Test Your Wifi Connection
Remote recording software works best when WiFi is strong and stable. To make sure your interview sounds great and doesnt require a second take, test your internet speed in advance and see if you can move your router a little closer to your recording spot. For the most stable recording connection, try to avoid changing rooms in the middle of your call. Make sure your guest has a solid internet connection as well and encourage them to use WiFi, rather than cellular data.
We use a variety of equipment, some are just for backup. With certain services having interruption issues during this time, its nice to have more than one way to record should the first option go awry for any reason. Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna, hosts of Crawlspace
Set Your Guest Up For Success
First and foremost, your interviewee will need a quiet room with a door that closes where they can do the interview. The best rooms are small, with low ceilings and as many plush surfaces as possiblecarpets, curtains and soft furniture.
- Quiet, preferably small, room
- Plush surfaces like carpets, curtains, soft furniture
- Closed door
Next, figure out how youll be talking with them. Do they have a landline , a cell phone, and/or a computer with an internet connection in that room? Maybe even an external microphone? The option you choose moving forward depends on your interviewees situation.
Option A: Quiet Room + Computer with Internet Connection
+ External USB Mic
In the best case scenario, your interviewee has a computer withan internet connection, and an external USB mic. If they do, then those are perfect for them to use.
+ Headphones/Earbuds with Mic
It is likely your interviewee wont have an external mic, and thats fine. If they have a headset with a small microphone or a pair of earbuds, ask them to use that.
+ Internal Computer Mic
Alternatively, they can use the internal microphone on their laptop, but this is the least desirable option as it will pick up a lot of noise in the roomtry to avoid that.
Skype and Zoom also have recording options, but those services are recording the connection itself, not the voices coming into the computers hardware, so the audio quality will not be as good as on something like the services mentioned above.
+ Smartphone as Mic
Do Some Research On Your Guest
You need to be careful when researching your guests. Doing too much will make your conversations feel rigid. But not doing enough will come across as rude and disrespectful. You need to hit the sweet spot somewhere in the middle. Here are some of the basics worth checking out before you to sit down to record:
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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 : 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 : If you dont 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 wont 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 : 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 !
Prepare Your Questions In Advance
This one seems obvious, but its worth saying. You dont need to prepare every word youll say, but its important to have a core list of questions you intend to ask. It also helps to have a secondary list of potential questions to ask if you have time.
That said, dont be afraid to veer off your planned course during the interview. Using only prepared questions can make your conversation feel disjointed and artificial. Respond to your guest with unique and genuine questions.
Here are a few tips to help you develop quality questions:
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How Long Should A Podcast Interview Be
In terms of length, there isnt really a golden number we can give you. Its completely dependent on the format of your podcast and the subject youre covering. Podcasts will typically range from anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours long.
Try to keep episodes to a similar length. They dont have to wrap up at 45 minutes on the dot every time, so dont abruptly cut off your guest or anything if theyre still mid-sentence, but sticking to a standard episode length will make it easier for your audience to plan when to listen to them.
For example, if episodes are roughly 30 minutes long and so is your listeners commute time, they will know they can fit the latest episode in on the way to work.
Our best tip is: only make it as long as it needs to be. Dont try to fluff it out, as youll end up rambling, which wont be as interesting. Editing is your friend here, as you can cut out anything that doesnt add value to the interview or if there are awkward pauses and errors.
How The Pros Use Zoom For Podcast Recording
Okay, I said don’t use it, but actually there is one way Zoom can work that actually gets really great results.
Afterall, everyone is comfortable with the platform, so if you don’t want to overcomplicate the setup for your guests, this could be the option for you.
A simple, yet fairly effective method is to have your guests record themselves using the Voice Memo app on their phone. Most modern smartphones have super high quality mics built in – much better than, say, your laptop mic.
So, you connect to your guest using Zoom, get them to open up their Voice Memo app and hit record, and then hold the phone up and speak into it like a mic. Then, once you’re done, have them email you the file. You can even record via Zoom as a backup just in case.
Super important to keep in mind though – the guest must be wearing headphones connected to the Zoom call so that their phone picks up their voice only.
You’d be amazed by how many top-notch shows have been recorded this way during lockdown, so consider giving it a try.
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Can You Record A Podcast Without A Microphone
Yes! Contrary to what most people think, theres no reason that you shouldnt be able to record a podcast without a microphone. While having one can improve the quality of the audio, youre recording, its not essential if your guest doesnt have their own mic to use.
There are plenty of ways to record a podcast without a microphone, for example, using a platform like Skype or Zoom. These will allow you to record a conversation with someone using the microphone built into the program, which saves you from going out and purchasing expensive equipment of your own.
Some programs like this will also deliver a surprisingly high standard of quality, so if your only two options are to record without a mic or with one thats pretty poor quality, you might even find that recording without a microphone produces better audio results in the end.
Familiarise Yourself With Different Apps
In the digital age, were spoiled for choice when it comes to ways we can connect with people remotely. You probably have your personal preference for how you like to make your calls, but its a good idea to be familiar with a range of apps and services you never know what your guest may prefer. Skype, Facetime, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Slack, Google Hangouts, and WhatsApp are all popular alternatives to traditional phone calls. Download the apps and familiarise yourself with how they work.
Mike Dawson, voice, engineer and co-producer of The Adam Carolla Show
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Why Does Recording Quality Matter For Podcasts
A study by USC and the Australian National University shows that audio quality influences your credibility. Your sound actually affects whether people believe what they hear and whether they trust the source of information.
Norbert Schwarz, a co-director of the Mind & Society Center at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences puts it succinctly: When you make it difficult for people to process information, it becomes less credible.
