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How to Record a Podcast like a Pro (The Easy Way)

How to Record a Podcast like a Pro (The Easy Way)

When you’re first starting out, recording a podcast is incredibly daunting. There’s a lot that goes into producing a high-caliber podcast, and while the pros make it look and sound effortless, recording a studio-quality episode can seem out of a beginner’s league. 

In this easy guide, we’ll show you how to produce a podcast that does you justice. We walk you through every single step so you can lean into recording like a pro in no time. Let’s jump right in. 

TL;DR

  • The essential podcasting equipment you need is: a microphone, headphones, camera, and recording software 
  • Try Garageband, Adobe Audition, or Hindenburg Journalist for recording offline  
  • For recording with remote guests, Riverside.fm has got you covered. 
  • Once you’ve recorded, try editing your recording using Riverside’s Magic Editor 
  • Export your recording, publish to a podcast host, and distribute to major listening platforms.

Before You Start Recording Your Podcast 

Plan your episode 

Whilst some podcasters may enjoy recording on the fly, having a pre-prepared plan of action is a great way to alleviate stress. Plus, it means things should run smoothly on recording day!

  • Plan the general flow and structure of your episode ahead of time 
  • Note down anything you need to include or mention 
  • Consider your timings and the duration of your episode
  • If you’ve got guests on your show, prepare questions and discussion points before recording. 

Invite your guests 

If you intend to include guest participants in your podcast, ensure to invite them in advance. There’s nothing worse than planning an episode with someone in particular in mind...only to find their diary is full. 

What Podcast Equipment Do I Need to Record a Podcast?

Every podcaster has their personal preference and you may already know exactly what kind of equipment you like in your podcasting setup. 

However, if you’re not quite sure what you need to record a podcast, get your starter-kit together and make sure to get your hands on the following:

Podcast microphone

Choosing a podcasting microphone can be an overwhelming decision. There’s a lot of technical jargon that gets thrown around and it can be hard to navigate all the different options. 

Just remember, at the end of the day, you need a microphone that works for you. 

If you’re into the technical side of things, here are a couple of things you should consider before purchasing a microphone: 

The Polar Pattern 

The Polar Pickup Pattern tells you how much sound a microphone picks up from every given direction. It’s all about what’s called ‘directionality’. 

The best polar pattern for your setup will depend on what and where you’re recording, as well as how well-versed you are in using a microphone. 

Cardioid mics pick up most audio from the front, a little from the side, and very little from the back. This means they’re very well-suited for environments that have a lot of background noise. 

Omni-directional mics pick up sound from every direction. This all-rounder mic works really well in a proper studio setup that is sound-treated. However, in home studios, omnidirectional mics make it hard to avoid recording unwanted background noise. 

Dynamic vs Condenser Mics 

Dynamic and Condenser Mics capture sound in different ways and as a result, also have different characteristics:

Dynamic microphones reduce background noise, so they’re perfect for home studio setups where it may be more difficult to mitigate against unwanted sounds and distractions.  

Condenser mics are highly sensitive and are able to record crisp and delicate sounds. However, as a result, they tend to pick up more background noise. 

Dynamic microphones do not require a power source, whereas Condenser Mics do. 

USB vs XLR Microphones

USB and XLR are the different types of connections that a mic can have. 

USB Microphones 

Advantages: 

  • Plug-in-and-record. USB mics do not require an audio interface to work, so they’re extremely easy to use. 
  • Portable. Because they don’t require an additional piece of kit to work, USB mics tend to be a more portable option - perfect for podcasters on the move. 
  • Affordable. USB mics dominate the more budget-friendly mic options. 

Disadvantages: 

  • Not easy to record with multiple participants in one place. Most computers out there accommodate one to two USB connections, which isn’t particularly suited to a multi-person podcast. 
  • Lower audio quality than XLR mics. Although the difference is not the be-all-and-end-all. 

If you’re tempted by a USB mic, find the perfect one for you using our guide. 

