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Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need a professional studio and tonnes of recording equipment to make a great podcast. If you’re just getting into podcasting, or you’re more experienced and looking for a super-compact setup for podcasting on the go, your smartphone is a perfectly acceptable recording tool. Below we’re going to show you how to record a podcast on your phone in just a few simple steps.
First, you need a smartphone to record with. All phones feature internal microphones that, if you’re in a pinch, can record audio for your podcast. However, these aren’t capable of high-quality sound capture; and with a format like podcasting where audio is the focal point (or any media, for that matter), people will tune out quickly if your recording is poor.
The single easiest way to significantly improve your audio when recording into a phone is to use an external microphone. The RØDE range offers plenty of options that will deliver crystal-clear audio and plug directly into your phone.
For an easy-to-use solution for an iPhone, the VideoMic Me-L, or VideoMic Me if you have an older model, are perfect. These ultra-compact microphones clip right into your phone’s Lightning or headphone input and will capture crisp, clear audio that is focused on what it's pointed at while reducing background noise.
Other great options include the smartLav+, which is a lapel microphone, or the SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit, which features two lapel mics and a compact audio interface that plugs right into your phone – perfect if you want to record a two-person podcast.
One of the coolest features of the VideoMic Me, VideoMic Me-L, and SC6-L is the headphone output. This allows you to monitor your audio before and during recording to ensure everything is sounding good, and listen back to your audio after you’re done. We highly recommend having a pair of headphones on hand at all times if you're thinking about recording – even a pair of earbuds will do!
Finally, you’ll need to download an app to record your podcast with. The RØDE Reporter app is a great, simple audio recorder for podcasting on the go. Another excellent mobile podcasting tool is Anchor. This is a super simple web and iOS app that allows you to easily record and edit a podcast, and distribute it to popular platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Once you’ve got all the tools you need, it’s time to start thinking about recording. Here are a few tips for getting great audio:
Record in a quiet place – If possible, record your podcast in a quiet room with minimal background noise that could be picked up in your recording. This includes traffic or pedestrian noise, air conditioners or fans, music or noisy housemates. Also, choose a room with minimal reflective surfaces, as this will introduce a distant, echo-y quality to your audio, which will be unpleasant to listen to. Carpet, rugs, curtains and bookshelves will all help reduce these reflections and make your podcast sound more professional.
Mount your phone to keep it secure – Don’t hold your phone while recording, as any knocks, bumps or vibrations will be picked up by your microphone and be audible in your podcast. We recommend using a tripod and grip to secure your phone in place.
Consider microphone placement – Thinking carefully about where your microphone is in relation to your mouth is very important, particularly when recording on a phone, as you will have less control over your recording than if you were using a console like the RØDECaster Pro. If you’re too close to your microphone, your audio may become distorted; too far away and it will sound distant. To get a rich, professional sound, ensure your mic is pointed directly at your mouth, roughly 20-30cm away.
Watch your audio levels – Most audio recording apps will have a level meter which indicates how loud the incoming audio is. Before you start recording, do a few tests to ensure your audio is clean and clear. Keep an eye on this while doing your test. If the meter is hitting the orange or red section, your audio is too loud and may become distorted. Simply back a few centimetres away from the mic until the level meter is sitting just above the halfway point and make sure your voice is balanced while you’re talking.
There you have it! Podcasting on a smartphone is super easy with a RØDE microphone and a little know-how. If you’re looking for a super-compact rig for mobile recording, or you’re just getting into podcasting and want to test the waters with a recording device you have on-hand, check out the VideoMic Me or VideoMic Me-L, and the rest of the RØDE podcasting range.