Learn how to effectively use three styles of recording more than one person in a podcast, and how to avoid ineffective ineffective applications of the same three ways.

JD Sutter from Radio CSS Media sent the following question after listening to our clean-comedy podcast.

Hi Daniel, On your latest episode of the Ramen Noodle™ [#68], you had a total of three hosts and I was wondering if you’d share how you handled the recording of that show. Do you have two hosts on one channel and the third host on a separate channel? Or do you have some way to record each independently? Thanks, Daniel, I appreciate your help. -JD

Here’s my hardware chain for recording multiple onsite hosts.

  1. Microphones for each host, including two Heil PR40 mics (Amazon.com | Musician’s Friend).
  2. Connected to individual channels on a Behringer X1832USB (Amazon.com | Musician’s Friend).
  3. Individually compressed through a Behringer MDX4600 via inserts (Amazon.com| Musician’s Friend).
  4. Returned to the Behringer X1832USB and mixed down to a single stereo track.
  5. Outputted to a Zoom H4n (Amazon.com | Musician’s Friend) where the voices are in one stereo track and the music is in another (four-channel recording).

This isn’t the only way to record multiple onsite hosts, so here are the most-popular three ways.

1. Simultaneously sharing one microphone

This is a common method for recording multiple podcast hosts, but it’s the worst way to do it! This will capture a lot of room noise, extra reverb, and poor quality of voices. However, this is the easiest because you simply turn on your mic (even your computer’s internal mic) and just hit record. But that room noise and reverb could be a good thing if you want to interview someone and capture the ambiance, such as at a park or in a restaurant.

2. Interview-style mic-passing

As you see newscasters do, they will ask a question or make a statement and then hold the mic to their guest for their response. This can only work in a interview setting where one person is clearly in control and that person asks a question and then shuts up while the guest responds.

3. Multiple mics

Stepping up the complexity returns a higher quality and, in my opinion, gets you to the only way you should record multiple hosts. While super-cheap mics can sometimes be used with a headphone splitter plugged into your audio input, I recommend buying a mic for each host and bring them into a mixer.

How to separate voices

Depending on multiple factors, you may find yourself needing to edit one host but not another. When this can’t be corrected during your recording (by pausing and starting over), you may need to separate hosts into left and right channels in order to capture them independently. But if you have more than two hosts, you’ll need the ability to record in four channels with either an advanced mixer like the Alesis MultiMix 8 USB 8-channel mixer (Amazon.com | Musician’s Friend, only the “8-channel” one) or a record in four channels with a Zoom H4n. I also recommend reading Ray Ortega‘s Facebook post “Multi-Channel Recording with Audacity.”

Save 12% on audio equipment from Musician’s Friend (May 3, 2011)

Use coupon code MF12POFF at Musician’s Friend to save 12% on your order, but this is only for Tuesday, May 3, 2011.

What does producing a podcast episode look like?

Enjoy this humorously accurate video from Bagel Tech News.

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Disclosure

This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his wife, Jenny, live near Cincinnati with their son, "Noodle Boy."

5 comments on 3 Ways to Record Multiple Onsite Podcast Hosts – TAP036

  1. Wendy Gaal says:

    Hello Daniel,

    Just wanted to say how helpful your podcasts have been to me. I've been podcasting since the beginning of the year, and it's been a steep learning curve all the way. I found your podcast while browsing in iTunes, listened to a couple of the recent episodes, and then went back and downloaded all of them! I appreciate all your detailed explanations about Audacity and podcasting in general, and learn something new with each episode that makes me a more professional podcaster.

    Thanks so much –
    Wendy
    Knitters Brewing Company <a href="http:// (www.knittersbrewing.com)” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(www.knittersbrewing.com)” target=”_blank”>(www.knittersbrewing.com)
    Our Podcast: Yarn on Tap can be found on iTunes or by direct link from our Blog by the same name

    1. Thanks for the praise, Wendy! I'm glad that you're benefiting. I think it's funny how you mix two ideas into your brand. Fun!

  2. Max Power III says:

    If I purchase a H4N and use an XLR splitter on one of the XLR inputs would i be able to have 3 mics and hosts sounds decent? Im not really worried about us talking over one another but more so about the quality of all 3 mics (which will all be the same) sounding well.

    1. David Gutierrez says:

      did this work?

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