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Podcast Recording (Online): Introductory Guide to Get Started

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Podcast Recording (Online): Introductory Guide to Get Started

Recording podcasts online is a new way of creating content. Don’t be fooled, even as corona-virus restrictions subside, recording online won’t be going anywhere. The flexibility and freedom to record wherever with whoever is unbeatable. And now with software like Riverside.fm, recording podcasts online doesn’t result in lackluster quality, but HD, professional-grade recordings. 

If you’re thinking of branching out into the world of online podcast recording, but are unsure where to start, you’re in the right place. This article walks you through all the basics you need to know and which podcast recorder you should be using. Let’s get started. 

TL;DR

  • Podcast recording online gives you the freedom to podcast with guests from around the world. 
  • And the flexibility to record wherever and whenever. 
  • To get started you need: a basic podcasting setup, a podcast idea, and a guestlist.
  • When choosing your online podcast recorder software think about budget, useability, the integrated ability to include remote guests, recording quality, and whether you can multitrack record. 
  • Our top recommendation for podcast recording software is Riverside.fm.

Why record your podcast online? 

You may be wondering what the advantages of podcasting recording online are or questioning whether it’s really a better option than in-studio, in-person recordings. Well, you may be surprised to find that podcasting online affords you greater freedom and flexibility without ever sacrificing quality. This is especially relevant whilst there are still coronavirus restrictions in place around the world. 

Freedom to include guests from anywhere in the world 

By podcasting online, you don’t limit who you can invite to your show. Regardless of location, you can invite whoever you like to podcast with you. 

Flexibility to record wherever & whenever 

Recording your podcast online means that you’re not tied to a physical studio. Obviously, if you prefer to podcast online from a studio setup, that’s also a great option. But, if you’re a content creator who tends to be on the go, the ability to podcast recording online gives you the freedom you’ve been looking for. This is especially the case now with the rise of high-performing podcast recorder apps such as the Riverside.fm iOS and Android applications. 

How to get started with recording podcasts online 

The beauty of podcasting is just how easy it is to get started. Here’s a winning formula for getting started with podcast recording online: 

Podcasting equipment 

You don’t need a particularly elaborate setup, nor do you need to break the bank buying fancy equipment. If you can get yourself the basic podcasting setup (which we cover below), you’re set. 

A podcast idea, brand, or premise 

To start strong, you’ll need a good idea of the kind of podcast you want to record. You may already have a clear idea of exactly what you’re going to produce or perhaps just a vague theme or topic area you want to cover. The more you know about what kind of podcast you’re looking to record, the easier it will be to get started. 

A podcast guestlist  

To harness the full potential of podcasting online, you’ll need a strong guest list. This doesn’t necessarily mean big names, but people who will bring value to your podcast, and who are confident on mic (or camera, if you choose to record a video podcast). 

What you need to record a (remote) podcast 

As we mentioned earlier, to get started with podcast recording online, you really don’t need to have the fanciest setup out there. Obviously,  if you’ve got the budget to spend, by all means, invest in the best on market equipment. But if you’re looking to save on your podcasting setup, it’s definitely possible. Here’s what you’ll need: 

Podcast recording microphone

A microphone is an absolute podcasting essential. Though it can be tempting to try and get by using your computer’s in-built mic, we’d advise against this. The difference a dedicated, external mic can make to your audio quality is huge. And if you want to produce a high-production value podcast, your audio quality is something you should not skimp on. 

For podcasters just starting out or on a budget, we’d recommend opting for a USB mic such as the Blue Yeti USB mic

For those who’ve got the capacity to invest in a mic, our favorite pick is the Shure SM7B.

If you’re struggling to choose a microphone, we’ve got you covered. Follow our tips from our article How to Choose a Podcasting Microphone.

Podcast camera

If you’re going to be recording a video podcast online, it’s worth investing in an external camera. If you’re on a budget, this can be as simple as an external webcam that plugs right into your computer. However, again, the difference you’ll see in video quality is invaluable. 

If you’re not able to spend a fortune on a podcast camera, don’t worry. Logitech has a whole line of webcams that offer great quality without breaking the bank. Check out the Logitech C920, for example. 

And if you’re on the market for a more substantial podcast camera, try the Nikon D5300.

Stuck for which mic to choose? Learn about how to make the right decision using our guide to choosing the right podcasting camera for your setup. 

Podcast recording studio

In an ideal world, all content creators would have access to a professional recording studio. In reality, most don’t. But don’t panic just yet. It’s perfectly possible to set up a good recording space in the comfort of your own home. Try as far as possible to choose a room with low levels of background noise and if you’re able to, soundtreat the room for the best recording environment and sound quality possible. 

If you’re new to podcasting and are looking to build a home studio, follow our step-by-step guide to setting up your very own podcasting space at home. 

Podcast recorder

A podcast recorder is the software you use to actually record your podcast. In the case of podcast recording online, this software is also the platform that facilitates recording with remote guests. You’re looking for an easy-to-use, intuitive setup that has an integrated function for remote recording. Wherever possible, avoid clunky solutions that involve several different software or result in subpar recording quality. 