XLR Microphones 

Advantages: 

  • Higher sound-quality. The audio interface that you need to use XLR mics boasts superior audio quality than USB mics. 
  • More adjustability. The audio interface gives you the ability to live mix and adjust your audio as you record. . The audio interface gives you more power to live mix and adjust your audio to your liking. 
  • More professional. Most professional podcasters will opt for an XLR mic over a USB mic. 
  • Easy to record with multiple participants. 

Disadvantages: 

  • Require an audio interface. This necessary extra piece of kit adds to your cost and makes your whole setup less portable. 
  • Less budget-friendly. XLR mics tend to be pricier. Plus with the added cost of an audio interface, they’re not always the most affordable option. 

If you think an XLR mic is for you, find the ideal mic using our guide to the best ones out there. 

We’ve given you a brief overview of the key considerations when it comes to buying a mic. But if you’re keen for more information, try our in-depth guide to choosing a podcast microphone.

Podcast cameras

You want you and your guests to not only sound your best but look your best too. If you’ve got a smaller budget, you can opt for a simple external webcam or even stick with your computer’s in-built one. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, there are plenty of high-quality cameras that’ll do the trick. 

What to think about when choosing your podcast camera: 

1. Resolution 

Resolution is all about your video quality. The higher the resolution, the better your video will be. If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video, you’ll have seen the options to toggle between 720p and 1080p - this refers to the video resolution/quality. 

2. Frame Rate 

The number of frames that a camera captures every second. Generally speaking, there’s no ‘best frame rate’. Cameras range from being able to capture about 24 frames per second to 60 frames per second. 

3. Budget

Your budget will determine what kind of camera you should be looking at. For those with a smaller budget, an external webcam will do just fine. 

4. Portability 

If you’re constantly on the move, you should choose a camera that is light and compact. 

Read more about how to choose your podcast camera in our guide. 

Headphones

Headphones are a must-have for podcasting (and editing). Wearing them whilst recording enables you to monitor your audio closely and make any necessary adjustments. 

Here’s what to think about when choosing the perfect pair for you: 

1. Comfort 

If you’re a serious podcaster, you’ll be wearing your headphones for hours at a time. You need to look for a pair with good comfort levels that won’t impede your productivity. 

Look for headphones that are adjustable and lightweight with a good level of padding. 

2. Budget 

How much you’re able to spend will dictate what kind of headphones you’ll be able to get your hands on. Knowing what your budget is before looking at your options will make the decision a lot easier. 

3. Sound Isolation 

You want a pair of headphones that block out ambient noise that is irrelevant to you and your recording. 

Top tip: avoid active sound-canceling headphones because these negatively affect the quality of the audio you hear. 

4. Connectivity - Wired or Wireless? 

This choice comes down to personal preference. If you like to be on your feet and wandering around, you may want to consider investing in wireless Bluetooth headphones. 

If you do opt for Bluetooth headphones remember that you’ll need to charge them occasionally. 

5. Latency 

Latency refers to the delay between when you press play to when you hear the audio.  This is more of a consideration if you choose wireless Bluetooth headphones since they often have a higher level of latency than wired ones. 

6. Frequency Response 

Frequency response shows how well a pair of headphones can reproduce sounds at every frequency level. Ideally, you’re looking for a frequency response range of 20 - 20,000 Hz. 

Find the best pair of podcast headphones with our 2021 guide. 

Soundproofing

If you’re recording at home, sound-proofing and sound-treating your room is the best way to preserve and elevate the quality of your audio. 

Choosing a room with as few outward-facing walls as possible is a good place to start. This will reduce the amount of ambient noise that filters in from outside. 

Soundproofing is all about isolating your recording space from unwanted external noise. 

You can soundproof your home studio by closing off any air gaps in the room, laying down carpets and rugs, and affixing thick material or sound curtains to the walls. 

Sound Treating is about optimizing your recording environment to capture the best audio possible. 

Invest in some bass traps, acoustic foam tiles, and diffusers to optimize your recording studio. 

