How To Record A Podcast With Free Software

If you can learn how to record a podcast it is a highly effective way to increase your audience engagement or just simply drive website traffic to pages. All forms of media used for Internet marketing can also help you get your point across. Previously I showed you how to extract Mp3 from your AVI to create a podcast. I like doing this because I get a video and a podcast in one shot.. but if your not into creating videos then you can simply make a podcast only with free software.

To record a podcast, you need only four things—a computer, a microphone, speakers or headphones, and special recording software. Since you’re reading this, I assume you have a computer. I’m also going to assume you have speakers or headphones—most people do. Everything else you need I’ll discuss below.

Microphone Necessary To Record A Podcast

To record a podcast, you need a microphone—unless you’re creating an all-music podcast with pre-recorded tracks. At Amazon.com you’ll find a bewildering array of different types of microphones, but most of the microphones for podcasting fit into the following three categories:

  1. Desktop microphones look a bit like that giant microphone that sits on Larry King’s desk, although modern microphones tend to be smaller and more compact. They’re good for recording yourself or several people in the same room when there’s no background noise.
  2. Headset microphones combine headphones and microphone into a single device. They let you record a podcast that includes a Skype phone call or other teleconference event. They also work well for podcasting at home by yourself.
  3. Digital audio recorders are great if you do on-the-spot recording. For example, I was once interviewed for a podcast at a computer show by a man with a digital audio recorder.

Software Necessary To Record A Podcast

Now that you have all your hardware—computer, speakers or headphones, and a microphone—you need the software to make and edit recordings.

For digital audio players, you need only download the audio you already recorded to disk. (If you have a choice, get the audio in WAV format rather than MP3—WAV doesn’t compress the audio, so it may contain more audio information than MP3.)

For the other microphone types, you still need a way to record your audio. Windows includes a built-in program called Sound Recorder, but it’s not very good.

I always use the program called Audacity. It’s a free open source professional-quality audio mastering program—and it’s easy to use. Download it from audacity.sf.net, install it like normally, and open it up.

To start recording in Audacity, simply press the red record button. Speak a simple sentence, “Mary had a little lamb,” and click the Stop button. Then press the Play button to replay your recording.

Record A Podcast—Troubleshooting

There are two common software problems that may be responsible if you don’t hear your audio—your speaker volume may be turned down or your microphone might be turned off.

Check your speakers first—open up your regular music program and try playing a song. If it makes no sound, adjust your playback volume settings.

If you can play music but not recordings, your microphone could be turned off in the software settings. To turn it on, double-click the volume icon in the Windows tray (it looks like a conical speaker) and go to the Advanced menu to unmute the microphone input. Then try recording and playing back your audio again.

Record A Podcast—editing

You might record a 5-minute podcast straight through without making any mistakes, but few people without radio training can record a 25-minute or hour-long podcast without at least a few problems.

That’s where Audacity’s powerful editing capabilities come into play. Just like how you can change a sentence in Microsoft Word, you can also go back and re-record part of a podcast in Audacity.

For example, what if you wanted to update the nursery rhyme recorded earlier to say that Mary had a little dog? Without Audacity, you’d need to re-record the whole thing again. But in Audacity, you need only follow these simple steps:

  1. In the display, you’ll see a spike for each of the five words you recorded earlier. Audacity creates this visual representation of the sound’s audio waveform—how the sound vibrates molecules in the air.Since the word we want to change, “lamb,” was the last word, use your mouse to highlight the last of these five spikes.
  2. Now to check that you highlighted the right word and that you got the whole word, simply click play. Audacity will only play back the highlighted portion, so all you should hear is, “lamb.”
  3. If you need to make any changes, just highlight something else and hit play again.
  4. After you select just what you need, right click on it and choose Cut. The word “lamb” now disappears from your podcast.
  5. Click on the end of the waveform to put the cursor there and click record. Quickly say “dog” and hit stop. (Don’t worry—if you add in too much silence, you can remove it later the same way you removed “lamb.”)

Click Play. Your revised podcast should now say, “Mary had a little dog.”

Exporting To MP3 For Publishing

After you record and edit your podcast, you’re going to want to publish it. Almost all podcasts are published in MP3 format, although some are published in MP4 format or Ogg Vorbis format. Audacity writes all of these formats, so you have plenty of choices. (I suggest you use MP3 unless you know your audience can use MP4 or Ogg Vorbis files.)