Internet Connection 

For podcast recording online, an internet connection is essential so that you can connect with your remote guests. However, don’t worry if your wifi tends to be dodgy or weak. By choosing Riverside.fm as your podcast recorder, you won’t need to worry about your podcast recording being affected by bad internet connection. Riverside.fm automatically records every single participant locally, so whatever the state of your internet connection, the final recording will be in full HD. 

Podcast recording software

When it comes to choosing online podcast recording software, we recommend being as picky as possible. Your choice of podcast recorder will ultimately affect your workflows, efficiency, and the quality of your online podcast. For this reason, it pays to choose wisely. 

What to look for in a podcast recorder

With the number of different podcast recorders out there, it can feel difficult to make the right decision. Here are a few factors you should keep in mind: 

Price 

Your budget will impact which podcast recording software you’re able to choose from. Make sure you have a clear idea of how much you’re willing to spend on your podcast recorder. You may be prepared to pay for a subscription, or if you’re on a tight budget, you may be looking for free software. Don't worry, you’ll be able to find something to fit your needs.

Useability 

You should look for a high-level of useability with an intuitive workflow that actively enhances your recording processes. Any software that requires a steep learning curve or that is clunky to use will ultimately be inconvenient. 

Integrated ability to include remote guests 

The whole point of podcast recording online is the ability to include remote guests. If this function is not an integrated feature of your podcast recorder, then you may want to look elsewhere. You shouldn't have to separately record skype calls to produce your online podcast,  it should be quick, simple, and straightforward to invite your remote guests into your podcasting software and start recording.

Local recording  

The quality of your podcast recording is absolutely vital. If there’s one thing you should never compromise on, it’s recording audio and video quality that matches (or hopefully exceeds) your expectations. Look for podcast recorders that at the very least promise to record in full HD. Ideally, you should be looking for local recording because this guarantees HD recordings no matter your internet connection. 

Audio & Video File Format 

It's essential to check what format your audio files and video recording are saved as. Ideally, you're looking for software that saves your recordings in a lossless file format to conserve as much quality as possible.

Multi-track recording 

Your podcast recorder should allow you to record each individual participant on an individual track. This feature will make your life a whole lot easier during post production. Mistakes and blunders are inevitable, especially when recording remotely. Multi-track recording allows you to edit out someone’s mistake without affecting the whole recording. 

Compatibility 

Check whether your chosen software is compatible with your computer's operating system, whether that’s mac or pc. Some, such as Riverside.fm, are browser based, so there’s no need to download an additional application. 

Additional features 

It’s always good practice to take a look at what other additional features you get access to. You may find that certain podcast recorders offer a whole array of features that you never knew you needed but that seriously optimize your recording experience. Look for functionalities such as live mixing, live streaming, and integrated post-production. 

Best free podcast recorders (online) 

Zoom 

  • Price: Free (with option to upgrade) 
  • Compatibility: Mac & windows 
  • Remote guests: Integrated 
  • Local recording: Although connecting with remote guests is an integral feature, Zoom does not locally record you and your participants. This means your podcast recording will be affected by dodgy internet connection. 
  • File Format: MP4 
  • Multitrack recording: No 

Other features: 

  • Ability to share your screen 
  • Live chat 
  • Easy to use and everybody know how to use it 

Best for: 

Zoom is a great beginner's software for podcasting online. First off, everyone is familiar with the software, and it’s relatively straightforward and easy to use. The free plan will work well if you’re happy to record within the 40 minute limit. That being said, it’s not designed specifically for podcasting, so you may find that the final recording doesn’t match your expectations. 

Anchor 

  • Price: Free
  • Compatibility: Browser-based 
  • Remote guests: Yes, with the Record With Friends feature. But you cannot record remote video. 
  • Local recording: No 
  • File Format: mp3 / mp4a 
  • Multitrack recording: No

Other features: 

  • Distribute and host your podcast with Anchor 
  • Get analytics about your podcast’s performance 
  • Intuitive UI, take your audio clips or ‘blocks’ and rearrange to your liking

Best for: 

Podcasters looking for an all-in-one affordable package. Anchor is designed by Spotify to make your life easy and is a one-stop-shop for recording, editing and distributing. That being said, Anchor doesn’t locally record and its editing functionalities are fairly limited. 

Audacity 

  • Price: Free & open-source 
  • Compatibility: Mac, Windows, and Linux 
  • Remote guests: Not integrated. You’ll have to use additional software such as Skype or Zoom. 
  • Local recording: Remote guests are not integrated, so you can setup local recording on either end but this isn’t an automatic feature. 
  • File Format: WAV 
  • Multitrack recording: Yes 

Other features: 

  • Open source 
  • Basic editing features (cut, copy, paste and delete) 
  • Batch processing 

Best for: 

Beginners on a strict budget. Audacity is a great introductory software, but it has limited functionality when it comes to recording podcasts online. 