If you’re thinking about building a proper home podcasting studio, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about creating the ideal podcast studio at home.

What Software Do I Need to Record a Podcast?

In order to record a podcast, you’ll need recording software and editing software. Sometimes you’ll find the recording and editing suites combined in one application. 

If you’re recording your podcast offline, you will be able to record your audio directly into your editing application, like Garageband or Hindenburg Journalist. 

However, if you’re recording with remote guests, you’ll need to record your podcast with something like Riverside.fm. Riverside.fm’s Magic Editor makes editing your recording super easy, but if you want to edit your recording further, you can also import your recording files into your editing software. 

Best software to record your podcast offline

Garageband

Advantages 

  • Free with all Apple devices - great for small budgets. 
  • Easy-to-use intuitive interface. 
  • Advanced editing capabilities for free! 

Disadvantages 

  • Not available for Windows devices. 
  • Cannot include video recordings. 

Adobe Audition

Advantages

  • Comprehensive editing capabilities mean you have the creative freedom to do what you want to your podcast. 
  • Batch processing that will speed up your workflow. 
  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac devices. 

Disadvantages 

  • Aimed at industry professionals. So Adobe Audition’s offerings might be slight overkill for most podcasters. 
  • Steep learning curve. Because of the professional target audience, Adobe Audition can be difficult to navigate for beginners. 
  • Cannot include video recordings. This can be a deal-breaker for video podcasters. 
  • Not as affordable. Beginning at $20.99/month, Adobe Audition may not be suitable for smaller budgets. 

Hindenburg Journalist 

Advantages 

  • Designed with podcasters and broadcasters in mind. 
  • Uploads directly to major podcasting directories - a great time-saving feature. 
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows. 
  • Records uncompressed audio that preserve the quality of your recording. 
  • Compatible with all audio file formats, so you can import recordings from everywhere and anywhere. 

Disadvantages 

  • Expensive. Beginning at $95/month. 
  • Steep learning curve for beginners. 
  • Cannot include video recordings. 
  • Editing tools are not as extensive as some other competitors.

The best remote podcast recording software

Riverside.fm

Riverside.fm exceeds expectations and knocks Zoom and Skype out of the park when it comes to recording a remote podcast. Here’s why: 

  • Each participant is recorded locally in full HD. Riverside.fm records locally on each person’s computer so your podcast is not affected by weak or intermittent internet connection.
  • High-quality HD recordings. Riverside captures up to 4k video and automatically records using lossless file formats (WAV) to preserve the integrity and quality of your recording. 
  • Automatic progressive upload. Riverside.fm uploads your recording as you’re recording. This minimizes the risk of data loss and saves you time. 
  • Easy-to-use and intuitive interface. Riverside.fm is made with the user in mind, so it’s super straightforward and simple to work with. 
  • Browser-based. With Riverside.fm there’s no need to download yet another application, simply open Google Chrome, login, and start recording. 
  • Integrated Media Board. Riverside’s media board enables you to include sound effects, music, video, and other media in your podcast live. 
  • Affordable monthly subscription. Starting at just $7.5/month, Riverside.fm won’t break the bank. 
  • Livestream your podcast. If you want to include your audience during your recording, Riverside lets you live stream to all major platforms. 
  • Audience and Producer Mode. With these two modes, you can include your production team and a live audience, but they’ll be automatically excluded from your audio recording. 
  • Save time with the Magic Editor. Riverside’s intuitive Magic Editor cuts your post-production time in half by helping you turn your recording into a fully polished (video) podcast. You can add media retrospectively, perfect the layout, and customize your episode all from the Magic Editor. 
  • Smart Speaker Mode cuts the hassle. Riverside’s Smart Speaker ensures the transition between speakers is seamless. It automatically analyzes your video and switches to the speaker 1 second before they speak. 

How to record a podcast interview offline, in 4 simple steps:

1. Find A Quiet Place.

Your recording environment is key to producing a high-quality recording. If you find yourself somewhere which has a lot of ambient noise or frequent disturbances, the likelihood is your audio will be compromised. 

