Getting sweet new gear is perhaps one of the best parts of starting a hobby, podcasts included. But the costs to get that new gear can be daunting. Luckily, the barrier to entry for podcasting is pretty low — you probably have everything you need to record a podcast in your pocket. As technology in iPhones and Android devices continues to improve, it’s become easier than ever to capture high-quality sound and audio on a smartphone. With the right podcast apps, you can also edit and publish your show straight from your phone.
Of course, the truth of the matter is that you’ll always get the best sound quality and have access to the widest array of editing tools if you record on a computer. But sometimes that’s not an option. Sometimes you’ll bump into your dream guest at the coffee shop or (more likely) the truck stop and want to get the interview right there. Or maybe you’re not sure about this whole podcasting thing yet and you want to try it out before you set up a home studio and start a podcast in earnest. Whatever your situation, here’s the lowdown on how to create a podcast on an iPhone.
What you need to make a podcast on an iPhone
If you’re in a pinch to record some great, off-the-cuff content for the pod, or just want to dip your toes in the podcasting waters without investing too much in equipment, you can do most podcast recording right from your iPhone. Here’s what you’ll need.
Ask 10 audiophiles which smartphone records the highest-quality audio and you’ll probably get 10 different opinions. Your best option is probably whatever iPhone you currently have. If you’ve had that phone for a while, though, starting a podcast might be the perfect excuse to upgrade to something with a faster processor and more space for all of those recordings.
An external microphone will drastically improve the quality of your audio recording and reduce the distracting background noise that your phone’s mic picks up. If you’re not ready to commit to an external mic, the microphone on a pair of wired earbuds will capture clearer sound than if you were to just talk directly into your phone. But if you’ve got it in your budget, we’ve got three popular mics for iPhones below. You can find our complete list here.
- The Shure MV88 is a tiny, unobtrusive mic that’s easy to use and plugs directly into an iPhone via a Lightning connector. You can configure the mic to record in a stereo, cardioid, or bidirectional pattern, and you can adjust the mic itself up to 90 degrees. It also has an advanced recording app that allows you to monitor your audio levels and use five different audio presets.
- Another great option is the Røde VideoMic Me-L, the Lightning-connected version of the Rode VideoMic Me. It’s durable, portable, features a directional cardioid pickup pattern (meaning that it hones in on the sound it’s pointed at), and comes with a fuzzy windscreen to reduce air noise. You just plug it in and start recording.
- If you need to keep your hands free and your movements unrestricted, check out a lavalier (or “lav”) mic like the Movo WMIC50 2.4GHz Wireless Lavalier Microphone System. Lavs are small and clip onto your clothing unobtrusively. Some connect directly with a phone via a wire, but the wireless Movo WMIC50 communicates with a receiver plugged into your phone’s 3.5mm headphone jack. (You’ll need a Lightning-to-headphone connector if you’re using a newer model of iPhone.)
Note that these mics take up the only port on modern iPhones (the Lighting port), but luckily, they come with a 3.5 mm headphone jack so you can still monitor your sound while recording.
Headphones are crucial when recording a podcast on your iPhone (or any device) as they allow you to monitor your audio levels without getting distracted by background noise or the proximity of your own voice. For the best sound isolation, you should go for closed-back headphones. For the best quality, you should aim to get something wired (versus Bluetooth, which compresses audio). There are thousands of different headphones on the market at just as many price points, but here are a few to consider:
- Sony MDR 7506 headphones are cheap (coming in at around $100), wired, closed-back headphones. Unlike some headphones designed more for listening to music (we’re looking at you, Beats by Dre), these are very neutral, meaning you’ll get a clear sound in all frequencies. These come with a quarter-inch plug and 3.5 mm adapter, so you can use them with a mobile microphone or a more professional-level setup.
- Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro are wired, closed-back headphones that deliver high-quality sound at a good price (around $160). Beyerdynamic has a reputation both for the sound quality their headphones deliver, and for the quality of their build — these headphones will be a good friend for a long time. Just know that the cable is pretty long (at almost 10 feet) so you might want to bring something to tie them up or keep them wrapped in your pocket. These headphones also have a built-in quarter inch plug that comes with a 3.5 mm adapter.
