Best Digital Recorder for Podcasting

Best Digital Recorder for Podcasting

If you are just starting out in the podcasting life, you may be getting adjusted to the lingo and methods that are part of a recording and casting quality sound that people want to listen to. Some important things to remember when you’re preparing to launch a podcast can be found below in detail by category to assist you in getting your gear and software set up to successfully run your podcast.

Let’s start off with some of the basics and at the end of this article, I’ll give you ideas for the best digital recorder for podcasting based on where you’re at in your journey.

When you start off, naturally you’ll want to capture some solo recordings of yourself to determine what areas you feel need improvement in your on-air speech patterns. Your next step is to determine if you will be recording and editing your podcast using computer-based programming or web-based programming to promote your podcast. When you are a beginner to podcasts, you can use the free tools that you find online like Anchor or Zencast, and they may work perfectly for you.

Anchor Podcasting Platform

Your recording set up is referred to as a digital audio workstation (DAW). By using a web-based solo recording, you can be more flexible as to when and where you record. You will eventually need the ability to mobile record, even if it isn’t something you find necessary at the moment.

Once you record the show, it’s time to move on to editing and production. Editing can be adding music, removing mistakes, combining audio files of two or more recordings.

Production is the act of making the audio sound better, and it is also referred to as mastering. This includes any changes in volume, removing any background noises, or adding any compression to your post recorded podcast. There are web-based, automated tools that will do much of the production work for you prior to airing your podcast.

Tools like Alitu, which we will discuss later in-depth in this article, can play a large part in helping you with the production work on your podcasting. Alitu is a very useful production tool because it does things like handling conversions, bitrates, leveling, compression and noise reduction, allows for trimming recording and removing mistakes without much time-consuming labor.

However, when recording directly to your PC using free tools, you will have a much poorer audio quality, and the company that provides those free tools may own your content, or be able to take control of your advertising. You should check the terms of use prior to recording with free recording tools.

You will probably start by recording straight to your phone or computer when you begin podcasting. Yet, as you become more familiar with the technical aspects of recording podcasts, you’ll find that you need to purchase some hardware items in order to have a professional and clean sounding podcast. This will probably be the point where you begin to use an external device like a digital voice recorder, and more than likely a mixer as well.

What is a digital audio recorder?

Zoom H4n Pro Digital Audio Reocorder on a Stand

Simply put, a digital audio recorder is a device that records voices and sounds on an internal microphone or external microphone. You can purchase a digital audio recorder that uses freestanding microphones that plug into the digital audio recorder, or one that has the microphone built into the recording device, making it easier to travel with. Some units will offer both options.

Essentially, you don’t want to move your entire podcast studio out of your home with you every day when you leave to go conduct interviews or to record other audio to be used for your broadcasts. For one thing, some of the sensitive microphones and other audio equipment can be easily damaged. Secondly, it’s heavy, bulky, and not built for traveling. However, field recorders are meant to do exactly that: travel.

Why do I need a digital recorder for podcasting?

Once you begin to do interviews and want the freedom to travel from your studio in order to do so, you will need to have a device that you can take with you to allow you to still perform the duties necessary to work on your podcast. Also, it may remove some of the more lengthy editing steps when it comes to recording and broadcasting your podcast.

Most of the digital recorders can record straight to MP3, mix inputs, connect directly to zoom recorders and hear what’s being recorded through the headphones. They also make it possible to apply compression and limiting to your podcast on the go.

Basically, the better the recording equipment that you are using, the cleaner and better quality sound you will have as a final product in your podcasting. You don’t want everyone to hear your cats sneeze in the background, or the sound of your neighbor mowing the grass next door. The better the recording and editing equipment you are using, the less chance there is that your podcast will feature lawn mowing and cat sneeze sounds along with your commentary.

What should I look for in a digital recorder when I’m ready to purchase?

