Double-Ender Recording for Podcast Interviews with Remote Guests


Double-Ender Recording for Podcast Interviews with Remote Guests

So you’ve got that killer podcast idea and you’re ready to take the world by storm, you just have one little problem… so many of the guests you plan to interview live in different cities, or maybe even countries (or, you’re in the midst of a global pandemic and social distancing prevents you from seeing anyone). Well, you’ll just record your remote podcast interview on a conference call on Zoom or Skype! Except what happens if your internet connection drops out, or if your computer crashes? You don’t want to lose all your work, or end up with episodes that are pretty much unintelligible.

Enter double-ender recording to save the day!

What is a double-ender recording?

A double-ender is a remote recording solution that involves both the host and the remote guest (or two co-hosts) recording audio (and video) locally on each participant’s end, rather than over the internet. After the session is done, the two, separate audio tracks can be stitched together in post-production. 

While you could record Zoom or Skype calls these come with several limitations. As they record a single track, over the internet, you are at the mercy of your WiFi connection. This could lead to patchy audio and drop-outs, lags, and poorer quality sound due to the audio compression. 

The Advantages of Double-Ender Recording

1. Studio Quality Audio & Video

By going double-ender, you can create studio quality remote recordings. As your media is being recorded locally, it’s completely independent of internet quality. Even if you experience lags or glitches in real-time, they won’t be present on your audio or video files at the end. This means it can sound like you’re in the same room as your guest, even if you’re two continents apart. 

2. Uncompressed Files

With uncompressed audio, your sound should be totally lossless, creating an immersive and high-quality experience for your listener.

3. Extra Security/Backups

Additionally, double-enders provide an extra layer of security, as your podcast episode won’t be lost if your computer crashes during your recording sessions.

Double ender hardware solutions

One way to record a double-ended podcast is for both parties to use their personal hardware to record. For example, both you and your guest could set up a camera or high-quality smartphone to record high-quality remote video, and use an external, handheld recorder for your audio. If you choose a small and portable one with high-quality in-built microphones, your set-up will be as simple as hitting record and starting your remote interview on your computer. The Zoom H2N is a good option for beginners and more advanced podcasters alike.

Already have a microphone that you’re a big fan of? There are several portable recorders that are compatible with external mics and include phantom power. The Zoom H5 works well, or, alternatively, if you run your setup with a Samson Q2U, you can use the same microphone for your local recording and your call on the computer.

If you don’t have an external recorder, most newer models of iOs or Android devices offer professional-quality recordings through attaching an external microphone. You can use OTG cables to connect your current USB microphone or invest in a mic, like the Rode Smartlav+, which comes ready to use with your phone. 

There are some disadvantages, though, as you’ll have to make sure you have plenty of storage space on your phone. That’s one of the benefits of an external recorder - they are designed for one specific function - recording audio - so you don’t have to worry about all the other processes in the background draining space and battery.

Lastly, you could record locally to your computer’s hard drive, but it’ll take a bit more of a technical savvy as you have to route your computer audio to two pieces of software simultaneously. 

For this, you'll need a virtual audio mixer like Voicemeeter on a PC or Soundflower for Mac. Then, you route both Zoom and the recording software of your choice (Audacity, Reaper, Audition, etc) to record from the same microphone channel in the virtual mixing software. This sends the audio to both the Zoom call and the local software for recording. It's a bit tricky to get used to, but the results are outstanding.

While this does deliver outstanding audio quality, it will be difficult to set up and troubleshoot. You’ll have to confront the same issues in terms of memory and processing as you would with a smartphone, plus you’re using up resources for Zoom and your local recorder. And, if you accidentally use the wrong settings, you could end up with very disappointing results. Also, if your computer crashes or runs out of battery, you could potentially lose both recordings.

Finally, even if you can get around the complex technical set-up and have amazing guests who are capable of doing it, too, you’ll also need every, single participant to send the local recordings over to the host. This could become a whole other issue, as the files are likely to be large and won’t attach to emails, so they’ll have to start finding other solutions for sending large files. Not only does this create a less professional experience for the guest, but it also creates stress for you, as the host, as you’re depending and relying on the other participants to do their part before you can even get started with post-production.

How To Record Remote Podcasts Using Double Ender Hardware

If you choose to go this route, here’s an outline of the steps that you and any other participant should follow:

  1. Do a few test recordings with your recorder, whether it has an in-built mic or you’ve connected it to an external one. Try different distances and if your mic offers different settings, figure out what works best.
  2. Once you’ve figured out your set-up, log on to your conferencing app and start a call with your guest (or co-host). Be sure to use headphones so that only your voice and no feedback will be recorded.
  3. When you’re both ready, hit record. Before you officially start your interview, have a marker so you can align your files easily in post-production. Counting-down and doing a clap or saying “hello” at the same time will do the trick.
  4. When you’ve wrapped up, stop recording. Remind your guest to send you their file.
  5. After you’ve received their file, import both audio tracks into your chosen editing software, aligning them using your marker.

