How to Record a Podcast on a Mac


Are you looking to record your first podcast without spending a fortune on setting up your equipment and software? Well, we've got good news. You don't need expensive equipment or a soundproof studio, your Mac does the job perfectly. While expensive items can certainly help you record high-quality podcasts, you can still record an amazing sounding podcast with equipment that you already own. We have created this guide to help you record and edit your first podcast on your Mac.

Software to Record Your Podcast on a Mac

Before you even get started, you might be overwhelmed by the sea of options available out there. Don't panic, we have narrowed it down to three best. All three of them are free on Mac and will help you produce high-quality podcasts without much effort.

QuickTime Player

QuickTime Player is our first recommendation. It's pre-installed on your Mac and chances are that you’re already familiar with this application. QuickTime is the default built-in utility for playing downloaded media on your Mac. What a lot of Mac are not aware of is that Quicktime is an excellent piece of software for recording your podcast. Here is how to do it:

  1. Open QuickTime player using Finder Application or the search icon.
  2. Hover over the File option on the top of the screen.
  3. Click on "New Audio Recording."
  4. An audio recording window will open up.
  5. Click the red button to start recording.
  6. Once you're done with the recording, click on the red button again to stop recording.
  7. You will be given the option to save the recording wherever you want.
  8. Save the files with a proper name, so it's easy to access later on.

It's that easy!

GarageBand

If QuickTime Player doesn't cater to your needs, then we recommend checking out GarageBand. It is the most widely used free software for recording and editing a podcast on Mac for obvious reasons. The interface is super easy to use, and the tools it offers are useful for both amateurs and professional podcast recorders. GarageBand has three main uses: recording, editing, and exporting your podcast. Here's how to record your first podcast with Garage Band:

Recording on Garage Band

  1. Open GarageBand.
  2. Click "Project."
  3. Choose "Podcasts" to get started.
  4. Enter the name and location you want your podcast to be stored.
  5. Click "Create."
  6. Open the project you just created.
  7. Click on the red button to start recording.
  8. Once you're done, click on the red button again to end the recording.
  9. A window will pop up where you can play and review your recording.

Editing on Garage Band

  1. Whether the audio file is recorded on GarageBand or not, you can still edit it here.
  2. Simply drag and drop the audio file into the GarageBand arena.
  3. The file will turn orange, indicating that it is ready to be edited.
  4. In GarageBand, you can crop or move a file, add effects, and perform countless other editing tricks.
  5. To add effects, click on the sound to listen to it.
  6. Once decided which effect to use, just drag it to the main arena.
  7. Similarly, to add media files, select the desired file from the media browser, and to drag it to the "drag artwork here" area.

Exporting on Garage Band

  1. Make sure you're done with the recording and editing.
  2. Hover your cursor to the share icon on the top of the screen.
  3. Select "Export Podcast to Disk."
  4. Choose the encoding type for your podcast from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click on export the save it.

Audacity

Audacity is another great piece of recording and editing software that we can use for recording and editing podcasts. The basic recording features are similar to those of the previously mentioned software (you use the red button to start and stop recording) so we will move onto the audio editing features.

Audacity is the most professional software on our list. It has a bit of a learning curve, therefore, we recommend that after reading this guide, you play some stock sounds on Audacity and test out the features for yourself, to get the hang of then. There are only four out of the many features that you'll need to use in order to create a quality podcast. Still, as you get more experienced with it, you can use other elements to edit the audio according to your liking.

Note: Before you start recording, record two seconds of ambient noise as it will help out in the editing later on.

How to Download Audacity on Mac

  1. Head here and download the installation file.
  2. After the download is complete, a popup window will open.
  3. Drag the audacity icon to the Applications folder.
  4. Open up Applications and click on the Audacity icon to launch the software.

Noise Removal on Audacity

No matter how careful you are to try not to get any background noise, some of it always gets into your mic. To help with that, we recommend using the noise removal tool with in Audacity to make sure there is little to no background noise. It should be noted that very loud background noises cannot be removed using this. Below we have listed the steps to carry out noise removal:

  1. Select the few seconds of the ideal audio that you recorded before your podcast.
  2. Select the noise removal feature by clicking on the effects section on the top of the screen.
  3. Click on the "get noise profile option."
  4. Select the entire clip.
  5. You'll be taken out of the audio removal section, so go back there.
  6. Click on the "remove noise" option at the bottom of the window.
  7. It will take a few seconds to remove the noise.
  8. You'll notice that the line of the section you pre-recorded is flat.
  9. You may select and delete that flat section.