Two Women Podcasting with a Microphone

First, you want to look at the digital recorders that are in your price range. This will help you to ascertain what features will be available on the recorders that are within your budget. Not every feature will be available on every recorder, and the more you spend on the recorder, the more options you will be able to have. With digital recorders, you’ll often find in terms of quality sound that you get what you pay for.

You’ll also want to get a boom mount. A boom mount is a permanent mic mount that gets the mic closer to your actual mouth level. If you want to have a professional, high-quality sound to your podcast, you’ll need to have external microphones on a boom mount so you can set up the correct vertical alignment of the microphone to your mouth. This will help you avoid sounding like an amateur.

While you’re shopping for your studio, you also need to go ahead and invest in a solid pair of headphones. By using headphones, you are preventing sound from your computer speakers from being picked up, which will cause ghastly feedback sounds. They also help monitor the audio levels of you and any guests that you have.

Which Zoom Recorder is Best for Podcasting?

Undoubtedly, the best Zoom recorder on the market for podcasting is the Zoom H6 six-track portable recorder with an interchangeable microphone. The XY and mid-side microphone module and studio headphones are part of the appeal of this recorder, in addition to the 6-channel simultaneous recording.

The Zoom H6 is the best digital voice recorder for those that are serious about their audio sounds, and are budgeted for items in this price range. The H6 has adjustable, interchangeable microphones, and is altogether a sturdy and versatile device.

Musicians and podcasters alike can utilize the awesome audio abilities of the H6, but beware, this device is not for the beginner by any means. Also, before you purchase, be aware that the H6 has only 2G of internal storage, so be prepared to find another device for storage of your files.

Which is the best recorder for a field recorder?

The Zoom F1 Field Recorder, equipped with an LMF-1 lavalier microphone is the best-reported field recorder overall. The lavalier microphone is designed to capture every audible nuance uttered in its’ general vicinity. The F1 has a low profile design that attaches to belts, waistbands, or slips easily into pants pockets for easy concealment.

The LMF-1 Lavalier Microphone connects directly to the F1 recorder, and it will record to a microSD card. By recording directly to the F1, the interference or noise that is commonly experienced when using wireless belt-pack systems is eliminated. The F1 also has one-touch buttons that offer easy access to record levels, limiter control, 10 cut filter, and volume output with a simple touch. The monochromatic LCD display ensures that you can have screen visibility even in direct sunlight.

The Record Hold function or Hold Switch can be used to prevent buttons from being pushed while active recordings are taking place. The F1 will not ever overload, as it features an onboard limiter and auto level control that ensures your levels are safe when loud volume spikes take place. The F1 is also convenient to power, requiring just two AAA batteries, or the ability to power up with an AD17 power adapter.

The F1 is ready to transfer your recordings, featuring USB connectivity. You can use the card reader mode to move recordings over to your PC or iPad, or record directly to your PC or iPad by using the F1 in USB audio interface mode. The F1 records in both wav and mp3 formats, and your recordings are time-stamped and broadcast wave format (BWF) compliant. Lastly, the F1 is compatible with all of the Zooms interchangeable mic capsules.

Which Digital Voice Recorder Is The Easiest To Use?

Because the digital voice recorder can vary so much from model to model, this category has been broken into subcategories. Not every individual will need a professional model voice recorder. Some of the features that are vital to a few podcasters aren’t essential features at all to another group of podcasters. The digital voice recorders listed here are the Best Overall, the Best for Pros, and the Best Budget Recorder.

Best Overall Digital Voice Recorder For Ease Of Use

The best overall recorder is the Tascam DR 44WL. This wifi enabled digital voice recorder has a companion smartphone app that allows for remote control of the recorder. The DR 44WL records in CD quality 16 or 24 bit linear PCM audio and uses 2 hi-fidelity condenser microphones to do so.

The DR 44WL supports 4 track recording, overdub, and punch in audio, all of which allow for more control over audio layers.

The Best Digital Voice Recorder For Professionals

If you are looking for professional quality equipment and have the budget for it, look into some of the features in the Sony PCMD100, because it is the audio voice recorder that we all wish we could have for podcasting. It records in DSD, WAV, and MP3 formats, and is a simple USB upload away from airing your podcast.

