Remote podcast recordings, not only are they convenient and relatively simple, but they further democratise podcasting by enabling those without expensive studios and setups to have great conversations with whomever they like.
There’s a variety of different applications that can be used for recording a podcast remotely. You have the staples such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or some of the newer podcast/broadcast oriented applications such as SquadCast, ZenCastr, and ipDTL. We’ll run through each of these alternatives based on their ease of use and sound and video quality.
Founded in 2003, Skype has seen numerous iteration of what a video, voice and instant messaging platform could be. After being acquired in 2011 by Microsoft for $8.5 billion, Skype began to see a shift in priorities and where it was heading. The intuitiveness of the application, the instability in video and voice calls, and the diversion of resources into different offshoots of Skype – Skype for Business, and integrations with Windows Phone and Outlook – has had a profound impact on the product and its user base.
Despite this, it’s still commonly used today in some larger broadcasts for its versatility and familiarity. For podcast purposes, we usually recommend to stay away from Skype for the reasons outlined below.
- Quality: Poor quality audio and video, there’s a noticeable noise floor
- Ease of use: Easy for guests to join and very familiar to operate
- Pricing: Free
- Familiarity – Almost everyone would have used Skype before making it easier for guests to join
- Inbuilt call recording – Skype makes recording everyone in the call easy with the click of a button
- NDI – For larger broadcast setups, Skype allows you to easily bring in feeds from your Skype call into any NDI-enabled software such as OBS or vMix.
- Quality – Skype has really poor audio. Skype produces what’s known as a noise floor which is essentially a static, hissing noise that is constant throughout the entirety of the call, making it very distracting when it comes to a podcast.
- Audio ducking – As with most voice and video calls, Skype automatically lowers the volume of one individual as the other talks, making it inaudible.
- Skype Watermark on video if being used
TLDR; Skype is a very familiar software and used by many podcasters and broadcasters. It features inbuilt call recording as well as NDI for more technical setups. From our perspective, what makes it a no-go from a podcast perspective is it’s poor handling of audio and video. Combining the noise floor, ducking of audio when others talk, and the requirement to have a Skype watermark on your production all leans toward it being not ideal for podcasts.
Zoom is a US based company founded by Eric Yuan, a former Cisco Webex engineer in 2011. Taking 40 engineers with him, Eric started what would become one of the biggest tech communications company in the world.
Despite the criticism of its security and privacy practices, Zoom has gained a significant amount of traction as of late due to it’s simplicity, ability to handle large groups of users simultaneously, and it’s fantastic quality.
- Quality: High quality audio and video
- Ease of use: Although it’s not built for podcasting and broadcast in mind, there’s built-in recording, as well as significantly better audio than most competing platforms such as Skype. Guests receive a link and can jump right into the recording
- Pricing: Free or $20.99 AUD for premium
- Extremely easy to use – Simply send a link to be opened in a browser and the user can connect in.
- Audio & Video Quality – Zoom sounds and looks fantastic and is perfect for a video podcast recording or an audio-only recording.
- Built-in recording
- Versatile – Easily handles lots of participants in the meeting
- Control – Easily mute, remove, or have participants in waiting rooms prior to the podcast
- Free* – Unlimited duration on 1-to-1 meetings, 40-minute limit on group meetings
- iOS, Android, Windows & MacOS apps
- No account required
- Support for virtual cameras
- Ability to disable audio processing and eliminate audio ducking.
- YouTube live stream support is limited
TLDR; Zoom is the best solution for both audio and video recording as it is very forgiving on poor internet connections and provides high quality audio and video. With built-in recording, the ability to control participants and the range of apps means that it’s accessible to all podcasters and guests to chat on.
SquadCast is a purpose-built remote podcast recording platform that makes it easy to record high quality audio podcasts.
- Quality: SquadCast captures multi-track audio locally before uploading the files to SquadCast cloud.
- Ease of use: SquadCast allows 4 participants to enter into a recording session (with the ability to view video sources, but not record) and easily record a podcast.
- Pricing: Plans vary from $9/month for 2 hours of recordings per month to $38/month for 12 hours of recordings.
