Podcasting Guide: Recording Your Audio
Podcasting Guide: Recording Your Audio
A Podcasting Guide Handout (Pdf, 68Kb)
Step 1: Recording Your Audio and Creating Your MP3 File
Free Recording Software (Audacity)
The first step in creating your podcast is to record your audio and create your .mp3 file that your users will download and listen to. There are many tools available to assist in this and you can do it with very expensive equipment to get studio quality audio, or you can do it for next to nothing and still get adequate results.
Typically, you’All need a microphone to speak into and a way to record and edit your audio on your computer. Audacity is a free multi-track audio editing program that is available for PC, Mac, and Linux computers. You can download the Audacity software at:
Download Audacity here:
You will also need to download the LAME MP3 encoder which allows the software to export your audio files into an MP3 format. The LAME encoder can be downloaded from the Audacity web site at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&item=lame-mp3
- Tutorial - Setting the preferences before recording
- Tutorial - Recording an audio file
- Tutorial - Adjusting volume levels with the envelope tool
- Tutorial - Using effects to reduce noise and improve the sound quality
In addition to the audio recording and editing software, you will need a microphone. There are many types which range in price and quality, but for somewhere between $50 and $100 bucks, you’re going to get good quality sound. From zero to $50, you’re going to get something that could sound like you were at the bottom of a barrel or it could sound as good as AM radio. You can get good studio quality sound for a little over $100.
You can find a decent quality microphone at most Radio Shack or Best Buy stores, but in order to get a really professional quality sound, purchase the best microphone your budget will allow from a pro-audio brand like Audio Technica, Shure, AKG, Behringer, Marshall, Neumann or other professional audio manufacturers.
Your sound quality originates at the microphone. Don't get it on the cheap! Since you want the best quality sound you can get, don’t scrimp on the microphone. You can tell the difference that a good microphone makes by listening to the sample audio files above. The better the microphone, the better will be the sound quality of your podcast. Since you want people to listen to your podcast, make it the best quality sound you can afford.
If you’re on the go, get a good unidirectional, dynamic-type microphone like the Shure SM58. A dynamic microphone used a wire coil and a magnet to produce the audio signal. Dynamic mics are good general purpose all around microphones and because they have few moving parts, are more durable than condenser microphones and a better choice if you need to record on location.
If you’re going to do most of your recording at a fixed location, you’ll get better quality sound from a carotid condenser microphone such as the Audio Technical AT3035 or AT4040. Cardioid condenser microphones, however, will require the use of another device such as a mixer or a digital audio interface to provide phantom power to the mic. A good middle of the road USB microphone that provides nice sound quality is the Samson CO1U for about $80. Cardioid condenser microphones require an external power source also known as phantom power. Dynamic mics do not.
Plug you micorphone into the USP port or the microphone in jack on your computer, depending on the type of microphone you are using. Position it approximately 1 to 3 inches away from your mouth. Plush the record button on the Audacity software and begin speaking.
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