What is multitrack recording?
Multitrack recording is when you record each of your podcast participants on a separate track. If you live mix during your podcast and include music, sound effects, or other media, this would also be recorded on a separate track.
Recording a multitrack podcast saves you time, gives you greater flexibility and control during editing, and basically makes your life easier.
How does multitrack recording work?
Multitrack recording is exactly as it sounds. When recording your podcast, each of your guests’ audio is recorded onto an individual, dedicated track. There’s nothing more to it.
Depending on how you do it, recording a multitrack podcast can be extremely straightforward. With software like Riverside.fm, for example, multi-track recording is automatic.
On the other hand, if you use specific multitrack recorder hardware, or opt for a more manual method, recording each participant on an individual track can become a bit cumbersome.
Main Pros of Recording Audio on Separate Tracks
Recording a multitrack podcast gives you the flexibility every podcaster wants and needs.
Since each participant has their own audio track, mistakes, unwanted background noise or interference are not a big deal. You can simply edit out the unwanted segments during post-production without affecting the other tracks.
With multiple tracks, you gain much more control over your podcast audio during post-production. You are able to toggle audio levels, enhance the quality where necessary, and adjust according to what that individual track needs.
For example, one person’s bad mic positioning doesn’t need to have a negative impact on the whole recording. You can compensate for their subpar recording without affecting the levels on the other tracks.
Potential Cons of Recording Audio on Separate Tracks
Potential extra costs
If you’re not already set up for multitrack recording, getting the correct equipment or subscribing to new software can add unforeseen costs. In the long run, though, it’ll be worth it.
With the added freedom and increased editing capabilities that multi-track recording gives you, comes longer post-production sessions. Luckily though, with Riverside.fm, multitrack recording doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Our Magic Editor saves you time and produces a podcast fit for publication in no time.
Though multi-track recording means you can edit out mistakes, blunders, and a lot of unwanted background noise, it’s not foolproof. You can’t always guarantee your guests will choose an optimal recording environment or that their equipment is up to scratch. These factors will inevitably affect the overall quality of their individual audio track.
Multitrack Recording Options
There are a number of different ways you can start multitrack recording. Though, as with anything, some options are better than others.
Multitrack Recorder Software
If you want to start recording multitrack podcasts, multitrack recorder software like Riverside.fm are the most convenient and flexible options. If you ask us, it’s a no-brainer, really.
You don’t need to purchase (or transport) additional equipment and you can even include remote guests in your podcast. Plus, with Riverside.fm, you get access to a whole host of additional features for no extra cost.
Multitrack Recording Locally Into a Computer
This is what is known as a ‘double-ender’ recording. Riverside.fm automatically records each participant locally on a separate track. But it’s also possible to do this manually. If you decide to record your podcast remotely over Zoom, for example, you could ask each of your participants to record themselves locally from their computer using a program like QuickTime. This means that each of your guests winds up being recorded independently.
This option is a big hassle though. Not only do you have to make sure each of your participants has set themselves up correctly (and even then, you can never be sure), but you’ve got to wait around for them to transfer their large audio file over to you before you can start editing.
Multitrack Recorder Equipment
You can also choose to invest in multitrack recorder equipment and add it to your podcasting setup. For obvious reasons, this is better suited to an in-person recording setup.
You’re looking for an audio interface, with the relevant number of inputs and outputs, that you can connect to your computer to start recording. There are loads of great options out there such as the Zoom PodTrak P4 or the Rodecaster.
How to manually separate audio channels
Separate tracks through an audio interface
If you’re recording in person, and want to record multiple tracks, all you need is an audio interface. You’ll need one with enough channels (input and output) to accommodate each of your guests and each participant will also need their own microphone (an added cost to bear in mind if you’re on a budget). Depending on whether you have XLR or USB mics the type of audio interface you need will change.
Once you’ve got it all set up, ensure your recording software is set to record each track separately.
Find the perfect audio interface for your setup here.
Separate tracks using a multitrack recorder
You could also consider investing in a dedicated multitrack recorder such as the Zoom PodTrak P4. Simply wire up your mics to it and start recording. The PodTrak P4 even allows you to include remote guests by connecting it to your phone or computer.
Separate each participant into different devices and channels
Though this option is extremely labor-intensive, it’s a workaround for podcasters wanting to include remote guests. Once you’ve got your conference call set up, you’ll need separate devices (PC, iPhones, Tablets, you name it) for every single participant. You’ll then hook these devices up to your audio interface which must have a sufficient number of inputs and outputs for every device. The audio interface will correspond with your recording software to record each track separately.
What To Look For In A Podcast Recording Software
Ultimately the podcast recording software you choose comes down to personal preference. But if you’re struggling with which software to choose, here’s what to look for:
Intuitive and easy to use
You don’t want a steep learning curve when it comes to using your podcast recording software. Recording your podcast should be a stress-free process that is enhanced by your recording software, not hampered by it.
High-quality recording and production quality
When it comes to podcasting, arguably one of the most important things is recording quality. HD audio and video immediately raise your production value and makes sure you look and sound your best every time. Don’t settle for anything less.
Features designed for podcasters
There are a number of generic recording software out there that serve everyone from musicians to podcasters. Although the features are often compatible, they’re not always quite what we podcasters need. Look for software that is designed specifically with podcasters in mind. Chances are, your recording experience will be vastly improved by features you didn’t even know you needed.
Your podcast recording software should be saving you time, not extending your working day. Everything from the software workflow to the interface and processing time can add unnecessary steps to your podcasting process. These are a couple of things to consider when weighing up different software.
Ability to include video
We know what you’re thinking, ‘I’m a podcaster, I don’t need video!’ In fact, video podcasting is gaining popularity and fast. Including video can elevate your podcast, make your content more engaging and personable, and diversify your audiences. Even if you’re not convinced right now, there’s no point in excluding the option.
