Recording a double-ender or tape sync used to require a local reporter visiting an interviewee, recording their side of a phone call with the interviewer, then sending the recording to the producer of the story, who finally had to stitch the two ends of the conversation together. While this is, in non-pandemic times, still a good way to get high-quality sound, many web-based solutions now promise to simplify this process. They offer a happy medium between frustrating Skype calls and costly tape syncs.
(this needs more input, please add to it!)
|Cleanfeed||0-34 USD/month||Chrome||opus (up to 320 kbps stereo)||wav (host only, 44.1 kHz 16 bit)||connection log|
|Riverside||15-49 USD/month||Chrome||7||wav (48 kHz 16 bit)||listener call-in, livestream|
|SourceConnect Now||free (beta)||Chrome||opus (8 kbps mono to 512 kbps stereo)||10||wav (44.1 kHz 16 bit)||chat, push-to-talk, network monitor|
|Studio Link||0-10+ EUR/month||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||opus||6||flac (48 kHz)||call phone lines via 3rd-party SIP, livestream, DAW plugins|
|Zoom||0-15+ USD||Windows, macOS, Linux||HD||100+||m4a (32 kHz)||chat, screen share, hand raising|
With Cleanfeed, all recording happens in the browser of the host, which means no manual syncing of individual tracks. On the other hand, the lack of local recordings from the other connected parties means there’s no backup if internet hiccups mess with the live transmission. The free version produces good-quality results, while the paid option offers multitrack recording and more control. Guests are invited by a custom URL.
Recently launched, Riverside doesn’t have the track record of its more established competitors, but comes with some unique advanced features. Guests can be managed in a green room. A video conference feature can come handy for audio podcast recording, but you can also livestream video to Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.
SourceConnect Now doesn’t include a feature for the host to record every participant, but you could achieve a mixdown recording by Using virtual audio devices. If you prefer local recordings created by each participant, SourceConnect is an interesting option, because you can dial down the sound quality for the live transmission to save bandwidth if the guest has a poor internet connection. A chat window helps communicating off the air. Push-to-talk is helpful when the guest doesn’t use headphones. Entirely free during beta, it seems like there’ll always be a free tier, limited to 1 line and 128 kbps.
Studio Link (Website in German, software in English) currently requires a software download, but a web-only version has been announced. Each participant is able to create a multitrack recording (iOS, Android: 2-track stereo recording). Most notably, Studio Link offers a free plugin for DAWs and doesn’t limit recording length or quality for free accounts. The plugin and desktop standalone versions integrate with 3rd-party SIP providers to enable calling and recording phone lines. More: Introducing Studio Link
This is an outlier, as Zoom is not made for podcasting per se. Its big advantage is that many people have it and are familiar with it. Despite Zoom claiming “HD Voice” capability, the audio isn’t great, but Zoom offers local recording in a better quality. To make use of this, each participant should tick
Record a separate audio file for each participant in Zoom’s preferences. Once the meeting has started, the host needs to give participants the right to record the meeting, before everyone starts their recording. This only works with desktop clients.