Using Zoom to Record Audio
There may be times when you need better audio quality from your Zoom recording. Whether you are a professor recording an asynchronous lecture, a student using Zoom to record a group presentation, or interviewing someone remotely for a podcast, you will want your audio to be as clear as possible. This page offers some tips and best practices for recording audio.
Use a Microphone:
The best thing you can do to improve your audio quality when recording is to use a microphone or headset. Do not use the built in mic on your computer. There are a number of affordable USB microphones and headsets available. Even the cheapest will sound better than a computer's built-in microphone. When using a microphone, be sure to speak directly into it.
How to set up Zoom for recording multi-track audio:
If you are using Zoom to record multiple speakers (e.g. when interviewing someone for a podcast, holding a panel discussion, etc.), you will want each speaker's voice to be recorded to a separate file to make any post-production easier. Zoom has some handy settings that make this relatively easy.
- Go to your settings and click on the “Recording” tab.
- Check the box that says “Record a separate audio file of each participant.”
Zoom’s audio input meter does not tell you the decibel (dB) level of your signal; it only gives you a rough idea of how strong or weak the signal is. The rule of thumb for audio engineering is to have your input metering at -18db. This is the sweet spot where your signal won't distort, but also gives you room to raise the signal gain while mixing without also bringing in too much background noise. The only way to precisely meter input volume while using Zoom is to use external metering hardware or using a virtual I/O app like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). OBS is free software used by video streamers and video content creators all over the world. It is very powerful, very lightweight, and easy to set up. You can get set up to use OBS to meter your input gain in 4 simple steps.
- Download and install OBS.
- Open the program
- In the “Audio Mixer” window at the bottom middle of the screen you will see two meters, one labeled “Desktop Audio,” the other labeled “Mic/Aux.” The first measures the level of any audio playing on your computer. "Mic/Aux" measures the input gain of your microphone.
- Speak into your mic and note the dB level of your signal. Ideally, it will be around -18dB. Adjust your input volume in your settings, on your microphone, or audio interface until mic is metering around -18dB.