Thats not so hard to believe. Eloquent people are considered more trustworthy, regardless of the substance of their content. Youll change the radio station if the reception is poor, even if theyre playing your favorite song. We just dont like to listen if we cant understand.
As you can imagine, credibility is critical for a podcast. If your listeners dont trust what youre saying, theres no way theyll keep listening. As a host, your goal is to create an imitate, long-term relationship with your listeners, but thats impossible if they struggle to hear your words.
Furthermore, your audio quality is important because you have a lot of competition. There are a lot of shows out there taking their audio seriously. If you dont compete at their level, your listeners will migrate to the shows that sound pleasant in their ears. Finding a new show is as simple as hitting the BACK button in a listening app, so dont give your listeners a reason to go elsewhere.
How To Record Podcast Interviews
Are you looking to start doing interviews on your podcast? Whether you want to interview in-studio, in-person, or remotely, you just need to have a few pieces of equipment, a proper set up, and a great interviewer mindset!
So let’s break it down…
- This is pretty straightforward – All you need is your usual recording set up as well as an extra microphone and headphone set for your guest!
If you are looking for information about setting up and recording your podcast, check out our How to Record a Podcast article!
- Now, this type of interview is a bit more complicated because if you are traveling to the guest instead of them coming to you then you likely can’t bring all of your usual, more hefty equipment. But not to worry, here’s a list of what you will need for a great in-person interview:
- Lapel mics or Handheld mics: Lapel microphones are small mics that clip to a speaker’s shirt, so they are perfect to bring on the road and they still provide high quality audio. Handheld mics are obviously slightly bigger and require the speaker to hold the microphone, but they provide high quality audio as well and are easy to transport.
- Alternatives: Internal microphones in digital recorders or smartphones
Interested in podcasting with Live365? Join our waitlist to be the first to be notified when podcasting is available on the Live365 platform.
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Setting Up Your Home Recording Environment
You dont need to soundproof entire rooms. But make sure you choose a nice quiet space where youre unlikely to pick up pesky background noises. Move fans and other things that make a lot of noise into another room, or switch them off if possible. Recording in a room thats carpeted can also help as it dampens echoes.
You might want to put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door when youre recording to stop others in your home accidentally walking in during your recording .
If you want to achieve more professional audio at home, we recommend buying a reflection filter. These can be fitted just behind your microphone to eliminate echoes, giving your recordings a studio-quality feel.
Record A Podcast Remotely With Zoom
Zoom is a conference call app capable of hosting unlimited participants for unlimited durations. One of the big pluses of Zoom is its simplicity and reliability. The trade-off, however, is that the audio quality can be poor at times.
- Mac/PC Both
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Recording A Zoom Call
Before you start recording a call, take a minute to review our recommended recording settings above in the section above, and then follow these steps to record your call:
Before you start the call, be sure you are running the latest Zoom Meetings Client. Click your profile icon in the top right and then click Check for Updates. Ask all of your guests to do the same thing before you start the meeting. Zoom is constantly rolling out new updates, features, and bug fixes.
The first control you will need is the Invite button at the bottom. Tap Invite and then tap Copy Invitation to get the meeting ID and passcode. You can send this to your guest however you want just paste it into an email or a message to them.
Once your guest has joined the Zoom call you will see the number of participants increase from 1 to 2 in the Manage Participants button at the bottom. Tap Manage Participants to see the full list of guests on your call.
Everyone should start recording and Turn on Original Sound at this point. At this point you want to run through a quick checklist before you start the interview.
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.
Dont be too quick to claim victory! Having good equipment is not enough. You really need to trust their expertise because you wont hear their recording before they send it to you. In any case, it is better that you record in duplicate on your side, on your software.
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Record A Podcast Remotely With Alitu
Alitu is a podcast maker app, originally designed to do your audio cleanup automatically, add your music and edit your podcast in a really simple way. But then, it added call recording, and now it’s an all-in-one solution to record calls, edit and produce them, and publish them directly to your hosting provider of choice.
Full disclosure, Alitu is our own tool, created to solve the many problems and barriers we’ve heard about from our audience over the years. Here’s how to quickly and easily make a podcast using Alitu.
On the remote recording front, there are no time limits on calls made with Alitu. On top of that, the call link you send to guests never changes, which makes it easy to share if you’re using a scheduling tool. With that in mind, there’s also a Lock’ feature you can activate during calls to make sure you don’t get any random cameos from previous guests!
- Mac/PC Both
- Cost $28 per month, or get 2 months free with a yearly payment of $280. Any Alitu subscription gives you access to all of its editing, production, and publishing tools, as well as unlimited call recording.
- Files MP3
- Guest Requirements Google Chrome
- Video No
- Split-track? No
Do Some Background Research On Your Subject
A podcast interview shouldnt be your first exposure to your subject. You should know at least a little about them before the show starts. Your job is to expose the interviewee to your audience, so it helps to know enough about the subject to get the ball rolling.
Dig into your guests online persona. Read their articles, troll through their social media profiles, and Google around for what theyve said online . Take note of their big accomplishments, like winning an award, writing a book, or speaking at an event.
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Podcast Recording Reminders And Hacks
Now that you know whats required for a remote podcast recording, how to record podcast interviews using several different pieces of software, and what NOT to do when it comes to ensuring youre producing high quality audio , lets talk about one of the lesser known podcast recording hacks and a critical reminder.
Consider A Video Call
Some interviews benefit from a face-to-face connection. Seeing your guests expressions and reacting to each others body language makes for more dynamic and engaging conversation. Your audience may not see this footage in the end, but theyll be able to hear your sense of connection in the audio.
Set up a call using Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or your other favorite video conferencing app. If youre recording your interview using Record With Friends, you can go ahead and mute yourselves on camera and stick with Anchor as the only audio source.
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