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To start Podcasting you need to have all the tools that make the process possible. An integral part of that process is recording what you want to Podcast through a computer. To do this requires the correct audio software. There are many packages out there, but the one we use is Audacity. We selected this tool and recommend it to you because it is fairly easy to use and free! 

Audacity is an audio editor, which means you can use it to record and edit audio. Typically you may use Audacity to record sounds, such as interviews or instruments. You can then use Audacity to combine these sounds and edit them to make documentaries, music, Podcasts or audio emails.

In addition to recording and importing audio, you can perform typical editing functions such as:

  • Cut, Copy and Paste, Delete, Insert Silence, Duplicate and Split audio files.
  • Apply plug-in effects to any part of the sound.
  • Customize the playback rate for each track.
Download and Install

Make sure to download LAME Mp3 Encoder Plug-In. This Plug-In is required in order to export your audio as Mp3.

Step 1: Go to http://Audacity.sourceforge.net/download/

Step 2: Under the stable version, click on your operating system.

Step 3: Click on the Audacity installer to download the latest version of Audacity on your computer.

Step 4:  When the File Download dialog box opens, click on RUN.

Step 5:  Click RUN on the Security Warning dialog box.

Step 6: Follow the on-screen directions and finish the installation.

Setting Up Audacity

Configure the microphone as your recording source.

Step 1: On your computer go to Start > Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices

Step 2: Click the Advanced button in the Device Volume section of the Sounds and Audio Devices control panel.

Step 3: With the Volume Control open choose Options > Properties from the menu and click the button next to recording.

Step 4: Make sure the Select box under the Microphone column is checked and the volume is above zero or you won't be recording anything.

Configuring Audacity

Before beginning a recording project in Audacity, it's necessary to set the Audacity preferences in the Edit Preferences dialog box. This ensures that the sound source and playback options are set correctly as well as bit-rate, quality indicators and more. Follow this step by step procedure to setup your computer.

Step 1: Check the preferences by going to Edit > Preferences.

Step 2: Select the Audio I/O tab from the choices across the top of the Preferences Dialog box.

Step 3: From the drop down window under Playback, select the output device that you would like to route the sound through.

Step 4:  From the drop down window under Recording, select the sound source you want to record from. If you’re recording music, you probably want the Check box next to Record in Stereo checked. If you’re just recording your voice, leave it unchecked.

Step 5: The Quality tab is where you’ll set the quality of your audio. Higher sample rate will make your audio quality better but the file size will be larger. To record audio at CD quality sound, record at 44,100 Hz. You’ll typically leave the other settings at their factory defaults.


Step 1: Click on the Microphone Icon on the Audacity Meter Toolbar to turn on monitoring. You should see a red level indicator moving slightly as it picks up room noise. Talk into the microphone and make adjustments to the volume until you get a level that bounces close to the top of the right edge without ever turning the far right solid red (which indicates you are clipping the audio). Once the level is adjusted, you're ready to record.

Step 2:  Push the Record Button and start talking. When you finish recording press the stop button.

Step 3: Go to File > Save Project As to save your project. This will allow you to re-open your project later and edit.

Step 4: Go to File > Export Selection as MP3. Make sure you have the LAME MP3 Encoder installed before saving your file as MP3.


The six basic tools for manipulating sound are found on the left hand side of the tool bar. They are the select tool for selecting sections of sound, the zoom tool for zooming in on an area of audio, the envelope tool for manipulating the volume of a sound sample. The draw tool for manipulating its amplitude, the time shift tool for moving samples relative to each other and the multi tool which does all of the above depending on the key modifier you press.

Deleting part of the audio

Step 1: Select an area of sound that you want to delete by left clicking where you want the sound to start, holding the left mouse button down and dragging the cursor across. You can change the boundaries of an already selected area by moving the cursor over the edge of the sample.

Step 2: After Selecting the audio to delete, click on play (while the selected is highlighted), this will play the part of the audio that you want to cut. After you confirm that, click on Edit > Cut to delete that audio section.

Step 3: Go to File > Save Project to save your project.

Combining multiple Audacity projects together

You could combine two of your Audacity projects or mp3 files together to export/save them as one file.

Step 1: Open Audacity. Click on File > Open and then select the first project/mp3 to open.

Step 2: Go to File > Open again and select the second project/mp3 to open. You will notice that this file will open in a new Audacity window.

Step 3: Click on the file window that you would like to copy. Select the entire audio and go to Edit > Cut.

Step 4: Go to the file window that you would like to append the audio to. Put the mouse cursor towards the end of the audio and then go to Edit > Paste.

(If you want to have some silence noise in between the two audio files, before pasting click on the end of the audio and go to Generate > Silence. Enter the length of Silence in Seconds and then clickGenerate Silence).

Step 5: Click on File > Save As to save your new project.

Special Effects

Audacity also comes with a number of built in effects. These allow you to change the volume of a track, vary its pitch and tempo independently of each other, add echo, reverse a sample etc. You will need to have some audio selected for them to work.

Step 1: Select the audio that you want to apply the effect to.

Step 2: Click on Effect and apply the effect you would like to use.

Questions or comments concerning any part of the Audacity online tutorial can be addressed to the following:

Robert Brown
Digital Media Production
Phone: 703.323.3518