Recording a podcast is where the magic happens. It’s the culmination of all the hard work you’ve spent preparing, planning, and dreaming. It’s time to share your voice.
We’ve already talked about how to record your podcast, and shown you there are four primary ways to record:
Today we’re going to dive deeper into the first item on that list: Recording Software (for in-person recordings).
We'll also show you a list of honorable mentions so you get a full picture of all your options. More on that later.
My goal is to help you pick the right software to record the highest quality audio possible for your podcast.
So let's dive in.
The Voice Memos app is the simplest way to start recording a podcast on your iPhone. It’s free, comes pre-installed on each iPhone, and records in solid quality. You can get a decent sound from your built-in microphone, but we recommend using Apple headphones with a built-in mic for a small boost in quality, or better yet buy one of the USB mics we recommend in our podcast starter kits here.
Dolby On is a simple mobile recording app from the creators of legendary tools like Dolby Atmos multi-dimensional sound. This app lets you record audio, video, and even live stream yourself to other apps like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook. They also offer some simple tools like noise reduction, EQ, compression, de-essing, normalization (make each track have even volume), and more. This is a great tool for recording and it’s available for Androids and iPhones.
Note: If you’re trying to record a phone call or remote interview, read our remote recording software guide here to see the best mobile apps for that specific scenario.
Ferrite is a powerful audio editing app available for both iPhones and iPads. You can easily record, edit, mix, automatically remove long silent pauses, automatically duck audio, and has all of the essential tools like EQ and compression that you’d expect from a professional digital audio workstation like Pro Tools (more on them later). The Ferrite app is actually optimized and most loved by people using iPads. It’s essentially ProTools for the iPad and iPhone, with tons of features similar to the industry-standard DAW, plus some handy automation tools as well.
Quicktime is another native app for macOS. It’s delightfully simple and has only a few essential features, like the ability to record audio. You can also use it to record a video from your webcam or screen recording. Quicktime records audio as a .AIF file which is an uncompressed file type very similar to the WAV file. Quicktime is a great solution if you want a simple recording tool with a few simple buttons. Just open QuickTime → pick mic input → pick “maximum quality” → hit record and you’ve started a podcast!
Windows Voice Recorder is a simple recording app equivalent to Quicktime on Mac, that lets you record a single local audio track on your computer. This free app is the easiest way to open your laptop, hit record, and start making a podcast in seconds.
GarageBand is a free digital audio workstation (DAW) that is installed natively on each Apple computer. They also have an iOS version of the app for iPhones and iPads. GarageBand is a very simple application, built for beginners to learn and use the basic recording and editing tools. But the fact that it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s cheap. You can record the same high-quality sound on GaraBeband as any other major software on the market. You can record multiple tracks simultaneously, as long as you have an audio interface to plug in multiple microphones.
Audacity is a great alternative to GarageBand for Windows and Linux computers. It’s a free open-source DAW with all of the essential features for recording, editing, mixing, and exporting podcast audio. When it comes to recording your audio, Audacity has you covered! The one big downside to Audacity happens when you’re editing your podcast. It uses destructive editing, which means that when you remove a section of your audio track and save the session you cannot go back later to undo that change. Most DAWs like GarageBand, ProTools, and Logic Pro all offer non-destructive editing where you can always restore the clips you remove. This one issue isn’t ideal, but you can work around it by saving a backup of the RAW recording file before you start editing.
You can easily record your podcast with nothing but a smartphone and some headphones, or a laptop and a USB mic, or some combination of both. But if you plan to do more complex editing and production to your podcast then you might want to use a digital audio workstation (ex: Pro Tools) along with an audio interface (to connect a mic to your computer). If you’re interested in using this more complex and advanced setup, here’s a list of the top DAWs used by podcasters:
We’ve already covered our favorite apps above. So if you’re looking for a simple solution we recommend skipping this section. But just to be extra thorough I want to show you a few more solutions you can check out if you haven’t found the right fit yet.
As you can see, there are a LOT of recording apps out there. At the end of the day, each of them can get the job done for you, and it really comes down to a few simple factors: Your specific scenario, which interface you prefer to use, and how you plan to edit your podcast.
Let us know what app you end up using to record your podcast here on Twitter!