How to Record an Audio File That Sounds Great for a Podcast (in Quicktime or Audacity)

How to Record an Audio File That Sounds Great for a Podcast (in Quicktime or Audacity)

– Hi, my name is Aaron Dowd, and in this video I’m going to show you how to record an audio file for a podcast. So if you’re gonna be
a guest on a podcast, here’s what you need to know. First thing, you wanna record
an audio file on your computer to send to your host or the
person who’s interviewing you after the show’s done recording. And if you do this right, and I’m gonna show you how to do it right, if you do this right
it’s gonna sound better than the Skype recording
that people normally use for a lot of podcast interviews. So your host may be
recording the Skype audio with a program like Ecamm Call Recorder. And a lot of the times
people like to go that method because it’s easier on the guests. The guests don’t need to worry
about recording anything. But listeners notice the
difference in quality. And if you want the podcast listeners to pay attention to you,
to hear your message, to communicate that stuff, then you need to record a
local file on your computer and send it to your host afterwards so they can do editing
and processing on it, and that will just eliminate
a lot of the problems that might come from Skype. Okay, second you need to find
a quiet room to record in. So turn off your fans, your
AC units, or your heaters, put your pets in another room, maybe lock them in your bedroom
or a bathroom or something. Just try to eliminate
any background sounds that might be happening that might be recorded by your microphone, and try to avoid rooms with a
lot of natural echo or reverb. A lot of hard, flat surfaces or big rooms will often sound very echoey, and that’s not a great experience for your podcast listeners either. Now a simple hack for that, a little tip, is to grab a bunch of
couch cushions or pillows and set them up around your
computer where you’re recording. That can work really well to reduce some of the echo in your track. Next, you’ll always wanna make sure that you’re wearing headphones
while you’re recording. So make sure that any
sound from your computer is being routed to your headphones, otherwise your host’s
voice will be recorded, picked up by your microphone. If it’s coming out of
your computer speakers, it’ll be recorded in your microphone. That’ll create this
weird echo in your track and that will basically
ruin your recording, so make sure you’re wearing headphones while you’re recording. Next step, is to connect
your USB microphones or if you’re using some kind of audio interface like
I am, connect that. Or if you’re using headphones
like the Apple earbuds that just have a built-in microphone or a USB headset, plug
that into your computer. And next, you need to understand
input and output sources. So input and output sources basically are input is where the
sound is coming into, so which device your computer is gonna be recording audio from. So that’s either your USB
microphone or headset, or an audio interface that you have. And then the output is where your computer is going to send audio to. So wherever your headphones
are plugged into. So if you have a USB microphone that has a headphone jack on it, and you plug your headphones into that, then you need to set your
output to that device. And you can do that on a Mac,
in your audio preferences here by holding down option and clicking on this little sound icon
up here in the Menu bar. And you’ll see that you
have an output device, so that’s where your computer
is going to send audio. And you have an input device, so that’s where your computer
is going to record audio from. Now you should know that the
software that you’re using, a lot of audio programs like Skype and QuickTime and Audacity, like I’m going to cover
in this screen cast, they also have system preferences where you will set your
output and input sources. So programs, you can set
input and output in programs, you can also set input and
output in system preferences. If that sounds a little bit confusing, it kind of is and I understand that. But just be aware of the fact that you can set input and output to determine where audio is coming in from and where audio is being sent to. And I’ll go over a little bit, I’ll go over that stuff inside of the software here in a second. So next thing, you wanna turn off Dropbox, Google Drive and any other services that might be hogging internet bandwidth. I’m thinking about like Backblaze, anything that’s backing up your software or your computer, your
hard drive to the cloud. Just make sure that you eliminate anything that might be hogging bandwidth. And you can actually,
most people have Dropbox, you can pause Dropbox syncing by clicking on this in the Menu bar. And hitting this little
pause button right here. Alright, next you also wanna
disable system notifications before you start recording. So this just prevents any sounds or weird noises, or popups, text messages, things like that from showing up. And you can do that by holding down Option and clicking on this little
