PodSchool Podcast | Should you record your podcast using Zoom?


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Should you record your podcast using Zoom?

Is Zoom.us the best platform to record a podcast?

Thanks to Covid, Zoom.us became one of the most well-known video conferencing platforms on the planet, so it’s natural people started to think…can I record my podcast on this thing?

The short answer is yes because Zoom does have audio recording capabilities but the question is, should you?

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Why video conferencing platforms aren’t always the best option to record audio

If you want to be a serious podcaster, audio quality always has to be top of mind.

Even if you find a platform that’s super convenient if it doesn’t record high-quality audio you need to think about using something else.

Why?  Because while convenience is great for you, you have to think about your audience.

And when they’re listening to your show they don’t care how convenient it was for you to record, they just care about how it sounds.

And if it’s not good enough they won’t stick around.

So this is where you need to use your ears when using any remote recording software and use them critically.

You also need to realise platforms like Zoom and Skype were built as video conferencing platforms first, so their top priority isn’t audio.

That means there are platforms out there that will definitely deliver better sound.

So, when you’re testing them, record some audio and listen like someone who’s hearing your show for the first time.

Is the audio quality up to scratch?  If the answer is yes, great!

If not, you need to think about using a different platform.

Or, if you’re wedded to using it, look at how you can adjust the settings in the back end, or your recording environment, to try and get the best audio possible.

Why you need to wear headphones on your podcast


How to make audio sound better if you’re recording a podcast using Zoom.us

If you’ve decided Zoom is absolutely the remote recording platform for you, here are some settings you can adjust to make sure the audio you’re recording is the best it possibly can be…

Allow attendees to record their own audio

Screenshot of settings inside Zoom to allow guests to record audio locally

This option will let people record themselves locally which will yield better audio quality but only if they’ve got a decent microphone.

This can be a great option if you’re recording with a co-host and you want it to sound like you’re in the same room.

However, if this is what you’re aiming for I’d advise using a remote recording platform that was specifically built for podcast audio like Riverside.fm or SquadCast.

How to record a podcast remotely


Record ‘Original Sound’

Screenshot of settings inside Zoom to record original sound

Because most people talk on Zoom in echoey meeting rooms with the buzz of the office behind them, Zoom tries to remove some of that distracting noise and echo.

Ideally, if you’re using Zoom to record a podcast you and your guest will have put a lot of thought into where you record so you shouldn’t need to do a lot to the audio.

But if you do need to remove any noises or treat the audio in any way you’re better off recording ‘original sound’ and making small adjustments in your editing software afterward rather than relying on general settings inside Zoom that don’t consider your specific space.

How to record high-quality audio at home


Record separate audio tracks

Screenshot of settings inside Zoom to record separate audio tracks

Whenever you’re recording remotely it’s a good idea to record audio tracks separately.

This will give you much more flexibility when you’re editing including being able to remove overtalk or adjust levels so you’re both at the same volume before you mix down the tracks and start editing.

How to get the most out of your podcast interviews


Use your ears

The best tools you’ve got in your kit are the things stuck to the side of your head, so use them.

Think critically about the audio you’re recording and be honest with yourself about whether it’s good enough to compete with other high-quality podcasts out there.

If it’s not, it’s not worth choosing convenience over quality.

Got a burning question you’d like answered on the podcast? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

Got some time on your hands? Read the full episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the show. Today's episode is about a little program we’ve become very, very familiar with these last few months care of Coronavirus. And that is Zoom.us since that’s the way everyone is doing their remote meetings. And since more people are using it I’m getting more questions about whether you can use it as a platform to record your podcast.
I don’t usually recommend Zoom because it’s a video conferencing software people are trying to retrofit into audio recording software and I don’t think it’s the best option for that but this is where your ears come into play. Obviously, if you are going to be recording interviews via Skype, there is every chance the audio that you'll be recording on Zoom will be pretty close to similar. If you are recording a show with co-host or you've got people that have a microphone, I think a better option is going with a podcast specific audio platform like SquadCast or Zencastr. I just find those platforms give me better quality audio, but that doesn't mean, if you like using Zoom.us, and you think that the quality of audio you're getting is good enough that you can't do it that way. You just have to be critical of the audio you’re recording. If it’s up to scratch, fantastic. If it's not, then it's not worth using a platform just because it's convenient, because convenience doesn't mean much when the audio isn't good. Your audience won't care how convenient something was for you, they only care about how the final product sounds in their ears. And if that final product isn't high quality enough to compete with the other podcasts out there, maybe it's worth looking at another option.
If you love Zoom.us and you get great audio out of it, go for your life. And if you do there are a few settings in the back end of the program you can tinker with that can help to get you better quality audio.
The first thing I would suggest is to record split tracks. That means you record your audio and your guests audio on separate tracks which gives you a lot more flexibility when it comes to editing. The other option you’ve got if your guest has a microphone is you can enable everyone to record at their end so each person can record audio locally which will improve the quality. There is also a setting in the advanced settings where you can choose to record ‘original sound.’ Because most people talk on Zoom.us in echoey meeting rooms with more noise than you’d have in a podcast space they have some settings that treat the audio to try and remove some of that background noise. If you test record the audio with these settings on and it sounds fine, great. But you might get better quality audio by recording the original sound in the room (providing you and your guest have good microphones and are in good recording spaces) and then treat the audio in post. If you treat audio in post, you've got a bit more control over it rather than just taking the audio with Zoom’s automatic settings on it which aren’t designed to get the best quality podcast audio.
So, like I said, if you love it and you’re getting good audio out of it, fantastic. But use your ears critically. Just because it's convenient isn't enough of a reason to use it if the quality of the audio you’re getting at the end isn’t high enough.
When you’re recording really listen to the audio to see if anything is distracting, give it to friends and family and see what they think. And if what you’re getting sounds good enough then go for it and use Zoom.us to record your podcast.
It's always good to choose a platform you like to use, but then marry that with high audio quality. And if you've got both of those things in one package, you’re sweet!
Hope that's helped you think a bit more about Zoom.us and whether or not it is the podcast recording platform for you. If you want a little more help with your podcast, make sure you check out my online podcasting course, PodSchool. You can find all the details at PodSchool.com.au. And if you’re enjoying the show, finding it helpful, please share it with some friends who might want to start their own podcast as well. And together, we can rid the world of crappy podcasts. I'll see you next week and until then, happy podcasting.

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!