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Recording with Audacity

Now that your devices are connected, you have tuned the volume levels, you’re ready to start recording. This rest is easy.

General Tips

Recording Steps

  1. If Recording Level meter reads, “Click to Start Monitoring” click that first. Your volume levels should still follow the guidelines under Setting Recording Levels in Audacity.

  2. As soon as you’re ready, positioned comfortably next to the microphone, with your copy ready to read without making noise as you scroll or turn pages, press the round red record button.

  3. Click to enlarge

  4. Notice that as you record, the blue bars in the Audio Track in the main window extend from the center line, vertically expanding and contracting with the volume of your voice. The numbers immediately above the blue track signal represent the number of seconds from the start of the recording (a little under 37 seconds in the image below). If you are pushing the green Recording Level meter into the yellow and red, the left (top) and right (bottom) blue bars on audio track will be pressing closer to the top and bottom of their respective lines. Ideally, you’ll frequently push the Recording Level into the yellow, sometimes orange, but only very rarely or never into the red. If you cross zero, the sound will be clipped, and that’s bad. The Recording Level meter in the image below shows an example of audio that is getting too hot (too loud).

  5. When you’re finished with your narration, press the square yellow Stop button.

  6. Click to enlarge

  7. To be sure it recorded correctly and sounds like you expected, press the green triangular play button. It is best to listen with headphones for optimal sound.

  8. You can save your work under the File menu, by selecting “Save Project as…” You can delete just the Audio Track to re-record without having to create a new file by clicking on the X in the upper left of the Audio Track itself.

That’s it! You have now completed your Audacity recording. Repeat this process. A lot. Record, play back, listen, make minor adjustments, and repeat. While you may not have enough experience yet to know if the quality of an individual audio clip is good or bad at the start, you can probably tell if one recording sounds better or worse than another. So do a lot of comparisons to find what sounds best. Trust yourself or ask a friend. Be especially alert to do these:

If your audio meets those 4 goals, you’re in great shape!

Next proceed to Audio File Processing with Audacity.