If there’s one element of podcasting that’s equally detested by podcasters and their listeners alike, it’s the horrible audio quality that results from most remote interviews. While Skype and Google Hangouts have all but entirely replaced actual phone interviews, those VoIP services still leave much to be desired.
Many of our clients have grown frustrated with the audio quality from their Internet-based interviews, and often turn to us for advice. How do you guarantee good audio quality when you’re recording someone over the Internet?
Well, the best solution is to not actually record over the Internet. But depending on your interviewee, it’s typically not an option to coach them on all the steps involved with recording their audio locally on their own device and sending you their audio.
Zencastr uses a web-based interface, meaning that everyone on the call joins via their browser. But in actuality, the audio isn’t being recorded over the Internet. Instead, the web-based app records the audio locally on each participant’s computer.
It’s a similar approach taken by another service we often recommend, Source-Connect Now (still in beta). But while the actual recording process is about all that Source-Connect Now offers, Zencastr takes it a few steps further and is specifically tailored to podcasters. A variety of production tools are available during and after recording, such as inserting your own interstitials during the live recording, and normalizing all individual audio tracks.
But the real kicker is that at the end of the call, Zencastr automatically uploads each individual file to your cloud service of choice, like Dropbox. (With Source-Connect Now, you have to download the audio manually via your browser or it’s gone forever.) So your guests don’t have to lift a finger, and you don’t have to wrangle all the files.
Zencastr is built on a freemium model, with the free version limited to 2 guests per call, 8 hours per month and mp3 exports only. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid account to get uncompressed audio and unlimited time/guests.
We haven’t yet spent enough time with Zencastr to offer our full recommendation. And of course, it can’t be overstated that in order to guarantee good audio recordings, you still need your remote guest to use a quality podcast microphone in a proper recording environment. But if Zencastr delivers on its promise, you can say goodbye to crunchy Internet audio, while keeping the process easy for your guests.
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