Long ago were the days where podcasts had to be recorded in person.
Honestly, I’m not sure those days ever really existed. But COVID-19 brought a host of top-notch audio programs and solutions that make it easy to record and create a podcast from anywhere, at any time. In fact, it’s made the overall podcasting experience a real breeze.
Even though the remote recording process is getting much easier, it’s not always intuitive. There are a lot of factors to consider, like what information your guests need to join in on the call.
With that in mind, let’s go over how to record a podcast remotely. Whether you’re switching to remote recordings or you’re simply just starting your podcast journey, we’ve got everything you need to know!
Recording remotely gives you the freedom to record with anyone, no matter where they are in the world. Not only that, but you can record at any time and any place. It opens a whole new world for podcasters.
It’s the most budget-friendly and easiest way to start a podcast. If you’re not doing it yet, you should definitely consider it.
Setting up a remote recording isn’t hard, but it does help if you know the steps that you need to take to get the job done. Here's everything you need to know about how to record a podcast remotely.
Podcast equipment articles are a dime a dozen these days—everyone knows what you need to start a podcast (honestly, the list isn’t that complex). But if you’re going to be recording remotely, you’ll need to take that into consideration when you pick out your equipment. Here’s what you’re looking for:
Every podcaster needs a microphone, but which one you purchase for your remote set up depends on why you’re choosing to record remotely.
Are you doing it because you have guests all around the world that you want to interview without having to travel to meet them? Or are you on the go yourself and need to be able to record while you travel?
If you’re constantly on-the-go, you’ll want something lightweight and easy to use—a lapel microphone takes up almost no space, and is usually plugin-and-go. But if you’re at home with a dedicated space, you can invest in something a little heartier.
Whichever microphone you end up using, you want to ensure that it works well with the device you’re using to record. Likewise, you’ll want to make sure that it records solid sound over the internet.
If you podcast remotely, especially if you’re chatting with a guest or co-host, you want to make sure you have quality headphones. Not only will they let you hear the other person clearly, they’ll help you avoid recording any sound coming out of your computer.
Speaking of computers, you’ll need one to record remotely. Alternatively, you could use a tablet or mobile device—either way, you’ll need something that you can plug your microphone and headphones into, and record over the internet. Ideally, this device will also be capable of editing audio files too, unless you’re planning on contracting out.
I know, it seems like all the cool podcasters are doing it, but Zoom is not the place to record your podcast.
Yes, it’s easy to use and everyone knows it, But, it’s built for meetings, not recording. While you might think that moving away from a popular platform like Zoom will confuse your guests, most recording programs built specifically for podcasting are incredibly easy to use and don’t require your guests to download anything.
The biggest factor is that it doesn’t do what’s often referred to as end-to-end or local recording. The absolute best quality audio you can possibly record with a USB microphone is directly into your recording device. You simply plugin, open a native audio app like GarageBand, Audacity or Hindenburg, and hit that record button.
But, if you have guests joining you, it’s a little hard to remotely help them set up recording on their device. Not to mention, you have no guarantee of the audio’s quality until you receive the track after the interview is finished. And you only get that track if they remember to send it to you.
That’s where remote recording software comes in. You need something easy to use that your guest can simply join, talk, and leave!
Podcast-specific software gives you the best of both worlds. Most options capture the recordings separately and locally, then upload them to a central place where you can download them. That means if there’s an interruption in your recording (like the connection is a little shady and the video freezes) that interruption does not affect the separate tracks.
Zoom does not do this.
With Zoom, everyone logs into the meeting room and the recordings are taken from inside the meeting room. If the video freezes, so does the audio. Plus, the recording is never crisp and clean. Usually, it sounds like you recorded your audio on a phone.
There are a lot of different kinds of software you can use to record remotely. For our purposes, I’ll show you how to record in Alitu.
First, log into Alitu. This is a web-based online recorder, there’s no additional software for your guests or collaborators to download.
Click on “Call Recorder,” on the upper right. Alitu will ask for your preferred microphone as the input device, and your headphones as the output device. Make sure to select the correct mic. If you’re using an interface, (like I did), you’ll see Alitu suggest the interface.
Click on the link to invite the folks you’ll record with. Alitu generates a link for you ( just like how any conferencing software generates a link). Copy the link and share it with your collaborators.
You may need to help them select the audio output and input, like you did in the previous example.
They will click on the link to join you in the web-based call software. The chat window at the top of the screen allows you to communicate outside of the audio recording. As soon as you see them, you’re all recording.
If you need to mute your mic, click on the microphone symbol to turn it grey. You can click the mic symbol to re-activate your microphone whenever you’re ready.
When you’ve finished and thanked everyone, click “End Call” to end the call and the recording. Then, you can save it and put together your next episode!
While you don’t need to put together a full studio, you do want to make sure you have a quiet, comfortable space to record.
Not every room is good for recording —says the podcaster that literally lives in a concrete house. You’ll want a room that’s not too large, full of soft, fabric-covered furniture, and other plush surfaces like carpet.
You’ll further want to improve your recording space by staying as far away from busy rooms in the house and streets as you can. Keep interruptions as limited as possible.
Luckily, if you have a comfortable set-up that reduces most of the noise, programs like Alitu have built-in AI tools that can help polish your audio.
Your internet connection plays a big role when it comes to mastering remote recording. If you have a bad connection, you’ll probably have a bad recording experience all around.
While using a podcast-specific software can help combat issues that might happen while you’re chatting (like a lag in the conversation), they still require an internet connection to work.
As someone who works from a place with unstable internet access, I can tell you that it can put a real damper on your recording workflow. My solution is a backup internet connection (from a second data-based router… which is just a second phone) but that’s not a solution available for everyone.
Your best bet is to hardwire into your internet connection. Most of us use wireless routers, but even the most high-tech router usually has the capability of connecting an ethernet cable (which you should be able to snag from your local tech shop or Amazon).
If neither of those solutions is available, or they simply don’t seem to be doing the trick, make sure that everything (EVERYTHING!) that isn’t your recording tab is closed. Both on and offline. Each tab you have open is pulling internet juice, even if you’re not using it right that second.
No free internet juice means no recording platform capabilities! Likewise, every program open on your computer, from your email to explorer uses RAM juice. No free RAM means no stable internet connection.
Your remote recording journey can start right here, right now, and it won’t cost a penny. If you’re brand new to remote recording and want to take it for a spin, check out the Alitu free trial. It’ll give you a chance to figure out if it’s the right recording method for you, or if you’d rather kick it old school with in-person records.
Co-written with Lindsay Harris Friel.