Normalization on Audacity

If your audio is not as loud as per your requirements, don't worry. Audacity's Normalization feature helps to bring all the peaks or high points of your audio clip to a certain level. Here is how to do it:

  1. Select your audio file.
  2. Click "Effect."
  3. Select "Normalize."
  4. Change the normalization to 1.5 dB. If you want louder noise, you can change it to 2.0, or 1.0 if you want it to be quieter.
  5. Meanwhile, you can preview the audio, helping you set the appropriate value for your recording.
  6. Click "Ok" to carry out normalization.

Equalization on Audacity

An equalization tool is used to reduce the frequency, therefore making the audio sound more natural. The equalization settings might be a bit intimidating, but follow along to our guide and we assure you it will be a breeze. We highly recommend that you test different equalization options to understand what settings suit you the best and for that, we have provided general settings for which almost all audio files will sound good. Here is how to do it:

  1. Select your audio file.
  2. Click "Effects"
  3. Go to "Equalization."
  4. Change the "select curve" to AM radio, which is recommended for podcasts.
  5. Click "Ok."

Compression on Audacity

Compression is a tool used to make the loud sounds softer, and the soft sounds louder. This makes the audio more balanced and pleasing to hear.

  1. Select your audio file.
  2. Go to "Effects."
  3. Click "Compressor."
  4. Apply the compressor by clicking.
  5. This step is optional, but we recommend re-normalizing the sound by repeating the steps for normalization that we provided earlier.

Best Podcast Equipment on a Budget

If you have a bit of extra money and truly want to make the best podcasts you can, we recommend investing in a mic and some soundproofing to ensure the highest quality audio. We have listed below a few mics and some soundproofing that is inexpensive and ideal for beginners.

Microphones

With there being thousands of options, and very few actually sounding good, buying a budget microphone can be a tough thing to do. We have shortlisted two cheap microphones, which will provide you the best value for the price.

Fifine USB Condenser Microphone

The Fifine USB Condenser Microphone provides exceptional sound quality, especially for the price. In a saturated market of generic microphones, this manages to stand out because of its insane build quality and overall performance.

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Blue Snowball

The Blue Snowball does not disappoint. This is one most highly praised microphones as it is considered the cheaper version of the already popular Blue Yeti Microphone. The true value of this mic appears when you take your time to edit your audio, as it allows for a range of edits on the audio.

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Soundproofing

If there is a lot of background noise or echo, then your sound quality tends to suffer. As a fix, some soundproofing padding can elevate your sound quality. However, you should be careful while setting up these pads, as these can potentially damage your walls. Other than that, padding is an exceptional way of improving your sound quality.

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Conclusion

If you follow these steps, you'll be able to create a very nice sounding podcast using only your Mac very easily. However, the editing tools and settings mentioned in this guide are just the tip of the iceberg - there is a lot more to it as you progress. We hope this guide helped you record your first podcast. If it did, let us know in the comments!

Muaz Ashrafi

Hi! I am Muaz, a Mass Communication major. I like to think I am a free urban spirit. I write blogs with a focus on tech and gadgets. When I'm not writing, you can find me with my headphones on, relaxing to some good house EDM music. I'm also a hobbyist photographer, you can find me on Instagram @mzwithacamera.

2 Comments

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  1. Happy to see Audacity on Mac. It’s one of the best programs of its kind and has been for a long time. About the microphones though, are either of those 2 ideal for multiple people? Me and 2 friends want to do a podcast so we’ll sit around a table and speak into the same mic. It’s probably advisable to just get 3 microphones, right?

  2. Awesome guide. I’ve been wanting to start a podcast for a while now but never took the plunge. It seems I can get set up for a reasonable price. The Blue microphones I’ve heard great things about, especially the Yeti although that one is a bit more pricey. The Snowball should work just fine for now.