How To Record
These are general guidelines and my personal recommendations for a quality recording setup that I have arrived at through my time in the field.
- At bare minimum you'll need a quality pair of headphones, a quality microphone, a quality interface, a microphone stand, and a pop filter or windscreen. (Quality headphones in order to hear yourself or others correctly and to not have echo from speakers. A quality microphone and accessories are needed in order to capture your voice in the best possible way you can!)
- Make sure you set up in a quiet space for recording your audio as you don't want background noise or room echo present in your recordings. (Smaller rooms with carpeting and a lot of stuff in them are what we are looking for. As silly as it sounds, closets are great for recording!)
- Proper microphone/room setup involves some trial and error as all rooms, equipment, and voices are different. This also has the biggest impact on your overall audio quality. Generally, you'll space your microphone around 6 inches from your mouth (off axis if you don't have a pop filter/windscreen) and have your gain set to a reasonable level. It should be loud enough that you are being picked up, but not so loud that everything in the background is being picked up or you are clipping! Then, listen back to your recordings to inform your decisions about how you should tweak your setup.
- Familiarizing yourself with a DAW or recording program will definitely help too! (YouTube has plenty of good tutorials on helping yourself get familiar with recording. On Windows, Audacity and Reaper are free recording programs that do a good job. On Mac, stock GarageBand does a good job!)
- If you plan on having guests I'd recommend figuring out how you will get their audio.
Remotely: The absolute best way to record remotely is to have each person record their own voice, on their own computer, in a well setup room, through a good microphone, and on an isolated track. Then they'd send you their file after the interview. This only works if the other person knows how to record themselves locally, but it produces the best overall quality. I recommend doing a synchronized countdown, "3-2-1" *clap* as it allows for easier syncing in post. As that isn't always an option I recommend using Zencastr or a similar service as it allows you to set everything up from your end and allows you to record separate tracks for each person and records decent quality.
In-Person: It is important each person have their own separate track during recording and that you aren't picking up much (preferably none) of each others' voices in your own microphones. It takes time to set up properly and helps if you are recording in a smaller, carpeted room with lots of furniture/blankets/stuff in it. (A separate track per person is crucial in a cleaner, better sounding product! Not to mention avoiding Zoom if you can, both will help overall production quality a lot!)
- Always record a sample and listen to it back before you start recording an episode! (You can catch a lot of unintentional background noise or mistakes due to improper setups by doing this!)