A big question every new podcaster asks themselves is, “how to record a podcast remotely?” Not everyone has a studio to rent, and so most newbies have to make a home setup. Part of this includes using a reliable podcast host.
One host option is Zencastr, which offers several plans and features to its users. Here’s our full review of Zencastr and why it just might be the best way solution for your show.
How Do You Record High-Quality Podcasts with Zencastr?
To record a high-quality podcast, you need high-quality equipment. While microphones, headphones, and other equipment are helpful, the most important thing to make sure you have is an excellent podcast recording service, which is where Zencastr comes in.
Services like Zencastr are specifically designed to capture high-quality audio with as little background noise as possible. Zencastr records the audio of you and your guests in separate tracks so that you can edit together the final project to your exact specifications.
To be taken seriously in the world of podcasting, you need to use a service like Zencastr.
How Do You Use Zencastr?
Before you go to town using Zencastr, there are a few things you will need to set up before using Zencastr:
- Zencastr account – You will need an email address to set up your account.
- Computer (can be Mac or PC, but you may want to use a Mac if possible)
- Internet Connection
- Google Chrome Web Browser
- Microphone with a USB connection – As a note, guests may use iPhone earbud headphones and still get a high-quality audio recording, but for the best sound quality you will always want to use a USB microphone
- Stand for the microphone
- Microphone pop filter
The microphone equipment is technically optional, but if you want to make a podcast with the best audio quality possible, then you should consider investing in these products. A decent mic can make or break a podcast’s audio quality.
Now, let’s review how Zencastr works and get you well on your way to creating incredible audio.
Step by Step Instructions
One of the greatest things about Zencastr is that it is remarkably easy to use. Just follow these steps to get started:
- Once you set up your account, you will want to navigate to your dashboard and click Create New Episode.
- After you name your episode, it will take you to the recording screen.
- From this place, you will be able to adjust your settings and invite your guests.
- To invite, you merely need to send an invitation to your guest’s email address.
- Once your guests are on board, you can check their settings as well so that you will be ready to get started.
- Once all systems are go, you will hit the start recording button to begin your audio recording. As the recording transgresses, you will be able to see the sound wave formations as you speak. This feature serves as a great indication of whether your audio recording is proceeding as planned. Once you have captured all your audio, you need to hit stop recording.
- After recording, you will see your track and your guests’ tracks on the screen. You will be able to download these audio tracks from there to begin the post-production process.
Keep in mind that the Zencastr Pro affords you post-production tools. This plan allows you to access a live editing soundboard and 10 hours of automatic post-production per month to make the process from recording to release even easier. Live editing will save you plenty of time and will help you release your recording to the world even faster.
What Pros Does Zencastr Offer?
Zencastr offers a plethora of features that make it easy for budding podcasters to build up a following.
Let’s review some of the most prominent benefits of the product:
- One Track per Speaker – Each of your guests will be recorded on a separate track to streamline the editing process.
- Integration with Your Cloud Drive – Zencastr can synch up with your Dropbox and your Google drive making cloud drive integration a breeze.
- Chat Capabilities – If you want to communicate with your guests without disrupting your recording, you can easily do so with this feature.
- Mute – You won’t have to worry about muddying the audio quality if you are just on the call to produce with this feature.
- Lossless WAV recording – This file is a step above MP3s in terms of audio quality. Recording in WAV files in 16 bit 44.1k is always going to enhance your production value.
- Built-in VoIP – You don’t need to multi-task and also run Zoom or Skype. Voice chatting with your guests directly is possible through the system’s built-in VoIP.
- Web-based – In this format, Zencastr can be accessed by anyone with internet connections.
- Simple Guest Interface – The only thing your guest will have to do is click the link sent directly to their email, making the guest experience as simple as possible. You will not have to worry about onboarding your guests into a complicated system.
- Automatic Backups – The audio files download locally in addition to uploading to your cloud drive, so you always have your recordings even if there is an issue with internet access during the upload process. You will always have a backup just when you need it most. This connection fallback plan could save you quite a headache if you do run into issues.
- Hours of Recording Time – While you can theoretically record as long as your computer’s specs will allow, the system can confidently support up to three hours of recording time.
The newest feature Zencastr has to offer is a Hi-Fi video recording beta. If you want early access to this video beta, you can check out the website to sign up.
These positive features lead many people who review Zencastr to determine that it is a beneficial service. However, Zencastr even going a set further to provide a blog for customers to review to get even more useful information.