- Apple AirPods might just be the headphones you already happen to have, which inherently makes them a great option. Granted, these are in-ear headphones (not closed-back) and they are wireless, meaning the sound quality isn’t going to be as good as a wired pair. But if you’re on the go or if your mic doesn’t have a separate 3.5 mm jack (or you aren’t ready to make the leap into a new pair of headphones), AirPods are a great wireless option.
If you’re looking for more recommendations, you can find our complete guide on podcast headphones here.
Recording and editor app
The easiest way to record audio on your iPhone is with the native Voice Memos app. It’s very limited in its editing features — you can trim audio files, and that’s about it. But you can sync your Voice Memos to your Mac (or transfer them to a PC) and use more sophisticated software like Descript to create a studio-quality podcast on your laptop.
If you’re interested in recording, editing, and publishing exclusively from your phone — maybe you’re live streaming or don’t have access to your computer — there are a number of Android and iOS apps that allow you to do just that.
- Riverside.fm’s app is great if you are coordinating with multiple remote guests and can’t trust your internet connection; it saves each podcast recording locally so you won’t lose audio or video if the WiFi cuts out.
- Podbean, a podcast hosting service, created a free podcast-making app for both iOS and Android. It allows you to live-cast and helps coordinate recording with up to five co-hosts or guests. However, it doesn’t support video recording, has minimal editing capabilities, and you will have to log on to the Podbean website to update your RSS feed.
- Spreaker, an all-in-one podcast creator app, enables you to track your analytics and has some good built-in audio features, like mic controls, and auto-ducking. But you can’t record remote guests, and you’ll have to pay for anything more than five hours of storage.
- Anchor is Spotify’s free, multi-platform podcast creator app. Its primary draw is the ability to easily add background tracks, transitional music, and other audio additions. But it doesn’t support video podcasts and you cannot livestream using Anchor.
How to create your podcast with Descript
The best way to create a podcast on your iPhone is to record audio on your phone, transfer it to your computer, and use a desktop digital audio workstation (DAW) like ProTools, Adobe Audition, or Descript to edit and polish it into a podcast. Here’s how to do that using Descript:
- Connect your external mic and headphones, if applicable.
- Open the Voice Notes app on your phone. Close all other apps and turn on Do Not Disturb and Airplane Mode.
- Hit the recording button, and launch into your narrative just as you would if you were in the studio.
- Transfer your audio files to your computer. This is easier than it sounds: your Voice Notes app will sync with other Apple devices, so if you have an Apple computer, you’re golden. iPhone users with PCs will have to manually transfer their audio files to a laptop via cable or online file transfer.
- Now it’s time to open Descript. Since you aren’t recording directly in Descript, you can simply create a new, blank project.
- Import your recording into Descript by dragging your audio files directly into your project from their location on your hard drive. Descript will automatically begin transcribing all imported audio and prompt you to label the different speakers.
- Time to edit your audio. As with any project in Descript, you can edit your recording by changing the transcribed text. Delete your “ums” and unnecessary pauses. Use the AI-powered overdub feature to change any misspoken words. The Studio Sound feature is particularly useful for audio recorded on a smartphone — it uses AI to remove extraneous noise and echoes to make a less-than-ideal recording sound like it was captured in a studio setting. You can also add music and audio effects, insert ads, fade in or out, trim the tracks, and adjust audio volume until your podcast is perfect.
- Finally, you’ll need to manually upload the finished product to your hosting service, and if necessary, manually submit your RSS feed to directories like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
3 tips for creating a great-sounding podcast on your iPhone
Once you’re ready to start recording podcast episodes on your iPhone, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you create the best possible content.
- Prioritize audio quality. If there’s one thing an audience can’t forgive, it’s bad audio — and that applies to video podcasts too. Choose a quiet place to record where there isn’t much echo and do what you can to reduce background noise as much as possible.
- Check your phone settings. Before you begin recording, turn on Do Not Disturb Mode and Airplane Mode to eliminate possible noise from notifications. But be sure to leave your WiFi turned on, as some podcast apps require an internet connection. Additionally, save your battery by turning off all other apps and making sure none are running in the background.
- Test everything before you record. Test the app to make sure you’re using it correctly, test the recording capabilities to ensure that you’re actually capturing audio, and test the audio levels. You’ll save yourself a headache in the editing stage if you’re overcautious before recording.
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