WANT TO START YOUR OWN PODCAST BUT NEED A LITTLE HELP?GRAB MY GUIDE
GET MY FREE PODCAST GUIDE

blog

How to record a podcast with people in different locations

GET MY FREE PODCAST GUIDE

WANT TO START A PODCAST BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW? THIS GUIDE TAKES YOU THROUGH ALL THE TOOLS AND TECH YOU NEED TO GET GOING!

SEND IT TO ME!
World map with people in different locations

The art of recording your podcast remotely…

If your podcast features more than one person, whether it’s a co-host or guest, there’ll be times when you won’t be able to record in the same room.

Recording in the same location will always yield the best audio quality and conversational chemistry but the tech is so good these days you can still put together a professional sounding podcast if your guest is coming to you ‘live’ from the Arctic tundra (provided the Arctic tundra has good internet access…which it probably doesn’t, but you get my point).

So, if you want to broaden your horizons and make your show truly location independent, here’s how to do it…

Record your show via Skype

A lot of the most successful independent podcasters use this method because it’s simple, reliable and delivers good audio quality.

Benefits

It’s familiar to people

Since a lot of people have used Skype you won’t have to waste valuable time getting your guest up to speed on how to use the tech.

This also means you won’t run the risk of intimidating them or making them feel nervous because they’re using a program they haven’t used before.  This is great because the more relaxed your guest is the more likely you’ll have a good interview.

You can see each other

Not being in the same room as someone you’re recording with can be difficult.

This is because you lose the natural conversational rhythm that comes from sitting across from another human.

Being able to see each other means you can wrestle some of that chemistry back by using the video function to communicate visually.

It’s simple to use

Skype’s an easy program to use and recording via Skype’s internal recorder or web tools like eCamm’s Call Recorder for Skype is easy even if you’re a beginner.

People are used to hearing shows recorded this way

Podcasters have been recording interviews via Skype since the beginning of podcast time so listeners are used to hearing a slightly lower level of audio quality.

This means your show isn’t going to come off as half-baked if you use this recording method.

How to make your show sound professional when recording with Skype

Read

Disadvantages

Mismatched audio quality

Unless you both record locally (more on that below) one person will be recorded at a lower quality than the other.

This isn’t a total disaster but you should make sure the person leading the show is always the one with the higher quality audio.  Otherwise, it sounds a little weird.

How to cover up recording in different locations

Read

How to do it…

The good news is Skype recently added recording capabilities to their latest version so you can record within the program itself.

If you’re coming at this for the first time give that a try and see how you go.  But I tend to use the old school method because…old habits die hard.

Some may argue there’s no point even talking you through it when you can record in Skype but so many podcasters still use this technique it’s worth mentioning.

The programs you would traditionally record with are Ecamm’s Call Recorder for Skype (Mac) or Pamela (PC).

As a Mac kid, I’ve only used Ecamm but I’ve always found it simple and reliable.

When you open up Skype a little recorder automatically pops up on your screen and it’s as easy as pressing record.

Ecamm call recorder for Skype

The program records both the audio and video and saves it as a movie file (.mov).  Then you just use the tools that come with the program to convert the file from .mov to .mp3 (audio).

That may sound difficult but it’s as easy as dragging and dropping.  Plus you can split the audio tracks which means you end up with one audio file for each voice.

This is really helpful when it comes time to edit and gives you a lot more control over the audio.

How to record high-quality audio at home

Read

What can you do with the video?

Using vision from your chat can be a great way to promote your podcast.

Just make sure you’ve asked your guest’s permission because there’s nothing worse than turning up for a chat in your pyjamas, only to find out you’re supposed to be ‘camera ready.’

Or, heaven forbid, thinking the chat was purely for audio and then seeing your face blasted across someones social media when you never agreed to it.

If your guest has said yes why not use the vision to create promos that highlight interesting moments from your conversation?

Or ask your guest to record a promo where they talk directly down the barrel of the camera and tell your audience what’s on the episode and why they should listen.

If you’re going to do this it’s best to record straight after the chat when everything is fresh in your minds.

For example…

“Hi, this is (insert impressive name here) and this week I’ll be joining (insert your name here) on (your incredibly popular podcast) to talk about (something that will wow the pants off your audience). I hope you’ll join us.”

This can be a great way to bring to life a conversation your audience usually only gets to experience in their ears.

