options—like video conferencing software and voice recorder apps—may let you record a call, but they aren’t built specifically for audio production. 

If you’re considering starting a podcast, you should look for recording software that doesn’t compress files for the sake of quick data transfer. You need something that’s easy to use and doesn’t require complicated installations—especially if you’ll be using it instead of a standard phone call. 

Thankfully, Riverside.fm checks all of those boxes. Try one hour of recording for free and see for yourself!


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