The PCMD100 has the capability to produce accurate, noiseless, and distortion-free recordings in hi-fidelity. The crystal clarity of this recorder is unrivaled by any manufacturer. Rugged construction ensures that you can take your podcast on the road without the worries of The PCMD100 also includes digital pitch control, dual path digital limiter and super bit mapping. This is the serious podcasters’ professional-grade equipment and is not for the budget-conscious individual. However, it reflects its price in terrific and unrivaled clarity and sound.

Which Is The Best Budget Digital Recorder For Podcasting?

Although there is a clear winner in the Zoom H4N Pro, there are great budget and professional options that deserve to be recognized in the overall best digital recorder debate. For the middle of the road, affordable and ease of use for most laymen, the clear choice is the Zoom H4N Pro.

The H4N Pro is the updated version of the original H4N. It records up to 4 channels, comes with two professional microphones in an X/Y pattern, has two combo XLR/line/instrument inputs with optional phantom power, and ⅛” microphone input. It also has the ability to serve as a USB interface for either Mac or PC. The H4N Pro sports a headphone/line jack for monitoring or direct connection to DSLR.

The H4N Pro is the affordable, middle of the road option that can work well for professionals and novice podcasters alike. Functional, portable, and moderately priced, this is a home podcast studio with the ability to quickly and easily pack and turn into a mobile interview setup as needed. You can also hook your camera up to the H4N Pro to capture professional audio quality with your video.

What Are Some Of The Better Quality Podcast Recorder Apps?

Anchor is an app that records high-quality podcasts without the need to be an expert at audio work. Anchor allows you to record with multiple people all over the world, up to ten people at one time. It also allows you to speak with and record your listeners that call in via the link code you provide to them. Anchor also hosts an analytic feature to track your audience and how many times each episode is played.

Soundcloud is an app that offers to record, listening, and hosting podcasts for free. You can listen to music that’s been uploaded, and customize it as well. Soundcloud is the world’s largest music and audio platform, and it hosts new music uploads daily. The recording main screen is featured under the main menu, and even beginners can use Soundcloud to cut, record, and add effects to the beginning and end of a podcast before uploading it. Soundcloud also gives you the ability to upload artwork and set which tracks are public and those that are to remain private.

Squadcast requires no setup or installation at all in order to start recording and broadcasting your podcasts. The audio records locally and uploads progressively. Backup audio is recorded in the cloud. You have some of the basic editing tools and can mix audio and monitor recording. There are also a few of the basic audio processing effects, such as the ability to remove unwanted coughs or static, but it doesn’t support MIDI or instruments, so it is solely for podcasting, not for music uploads and editing.


Digital Audio Recorder Knobs and Buttons

Generally speaking, you don’t really need to invest in expensive equipment unless you intend to market your podcast to the general public. If you are podcasting to your Facebook friends or your AV club, it probably isn’t a necessary expense. However, if you want to have a quality sound to your podcast that is easy for your listeners to follow and get into, then you probably want to start budgeting for some external audio equipment like we have listed here for you.

Just as we gave you multiple options for the budget you have, you will find that there are low end, middle of the price range and high-end options for all of the audio equipment that you need to successfully produce a great sounding podcast. The important thing to remember is that, just as with most electronics purchases, you truly do get what you pay for. You won’t get the same sound from a $200 audio recorder as you will get from a $900 audio recorder. However, if you follow some of the tips that have been provided, and you soundproof your studio area fairly well, you can achieve a professional sound for minimal expense.

Remember that you have the ability to produce the podcast that you desire as long as you stick with the well-known formats, mixers, and platforms. They have been time tested by podcasters before you and lasted because they are excellent mediums to get your podcast out to your listener. Trust these tested options, because sometimes the Beta testing apps may not be lost and your material could be lost in the shuffle. You will also fare best if you save a copy of your podcasts in the cloud for safekeeping.

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