notification’s menu bar, what is this thing called? I don’t even know, widget? Yeah, you just click on it and
if it’s highlighted, it’s on, and if it’s grayed out, it is off. Hold down option and click
on that, just do that. And that’ll actually help you, prevent you from being
distracted by popups while you’re recording a podcast. Okay, next we gotta open
up the recording software. So just a little bit about microphones generally for good mic technique, you wanna be a couple inches
away from the microphone. Use a pop filter. If you haven’t bought one yet, you can get them for $8 to $12 on Amazon. And you need to get one of those for sure. You need to adjust the input gain on your microphone or
on your USB interface. If you’re using a headset
like Apple earbuds, any kind of headphones that
have an inline microphone but don’t have an input gain knob, then you’ll probably either adjust that inside of your recording software or you won’t have the option to adjust it, your system will just adjust the gain levels automatically for you. So, if you have a microphone that has a input gain
knob or a USB interface that has an input gain knob, open up a program and
then adjust the levels. I’ll show you how to do that in a second. Might as well jump into this stuff now. So let’s start with QuickTime first. And QuickTime is a program that comes automatically
installed on all Mac computers. So you can just open up Spotlight by hitting Command +
Space, typing QuickTime and it should give you the
option, hit enter to open it. Now you can go ahead and hit Done because it’s asking you
if you wanna open a file. We wanna record a file. Go up here to File, New Audio Recording. And it gives you this
little box right here. Now you can see that because I have, okay, I’ll just walk you through this. First you can drag this little
speaker icon in the slider, turn it all the way down
’cause you don’t need to hear yourself while you’re recording. Let’s see, but you need to
click on this dropdown menu and select your microphone
and quality should be High. So microphone because I
have a Zoom H4n interface that this microphone is plugged into. That’s what I wanna use
to record an audio file. And you can see that my levels
are coming in here okay. You don’t want levels
that are super, super low. So you can see, if I back
away from this microphone, it’s too quiet, that’s no good. And if I get, okay, I’m not
gonna do any more of that. If I get too close to the microphone, then these meters start hitting the edges which indicate clipping,
you don’t want that either. So somewhere in the middle
whenever you’re talking normally is good for your input gain levels. And you should be able to adjust that on your microphone or your interface. If you don’t have a, if you’re using Apple earbuds or something like that, then you do not have an option, it should automatically
set the levels for you. Okay, to record, you
hit this record button. And this will start
recording an audio file. You’ll see that there’s a
little gray square right here which is a stop button. And that’s how you know that
you’re actually recording. Alright, to stop, you hit
this stop button right here. And you got a file, you can
play it back and listen to it. And I recommend doing that just as doing a test recording in advance of
your interview, your podcast, just to make sure that it sounds good, everything sounds good and okay. Once you’re done, you
can export this audio by going to the menu and
selecting Export, Audio Only. Put your name, name of the podcast, and then maybe the episode number. Save it to the desktop or
to Dropbox or Google Drive. And there you have it. A podcast recording file ready
for you to send to your host. Okay, I’m gonna delete that. Next, I’m gonna show you how to do the same thing in Audacity. Audacity is a free program
that you can download for either Mac or Windows. And I’m including it here
because there may be some people who you may have a Windows machine and I don’t wanna do Mac only. So we’re gonna open this up. A new project should open up. And let me go over the
interface right here real quick. So the first thing that
you’ll need to know is that, as I talked about
earlier, input and output, so this is where you
can select your output. In most cases, you can
leave this slider over here all the way down, unless
you want to listen back to the file that you record. You can make a test recording and then you’ll need to listen back. So just make sure the
output is set to whatever, whatever your headphones are plugged into. But the important thing is your input. So next to this microphone
icon right here at the top, select the microphone or
interface that you’re using. And if, yeah, you should see like inline mic or something like that if you’re just using Apple earbuds. So I have my H4 selected,
I have my channel selected because my microphone is plugged into channel one, to input one. So I have that selected. If you have a, okay, so this
is the recording volume, your input gain volume. So if you have a
