In my previous post, we talked about podcast necessities, especially software. Now I will walk you through how to record a podcast with Audacity. Because Audacity is free, I am using that software as my example for this post. I’m starting out simple here. This little tutorial presumes that you will be interviewing one person only and not a group of people.
Before you begin, I’m also assuming that you have all the proper equipment necessary for your podcast as discussed in my previous post: How To Produce a Podcast and that all you have tested your microphone and headset to ensure that they are working properly. If you are unsure of what you need before you begin, be sure to check out How To Produce a Podcast.
- Download a copy of Audacity. You can get your free download here. Be sure to click on the Windows link.
- Accept all the defaults.
- At the end of the download, Audacity will automatically launch and you’ll see a screen like the one below. These are excellent links that can help you get started with your recordings and it will be worth your while to get to know Audacity by checking out these links.
- If you want to save you recordings as MP3 files, you’ll also need to download a copy of LAME. When you download it, save it to the same folder as Audacity.
To find out where your copy of Audacity is stored, do a search for the program on your computer. When the Audacity program appears in a list, right-click on it and select “open file location.” You may see something similar to my screen below.
Next, you’ll see the Audacity home screen that will look like the one below.
Testing, Testing, 1…2…3…!
You can see activity in the first few seconds of the recording. I did a quick recording to test the software. It’s a good idea to do a little test recording just so you can hear how the software picks up and records sound. Here’s how to do a test recording:
- Click File/New in the upper left corner of your screen. A new screen will open up.
- Have some text handy to recite into your microphone before you begin your recording.
- Get to know the function keys in the image below.
The numbers in the screenshot correspond to the numbers below:
The buttons you will need to be most aware of right now is number 1, 3 and 6–pause and record. The red rectangle indicates the type of microphone and speakers. Make sure that this indicates the correct hardware.
Create a Test Recording
- When you are ready, click on the Record button and begin reciting something from a book or magazine. You don’t need to read a whole article. Read for no more than a minute.
- If you start to get nervous, click the Pause button.
- Once you have finished recording, click the Stop button.
- To hear a playback of your recording, press the Play button. The recording will continue playing in a loop until you stop it completely.
What if the Sound is Too Loud or Soft?
You can adjust the recording levels by holding down your left mouse button and dragging the levels up or down. Your recording level should land somewhere between -0.5 and 0.5. You can see the recording levels in the screenshot below. If you need to make adjustments, be sure to perform another test to make sure there is no feedback.
Saving Your Recordings
There are two ways to save your recordings. When creating test files, you can save your recording as an Audacity file. Click File/Save Project As. Then save to a folder of your choice on your computer. I created a separate folder for my recordings.
When you are doing podcasts, you will save by exporting. To export a recording, you will click on File/Export Audio. You will then have several different formats to choose from when saving such as MP3 and WAV files.
You should now have a better understanding on how to to record a podcast. In the next post, I will discuss how to edit your recording before you upload it. I hope you have found this information useful. If you have any questions or comments, please see the comment section below. Do you have the Audacity to give it a try? 😉