From Cloud to Computer: Portable Audio Workflow for Podcasting

By Tee Morris, Chuck Tomasi

Once you know how portable you want your podcast to be, you need to determine how exactly the workflow will differ from the usual editing work in a studio. There are a few different approaches to consider when working portably. It’s not a dramatic switch. It’s more of how to get the audio from your mobile devices to your studio.

Getting audio from your portable recorder

After you finish recording with your portable recorder, you have audio sitting in your portable recorder. How do you get it from the recorder to the computer you are editing your podcast on?

Here’s some good news — the hard part of getting great audio for your podcast is done. Getting the audio to the computer? That’s the easy part:

  1. Connect the portable recorder to an available USB port.
    You should have a USB cable that is USB 2.0 A to Mini-B. The A tab goes to your computer. The Mini-B attaches to your portable recorder.
  2. The portable recorder’s interface should give you either Storage or Audio I/F as an option. Select Audio Storage from the menu.
    Audio I/F is the option for using your portable recorder as a USB microphone or preamp for your computer. In Storage mode, the portable recorder (and the SD card inside it) mounts onto your desktop as an external drive.
  3. Once your portable player mounts as a drive, select the drive. Then select the folder labeled in the mode you used for recording.
    Depending on the model of portable recorders, you may see folders labeled with offered recording modes. That should be where your audio is stored.
  4. Find your latest recording, and then drag it to where you are storing your audio sessions.
    Whether you are working on an internal drive, an external drive, or cloud storage, you now have copied your audio file source from the recorder to your workspace. You can now begin the post-production process.
portable recorder for podcasting
Portable recorders, when connected to your computer via USB, mount on your desktop as an external drive.

It is typically quicker to transfer files from your portable recorder to your computer directly rather than use USB. If your computer has an SD card reader, you can remove the SD card from your portable recorder and place it in the SD card reader for faster copying. Just be sure you observe good practice and properly eject the media before pulling the SD card out of the computer and returning it to your portable recorder!

Getting audio from your portable device

With your smartphone or tablet, it’s a little different environment. Instead of a hard drive or an SD card, you have internal flash memory that will quickly fill up if you are saving audio or video files directly on your device. To work with your audio recorded on your mobile device, you need to transfer it to some sort of cloud storage service. The workflow you see here incorporates Dropbox as the cloud service, an iPad for the portable device, and GarageBand for iOS as the audio recorder.

  1. Before transferring audio, check to make sure that your cloud service’s app is loaded and synced with your mobile device.
  2. Launch GarageBand.
    If you have been working on a project, GarageBand will open on the last project you were working on, or default to an audio recording interface.
  3. If you are in a project, tap on My Songs in the upper-left corner of window.
  4. Tap the Select option in the top-right corner of the app.
  5. Find the project you want to export and tap it once to select it.
    The project(s) you want to export will be highlighted in blue.
  6. Tap the Share option in the top-left corner of the app.
    The Share function accesses which apps can share the media you are about to export. If you cannot find the app you want to share to, find the More option to add your cloud service app.
  7. Tap your cloud service app.
    In the case of Dropbox and iPad, tap the Save to Dropbox option to begin the export process.
  8. Edit the Info for the file and then select Audio Quality from the offered options. Single tap Share to begin the exporting process.
    In GarageBand, you can select from three formats: MP3, Apple Lossless (m4a), and AIFF.
  9. Select the location where you want to save your media and then tap the Save option in the upper-right corner of the Save window.
Share media podcasting
From the Share icon (upper left), apps are offered where your media can be shared.

Your media has now been exported on to your cloud service, and is waiting for you to edit or prepare for uploading.

While you can record and export audio to MP3, it is never a good idea to make an MP3 from another MP3. It is the audio equivalent of making a compressed JPEG image from another JPEG image. Always strive to record in a raw, uncompressed format such as AIFF or WAV files. It takes more space initially, but produces better results.