Brandel Library

COMM 2150: Introduction to Media Theory

Podcasting Guide

Tools

Software

We'll be using Audacity, which is free, open-source software for multitrack audio recording and editing. Download Audacity from https://www.audacityteam.org/download/.

Microphone

You have three mic options:

  • A USB microphone, which you can plug into a computer and use with Audacity. This is a typical podcasting setup. Email me to arrange a time to borrow this mic. 
  • Zoom recorders. These are portable handheld recorders. The library's media studio has four available for you to borrow. 
  • Your phone. The mic on your phone is a lower quality option, but certainly more convenient. When recording with a phone, make sure you know where the microphone is located and are pointing it at your source, and put the phone in airplane mode. Instead of the default recording app, use an app that offers a few more features. You'll want an app that allows you to monitor the waveform, adjust the gain, create WAVE or high-quality MP3 files, and easily share your file. Two good free options are Voice Record Pro (iOS) and Hi-Q MP3 Rec (Android).

Headphones

You'll need headphones to monitor while you're recording and editing. There are three pairs of professional studio headphones available for you to borrow in the media studio. It's also fine to use whatever headphones you have.

Recording Audio

Before hitting record, take a moment to set yourself up for a good recording. You'll want to make sure that the signal you're capturing is neither too loud nor too soft. Here's what that looks like in Audacity: 

example waveform from audacity

A few tips:

  • Choose a recording location with minimal ambient noise. Outdoors isn't great because the mic will pick up the wind. Avoid places with lots of hard surfaces or high ceilings (like the Johnson Center lobby) because they can be too echoey. Small spaces with soft things like rugs and curtains are best.
  • Set up the microphone on the same level as the speaker's mouth, about 2-3 inches away. 
  • Test and adjust as needed. You can adjust the placement of the microphone as well as the levels (or gain). Wear headphones while you're testing.
  • Certain consonants (p, b, and t) that we use a lot of air to make can cause a "popping" sound on your recording. If you're having this problem you can make a pop filter with a pair of nylons and a hanger.

When you're done recording, export your recording as a WAV file. 

Resources