Podcasts are a booming business, and many audio pros are seeing more and more work dedicated to this platform. Mac and Windows users have plenty of options for professionally recording and mastering audio, but Linux users aren’t quite as lucky. Yet, if you really love the penguin, there are still awesome podcast tools for producing high-quality podcasts on Linux.
Audacity is a multi-platform audio recording suite used by everyone from professionals to total novices. It’s free and open-source software that can be used to record sound files from nearly any source. While it lacks the polished user interface and gee-whiz filters sported by high-end audio software, it absolutely includes the functions you’ll need to record a high-quality podcast.
Using a USB audio interface, you can capture multiple audio tracks simultaneously to different software tracks, allowing for post-recording mixing and mastering. You’ll also find a fairly broad library of built-in filters and effects that will help make recording easier. Users can expand that library with their own VST plug-ins, provided they’re not VST synths or real-time VST effects.
If you’re used to professional digital audio workstations, you may find that Audacity is missing some features you’ve come to expect. While recording and mixing the spoken word isn’t as mix-intensive as music, you may miss features like intelligent noise filters.
Ardour will offer a greater degree of power and control than Audacity, but it comes with a steep learning curve. Thanks to that, we don’t recommend Ardour for novice engineers. But if you need a little more recording power or broader VST compatibility, Ardour is what you need. Just like Audacity, Ardour is free, but users are encouraged to pay a small amount to support the ongoing development of professional-grade software.
3. Open Broadcaster Studio
If you want to broadcast your podcast live as you record, you’ll need an application like Open Broadcaster Studio. It offers real-time video and audio capture and streaming and supports platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming.
With built-in “scene” management, you can toggle between different video inputs, like web cams, screen capture and pre-recorded video. You can even edit the stream live, inserting titles or other interstitial elements into the broadcast as it unfolds. The software also includes built-in recording for live broadcasts, allowing for archiving or rebroadcasting later.
4. Open Shot
For video podcasts, you’ll need a reliable video editing platform. Open Shot is the best Linux video editor available right now, with a long history of ongoing development. It is designed to be simple, focusing on common video-editing tasks while putting aside professional use cases. It should cover the majority of your needs, but if you need a beefier video editor, you can check out Cinelerra, a more full-featured application.
5. Audio Interface
Whichever software you use for your podcast is useless without an audio interface that can capture audio and translate it into data, and vice versa. This is why you need an external USB audio system.
The newer USB audio interfaces today are on the same level as dedicated sound cards. They offer the closest you can get to zero interference from other components.
Are you serious about your podcast’s audio quality and want the best components for its production? You ought to look into options like Focusrite’s Scarlett series. They’re relatively inexpensive and well-liked, and most of the interfaces have been confirmed as working well with Linux.
The microphone you’ll use is as vital as your audio system. It would be best if you didn’t go for what everyone else suggests, though, without considering your own particular needs.
Are you recording from a small, dedicated room with some sound insulation and a relatively silent computer? Then it would be best if you choose a condenser microphone. This produces a clear and warm audio and is perfect for recording vocals. However, condenser mics are best for use in studios.
They’re more sensitive than their siblings, and most of them come as either bidirectional or omni-directional. They’re also larger, and you’ll either have to grant them a place on your desk or use a stand.
It’s worth noting that some microphones can switch between those bidirectional/omnidirectional modes. For example, the Blue Yeti is a much-beloved option that not only offers fantastic audio quality but can also switch between all those modes.
Still, you have to consider the amount of noise in the environment before choosing a microphone. Condenser microphones are better for recording voice, but in a noisy environment, even with a unidirectional pattern, they’ll capture much more than you want. Blame their higher sensitivity for that. In such cases, it’s better to go for a dynamic microphone.
Dynamic are less sensitive than condenser microphones and better at capturing loud noises closer to them and ignoring everything else. When used for recording music, they’re usually responsible for capturing the drums and snares. An easy way to ensure that is proximity, which means you’d be better off with a headset like Sennheiser’s PC 8.2 instead of a desk mic.
A headset with a unidirectional condenser microphone will produce a more thin and metallic voice. However, it will also minimize any noise capture from your surroundings. It’s not the best solution, but it may be your only one if you can’t afford a silent space for your podcasting adventures.
7. Nvidia RTX Voice
Are you in such a noisy environment that even a unidirectional condenser microphone on a headset can’t save your podcast? Nvidia might have a solution, thanks to the Artificial Intelligence features in their latest RTX GPUs.
We’re talking about the RTX Voice feature in Nvidia’s latest GPUs. For now, it’s only supported in Windows 10, but it’s worth keeping in mind if you’re in the process of shopping for gear for your podcasting. Like all of our GPU’s features, it, too, will reach Linux someday, and it’s already compatible with apps we’re using, like OBS Studio, Discord, and Skype.
By taking advantage of the GPU’s AI capabilities, RTX Voice can magically remove all background noise from your recordings or broadcasts. It does that by noticing the differences between the patterns of your voice and surrounding noises and then eliminating everything but your voice.
While there are fewer podcast tools for Linux than for other platforms, you still get everything you need to make a professional podcast with Linux. If you prefer to listen to podcasts instead (of creating them), check out some of the best Linux podcasts to learn about Linux.