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How to Record Podcast Presenters on Separate Channels?

A recording question for us this week, all around separating your audio into two channels. This is useful if you are recording a conversation – either with a co-host or a guest – and you want to isolate each voice for easier editing.

Hey Colin. I love how helpful all of your stuff has proven to be, thanks again, as always.

So… quick question you may easily know the answer to. This week I held my first interview recording. I am using the 402VLZR mixer with 2 MXL mics plugged into it. I am running that straight into my laptop and recording with Garageband.

So, my interviewee, who is a musician, saw right off the bat: “Oh, you are running us both on one channel?” He told me he thought if I get a recorder, like a Zoom, I will be able to have it be multiple channels and make editing easier, etc.

I just ran that idea by someone else who has experience in the area and he said that is not true, that I would still be running that recorder into my laptop and only have one channel.

Do you know the truth?

I do indeed know the truth!

Your first friend is right – this it totally possible, and pretty common practice for people recording with a mixer. In fact, control over separate channels is one of the basic benefits that persuades people to get a mixer in the first place!

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Separating podcast recording into two channels

The Zoom H4n which can take separate mono inputs.

If you have a recorder with two channels, like a Zoom H5 (or H4n/H6), then you can run the stereo channels from your mixer right into the stereo inputs of the zoom via XLR. That means the channel 1 and 2 inputs on the bottom.

You then pan each of your presenters to a separate side. So you might have you on the left, and your co-host on the right. You do that with the pan knob on your mixer – find the channels that you and your co-host are speaking on and adjust the pan on each one.

Once you've done that, you have each microphone on a separate channel of the stereo track. That means you can easily edit them on their own to account for volumes, clicks, coughs, or anything else. Very useful.

Hope that helps!


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Written by:

Colin Gray

Colin has been teaching people how to podcast since 2007. He's worked with Universities, businesses and hobbyists alike. He started The Podcast Host to share his experience and to help as many people as possible get into Podcasting. He runs Podcraft, to spread the art of podcasting, and does the Mountain Bikes Apart podcast whenever he can. Who doesn't like to talk bikes, after all!

February 4th 2016