Your First Episode: Ready, Set, Record!

With your hardware and software in place, you’re almost ready to actually hit the record button. First, you need to secure a quiet place where you can record undisturbed. Ideally,

  • This place should not have a window facing a busy street
  • This place should not be a room that is heavily trafficked.
  • You may want to consider a closet, a basement, or an attic. You want someplace you can go and not be disturbed by the noises of others.
  • You also do not want a room that is too large with too little furniture. Recording in a space that is too open will make your voice sound distant to the listener, as though you are talking in a vacuum.

Battling noise while recording a podcast is nothing to be alarmed or disturbed about. Sarah Koenig, host of the highly-acclaimed Serial podcast, recorded her show in a basement. Unfortunately, the basement was directly underneath the first floor bathroom, and she often had to pause her recording when someone flushed the toilet. If you, like many podcasters, are recording in your home, it is helpful to let members of your family know what you are up to so they can give you thirty minutes or an hour of undisturbed time.

Make sure your mic is plugged in and working. You can verify that your mic is working by taking the following steps.

  1. Right click on the volume icon in the lower-right hand corner of your screen and click Recording Devices.
  2. In the dialog box that pops up, you should see your microphone and a volume level indicator beside it. You may have multiple mics listed; that’s fine.
  3. Speak into the mic. Make some noise with your mouth. The volume indicator levels should fill up with green. If you see green, then your mic is working.

If you see only a sliver of green at the bottom of the volume indicator, your microphone levels may be set too low. Take these steps to raise your mic’s volume level.

  1. From the Recording Devices dialog box, double-click on your microphone.
  2. A new dialog box pops up. Click the Levels tab.
  3. You should see a Microphone and/or Microphone Boost indicators. Raise your Microphone level to about 70, and your Microphone Boost level to about +20 dB22

Once you are sure that your computer is detecting sound from your mic, start Audacity. Press the Record button (the one with the red circle). You should see a blue line move across the screen. If you do, start talking. The blue line should begin jumping up and down in a dense voice-recognition pattern. See it? Congratulations.

Proceed with your recording. Talk calmly, slowly, and naturally. Don’t try to change your voice or tone to talk like some other podcast host. People want you to be you. (It helps to read your script aloud once or twice to lock down the feel of the words before the actual recording.)

Once you are finished recording, depress the Record button in Audacity. The blue line stops moving, and your first recording is complete. Make sure you save it on your computer.

This post is a part of the PODCASTING FOR MINISTRY blog series.

Click here to view all posts in the series.
Click here to view the table of contents for this series.

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