How do I record a decent podcast?
December 1, 2010 4:01 PM   Subscribe

How do I record a podcast?

I know this has been asked before, but not too recently and without any satisfying answers (to me, at least).

I'm looking to record a podcast with two friends, both in other locations. At the moment, we have a Windows user, a Linux/Windows user, and myself, with a Mac (with Windows 7 in Bootcamp available, as an option). Two of us have decent condenser mics (I have the Blue Snowball), and one is using the built-in mic of his laptop for now.

I am trying to get a decent quality recording of all of our voices. What looked like a simple path would be to just use Skype. There are a few issues here, however. Mainly, I'd like to be able to play music and/or sound effects that the other two can hear. At the moment, using WireTap Studio to record, I can only choose two inputs. I've chosen Skype, which records their voices, and then my own system audio, which records my voice, and any sounds I play. However, they can't hear sounds I play on my local system via Skype, so it leaves them in the dark, so to speak, when I'm trying to add effects to the recording on-the-fly.

Basically, I'm looking for advice on what software and setup to use to best go about allowing us all to hear anything any of us play on our local machines, so that they get heard by all 3 of us and also get recorded.
posted by rbf1138 to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This might not be what you want to hear but in my experience (though I'm only involved with a couple of podcasts and know a fistful of podcasters), the long term solution for getting good audio is for all presenters to record their own audio and send it in to one person who edits it into the final file.

However, if you wish to continue with your current route, you might be able to wrestle it into shape with Soundflower, a free "virtual" audio device that accepts as many inputs as you want and provides a virtual output you can use as an input to other apps (e.g. Skype). You need to be careful, though, as you do not want to direct all of your system audio back into Skype, otherwise it'll be feedback/echoville since Skype's own sound will bounce back to your co-hosts.
posted by wackybrit at 4:13 PM on December 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks wackybrit. So, I'd have them use Audacity to record, for example, and sync their recordings with mine in say, Audacity. They would choose to only record their own input device, so that they wouldn't also be recording the other people speaking. And then we'd all have Soundflower enabled so that we could play sounds and we'd all hear it via Skype? I think I'd tried that in the past and it didn't go well on my Mac. Maybe I could use Windows 7 in Bootcamp for better results.
posted by rbf1138 at 6:05 PM on December 1, 2010

wackybrit has the right idea. I don't podcast, but I know people who do. Ideally, everyone has a headphone and mic setup, and some program that records the latter. You then have to merge them in your mix program of choice. (GarageBand or whatever)

If you're trying to play sounds communally (e.g., a song that you're discussing) it's best to do that beforehand, and then fake it during the 'cast recording (internet secrets! Tell no one!)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:23 PM on December 1, 2010

This thread in the Skype forums discusses playing an MP3 through Skype so that others can hear it.

Apparently a big issue that when you play audio over Skype, you get low quality mono sound rather than full stereo. There's some suggestions for getting around that, but I cannot vouch for the software that's suggested.
posted by magstheaxe at 7:10 AM on December 2, 2010

This is a really good review of podcasting hardware and software, written up by pro podcaster Dan Benjamin. You might have already seen it, but, if not, it might have some good intel for you.
posted by Alt F4 at 8:26 AM on December 2, 2010

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