Today Ole writes,
Hi Matt, I have checked out the list of software on Datamation, but I did not find much more than audacity for recording podcasts, can you please help me? I need good recording software and a program for making the podcast feed, thanks.
The good news is that you asked the right guy. Years ago, I actually co-founded and co-produced an audio Podcast called “Weezy and the Swish“. It was an interview program hosted by two (actual) comedians. We used to joke the show was about comedy-casting, but I digress.
The ladies had the benefit of a genuine audio engineer at their disposal. He would handle the recording itself and then send me the FLAC files upon completion. We used this file type, as it was uncompressed and allowed me to compress it down to mp3 format for distribution. With the mp3s ready to go, I only needed to get the audio added to the RSS feed that would then signal iTunes and other podcasting destinations.
Now here are a few things to note. First off, back then, I was dual-booting XP and Simply Mepis. I used XP to access iTunes, however the actual mp3 creation from FLAC was done in Linux using Audacity. The second thing to note is that from there, I used an audio hosting provider that also automated my RSS feeds with enclosures for me. See, RSS uses enclosures to enclose the mp3 file and make sure it’s distributable to podcast collectors.
Now let’s flash forward to 2016. These days, there are a hundred different ways to do this. You could host your audio files with Archive.org for free, then use WordPress syndicate your podcast. There are plugins that literally automate the entire thing. If you prefer to automate the RSS enclosures and hosting, you could turn to a service like Libsyn. Personally though, I feel that using a hosted website from WordPress.com is both free and frankly, easier.
Now let’s talk about recording software for your podcast. I personally prefer Audacity as I’ve used it for years. If you want something similar as a fall back, Ocenaudio works really well. Setting these suggestions aside for a moment, if you want something more robust (and complicated), then keep reading.
If you fancy yourself an audio professional and are willing to learn a complex program, then perhaps Ardour is a good match for your needs. Unlike other simpler audio recording applications, Ardour is a full digital audio workstation designed for Linux. It’s extremely powerful but you will need to study up before using it for the first time. Another point to consider is with a digital audio workstation, you’re going to be working with JACK audio. While it’s possible for JACK to run along with the PulseAudio server, JACK is the audio server best suited for advanced audio work.
So what is my advice? Simple – WordPress.com for syndicating your podcast, Archive.org for hosting the audio files and Audacity for recording directly into it. If you’re going to be using more than one microphone, perhaps a mixer as well – use the JACK audio server. The single biggest takeaway is to produce decent sounding audio. Starting with a decent microphone helps, but to be honest, you can get away with a decent USB headset too.
Allow me to leave you with this tip. You can take “meh” sounding audio and do great things with it in Audacity. Just watch the video closely, pause as needed and discover how I take a typical USB headset and breathe a bit of life into it’s recordings in post-production. It’s about 6 minutes long, but I also provide a side by side comparison. Bear in mind, this video was not designed for this article. I just figured it would help you produce better sounding podcasts on a budget.
Do you have Linux questions you’d like Matt to help with? Hit the link here and perhaps you too, can Just Ask Matt!
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A decent microphone – http://amzn.to/1O6VDQh