Should your podcast be audio or video?

Read

Each person records their own audio

As I mentioned above, when you’re recording on Skype, one person (the person recording the audio) will always sound better than the other (the person coming down the line via Skype).

One way to combat this is for each person to record their audio locally i.e. in the location they are.

You can do this a couple of ways but in both cases, you’ll use Skype to look at each other so the conversation flows as naturally as possible.

Benefits

Better audio quality

Recording this way, provided both people have good microphones and recording environments, can yield great audio quality.

It’ll also make it sound like you and your podcasting partner in crime are in the same room even if you were on opposite sides of the planet.

Disadvantages

It’s more complex

Recording this way requires audio experience from both people and it’s best when you’re recording regularly with a co-host rather than interview guests.

If you’re using this method make sure you take some time to do some trial and error so you can iron out any kinks.

How to record high-quality audio at home

Read

How to do it…

Record audio locally 

Both parties listen to each other and chat via Skype but record their audio via a microphone plugged into a portable recorder like a Zoom, or an audio editing program like Adobe Audition. At the end of this process, you’ll have two separate audio tracks that will need to be synced up in the edit.

You can also do this using a program like eCamm as long as both people have the program installed locally.  Using this method you just hit record at both ends, split the audio tracks when you’re done and match up the two high-quality ones.

If you’re new to audio editing and the previous paragraphs give you heart palpitations, don’t worry. This is more of an advanced option if you want it to sound like you and your guest are in the same room.

Just remember when you’re syncing up the audio after the record, you’ll need a visual marker to see where to line up the tracks.  The easiest way to do that is for everyone to clap at the beginning of the recording.

This will look like a spike in the .wav or .mp3 file and will give you a way to match the audio.

Record using Zencastr

Zencastr has stepped in to make the process of recording audio locally waaaaay easier.

Designed specifically for podcasters, all you do is login to the website (your guest will need to login as well) and it records each person’s audio locally then places the tracks in a dropbox folder, ready for you to cut together.

The only limitation with this method is you can’t see each other so an easy fix is to run Skype simultaneously (with your computer mics muted so you don’t hear screechy feedback).

Now that you’ve read about this you might be thinking “why did you bother telling us about all that clapping and splitting tracks?  This seems heaps easier!”  And in theory, it is.

The problem is if you don’t have rock solid internet, this method can get a little glitchy.

This won’t affect the final audio because both parties are being recorded locally but it will affect the rhythm of conversation if you or your co-host are cutting in and out.  And that can be the difference between a great and terrible conversation.

Aaaaaand there you have it!  That’s all there is to recording your podcast remotely!

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.

30 Comments
  1. Jamie says:

    Hi Rachel,

    What would be the best way to do a live radio show from two seperate locations and sound like we are both in the one location??

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Jamie. Thanks so much for the question. Do you mean radio show or podcast? If you mean radio show then the techs will need to link up the studios which is a level of technical expertise that’s above my pay grade 😉 However if you’re talking about a podcast i.e. a recorded show rather than live, my answer is to use Zencastr (https://zencastr.com/). I’m not spruiking their wares because I’m getting a kickback from them, I’ve just used it and been really impressed with how simple it is. Prior to them coming on the scene the best way to sound like you were in the same room was for you and your co-host to record your audio locally i.e. where you are and then for one of you to cut that audio together. That’s a relatively simple process (though not without its frustrations) if you’ve worked a lot with audio but if you were new to the game it was a pain in the butt, so Skype was the better option, which of course meant unequal audio quality. Zencastr was offering their service for free for a while as they were testing the platform but now they’ve ironed out the kinks and gotten feedback from users it’s a paid service and if you really want to sound like you’re in the same studio, this is the way to go. You and your guest log into the website and they do the hard work for you recording the separate audio from each location and then putting it into a drop box folder for you so you can download it and edit from there. Naturally, you and your guest/co-host will still need decent microphones at your end but it’s a great new tool that makes things a lot easier than it used to be. If you want to hear what it sounds like you can check out this episode of the podcast, ‘Humans of Twitter’ where I was a guest (https://decidertv.com/page/2016/10/25/humans-of-twitter-episode-178-rachelcorbett) – we recorded this in separate locations using Zencastr so you can see what it sounds like. Hope this helps! Rach

