Ask for advice - Creating podcast


I would like to create podcasts with my friends. Being novice, I ask for advice about material and software.
I want to record my voice and my friends’ voice as well, but each person with his own microphone and in different places. Is it possible to do that with Audacity ? Or it enables to record only my voice from one place ?
If I cannot, do you know other softwares or a different way to collect all the voices from different places via Internet ?

About the microphone, I understand that it is preferable to invest in a dynamic microphone (to avoid some noise), with ou without headset, and unidirectional ? What do you recommand to me ?
In a few words, what is a mixing board ? Is it necessary for my kind of project ?

I thank you in advance for your answers and I apologize for my english.


You would think with all the postings we have made on this and similar subjects we would have a solution ready to go. All the other postings have been from people who already doing it badly and we supply Disaster Recovery. Nobody asked to start from the beginning before.

How are you calling each other? Pretend there’s no podcast, just a conference call. What kind of computers do people have? Are you using computers at each location?

I had breakfast at a cafe counter with someone who said they were going to have a business conference call shortly. I asked him how and he handed me his iPhone and earbuds. I assume he wasn’t going to record it, though.

If everyone is on a laptop, I’d be tempted to record each voice on their own laptop with the built-in microphone. Modern laptops are designed to do this job as business communications machines. People get into trouble when they try to force modern laptops to record music.

You, too. Forget the mixer and microphone and additional stuff. Do a first pass with just the built-in microphone and see what happens. If you’re all on Macs, this is a no-brainer. If not, it’s harder, but should still work.

Here’s where I get into trouble. I believe you an get away with Skyping to each other. Typically, Audacity can record the local microphone, but not both sides. Everybody wears headphones (required) and at the end, everybody exports a sound file and ships the files to you.

There was a recent poster who was doing something like this. I don’t remember why he posted a question.

You import all the different voices one above the other in Audacity and use the Time Shift Tool to move them slightly sooner or later to make the conversation timings match. Audacity will play them all at the same time unless you SOLO or MUTE each voice.

This has the advantage of almost no cost except for headphones. You can use earbuds, but I’m not a fan of those, and each location has a first-person, perfect quality, performer voice. No Skype fading, bubbling and gargling. Each location has their own noise and room sound problems, but you’re going to have that no matter what you do.

However, each location performer is an Independent Production Producer and if anybody’s recording fails, their voice will drop out of the show.

It was depressing that recently we had a poster trying to one-man-band a recording like yours (everything recording at his house) and it just wasn’t working. Turns out he had tried some of our normal software recommendations and they didn’t work very well with conferences and Windows 10.

Not good news.


Your answer to some of those questions will give us a rough guide of where to go with this.

This recording was an example of what you want to do. Instead of having our Producer travel to a radio station for an interview, they just called each other on the plain telephone (in the picture) and I recorded the Los Angeles half of the conversation. The station recorded theirs and combine the two later into the final show.

It looks more complicated than it actually was because we double recorded it. That is Audacity on the left-hand side.

We had instructions from the station how to record the show and details of the technology. Most of the time people recording “the far side” are New Users and need hand-holding. People pay me to do this, so I understand my half of the show was mixed with almost no corrections or adjustments.

That’s way overkill for what you want to do, but yes, people do this all the time.

I haven’t actually tried this yet, but you don’t have to use Audacity. You can record each location on a SmartPhone Personal Recorder and not have to worry about sharing sound channels with Skype.


Hello Koz,

I thank you a lot for your answer and your precious advice.

As you said, it is actually like a conference call. With all the information you provide me, I think the approch would be as follows : Using computer at each location, we are calling each other via Skype and one of us are recording the « audio stream ».

But I need a clarification about using Audacity. Is it possible to record my voice from my microphone and the sound from the conference call (= my friends’ voices)? If the software can detect Skype fading, bubbling and gargling, I assume it is possible, even if the global audio quality would not be optimal (i.e. voice level).

Thank you again for you help.


Is it possible to record my voice from my microphone and the sound from the conference call (= my friends’ voices)?

No. Not reliably. That’s the problem. Skype likes to take over the sound channels in the computer. That’s why it’s so successful. It doesn’t just ask the computer for sound channels, it demands them. That’s why Skype works on computers that are mis-adjusted or set badly.

Pamela makes software such which records both sides very well, or used to until Windows 10.
Also other software.

This isn’t as simple as everyone thinks it should be.

I went around the software and services problem by giving Skype its own computer. This brings us to the mixer and microphone that you posted up the thread (wide picture).

The computer on the left is playing music into the podcast and recording the show in Audacity (Play and Record are independent tasks and this works just fine). The computer on the right is “managing” a Skype connection. It’s happy doing that.

You can’t see the microphone because it’s a little head-mounted entertainment (not gaming) microphone like they use on the TED shows.

The mixer in the middle is a little magic. You need to find one with a separate Effects-Send divorced from the rest of the show. This allows me to create a Mix-Minus, a mixed show minus the Skype voice, so the Skype persons can hear you and the music without the Skype Echoes.

If you balance it just right, it can sound very good.

Are you sure you want to know all this? It’s much simpler to get each person to record their own voice.


I recut the podcast experiment that I shot with that two-computer system. Other than that, it’s the original sound quality and volume. That’s exactly as I shot it.

It’s still very much an experiment, but you can see the quality I was able to get using plain Skype. Denise is talking into her MacBook Air computer built-in microphone. She was wearing headphones. That’s it. I’m wearing headphones and I’m using a special head-mounted microphone just because I had it.

She was also typing during the show, so that’s the clicking sound.

You get to do all the work on this system. All the others have to do is call in and wear headphones. There are no special Skype settings other than connect the mixer as external microphone and speakers. You do have to pay attention. It’s not a simple capture system.


If you get instructions for capturing a Skype podcast on-line by just a few clicks and settings or simple fold-back software, you should try that. Some people can make that work. One poster, ChaseisFDR, produced The Reel Life Podcast with nothing more exciting than a computer, Skype and Audacity. He’s looking at the rest of us like we’re nuts.

He is a celebrity unicorn. It’s not that easy for anybody else, and he was only talking to his brother, not a group.