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 might 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 might 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 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 fully-featured application.
5. USB Audio Interface
This one isn’t a software recommendation, but it might be more important than your choice of mixing software. You’ll need to pick up a USB interface that will work with Linux to connect your microphones to your computer. You can also look for USB microphones, but you’ll often gain access better audio quality and a broader selection of microphones with a USB interface. FocusRite’s Scarlett series is inexpensive and well-liked, and most of the interfaces are confirmed to work well with Linux. If you’d prefer a USB microphone, the Blue Yeti works well under Linux and offers awesome audio quality.
If you podcast with people across the Internet, you’ll need some way for you to video chat together. After a long wait, Microsoft has released a Skype client for Linux. You can connect with your co-hosts that way, and nearly everyone has a Skype account somewhere. If using Microsoft software rubs you the wrong way, you can avoid Skype and use Google Hangouts or Mumble instead.
We have fewer podcast tools for Linux than for other platforms. For example, Linux still has no native iTunes client. That’s not a deal breaker, but it can make checking your podcast listing from a user’s perspective cumbersome. Even so, you can still get everything you need to make a professional podcast with Linux.