Updated: Jan 12
Sometimes your podcast calls for recording on the road, outside of your usual recording environment. This can be a bit difficult especially if the environment you are going to be in is noisy and distracting. You’ll never be able to get the same feeling as you would if you were in your studio, but there’s a few steps you can take to ensure the best quality audio possible.
If you are going to be out and about while recording, you want to make sure you have the right microphone for the job. Ideally you want microphones that are going to reject most of the background noise, but still pick up what’s in front of it very well at high quality.
The closest you will get to hitting that goal is directional dynamic microphones. Dynamic microphones are very good at only picking up what’s in front of it. There are plenty of good options when it comes to dynamic microphones, and you really can’t go wrong when choosing, especially if your other option is to use your phone’s microphone.
You need to be aware of what kind of cable comes with your microphone as well.
XLR vs USB
The cable that comes with your microphone is super important. The XLR microphone is generally going to get you higher quality audio, because the pre-amp, and interface is better in an external device.
In a USB microphone all of that is built into the microphone itself. Depending on what cable comes with your microphone, you might need an interface, or you might just need a laptop.
You want the equipment you are recording into to be as mobile as possible, so you can take it anywhere and not be bogged down by too much weight, or setup.
One of the best options for recording audio “on-the-go” or outside of the office is the field recorder. Some options available for field recorders are the Zoom H series, or the Tascam DR series. They are a completely mobile audio interface, which means they have XLR inputs, a pre-amp, and can record directly to an SD card. You can’t get much more mobile than a few dynamic microphones and a portable field recorder.
If you are going to be using a USB mic as your mobile microphone, you need to keep in mind that you won’t be able to use the field recorder. In this case the easiest solution is to take a laptop with you to the location. It’s something that is small enough to fit in a backpack but powerful enough to get professional sounding audio.
It’s up to you if you want to use mic stands for your mobile set up, or if you and your guest are just going to be holding the mics the whole time. I prefer having something to secure the mics to, that way you won’t hear any bumping against the mics which can be distracting. You can find arms that will clamp to the table, if you are going to be recording at a conference, or stands that will come in handy just about anywhere.
If you made it this far, consider reaching out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about great and creative ways to improve your podcast, or if you would like some help with your entire podcasting process, including launching your show, consultations, editing, or just a more personal conversation!