For many podcasters, talking into a podcast microphone (also see, ‘Best Podcast Microphones‘) in front of their laptop or PC doesn’t take a lot of setup or preparation, and can easily be accomplished in a matter of minutes.
However, podcast recording with a guest is a different beast and you’ll need a completely different setup to get this correct.
An in person podcast with a friend or a guest doesn’t need to be a complicated experience, and as long as you have the right podcast equipment, you’ll be able to pull it off and you’ll feel like you’re in a professional studio.
Here are some simple tips to help you create the perfect setup for two people.
The Pros And Cons Of In-Person Recording
Before we delve into the ideal setup for podcasting with a guest, it’s worth noting the advantages and disadvantages of recording in person.
If you’ve already done a few recordings, then you know that recording in person is much more complicated than using an online conference software such as Zoom. It’s also much more expensive with the right podcasting equipment and there is a lot more work upfront to get it right.
Even though it’s going to be more expensive and a bit more fiddly, nothing quite beats podcast recording with a guest in person.
You will also find that recording in person feels a lot more natural and less artificial, as you can read the social cues a lot easier for a guest when you are seeing them in person and in the same room.
It’s also highly likely that you will experience some lag or delay with remote interviews or when recording with a guest over the internet.
There’s nothing more annoying than having to wait a few seconds for your guests to answer your question or vice versa, or to have to repeat what you said because they temporarily lost connection to the conference room.
Choosing A Recording Software For Great Audio Quality
This is likely one of the steps that you are already well versed in, and this might be a rehash of what you already know.
There is plenty of free recording software that you can choose from, depending on the type of computer that you are going to be recording with.
For example, if you are using a Mac you can access the free version of GarageBand that comes with plenty of add-ons. PC users can download Audacity which is a super easy recording software ideal for recording via a microphone (also see, ‘Best Podcast Interview Software‘).
However, if we had to give one recommendation for studio quality recordings, it would be to use Adobe Audition with the pro level option if you are willing to spend some money. This runs at around $20 a month.
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You will also need to pick up multiple mics, perhaps a USB microphone or two or an XLR mic, depending on your machinery, which will need to be used for each participant.
We have seen a single microphone being shared between more than one guest, however, if you want to avoid any issues in the editing stage.
If you have issues such as a guest moving too far away from the microphone because someone else is covering it, then we recommend you go with two microphones, either an XLR or USB microphone depending on your podcast setups.
You could also use a digital audio interface instead of two USB mics (see also ‘Can You Use A USB Mic With An Audio Interface?‘).
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Using A Digital Recorder
Another popular method is to ditch the computer entirely and record using a digital recorder.
Whilst this option can be more expensive, many podcasters prefer to use digital recorders for in-person interviews as they are a lot less complicated to use, and you aren’t limited by your PC, laptop, or recording software performance.
If you are going to go down the digital recorder route, then you need to purchase an SD memory card with enough memory to record your audio files.
You should be fine with an SD card that has around 32 GB of storage, which is enough for multi-tracking.
You also need to purchase two microphones for this in-person interview, when using a digital recorder.
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Although you are sitting opposite somebody else, it is also worth getting a good pair of headphones for your recording, just in case you are worried about interference.
You may also want to invest in a headphone splitter which will allow two headsets to be plugged into a single port. This will allow both speakers to hear each other whilst only needing to take up one audio jack in the recording device.
These are typically inexpensive and are made using 3.5 mm jacks.
If you are going to be using a lot of equipment, which is likely with an in-person recording, then we recommend you purchase a surge protector as part of your podcast starter kit to help plug everything into (also see our post on ‘Podcast Starter Kit’).
You could also purchase a cable management box to help keep things organized and a lot more professional.
Purchasing the correct and best podcast equipment is the first step, but ensuring that you record exceptional sound quality in a live setting is probably the most difficult task of all.
If you’ve ever recorded an interview using an online conference software, the software will do this all for you. With in-person recording, it’s down to you to make sure your step is perfect.
The good news is that once you have done this a few times it’s really easy to do, and won’t take long at all.
The key principle is that you are monitoring the audio quality (see also ‘What Is Mic Monitoring?‘) as often as you can.
You can either do this via headphones (also see, ‘Why Do Podcasters Use Headphones?) or you can use a third party to monitor the recording, which is a better option, especially if you want to concentrate more on speaking to your guest.
ALSO SEE: Best Headphones For Podcasting
There’s nothing worse than having to keep checking your levels when this could have been achieved with a third party from the beginning.
The most important thing to do is test the audio first by doing a test run, so that you can make sure all the equipment is operating correctly, which will avoid you recording an entire podcast with bad audio, or no audio at all.
Having a quiet recording environment with very little background noise is also essential and makes a huge difference in the quality of the podcast (also see, ‘Audacity Noise Reduction‘).
If you have to record in an environment with lots of background noise, then use noise cancellation equipment and editing software as a last resort, such as using foam panels, pop filters, or blankets to help dampen sound.
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As long as you have the correct equipment and know how to set it up, recording in person is the most effective way of capturing high-quality audio and having a smoother conversation.