When I first started podcasting, recording and editing was kind of a pain. If it was just you, you could use a decent mic and either Quicktime or Windows Recorder. But neither of these are truly good recording tools, and I’ve lost longer audio in both. There were also apps like Audacity and GarageBand, which were better and you can edit with them. But it still required a bit of know-how to get things dialed in. And that was just for a solo show.
What if you wanted to record with a cohost or guest? Well, back in 2016, you needed to do a dance with Skype and eCamm Recorder or Audio Hijack. And you still had to tell your guest to use Quicktime or the like to record their side if you wanted the best possible audio.
Things got slightly better with Zoom, but you still ran into the problem of compressed, possibly choppy audio. And then, no matter what, you had to feed the two tracks into Audacity to edit them. It was tough going. It was a big barrier for entry with podcasting, and it’s still the way lots of people record their show.
But today, there are MUCH better ways. It’s never been easier to record and edit high-quality sounding audio for you, or your guests. Here’s how to do it, whether you’re recording just yourself, or with a cohost or guest.
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Recording A Solo Show: You and Only You
Hands-down the best way to record and edit a solo show these days is Descript. It’s easy to use, mostly free, and automatically creates a transcript while you speak. There are even fantastic features like Studio Sound, which will take bad audio and make it sound a lot better.
You can easily choose your mic and press record. The words appear as you talk.
The kicker is that you can highlight that text and delete it, and it will edit the audio. It’s really impressive! You can even remove filler words or swear words automatically with the click of a button1.
When it comes time to publish, Descript can export as audio or video, as well as push your content to YouTube and podcast hosts like Castos and Buzzsprout. It will even generate files that can be used in professional tools like Adobe Audition or Logic.
I use Descript any time I do a solo show or bonus recording for my members. It’s definitely the easiest way to record, and do simple edits for your podcast. Plus, there are lots of great Descript tutorials out there for you.
It also allows you to create multiple tracks, meaning you can combine you and a guest into one file. As for how to record that, I have a different recommendation.
Recording More Than One Person: Riverside.FM
Full disclosure: Riverside.fm is a former sponsor of my podcast, How I Built It.
The days of clumsily using Skype or Zoom, and getting your guest to record their audio separately are over. In the last few years, several tools have emerged to help podcasters record interviews and get the best possible audio that is uncompressed and free of artifacts from connection issues.
There is no better tool than Riverside.fm. I’ve tried several, and Riverside has been the most reliable, well working, flexible, and feature-rich.
The way it works is you create a “studio” — a room where you and your guests or co-hosts go. You can see everyone and what headphones and mic they’re using. You can record just audio, or audio and video, and it will automatically manage internet connections. You can also mute, and manage attendees.
But the real magic happens when you press record.
Riverside will automatically record your audio and your guests’ audio locally, on their computer, and then upload the best possible recording for you. They’ll also “sync” the audio to make sure there’s no drift2, and you can get separate tracks. You can also use their magic editor to edit, if you’d like.
There’s also fantastic sharing features using “Clips,” and an iOS app that is apparently very good3. It’s bar-none the best way for you to record and get super clear audio with multiple people. It will sound like you’re all in the same room.
Podcasting is work, but often the hardest part is pushing record. Now you have 2 fantastic tools to help you do just that. If it’s just you, I highly recommend Descript. If you’re recording with more than one person, there’s nothing better than Riverside.fm.