Here's what you'll need to get started recording using Zoom.
1. Blue Yeti X Microphone (Approx £159 UK, $179 US)
The Yeti X is capable of incredible results at a very affordable price point. Easy to use and the multiple recording patterns make it extremely diverse. If you have another microphone already then we may be able to use that - contact me to check.
2. Pop Shield (Approx £8 UK, $10 US)
A pop shield eliminates bass pops on plosive sounds. For such an inexpensive piece of equipment it really is valuable. Any pop shield will do the same job so there's no need to spend a fortune.
The microphone will need to connect to a computer via USB, so a computer of some sort will berequired. This could be a desktop / laptop, Mac / PC.
4. Headphones (Approx £35 UK, $35 US)
Any pair of headphones or earphones will do. For best results, use a pair of "closed back" headphones such as the ones linked above as these do not leak sound. See here to understand why headphones are so important.
Make sure these steps are taken care of before the day of recording.
Before the Interview
1. Set up a Zoom account
If you haven't already you will need to create a Zoom account.
2. Use the Zoom Desktop Client
You will need to download and install the desktop client if you haven't used Zoom before. It is vital that you start all of your meetings using this app. Do not use the browser version of Zoom as this does not have the features required for podcasting. Take some time to familiarise yourself with the Zoom app and make sure you are comfortable with how it works.
3. Optimise your Zoom settings
See below for a rundown of the key settings you need to enable for a good quality recording. Different versions of Zoom may vary in appearance so if you do not see the same options try updating your Zoom app. Feel free to contact me for help.
Settings > Audio
The audio output should be set to your headphones.
The audio input should be set to your microphone.
Original sound should be on.
Enable high-fidelity music mode and disable echo cancellation.
NOTE: Disabling echo cancellation produces a much higher audio quality but it is essential that everyone wears headphones for this feature to be disabled.
Settings > Recording
Make note of where your recordings will be stored. Do not save your recordings to the Zoom cloud.
Split tracks should be enabled.
4. Prepare your guest
For best quality, your guest should match these Zoom settings as well, however some guests may not be technically proficient enough to do this in which case do not worry. You should, however, send them this guest checklist well in advance of the recording to make sure they have everything ready for the big day.
5. Mic Test
If you haven't already done a mic test with me then I recommend doing so before recording so that I can make sure everything is sounding correct.
Starting the Interview
You're about to start recording! Go through these steps before kicking off.
1. Set up your microphone
Allow yourself a few minutes to get set up before your guest joins the meeting. Connect the microphone to the computer via USB. Position the pop shield so that you are speaking through it.
2. Start the meeting
Start your Zoom meeting and ensure that "Original Sound" is set to "On" in the top left hand corner of the screen. Then wait for your guest to join.
3. Check the guest setup
When the guest joins your meeting, ask them to also ensure that Original Sound is enabled on their end and make sure you are happy with their sound and setup. If there are any concerns it is better to address them than just plough on.
4. Use my recording checklist
Run through my checklist before every recording to make sure nothing has been forgotten.
You are now ready to click record and start the interview.
6. Marking Mistakes
If you make a mistake during recording, don't worry. Just mark the mistake using the pause and clap technique. This means you must pause in silence for at least 10 seconds, then clap your hands once. This will be a signal to me that there is something that needs editing and I will take care of it.
7. Send me the files
After the interview has finished you can stop recording and send me the Zoom audio files ready for production.
If you want to go the extra mile on audio quality, you might consider local recording.
Want to be the Best?
Recording your podcast over the internet is incredibly convenient and can offer excellent results. However, no matter how good your microphone or techniques ultimately the audio is being sent through an internet connection. This compresses the audio and detracts from the audio quality.
The way round this problem is known as "Local Recording" and essentially what it means is that you are recording directly to your computer rather than through an internet connection. There are two ways to do this...
Riverside is a platform specifically designed for podcasting. It has a user friendly interface which is similar to Zoom but with one key difference - it automatically records local audio. So if you want to invest in a recording platform that delivers a higher audio quality then Squadcast is a great choice.
2. Manual Local Recording
Another option is to record using Zoom exactly as I have outlined above, but also record another copy of your voice directly to your computer at the same time. You will then end up with two sets of recordings:
One set of recordings from Zoom;
One recording taken directly from your computer
I will then replace your Zoom recording with the much higher quality local recording in the editing process. You can also ask your guest to record locally if you feel they are capable, but this is not essential.
You can record directly to your computer using Quicktime for Mac or Audacity for Windows. If you need any help getting setup then don't hesitate to get in touch.