Before you export the file, I highly recommend that you save it in Audacity’s native format. Although we didn’t use Audacity’s advanced features in this tutorial, saving in Audacity’s format will preserve those features when you start using them.

To save in Audacity’s format, simply open the File menu and choose Save like you would in any other program. Give the file a name and put it in a folder where you’ll remember to find it later, and then click save again. Note: if you have a long audio file, it may take a while to save.

To export a file, you do almost the same thing: go to the File menu and click Export. Then choose the file name and folder you want to save to. Also choose the file format you want to use. Converting a file from Audacity’s format to a compressed format like MP3, MP4, or Ogg Vorbis can take a long time and will slow down your computer. Maybe by the time you finish your first podcast we’ll have put up some new tricks to help you record a podcast with multiple tracks.

Comments

  1. Rajkumar Jonnala says

    Do you know the nice thing about your article? It is about the “free” word. I really need it since it is less costly, obviously and still effective. I have been thinking about using audio and your tutorial is really working. Thank you so much for sharing and teaching something.
    Rajkumar Jonnala recently posted..9 Smartphones To Look For In 2012

  2. Max says

    In addition to having a good microphone is important to record your podcast in an quiet environment, off phones and mobile, intercoms, video and more.
    Audacity is great, and it exists for both Windows and Mac. Audacity is very great because it allows you to create many audio tracks that you can mix.
    -Max

    • mitz says

      LOL Funny you should mention this Max. I have recorded youTube videos with chooks in the background, fans blowing, children running down the hall arguing, and more. :)

  3. Jack says

    Great guidelines as always. But where should I post the podcasts? Only popular platform that may be helpful for direct traffic is probably YouTube, but other than that, I don’t think there are directories that get a lot of traffic, are there? (Oh, besides iTunes).

    Should I just post the podcasts on my blogs as mp3′s?
    Jack recently posted..HRT Music Streamer

  4. Grace says

    Hi!
    Myself and a friend are wanting to create a podcast series, but we live in separate countries… is there a way we can record a podcast together, for example from a skype conversation, using just in-built computer microphones? (is that what a ‘headset’ microphone is???)

    Thanks for all your info!

    • mitz says

      Hi Matt
      It’s great to get an idea of how it works before you try it as there are just so many options available. :)

  5. Sarah says

    Great blog, I have been looking for tip on how to record a podcast of high quality, this blog has shown me how to do this!

  6. Thomas says

    If only my english was that good.. :) But about that being famous thing – fame comes with responsibility towards people who consider you famous. Are we ready to be responsible for thousands of other people?

  7. Gregory says

    I have been an advocate for podcasts for years, and was a very early adopter of the technology, personally. I must admit it’s not for *everyone*, in the sense that you must feel comfortable on the mic and have a clear speaking voice, be compelling, etc. But it is for more and more folks, as decent to great recording equipment becomes more and more affordable.
    Gregory recently posted..Cyberattacks on the Rise

    • mitz says

      I love that fact that we can amke a podcast or make a Youtube video and become famous…Famous on our websites, on other sites, and sometimes to the world…We all have an amazing opportunity to get our own message out there..Why not use it?

  8. Stephen says

    I have been looking to make a podcast for a while and this is one aspect, along with getting guests on and working out the content, that I need to get organised. Thanks for the info :)

  9. victoria says

    Great tip on the WAV kind of file than the MP3. I’ve been using mp3 ever since I have been making my own podcast and yeah, I think I might try WAV to see if it is more great. :)

  10. Michael says

    mitz,

    Thank you for a very informative article.
    I’ve just downloaded Audacity and given it a try. Works great, thank you.

    What about a broadcasting program? I’ve done a lot of searching (and downloading/installing/un-installing) trying to find a really good free program. Camstasia is great but also so darn expensive :(
    Michael recently posted..Basic Steps to Start a Lucrative Online Business

  11. Mitch says

    hi Mitz,

    I must say that this is such an interesting topic since I really like to do recording,videos and all this stuff but I am not really that techi and still not good with searching for free apps that will be great for what I like. This will be very useful as well to a lot of people who work online and has its own site and as you have mentioned for marketing. I am always happy to be able to gain new information from you.

