How to Record a Podcast

By Techwalla Computers Editor

The task of recording a podcast may seem a bit daunting, but it needn't be if you take the right steps in the right order. You may also think that recording a podcast requires expensive equipment or software. This is not necessary, though good quality equipment and software will yield significantly better results. You will need a device to record your podcast, a microphone and a set of headphones to monitor the recording. This article will take you through the basic steps to record a podcast suitable for publishing on the Internet using a PC computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Headphones
  • Internet connection
  • PC computer
  • Microphone

Step 1

Download a suitable application for recording your podcast. Audacity is a free download, and it works on the Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. You will need to save your recordings in MP3 format, so you need a copy of the LAME MP3 encoder, which you can download online (see below).

Step 2

Install Audacity on your computer, following the on-screen prompts.

Step 3

Unzip the file, using a utility such as WinZip, to the same root folder where you installed the Audacity recording program.

Step 4

Connect the microphone to small jack plug connection marked "Microphone-in" on your PC.

Step 5

Connect your headphones to the stereo line-out connection. This port will likely be the same as the speaker connection or headphone connection.

Step 6

Configure your microphone. Start by double-clicking the speaker icon in the system tray. The volume control dialogue box will open. Choose Options > Properties from the menu and select the radio button next to Recording. Make sure that microphone is selected in the tick box under "Show the Following Volume Controls." Click the OK button to close this dialogue box.

Step 7

Tick the "Microphone Select" box, if it is not already selected, and be sure that the volume slider is at least half-way up. You can adjust this control later to fine-tune your ideal recording level.

Step 8

Open the Audacity program you just installed and choose Edit > Preferences. In the Audio I/O tab, make sure your computer's sound card is selected as the device for both the Playback and Recording options. In the Channels drop down box, the Recording section should be set to 1(Mono).

Step 9

Choose 44,100 Hz as the Default Sample Rate and 16-bit as the Default Sample Format in the Quality tab of Audacity Preferences.

Step 10

Click on the File Formats tab and select the radio button next to "Make a copy of the file before editing (safer)." In the Uncompressed Export Format drop-down menu, choose Wav (Microsoft 16 bit PCM). Leave the OGG Export Setup as it is, and in the MP3 Export Setup section, click the Find Library button. You will be asked if you wish to the locate lame_enc.dll file. Click Yes and locate the root folder where you installed the Audacity program. You will find the lame_enc.dll file there. Select it and click Open.

Step 11

Click "OK" to close the Audacity Preferences dialogue box.

Step 12

Check in the main Audacity program window to be sure that Microphone is selected as the recording input option from the drop-down box on the mixer toolbar. Click on the microphone icon on the meter toolbar. You should see the red level indicator moving left to right in synchronization with the sound level when you talk into the microphone.

Step 13

Click the "Record" button, which has a circular symbol and is third from the left in the row of six record and playback function buttons. You will now be recording a podcast.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get the best microphone you can afford. This equipment will make the biggest positive difference in the quality of your recordings.
  • Keep your mouth about six to nine inches from the microphone to avoid popping noises and wind noises. While you cannot normally hear these noises when someone speaks to you directly, the microphone will amplify the sounds and make the recording unusable.
  • Ensure that the red level recording indicator does not touch the right-hand edge of the meter during Step 12, as it will distort the recording. Also, if the red level indicator is hardly moving, the recording will be barely audible.
  • Do not try to record without headphones by monitoring the recording through your PC speakers. This technique will not work and might even set up a feedback "squeal" that will definitely ruin any recording you try to make.