For most people who have worked with me in recent times, you will know I am a martyr for simplicity. Clean cut processes and approaches to speaking, broadcasting and podcasting.
And I fully appreciate that I'm a dichotomy by insisting on a certain quality threshold; a quality that sometimes requires a more complex audio set up.
So - forgive me for being my Libran, Buddhist self, wanting the yin AND yang of podcasting (or for the less charitable of you, having my cake and eating it).
Because I truly believe that quality audio and production on your podcast is absolutely essential for a decent shot at success. That's why when we work with our podcast clients, we send them a good quality external microphone as part of the package price and train the users on best practice - avoiding reverberation in the room, external noises, mobile phone interference and so on.
Although, without wishing this to be an overt sales pitch, we have a range of broadcast quality audio 'plug-ins' that can remove a good chunk of these aural offences. But as the I.T. people would say, 'GIGO'. Garbage in, garbage out. Start with a good quality of recording, we can make it sparkle in post-production. Start poor, and we've got our work cut out to make it average.
However, external peripherals (microphones, cameras etc.) are just another opportunity for things to go wrong. How many times have you joined a Zoom call and someone's external microphone or camera isn't working. They have to reboot, keep their fingers firmly crossed, and have to carry the shame of being THE one to delay the online meeting.
So if you're using external peripherals, ideally make sure you know them inside and out - and check everything is working before you record that interview of a lifetime.
And as if hardware wasn't enough of a stumbling block, what about software. I've got a client who recorded an excellent Zoom conversation, thinking she was recording into the external, quality microphone. She wasn't. She was using the internal microphone on her laptop. So get to know your software. Look at the settings menu. Look for the dropdown that selects input and output. Make sure the right source is selected.
Equally, if you are using Zoom - not a bad choice as it gives you the opportunity to record the chat into the cloud, in both video and audio formats, which you can then use a clip of the video in your publicity alongside the audio podcast - it's best to use the Zoom recording itself. Either download it direct to your computer or grab it from the Zoom cloud after your interview is over. Zoom does a great job of muting the right microphones at the right time and whilst it would be worth running a back up on your computer's audio software (Garageband, Audacity, whatever), the best source remains Zoom's file... in my opinion.
That said, why not upgrade your expectations - for free. I continue to recommend Camflare. Sign up and give it a go. It might be just what you're after in terms and quality and usability. And it'll soon be available as an app.
As always, wherever possible, KISS (keep it simple, stupid). And if you can't KISS, be a CAD (check and double-check!).