If you can, record somewhere that’s been sound treated and soundproofed. If not, record yourself somewhere as quiet as possible. 

2. Prepare Your Podcasting Equipment

Ensure your podcasting set-up is ready to go - that’s your computer, headphones, and microphone (plus your camera if you’re recording video). Your mic placement (and your position in relation to it) is extremely important for recording good-quality audio. 

In terms of mic positioning, try and place your microphone at least 6 - 8 inches from your mouth. Although do remember that different mics have different needs, so experiment a little to find what works best with yours. 

If you’ve got the budget, consider investing in a boom arm and pop filter for your microphone. 

Learn more about how to make your podcast audio the best it can be with our guide. 

3. Set Up Your Audio Software

Get your audio recording software up and running, check if your mics are all wired up correctly, and do an audio check. It never hurts to do a little warm-up too. 

4. Start Recording!

Once you’re settled in, start recording and enjoy the ride. 

How to record a podcast from different locations (using Riverside.fm)

1. Open Google Chrome and log in to Riverside.fm 

Riverside.fm is browser-based but optimized for Google Chrome. 

2. Create your recording studio. 

Give your studio a name and select your recording type. If you’ve got your guests and production team lined up in advance, at this point, you can share the link with them too.

3. Enter your recording studio and share the invitation link with your participants. 

On the day, enter your recording studio - ensure Riverside.fm is picking up the correct mic and camera - and share the link with your participants if you haven’t already. 

4. Once everyone has joined using your link, start recording! 

Once everybody is happy and raring to go, click the big red record button and enjoy the ride. 

Bonus tip: How to get the best recording out of your (remote) guest

Prep your guest beforehand 

Ensure to walk your guests through exactly what’s expected of them, what the structure of the episode will be, and address any queries they may have. Not only will this make sure they’re prepared but will alleviate any nerves they’re having too. 

Ask your guest to wear headphones 

Wearing headphones will improve the quality of your guest’s audio and therefore your overall recording. As far as possible, ask your guest to wear a pair - and if they don’t have their own, consider sending them some.  

Encourage your guest to record in an ideal location

If your guest is unfamiliar with podcasting, they may not instinctively choose a quiet, well-isolated space with a good internet connection to record in. Walk them through what they should be looking for and hopefully they’ll find somewhere suitable. 

Record your remote podcast using Riverside.fm

Whilst you can try and improve your guests’ recording quality from afar, it’s not a perfect science. With Riverside.fm you’ve got the best chance of getting a studio-quality recording out of your guest wherever they are. 

You won’t need to worry about dodgy internet connection because Riverside.fm records each participant locally. So wherever your guest finds themselves, they’ll be looking and sounding the best they possibly can.

What To Do When You’re Done Recording

Once the fun part is over, the work begins. During post-production, you can trim, edit, cut, and play with your recording to get your podcast sounding just how you want it to. 

That being said, you don’t have to ‘edit’ your podcast. Some podcasters prefer to upload their recording straight away without all the bells and whistles. 

Editing Your Podcast

Podcast Editing Software

Software such as GarageBand, Adobe Audition, or Hindenburg Journalist gives you the ability to play around with your podcast recording. Move segments around, add effects, improve or change the audio, and integrate other sound files. 

Adding music, such as intros, outros, and transitions is a great way to elevate the production quality of your podcast instantly. Find out where to get the best royalty-free music for your podcast with our guide.

Automate Editing using Riverside’s Magic Editor

Riverside.fm’s Magic Editor makes editing your recording for publication quick and simple.

The Magic Editor improves the quality of your audio by removing background noise and normalizing gain (which means leveling out all the audio so there’s no volume discrepancy). 

For video, the Magic Editor makes your content look better by making sure it fills the screen. 

You can even customize your podcast with a logo and frame to really make your podcast branding pop throughout. 