  2. Nick Burgess says:

    Rach, a quick question. My podcast is a series of interviews with random guests. The easiest thing would be to call them on the phone like a good old fashioned radio show. i dont need to see them, just to hear them down a landline (preferably). i need to assume my guests have nothing more than a phone. is there any easy way to do that in a podcast ? Thanks, Nick

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Nick. Thanks so much for the question. I’ve always used Skype to do this. You record things exactly the same way as I mentioned in the article except instead of dialling them via their Skype name, you dial their phone number. As this isn’t a free service you will have to buy credit on Skype but it’s really cheap so it’s not like you’ll be burning through a second a minute like we used to in the old days 😉
      Audio quality is obviously a little lower because it’s on a phone but it works just fine and if you’re using Ecamm call recorder for Mac you’re able to use the audio tools to split the tracks so you can isolate both your audio and the audio coming from your guest. Hope this helps! Rach

  3. Nick Stan says:

    SO I’m trying to record via skype, I have a Mac and he has a PC, do we need to get both programs? Can one just record?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Nick! It depends on what you want to achieve. If you want it to sound like you’re in the same room you’ll both need to download the recording programs because you’ll both have to record locally and then put the audio together BUT if you don’t mind if it sounds like he’s down the line on Skype then you only need to record from your end. If the other person is your co-host rather than your guest I’d suggest it’s always best if you sound like you’re in the same room together. Hope that helps! Rach

  4. Pace says:

    Hey Rachel,

    I was wondering if doing the interview over phone and record the conversation with a recorder or some type of recording app and then importing that file into adobe audition or whatever software you use. Would that work? Or have you heard of anyone trying that?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Pace! I’d just use Skype for this as well. You have to buy some Skype credit (which isn’t very much) but then you can call and record phone conversations using eCamm or Pamela (depending on whether you use a Mac or a PC). Hope that helps! Rach

  5. Sarah says:

    Hi Rach,
    Any advice on how to ensure the best audio quality when setting up a landline for callers to record their annecdote, from which we play back and discuss on the podcast? Any advice on the best apps that allow us to import the audio recordings from an answering service appreciated. Cheers!

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Sarah! I’d just use a program like ‘Speak Pipe’ where people can record a message online….https://www.speakpipe.com/voice-recorder

  6. Christine says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Thank you for writing this! Have you ever used Zoom to record an interview? I’m just starting out in the pod world, and just did a trial with a friend on Zoom, and it only recorded about 30 seconds and I was wondering if you knew that was something I’m not doing correctly, or it’s probably that I need to buy a feature to record lengthy content?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Christine, Have you got a big enough SD Card in there? I use a Zoom H6 for my pods and they’re great. Rach

  7. Cassy says:

    Hi Rachel,
    If you have two other co-hosts & yourself is it still possible to use Skype or Zencastr? It may be sometime that we are in three different locations.

    Thanks,
    Cassy

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Cassy, you can record more than two people in Zencastr or Ringr is another website people use. If you wanted to use Skype I’d just advise everyone records locally at there end and then sends whoever is editing just their local track (i.e. the audio of them speaking). This can be separated using the “split tracks” function in the eCamm tools. You’ll just need to make sure you do a clap or something to more easily sync up the tracks. The benefit of Zencastr is it automatically syncs that for you because it records all locations at the same moment. Hope that helps!

  8. Glen Moyer says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I’ve been doing a podcast for 3 years. I use Skype and record everything at my end feeding the audio into a Tascam DR05 recorder via a Behringer 4-channel mixer. I can record on separate tracks and import to Audacity where I can edit again on separate but automatically synced tracks. Generally the quality is good but (as my guests are almost always overseas) I’ve had the typical Skype quality issues. Would there be any benefit to also using Call Recorder (I’m on a Mac)? In those cases would the quality be any better than what I’m capturing on my own recorder?

    Zencastr and similar are intriguing but I’ve read where the hosts (my) audio can suffer as it won’t be as good as it is now using my studio mic. As my guests are usually not audiophiles I try to make this as simple as them answering a phone call, the old KISS theory (Keep it simple stupid.) I’m really just sick of Skype since Microsoft bought it and keeps trying to fix what wasn’t broken.