Riverside.fm 

  • Price: Free plan, paid plans starting from $15/month
  • Compatibility: Browser-based 
  • Remote guests: Fully integrated for both audio and video 
  • Local recording: Automated local recording with progressive upload as you record
  • File format: Lossless (WAV/MP4) 
  • Multitrack recording: Yes

Other features: 

  • Live mixing with Riverside’s Media Board 
  • Live Streaming 
  • Live chat 
  • Share your screen 
  • Magic editor to get your podcast ready for publication 
  • Automated video transcriptions
  • Browser-based, so no need to download an additional software application

Best for: 

Both beginners and pros. Riverside.fm is designed with podcasters in mind. Every feature is there to enhance your content creation journey. Recording podcasts online is second nature to Riverside.fm, so including remote guests is intuitive and easy. 

Podcast recording app iPhone and Android

Take your recording studio with you wherever you go by using a podcast recording app.  

Riverside.fm iOS & Android App 

The same functionality as the browser-based Riverside.fm, just in your pocket. Invite guests and start recording straight from your mobile device. 

Note, currently, you can only host a recording from the app if you’re using an Apple device. Android users can join only join recordings as guests.

Anchor iOS & Android App 

The Anchor app allows you to record, edit and publish your podcast straight from your phone. Bear in mind, though, that Anchor does not record locally and you can’t record remote video. 

How to record a podcast online (using Riverside.fm) 

Recording a podcast online should be easy as 1-2-3 and with Riverside.fm, it is. Here’s how a step-by-step guide to getting started as the podcast host: 

  1. If you haven’t already, create a Riverside.fm account. 
  2. Create your recording studio and if you’ve already set a date and a guest list, then invite your participants 
  3. On the day, enter the recording studio and check your mic and camera are wired up correctly
  4. Wait for your guests to arrive. If you haven’t sent them the invite link yet, invite them using the ‘invite participants’ link 
  5. When your guests are ready to go, click the record button and enjoy the session. Each participant will be locally recorded and their tracks will be progressively uploaded as you record. 

Want to learn more about recording with Riverside? Watch our platform walkthrough below.

Podcast recording tips

Plan your podcast 

A little preparation can go a long way. Before your recording session, try and have at least a vague idea of the episode structure and what you want to say. Not only will this help you to have an efficient and productive recording session, but this can also be an invaluable aid for guests joining your show. 

Invest in your equipment & software

As far as possible, invest in reliable and high-quality equipment and software. Even budget podcasting equipment can make a world of difference to the overall quality of your recording. This will instantly amp up the production value of your podcast, making it more appealing to listeners. 

Record in a quiet environment (and encourage your guests to do the same) 

Although there’s a lot we can do to optimize our recordings, something we can’t control is background noise or interruptions. That’s why it’s always best practice to record in an environment that is as quiet as possible and away from distractions. It also pays to invest in additional equipment such as pop filters and mic stands that help to preserve the integrity of your audio. Don’t be afraid to DIY a home studio. You may be surprised by the results. 

Don’t sweat the mistakes 

Mistakes, errors, and blunders are virtually inevitable, so don’t let them phase you. If it’s a relatively small mistake, chances are you can glide over it and your listeners won’t even notice. If you’re a perfectionist, leave yourself an audio cue (such as a clap), so that when you look back at the recording during post, you know exactly where the error happened. 

Wear headphones to record your podcast 

This one may come as a surprise but wearing headphones during recording is highly recommended if you want to record high-quality audio. Wearing headphones will help you to monitor audio quality and to adjust your own mic positioning. 

Common misconceptions about podcast recording

If you’re apprehensive about starting out in the podcasting world, don’t be. The following common misconceptions about podcasting can be a big reason people stop before they even try. Let’s take a moment to debunk them: 

“You need a professional studio to record a podcast” 

Although we’d all love to have access to a professional studio to record our podcasts, sadly this isn’t always the case. But in reality, that doesn’t matter. Many professionals actually record their podcasts from their homes (and most of the time, their listeners are none the wiser). 

“You need to be a professional podcaster”  

Podcasting is a creative medium that anybody can try their hand at. That’s not to say that everyone will be a podcasting pro the first time around, but as with anything, practice makes perfect. If you’re lucky enough to have some production skills already under your belt, this will definitely help. But even if you’re a complete beginner, you can easily give podcasting a try. 

“The quality of my recording doesn’t matter”  

Some people approach podcasting with a quantity over quality mentality. Or, they think because the substance of what they’re saying is good, the quality isn’t so important. This is where they’re wrong. We’d go as far as to say that the recording quality is one of the most important factors when recording a podcast. A high-quality podcast is more engaging, easier to listen to, and more credible. 

“Podcasting is expensive”  

Podcasting is as expensive or affordable as you want it to be. If you’re on a tight budget, there’s no reason you can’t start podcasting for a minimal cost. If you go with the equipment you already own, invest in a budget mic and editing software, then you’ll be good to go. 

It's time to get recording! 

Now that you're equipped with the basics you need to record your podcast online, you should be ready to go. Podcast recording online affords you freedom and flexibility that just doesn't exist in a conventional face-to-face setup. Why not give it a go by trying Riverside.fm with a free trial. We promise you won't look back.

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