Local Podcast Recording Software Recommendations
Audacity is a free and open-source multi-track audio recorder and editor.
- Easy to use with no real learning curve. If you’re struggling there’s a lot of tutorials online.
- Affordable so even podcasters on a budget can use Audacity.
- Multi-track recording is an integrated feature so you don’t have to think too much.
- Cannot include video which may limit your podcast growth in the future.
- Cannot include remote participants which during COVID severely limits your ability to include guests.
- Dated interface which some podcasters may find harder to navigate.
- User data security and privacy concerns, which you can read about in our article unpacking Audacity alternatives.
Adobe Audition is Adobe’s professional-grade audio recording and editing suite.
- Immense editing capabilities with comprehensive features to help you realize your podcasting vision.
- Batch processing speeds up your workflow because you can bulk edit tracks.
- Expensive with the most basic subscription starting at $20.99/month.
- Overkill for some podcasters. Adobe Audition targets industry professionals, meaning some podcasters will find the program excessive for their needs.
- Cannot include remote guests which is a huge disadvantage during COVID-19.
- Cannot include video which may frustrate some podcasters.
GarageBand is Apple’s Digital Audio Workstation which is available for desktop, iPhone, and iPad.
- Free with Apple devices.
- Easy to use with little to no learning curve
- User friendly with an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing interface.
- Ubiquitous because everyone who owns an Apple device can access GarageBand.
- Cannot include video which limits your podcasting capabilities.
- Cannot include remote guests which is not very COVID friendly.
- Only available for Apple devices, so if members of your production team are PC users you may run into trouble.
How do I record a podcast online and interview guests remotely?
Riverside.fm has got online remote podcasting covered. Seriously, with Riverside.fm recording a podcast online and interviewing guests remotely is a no-brainer.
Remote Podcast Recording Software Recommendation
If you’re going to record a multitrack podcast, you should be using Riverside.fm. Here’s why:
Get separate audio and video tracks for each participant
Multitrack recording is written into Riverside.fm’s DNA. It’s an automatic feature so you don’t even have to think about recording each participant individually.
Records locally, quality not dependant on wifi
Not only is each participant recorded onto a separate track, but they’re recorded locally on their device. That means the quality of their recording is immune to dodgy internet connection or other interference.
Automatic progressive upload
Riverside.fm automatically progressively uploads each participants’ recording during your session. This minimizes the risk of data loss and saves you time because you don’t have to wait around at the end for your files to process.
Riverside's extensive features are affordable! There is a free plan and paid plans only start at $15/month.
Supports up to 8 people
Record with up to 8 remote guests from across the globe with Riverside.fm
Riverside.fm automatically transcribes your podcast so that you can make your content more accessible to new audiences, repurpose your content, and amp up your digital marketing.
Read more about why you should start transcribing your podcast in our guide.
Riverside’s Magic Editor helps save you time by intuitively editing your podcast recording. You can personalize the design and layout of your video podcast, enable AI speaker view which automatically switches to the person who is speaking, Once you’re happy, you can export your recording ready to be published.
Remote Recording Essentials
To start recording a podcast remotely you only really need three things: a mic, headphones, and remote podcasting software.
If you’re on a super tight budget, you could consider simply using the built-in mic on your computer. However, even a basic microphone will make a big difference to your audio quality. You don’t even have to break the bank to get yourself a decent mic for your remote podcasting setup.
Find yourself the perfect podcasting mic using our guide.
You may feel tempted to skimp on headphones because they feel like an excessive purchase. Trust us, they’re not. Wearing headphones whilst remote podcasting is essential because it helps monitor your audio, adjust your mic position, live mix, and edit your podcast during post.
Make sure to get a sturdy pair with good comfort levels. If you’re a prolific podcaster, you’ll find yourself spending hours wearing these headphones.
Find the perfect pair for you with our guide to the best podcasting headphones.
Remote recording software, like Riverside.fm
Finally, you need remote podcast recording software that’s designed to make your life easier. Riverside.fm has got all of your needs covered, and more. You can start for free to get access to a whole host of amazing features that will help you maximize your podcast.
Try it for yourself and sign up for free today!
Multitrack podcast recording FAQ
How is multitrack recording different from live recording?
Live recording is when everything is recorded all at once as it happens. all on one track.
By contrast, multitrack recording, as we’ve seen, is when each individual source of audio is recorded onto a separate audio track.
But let’s get this clear, you can record a multitrack podcast live. With Riverside.fm, your live conversation is captured automatically in a multitrack format.
How do I record podcasts from two locations?
Sounds complex, but it’s really not. With Riverside.fm all you have to do is open your browser-based recording studio and share the invitation link with your remote guest. They’ll follow the link to log on to your recording session from wherever they are in the world.
How do I record a podcast on my iPhone?
Recording a podcast with your iPhone is the perfect solution for podcasters on the go. Using the Riverside.fm iOS app, you can record an HD podcast from wherever you are.
Read all about our mobile app here and download it on the App Store to give it a go.
Note: currently the Riverside.fm app is only optimized for guest workflow
How do I record a podcast with remote guests?
It’s a no-brainer: use Riverside.fm to record your podcast with remote guests. Recording an HD podcast remotely is only one of many features and functions that Riverside.fm offers.
Does GarageBand have multitrack recording?
Yes, but it’s not an automatic feature and you’ll need enough mics for each of your participants as well as an audio interface that accommodates everyone.
Connect your mics to your audio interface and then your audio interface to your computer. Check that GarageBand has detected your audio interface. Ensure to select your audio interface for both input and output devices.
Then all you have to do is add your tracks, and then click Record Enable on each of them.
Then it’s time to start recording!