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Glen, I find that Zencastr is really easy for your guests because they just need to click on a link but you’re right, they do need a microphone hooked up at their end. There’s also the slight issue of Zencastr not being foolproof. I have actually gone back to Skype because when Zencastr works it’s great, when it doesn’t it’s infuriating. In terms of the quality of what you’re recording now. The thing that will make the difference isn’t what you’re using to record the audio so much as what is being recorded in the first place. If you’re calling your guests on a phone then the way to improve the sound would be to get them on a Skype call using a decent microphone. That might not be possible but I’d argue that a Skype video call on a computer, even using Apple iPhone earbuds if they’ve got nothing else, might be better than just a standard phone conversation with them talking into the phone mic. Of course, earbuds aren’t ideal but if you say that your guests aren’t audiophiles they might not have another mic to use. Again, I’d test with a friend and see what the sound quality is using that method but the audio from a normal phone conversation will always be pretty crummy. Rach

  9. Ashley Evans says:

    Hey Rachael,
    I have eight other ladies and myself that want to do a live podcast. Not recording piece by piece but all just get on and talk at the same time. We are all in different locations. How do we do that? If you’re nor sure, where can I go to get that info?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Ashley. To be completely honest I think nine voices on one show is way too many if it’s going to be a conversation style show. Especially if you’re all in different locations. Not only will be it hard to keep control of the chat but it’ll also be tough to avoid overtalk which can be really distracting for an audience. Your listeners need to be able to get a sense of who they’re listening to and that might be tough with that many different voices? Rach

  10. Bria Robinson says:

    Hi!

    A friend of mine and I want to start a podcast in two different states. I see that you said that Skype and Zencastr are your go to’s. But which is your favorite? We are both going to buy mics. I just want to get the best sound possible. Also, with Skype & Zen, do they record just one voice so all I have to do is insert into Audition and mix it down? THANKS!

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Bria. Thanks so much for your question. Zencastr is great…when it works. I’ve just had some issues with it in the past where it’s cut out mid-way so I went back to Skype. But if you get a glitch free connection, the great thing about Zencastr is that it records the local audio of each host and the recording starts at the same time at both ends. That means when you get the 2 audio files in your dropbox you don’t have to go hunting around for the start point or spend time matching up the audio. If you record using Skype you can either record solely on your end, which means you co-host will sound like they’re coming down the line. Or you can both record on your ends individually using eCamm or Skype’s new recording feature. Problem with this method is if you want two local audio files you need to both record at your end, clap so you’ve got a point to match up the audio, spilt the tracks after they’re recorded (which is really simple using eCamms tools) and then put those two files together. So in theory, Zencastr is WAY easier. My advice would be to test it out, see how you go. If you and your co-host have kick arse internet connections you might get it working perfectly all the time. Hope that’s helped! Rach

  11. Gary Avants says:

    Great stuff! Can this be done with two hosts in one location and two on other locations. Is that a lot of work or dooable?

    Thank you,
    Gary

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Gary, It can be done for sure but the more hosts you have the clumsier things can become. But having four people in two locations is better than four people in four locations! Rach

  12. Jaison J. Raju says:

    This was really helpful. I especially appreciated your answers to comment/questions.

  13. Tori says:

    I’m thinking of starting a podcast with a friend who lives in a completely other state, this had been very helpful. Is there any websites to post the podcast that are simple?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Tori, Getting your podcast into the directories once it’s up and running is a pretty simple process. I’ve got an article on my site that will help you get your head around that… https://rachelcorbett.com.au/how-to-get-your-podcast-into-itunes/

  14. Jayda Novak says:

    Hello!
    My brother and I are starting a podcast where we sometimes talk together about a topic and sometimes bring in a third guest to collectively interview. My brother and I live in different locations, and I expect that sometimes the person we are interviewing will be in a third locations.

    What challenges/solutions do you see, having three separate people with three separate recordings in three separate locations? Any advice?

    1. rcorbett says:

      Hey Jayda, Zencastr allows you to hook up 3 people. You could give that a try? As I mentioned in the article the only thing that’s essential to get this program working hiccup free is that everyone has a really solid internet connection. Being plugged in rather than across wifi is the best, I’ve found. Hope that helps! https://zencastr.zendesk.com/hc/en-us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GET MY FREE PODCAST GUIDE

WANT TO START A PODCAST BUT HAVE NO IDEA HOW? THIS GUIDE TAKES YOU THROUGH ALL THE TOOLS AND TECH YOU NEED TO GET GOING!

SEND IT TO ME!