How to set up double-ender recording for remote interviews and podcasts – MUO – MakeUseOf | Mega Mediakw

Tired of interview guests sounding muffled? Would you like to produce crisp podcast material, even if your guest is on the other side of the world? One way to get high-quality audio from a remote interview is to use the double-ender recording method.

Although it requires a few more steps, you can expect far better results with double-ender recordings, allowing you to create the best possible listening experience for your audience.

What is the double ender recording method?

The double ender recording method is a way of recording the sound of people in different places, making it sound like they are in a room together. Each person in the interview sets up an audio recorder to record their voice locally. The files are then synchronized with each other in post-production.

A portable audio recorder is the most convenient as it allows you to customize the recording settings and has dedicated storage just for the job. However, there are a few more solutions that we’ll discuss at the end of this article if you can’t afford to buy more hardware.

Equipment required for double ender shooting

In today’s guide, we’re going to walk you through the manual method for double ender recording, and for this to work, both the host and guest need something to record their own voice during the conversation. Remember that both the host and the guest will need the following equipment listed below:

  • Handheld Audio Recorder
  • External microphone (optional)
  • computer or phone
  • conferencing software

If you need to invest in some equipment, Zoom audio recorders are a popular choice as they are easy to use and work without being connected to a computer. If you regularly interview guests, it can be worth spending a little over $100 on a portable recorder, especially for high-quality 24-bit/48kHz WAV files.

The advantages of double-ender recording

There are several more steps required to set up a double-ender recording, so why bother? Well, there are several good reasons, but the main point is that the audio quality will be significantly better.

The following list gives you a quick overview of the advantages of using the double-ender recording method:

  • Produces high-quality, uncompressed audio recordings
  • 44.1kHz – 96kHz sample rate and 16/24-bit depth options
  • Complete control over recording settings
  • Sounds like you’re in the studio together
  • No risk of losing the audio stream when the internet goes down

The biggest downside, of course, is having to teach a guest how to set up an audio recorder. Additionally, there’s no guarantee a guest will have the technical know-how to record their own audio, but since it’s not complicated it may be worth trying.

How to record using the double ender method

Below we have listed a simple step-by-step guide to double ender recording. So use this guide to get your first shot, or share it with a guest to help them get set up.

1. Set up the audio recorder

Plan ahead and set up your workspace properly to keep the process stress-free, so make sure you give yourself enough time to set everything up.

  1. Start by finding a good place to record a conversation; You want it to be in a place where you won’t be interrupted and don’t have a lot of background noise.
  2. Take a comfortable position at a table or desk and position the audio recorder where it can easily record your voice. A tripod or mic stand works great for this, but placing the recorder on a stack of books or something similar will do just fine.
  3. If you’re using Zoom or Skype for the interview, make sure your laptop or phone is within range, but not in the way, of the recorder and your voice.

2. Prepare the video conferencing software

Next, prepare the conferencing software you will use for the call.

While we record the audio separately, there’s no reason why you can’t also record the audio and video using Zoom or similar software. In the worst case, a guest could simply forget to press record on their side, giving you handy support in an emergency.

3. Test audio levels

When your laptop and audio recorder are set up, the next step will be one of the most important: test that everything works. Once the audio recording begins, you cannot make any changes to the recorder’s settings or position, so don’t skip this step!

  1. Start with a sound check on your audio recorder; If the input levels are shown in decibels, you want your voice to be between -18dB and -6dB. An average of around -12dB is a good target and will give you plenty of headroom if you need to turn up the volume in post production.
  2. Next, do a sound check in Zoom or the preferred software you’re using and make sure the laptop mic can pick up a good level. Detailed input level information isn’t always available, but there are a few tricks you can use to get the best audio quality from Zoom.

There’s nothing worse than running out of storage space or battery in the middle of an interview. So take this moment to connect a power cord to your laptop and make sure the batteries in your recorder are charged. At the same time, check whether the SD card and the computer have enough space.

4. Create a marker for synchronization

Everything should be fine now! After confirming that the audio will be recorded on both ends, all that’s left to do is create a sync mark.

It’s really easy to do; Just tell your guest that you will clap on three at a time. This creates a loud spike in the audio recording that you can use to perfectly match the two recordings in post-production and ensure the conversation is in sync.

5. Graduation

When you’ve finished the interview or podcast, let everyone know it’s safe to stop recording the audio. Before you end the meeting, remind the guest to send you the audio files for editing.

  1. Ask the guest to send you the recorded audio files after the call is over.
  2. Gather all the audio files from the call and import them into an audio editor like Audacity or whatever DAW you prefer to use to edit the files together.
  3. Once the audio streams are visible in the audio editor, look for the clapping at the beginning of the recording and move the audio files around until the sound lines up exactly.
  4. Finish editing the interview or podcast as usual.

alternative solutions

If you don’t have a portable recorder, you can use a smartphone with an audio recording app. You can find several great Android apps for recording podcasts on the Play Store, and adding a plug-in smartphone microphone will help you get even better results.

Our tip for using a smartphone is to make sure you have several gigabytes of free storage space and leave it plugged into a charging cable to ensure the phone lasts an hour-long interview.

Another option for people who already own a podcasting microphone is to record audio using an audio editing program such as Audacity or one of the many alternatives to Audacity for audio recording and editing. Also, some online apps are now offering a software solution under freemium plans. So if you’re looking for a more streamlined option, try Zencastr or Riverside.

Keep in mind that running the conferencing app and recording audio at the same time puts more strain on your computer’s memory and processing, which can result in signal dropouts.

Studio quality audio with double ender recording

The double-ender recording method is undoubtedly one of the best ways to record high-quality remote audio. Try it yourself by following this simplified guide, or send this article to a guest if you need to explain how to set up a double-ender recording. Alternatively, a smartphone or free audio editing software can also do the trick!

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