The Zencastr website also features a blog, which is a fantastic way to get up to date information about Zencastr services and gain inspiration. Whether you are a podcast expert or a complete novice, you will likely find helpful information that will enhance your podcast making capabilities.
Sample article titles include “Podcast Launch Planning – 5 Steps to a Great Podcast” and “Gaining More Podcast Listeners.” If you want to learn even more about the company, you can check them out on social media on both Twitter and Facebook.
What are the Cons of Zencastr?
No technology is perfect, so now let’s review some downsides to Zencastr so that you can get a holistic view of this product.
- Lack of video – If you are a visual person who needs to make eye contact while podcast hosting, then this may not be the software for you.
- Inability to connect with a mobile device – Currently, all users must access Zencastr from a computer.
- Ineffective with a PC – Digital popping and audio drift are much more prevalent issues when working with a PC as opposed to a Mac.
- Lackluster support services – If you need help with the program, most often, you will not hear back from Zencastr support services until well after your recording session has finished. This help is often too little and too late to be of any real assistance. However, you can access the support page on the Zencastr page at any time, and the articles on this page may be able to help you solve your problems yourself.
- Audio drift – Sometimes, when recording multiple people with Zencastr, one audio track ends up being shorter than the other, which can be incredibly annoying during the editing process because the audio files will not match up.
While several of these setbacks are undoubtedly annoying, none are particularly dealbreakers for most podcasters. For most people, the benefits and exciting features far outweigh the negatives.
Can you use Zencastr on your phone?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no, and it may be the biggest let down of using Zencastr for remote interviews.
It is currently not possible for your guests to join you in your podcast recording sessions from a mobile device. This functionality may get added in the future, but it is currently not available, if your guests will routinely join you on the go, then you may want to opt for a different platform.
How much does Zencastr cost?
Zencastr offers two different price levels: the Hobbyist and the Professional. The Hobbyist is free while the Professional is $20 per month or $18 per month if you buy a year-long subscription. This pricing system allows everyone to have some access to incredible recording equipment regardless of ability to pay.
The free-version generally allows up to two guests and 8 hours of podcast recordings per month, but during the pandemic, these restrictions have been waived. The free version will enable users to record in high-quality MP3 files but requires pay per use post-production.
If you are looking to elevate your potential by paying the fee for the Professional plan, you will get some added features. You will always have the ability to host unlimited guests and make unlimited recordings.
You will gain access to a live editing soundboard. This soundboard will enable you to add sound effects to your podcast while you are recording it, making the editing process a breeze. Do you have a signature intro sound? Add it as you record! Do you use music during pauses in the conversation? Add them as you go along!
In addition to recording in high-quality MP3, you will also be able to record in 16-bit 44.1k WAV. Don’t forget about your 10 hours of automatic post-production per month, either!
If you are not sure which version you would like to go with, Zencastr also offers a 14-day free trial of the Professional plan so you can give it a try without making a financial commitment. With this option, you can make sure you like all the advanced features before being roped into paying for them.
This trial is definitely the way to go if you want to be 100% sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck with the professional version of Zencastr. As long as you cancel your trial before the 14 days are up, you will not owe a cent.
What other options exist besides Zencastr?
Several other programs allow you to capture audio remotely, but few even come close to the recording features that Zencastr provides.
Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Skype all will enable you to speak with other people all over the world with just an internet connection, but they are not explicitly designed for podcast recording. These platforms might yield decent podcast interviews, but generally, they are prone to audio issues and disruptions from weak internet connections. You will be much better off going with a system that was specifically designed to capture audio for purposes such as podcasting.
Some other systems are similar to Zencast in their recording capabilities, but each of these alternatives falls short of Zencastr in certain areas. Cast podcasting does not allow podcast hosts to send the invite link to their guests ahead of time, which makes it difficult for a co-host to test their audio settings in advance of the recording session.
A plus of Ringr is that it does allow users to access it from a phone. However, in our review, we realized that this platform is full of bugs and overall not reliable.
Is Zencastr worth it?
Zencastr is a web-based application, making it accessible to just about everyone. It has an easy to use interface that allows even novice podcasters can make a fantastic product.
After creating our Zencastr review, we’ve determined that Zencastr is ideal for podcasts with remote guests. If you are looking for a podcasting software that makes conversations with participants from all over the world as streamlined as possible, then Zencastr is undoubtedly the way to go.
After reviewing everything, the bottom line is that the recording quality is terrific. Although the system is not perfect, it is well worth your investment.