microphone or an interface that has an input gain knob on
it that you can adjust there, then this will be grayed
out like it is for me. I can’t adjust it. If you have Apple earbuds, you’ll probably have the opportunity to change the input gain. And we can set the input gain, click on this, these meters right here, right above this microphone. And that’ll start monitoring. And you can see that my
levels of here are coming in, they’re hitting on average
just above negative 12 which is the perfect spot. When you’re talking comfortably a couple inches from the mic, you should see that hitting negative 12. If not, adjust your microphone input gain levels to be there. What you don’t want is either
to have them be too low, so like negative 36, or too high, like regularly hitting zero. That’s a problem. You want them right here
in this negative 12 area. So when you’re ready to start recording, this looks good, hit this
record button or hit R which is the keyboard shortcut. And this will start recording a new file and you can see from the wave forms here that I am recording file
and the levels are good so that’s perfect. You can hit space bar, or hit this stop button
right here to stop. Come up here to File, Export Audio. I’m gonna save this as npodcast1. Format as WAV, that’s good. You can either do WAV or AIFF. Hit Save. Don’t need to do anything
here, just hit OK. Let’s see, I’m gonna hide this. And now I have an audio
file right here ready to go. Then the next step is
just to share the file using Dropbox or Google Drive or any other cloud sharing
service that you use. I’m not gonna go over that process because I know you’re smart and I know you can figure it out. Google is your best friend. Just, if you don’t have Dropbox, if you’ve never used that
stuff before, look it up. There’s some great tutorials. And I think both Dropbox and
Google Drive have free options. So you can just sign up for that and start using them to send an audio recording to your host. So let’s do a super quick recap
before we get out of here. You wanna record an audio
file on your computer so that you’ll sound good. So that your podcast
listeners will pay attention and absorb your message, and
you’ll sound professional, and clear, and great. Because listeners, podcast listeners do notice the quality of recordings. Second, find a quiet room to record in so turn off your fans,
AC units, anything else. Avoid rooms with lots of
natural echo or reverb. Number three, wear
headphones while recording, very important. Make sure you understand the
concept of input and output. So input is where your
audio is going into, which device is recording
audio to the computer. And output is where your
computer is sending audio. Make sure you got your stuff
connected, plugged in, set up. Select your input and output source, either in your audio preference, or in your recording
software, sometimes both. Turn off Dropbox, Google
Drive, and any other services that might be hogging internet bandwidth. Disable your system notifications
while you’re recording. Open up your recording software, talk into your microphone,
adjust the input gain levels. Don’t forget to hit record. Very important to hit record, hopefully your host will remind you before they start the interview,
for you to hit record. But just double check that. Finally, export your
audio when you’re done. And share it with your host. So I hope that was helpful. To close this thing up,
again, my name is Aaron Dowd. You can find me on the
internet at Let me show you that real quick. Come on Google! I’ve got a podcast there.
if you wanna listen to that. I will say, if you have
questions about gear, the gear I recommend, the gear I use, the gear I think people
should use for podcasting, go to and I have an entire episode here about the gear and I talk about all the various gear that I like. For all different kinds of budgets so you don’t have to spend $500 to get a recording setup that sounds good. Just head over to and that’ll be everything
you need to get started. So I hope that was helpful. Have an excellent day and best
of luck with your podcast.

3 thoughts on “How to Record an Audio File That Sounds Great for a Podcast (in Quicktime or Audacity)

  1. 🤔✌️🧠
    There are a lot of podcast apps where do I upload my audio to? which one is the best one?
    Or do all apps have the same source for audio material? You should do a video about it cuz nobody has made one yet THAAAANKS!!!

  2. Hi Aaron wanted to say thanks for your very informative videos, I’ve been learning a lot from you and I really appreciate your channel. You’re making me want to spend money. I have a question that has been driving me crazy. I understand the record at -12 level but when you export your podcast (or YouTube video) what should the audio be set at? I haven’t been able to find an answer and I’ve been targeting my latest stuff around -3db but I’d like to get this right before I launch my new podcast. If you have time to answer or make a video that would be awesome. Thanks for all you do! -Duane

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