Double ender software solutions

While using hardware is a good option, it’s relatively technologically demanding, and your guests may not know how to set themselves up. Plus, if for some reason you have to troubleshoot mid-episode, it could be pretty faffy and you might lose some of your hard work. 

For this reason, double-ender software solutions can be one of the best recording options for podcasts with remote guests. That way, you can record your double-ender interview, without asking anything extra of the guest, plus you get the added layer of security with a real-time backup recording on your software’s cloud server.

Remote recording software, like, provide a simple interface which appears almost exactly like a conference call, except recording is done locally and you download two separate, uncompressed tracks at the end of your call. Best of all, neither you nor your guest have to download any software to get started - the whole process happens from the comfort of your browser. 

Riverside also provides up to 4K video recording, which is a huge advantage for an extra element of connection with your audience, and provides valuable content for repurposing. 

The process is as simple as logging into your account, creating a show, and sending the link to your guest to join. You’ll be able to see their video and audio input, so you can remind them to plug-in their external mic if they have one to increase the quality. While you’re recording, the software will simultaneously upload the episode in real time, as well as saving a cloud backup, so that when your session is over, you’ll be able to download the files almost instantly. You won’t have to ask your guest to send their files and wait for them to figure it out - it’s all right there for you, the host, in a matter of seconds.

How To Record Remote Podcasts Using Double Ender Software

  1. Log into your chosen remote recording software.
  2. Create a podcast. 
  3. Share the link to your show with your guest. All they have to do is click it to join from their browser - no downloads necessary!
  4. Your guest will join and enter the green room where they can prepare, check their video etc.
  5. You’ll be able to see their audio and video inputs, so give them an overview and remind them to connect to an external mic and webcam if they have one.
  6. Hit record and get started! 
  7. While you record, both your file and the guest’s file is being recorded locally, and uploaded to the software in real time. You’ll have a cloud backup, so you don’t lose all your work if your computer crashes, and you’ll be able to download the files at the end in a matter of minutes. 
  8. Download the files, and stitch them together in post-production!

Double Ender Recording Tips

1. Wear Headphones

Since you're creating two separate audio tracks that will be stitched together in post-production, you want each track to have solely the relevant person's audio. If you don't wear headphones, you risk your recorder picking up on your guest's audio. This wouldn't necessarily be a huge deal - you can mostly just cut it out so only their locally recorded audio plays - but it makes editing more tedious, especially if you're having a heated conversation and talking over each other at times.

2. Clear Out Your Storage

If you opt to use hardware for recording double-ended, you’ll want to create as much space as possible on the drive where your content will be saved. This is not only to have enough space for your podcast episode (you wouldn’t want to be cut short due to storage issues), but also to minimise the risk of crashes and to increase performance. The more storage is available, the more resources can go towards your podcast recording.

3. Use An External Mic

Most double-ender recording software allow you to see which video and audio source your guest is using for your call. Be sure to do a quick overview before starting and remind them to connect their external mic, if they haven’t already, for the crispest sound possible.

How To Edit Double Ender Recordings

At the end of your call, you’ll receive separate files for each participant of the call. You can then import them to your editing software of choice to begin post-production. You’ll have to make sure each of the tracks lines up, so consider doing a marker just after you start recording. For example, count to three and have all the participants clap together, or say “Hello”. Then, you can align the tracks based on that moment, and it should be smooth-sailing from there!

The Toss-Up: Hardware Solutions vs. Digital Solutions

  • Double-ender recording offers high-quality remote recordings for your podcast with a remote guest.
  • If you choose to go the hardware route, we recommend compiling a clear and concise set-up guide to send to your guests, to get them up to speed before you record. 
  • However, you can’t be sure that all your guests will have the same equipment or capacity to record locally on their end.
  • For this reason, a software solution like for recording a double-ender remote podcast is probably your best option.
  • Most of them require you to set up an account, but neither you nor your guest will have to download anything (which is another advantage over using Skype or Zoom). 
  • You’ll simply get a personalised link to the virtual room where you are hosting the podcast, and you can share it with your guest to join the show. 
  • Then, just hit that record button and show the world what you got!

So, Is Double Ender-Recording Right For You?

That depends. Do you want easy set-up, studio-quality audio, no matter where in the world your guests are calling in from? How about totally uncompressed audio files for the best audience experience? And would you like to have the peace of mind of a real-time cloud backup of your recording?

Yeah, we thought so...

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