- Browser-based – no installation required (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Brave, & Edge, excluding Safari)
- High Quality audio recording (44.1 kHz sample rate and 16-bit depth audio files)
- No account required for guests
- Automatic backups & Progressive Upload
- 4 person limit (1 Host + up to 3 Guests)
- Restriction on length of audio recordings per month
- No video recording yet (coming soon)
TLDR; SquadCast is a great solution for podcasters recording a remote audio-only podcast episodes. All the tech is handled by SquadCast, making high quality recording a breeze, as well as the Automatic backups and progressive uploads providing piece of mind in the case of a disconnection. It’s extremely easy for guests for use, simply requiring a browser, and if you’re both using headphones, you can prevent audio ducking by disabling their Echo Cancellation. Once a video recording feature is included in the platform, SquadCast will be a fantastic all-round solution for most podcasters.
Zencastr is another purpose-built, browser-based podcast recording platform that features multi-track recording. Zencastr was founded in 2015 by Josh Nielsen as a recording tool for quality conscious podcasters.
- Quality: Zencastr allows for multi-track recording in lossless 16-bit 44.1k WAV, meaning the only limitations become internet connections and the hardware you use.
- Ease of use: Zencastr is super easy to use due to it being browser-based, simply send guests a link to join and hit record.
- Pricing: Zencastr is an affordable solution at $20/month for unlimited guests, recordings and 10 hours of automatic post-production.
- Browser-based, no installation required
- Video recording (beta)
- Unlimited guests & record time
- Backup redundancies
- Live Editing Soundboard
- Ability to eliminate audio ducking
- No support for Safari
TLDR; Zencastr is a decent solution for podcast recording, however we’d recommend that you look at SquadCast as an alternative as it is a bit more feature heavy in terms of having the ability to see your participants and will soon receive the bonus of video recording. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for an audio-only platform to record your podcasts and you’re happy not seeing guests, Zencastr is a decent alternative at $20/month.
ipDTL is a broadcast-focused software that allows podcasters and radio stations to call guests from their web browser. Offering an alternative to ISDN lines (as well as offering the ability to make ISDN calls), ipDTL uses WebRTC and the OPUS audio codec to provide low latency, multi-track recording for remote interviews, with video for previewing only. ipDTL was founded by Kevin Leach, a former radio host and BBC sound engineer.
- Quality: The virtual mixer, low-latency OPUS codec, and multi-track recording means that the audio quality is superb.
- Ease of use: ipDTL is easy for guests and hosts to use, having a direct browser link to jump into a recording.
- Pricing: ipDTL is an expensive solution for podcasters, costing £40.00 GBP a month for a basic setup.
- Browser-based, no installation required
- Virtual Mixer
- Unlimited record time
- Ability to make phone calls & ISDN calls from the browser
- No video recording
- Restrictions on number of guests
- No easy way to eliminate audio ducking
- No support for Safari (Chrome & Firefox)
TLDR; ipDTL is a remote interview solution built for broadcast and radio stations. The ability to make and take ISDN and phone calls make it easy to implement in studios around the world. The virtual mixer, and fact it is browser-based results in high quality, low-latency audio. Unfortunately, for independent podcasters, it’s quite expensive and doesn’t allow for video recording.
FaceTime (using RØDECaster Pro)
Although not intended for broadcast, FaceTime audio calls offer a great solution for podcasters to interview guests remotely. Announced by Apple in 2013, FaceTime audio is supported on iOS devices and MacOS computers making it extremely easy for guests to join the interview, and makes for a high quality recorder when plugged into the RØDECaster Pro via TRRS or USB. Video recording is also possible through Quicktime.
- Quality: Although not broadcast quality, FaceTime is low-latency and forgiving to struggling internet connections
- Ease of use: FaceTime is easily accessible for any Apple user which makes for a super simple setup
- Pricing: Free
- Setup not required on Apple devices
- High quality audio
- Easy to record on the RØDECaster Pro
- Great with low quality internet
- No restrictions on number of guests
- Inaccessible to Windows and Android users
- No way to remove audio ducking
TLDR; FaceTime is a fantastic solution for Apple users. The fact that it is free, extremely accessible for Apple users with low quality internet, and the setup is non-existent, makes it a simple way to interview guests remotely. FaceTime has no limit on guests, and has the option of recording video via Quicktime if necessary. Connecting your phone or laptop into the RØDECaster Pro and using FaceTime is one of the best, most simple ways to record a chat for free.