Plus, the Riverside.fm Media Board allows you to include media during your live recording, so you don’t need to worry about doing this in post-production. This means you can still include intros, outros, and transitions. 

Read about the best podcast editing software in our guide 

Create your Podcast Cover Art 

If you haven’t already, this is when you get your creative juices flowing. Though you might feel like you’ve done the hard work already, cover art is an essential element of your podcast marketing. 

Create cover art that reflects your podcast’s theme and personality. Although it’s not all about judging a book by its cover, first impressions make a big difference. For new listeners, your cover art can tempt them to give your podcast a listen. 

You can either create your cover art yourself or hire a freelancer or agency. 

Read more about podcast cover art in our guide

Produce your show notes and podcast transcription 

The essential final touches for any podcast should be your show notes and episode transcription. 

Show notes give your listeners a summary of your episode and what they should expect. 

Podcast transcripts make your content more accessible and open to new audiences. They also help you to promote, market, and re-use your podcast more effectively. 

Note: Riverside.fm offers unlimited automatic transcription with Pro and Enterprise plans.

Read all about why you should be transcribing your podcast in our guide 

Upload your show to a podcast Hosting Software (A Place To Store The Audio Files You Create)

Once you’ve edited your podcast using specific software or Riverside.fm’s Magic Editor, export your file for publication. Once you’ve got your file ready to go, you’ll then need to upload it to a podcast host such as Buzzsprout, Spreaker, or Anchor

Submit your podcast to directories (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.)

Once you’ve uploaded your recording to your podcast host, you’ll need to distribute it to all the major listening platforms. Many hosts automatically submit your content to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, etc., so you don’t have to worry about it. 

Check whether your podcast host has this feature or not, and if they’re missing out on a particular platform, ensure to submit your podcast manually. 

Give yourself a pat on the back - you did it! 

You recorded a whole podcast episode - congrats. Savor the moment, acknowledge your accomplishment, and get ready to do it all over again. Podcasting is addictive - this is only the beginning of your journey!

FAQs about Recording Podcasts:

How can I use my browser to record a podcast?

Long story short, use Riverside.fm. Riverside makes recording a podcast from your browser seem like a complete breeze. There’s no need to download any additional application, and your guests don’t even need to sign up or make an account. Simply open Google Chrome and start recording! 

What do I need to record a podcast at home?

All you need is a microphone, headphones, computer, recording software, and yourself. If you want to include guests in your podcast, try using Riverside.fm. 

How long does it take to record a podcast?

There’s no correct answer to this question. Timings vary from podcaster to podcaster. Some run a very tight and efficient operation, whereas others may prefer to take their time, re-record segments that didn’t go quite right, or see where the episode takes them. 

How do I record a podcast on an iPhone?

Recording your podcast from an iPhone just got easier. Riverside.fm’s recently released iOS app is not messing around - it’s a recording studio right in your pocket! 

Note: the app currently works for guest flows only. 

Read more about how to record your podcast using an iPhone

How do I record a podcast with two 3.5mm microphones?

In order to record with two 3.5 mm microphones, one option is to get yourself a stereo splitter.  The only problem with doing this is that the two microphones, and therefore two sources of audio, become one recording. This can make editing your recording more difficult. 

Can you record a podcast with AirPods?

Technically, yes you can record a podcast with AirPods. Objectively speaking, they’re not the best choice.

The AirPods microphone, whilst decent for phone calls, just does not live up to the caliber of a proper studio microphone. As a result, you’ll get a lower quality recording which will dampen the overall production quality of your podcast. 

How to record a Skype call for a podcast?

The honest answer is don’t record your Skype call, use Riverside.fm instead. Using Skype to podcast means your audio and video are susceptible to glitchy internet, and leaves you with low-quality recording, and a single-track recording. 

Plus, recording a Skype call is not even as straightforward as it sounds. Using Riverside.fm is a far simpler and straightforward solution. And Riverside actually offers many features that Skype does not. 

Read more about recording your podcast using Skype and why Riverside is a great alternative here. 

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