For best results, each podcast episode should be recorded at the same location using the same microphone and microphone positioning. This will create a consistent sound for your podcast episodes from week to week.
Since podcasting is a new technology, certain editing terms take on new meanings that you should understand before you start recording.
Now that you have basic understanding of recording terminology, let’s explore the recording process.
To gain insight into the recording studio and how audio is recorded, you should have a basic understanding of what recording engineers call the "signal flow". Basically the signal flow is the path by which sound travels from source to destination. In creating a podcast, the source will be the human voice and the destination will be an MP3 file.
Here’s a step-by-step outline of a typical podcast signal flow.
Professional-grade dynamic or condenser microphone.
Plug your microphone into your preferred audio interface and then plug the audio interface into your computer. If you have a sound card installed in your computer, you can most likely plug your microphone directly into the audio input jack of the sound card.
Multitracking is the concept of a layered audio compostition. The benefit of multitracking is that it allows you to individually control and manipulate each sound within your podcast recording. By recording with multitrack software, you're laying the foundation for music, sound effects and other voices participating resulting in a fully produced sound.
To illustrate an example for you, a musician's tracks could include individual tracks for percussion, guitar, keyboard, and a vocals. Many multitrack software programs include at least 8 tracks for you to work with. These tracks could be your theme music, announcer introduction, segments, and sound effects.
Let's look at how to create a track in your recording software program. Adjust the Gain control on your audio interface and within the recording program to set the recording level of your voice. It's good practice to test your distance from the microphone to determine where you sound the clearest.
Once you have determined your best location, do a short test recording. Be sure that the recording meter never goes into the red as this may cause unwanted noise or even distortion. Attach headphones directly to your computer or audio interface for the best quality recording (sound from speakers will be picked up in your recording).
Begin recording, remembering to keep your original microphone position. If you make a mistake, you can always do a second take and fix it when editing. Record your podcast and then listen to the results. When you have finished recording, save your work.
Get Audacity from audacity.sourceforge.net; Run Audacity; Go to File -> Preferences -> Digital I/O -> Recording and choose a "Digital Audio"-class device rather than an "Input" -class device (which will replace microphone input with combined microphone and speaker recording); choose to record two channels of stereo; finally, close Preferences, and choose "Wave Out Mix" as the source of signal on the main window of Audacity;
Go to Control Panel -> Sounds and Audio Devices -> Volume -> Advanced and make sure the microphone is not muted; you may also want to click on "Advanced" settings for the microphone and check "MIC Boost" to amplify your voice.
During a conversation, you can start recording in Audacity at any point (big red button); Audacity allows to export recordings in WAV, MP3, and OGG formats; for MP3s, you will need to find lame_enc.dll on Google (LAME is an excellent MP3 encoder).
In this chapter, we explored the recording process and how to enhance your podcast recording by multitracking and including external files in your podcast such as guest interviews and conversations. In the next chapter, we'll teach you how to find Podsafe music and add it into your podcast recording.
Written by David Ciccarelli