My iPadOnly podcast recording set – how to travel & record podcasts with great quality and minimum equipment

Recently, I posted the photo below on Instagram and some folks congratulated me on my setup, asking me how I manage to record podcasts while on the road, being iPadOnly, using only my iPhone and iPad. It’s a frequent problem, especially during vacation, when it can be difficult to coordinate travel plans with the podcast schedule, but we still want to record it regularly. In the last two years we hardly ever missed a week (we did miss last two weeks, sorry!) thanks to this setup:

My podcast recording set

Read below for my detailed setup:

Note: The following article appeared first in the August '17 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

The Podcast – my podcast with Radek from Nozbe

Two years ago, I started a podcast with my iOS developer from Nozbe to exchange tips and ideas and share what we do at Nozbe, among other things. Initially, we talked about Productive! Magazine (which is now closed), later the topics shifted to Nozbe, productivity, reviews of books we read (or rather listen to), technology (we’re both Apple fans), and diets... In short – even after two years of podcasting we’re still not running out of topics to cover, and with the number of listeners growing, we keep recording it regularly each week. This is how we created and continue to run the “ThePodcast.fm.”

We record the podcast in English, which gives us an additional motivation to practice the language and improve our vocabulary… and avoid using filler words, such as “you know”, “kind of”, “and so on”... In my case, recording the podcast poses an additional challenge, namely learning to slow down my speaking (yes, I speak too fast - especially when excited!).

Enough of the introduction – I like listening to podcasts and for two years I’ve enjoyed recording them as well, so I want to be able to record new episodes in good quality any time I want. We recorded the first episodes using only the standard wired EarPods that come with every iPhone… and it was noticeable. Now the quality is much better.

My home office podcast recording setup

Before I move on to my “iPadOnly” podcast recording setup, first I’ll say a few words on how I record the podcast at my home office (as a short explanation: at Nozbe, we all work from home, we don’t have a central office).

For this purpose, I use my iMac 5K and Audio-Technica AT2005USB microphone. To record the podcast I use QuickTime, and connect with Radek via Zoom.

At Nozbe, we use Zoom for all our meetings because it works better and is more stable than Skype, and lets you connect to a video conference from any device.

And that’s basically it. During the conversation, my room is locked, I record my track in silence in QuickTime, speak directly into a dedicated microphone and everything works perfectly. I hear Radek through my AirPods – and see him as well via Zoom. Later, Marcin, also from the Nozbe team, combines the tracks recorded by me and Radek, and after giving it an initial listen-through followed by correcting potential errors, the podcast goes out on the air.

My “iPadOnly” podcast recording travel setup

Those who know me know it’s been a long time since I ditched the MacBook, and that I travel only with my iPad (currently, an iPad Pro 10.5” – you can read more about it and my impressions of it in other blog post) and iPhone 7 Plus.

Although these are two mobile devices, I think of them as two computers, and I use both of them for recording "The Podcast" while on the road. Long story short: I record audio on the iPhone, and use the iPad to connect with Radek.

Equipment needed for recording a podcast on the road

Rode iXY microphone + iPhone

My pick for podcasting on the road is the Rode iXY microphone which connects to the iPhone via Lightning. To ensure a high quality for the recording, it’s important to have the Rode Rec app installed on the iPhone and to put the device into airplane mode to silence all alerts.

iPhone stand

To get the microphone close to your mouth, you need to place it on some kind of stand – fortunately the iPhone’s flat so it can be placed on top of anything, and it’ll work great.

iPad and AirPods for contact…

For talking to Radek, I use Zoom, only this time on the iPad. It’s paired with my AirPods – of course, you can connect any headphones (the iPad Pro still has a Jack) but personally I prefer AirPods as I always carry them around anyway.

When the recording is done…

After the recording is finished, I turn off airplane mode on the iPhone and send the audio file directly to Dropbox to a folder I share with our audio magician – Marcin.

You really don’t need much!

Apart from the iPad and iPhone, which I always carry around, the small and clever Rode microphone is the only thing I need to be all set for recording the podcast on the road.

Another important part of recording a podcast is the location – I try to find a peaceful and quiet area or set up in my hotel room to reduce the echo... and the quality is quite good! Perhaps a bit worse than at my home office but still not that bad.

While recording our 100th episode – which was a special one because we were both in the same physical place – Radek’s microphone broke down. We managed to record the entire episode with only this one microphone! You can watch it here .

What podcasts do you listen to or record yourself?

I’ll be happy to exchange thoughts with you on Twitter (@MSliwinski). Let me know what kind of podcasts you listen to and recommend! Also, let me know if you listen to ThePodcast.fm and if you’re a podcaster yourself – tell me what kind of podcasts you record (I’ll be sure to check them out), and what setup you use. Hope to hear you on my AirPods!

Posted on Monday, September 18 (ipadonly,podcast)

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