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Ileane says

    Hey Mitz! I don’t think I ever heard your audio podcast. Have you uploaded it to iTunes?
    I’m using a Samson USB mic that runs around $90. I treated myself after winning a blogging contest a few months ago. Before that I used a headset mic that I got for $20 from Radio Shack and I noticed a big difference in the sound quality when I upgraded. Sometimes I get annoyed listening to my old YouTube videos with all the noise in the background.
    I’m using Audacity now too. Have you done any tutorials for it yet? Good ones are hard to come by. I’m looking forward to hearing the podcast soon!
    Ileane recently posted..YouTube Hot Spots Tutorial

    • mitz says

      I have some podcasts but they are in other niches…I also have some on my computer now for this blog but not sure if I like them..LOL
      I have about 5 headsets with microphones and ended with the cheapest being the best. I think I need something better though like what you have…
      I have old Youtube videos that are absolutely shocking!! How embarrassing… :)

  13. Ray says

    I’ve been using Audacity for quite a few years now. It is a great little program that has a lot of possibilities if you think about it. Seems to me in order to save to mp3 format in the past you needed to download some codec and drop it into the plugin or extras directory. Maybe it comes with it now though. Even if you don’t need to record a podcast Audacity is fun to mess with.
    Ray recently posted..Google Webmaster Tools showing more links to your site

    • mitz says

      Yes I guess it depends on what Operating system you have or what other programs you have on your computer.. I remember in the Windows Xp days I had to install all sorts of codecs to be able to watch dvd’s and Windows media player would not deal with Mp3′s either.. Any new versions of Windows media player now have Mp3 inbuilt finally..That should cover it..
      mitz recently posted..Build a WordPress Website from Scratch

  14. Liane Markus says

    People like us who is into SEO activities really are interested with free softwares because we are aware that this offers us a lot of great benefits without spending any amount of money at all. This free software is really very helpful and useful to us.
    Liane Markus recently posted..Best Alarm System

  15. Albert says

    Amazing guide Mitz!!
    Thank you :) ..I never think seriously about podcasting,but you’ve wrote an excellent guide to do it!

  16. Aaron says

    Podcasting is becoming more popular these days and many bloggers are trying it on their blogs, I think it’s good alternative if you don’t like to read much. BTW interesting post to read.
    Aaron recently posted..Goa Carnival 2012

  17. John says

    Since I am a little camera shy I believe podcasts are the perfect thing for me. I think I have all the equipment needed to start making podcasts except for the digital audio recorders. I have used Audacity before, but do you think Cakewalk can work too because this is the software currently installed on my computer.
    John recently posted..Beginner Guitar Lessons Online To Get You Started

  18. Jean says

    I just tried out Audacity. Seems to be a great program for sure. I’ve always used the audio recorder supplied with Windows but that saves the files in wav format instead of wma or mp3, thus taking up a lot more space for each audio clip. Audacity is way better in that area as well as quite a few others as far as ease of use goes too.

    -Jean
    Jean recently posted..How to stay safe while driving on wet roads

    • mitz says

      Yes open source programs are hidden gems! :) You can also use camstudio to record and avi and then rip the audio out to a sep file..So Audacity is easier. LOL :)

      • Jean says

        Yea, open source programs are the way to go in most cases from what I’ve found too. For example, for video playback purposes, I always used open source solutions like VLC or Potplayer. And indeed, a lot easier than encoding video then ripping audio from it for sure!

        -Jean
        Jean recently posted..How to stay safe while driving on wet roads

  19. Liane Markus says

    Many people like me who is into SEO are looking for free softwares which we can use with our daily works and activities. And with this free software that you are offering, there will be another great benefit for us which we can certainly use everyday. Thanks a lot for this very informative blog that you have today.
    Liane Markus recently posted..used riding lawn mowers

Letsbuildwebsites.com runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Theme Framework for WordPress

When I changed to the Genesis Framework and the eleven40 Theme my page load score went from 58 to 79 instantly. This was without any optimization at all. The other thing about this framework and theme is that it was so simple to setup that I can highly recommend it to each and every person that visits this blog! Genesis is the smart choice for your WordPress website or blog.