January 1, 2013
I will share with you how we make audio files with Audacity. Every week we publish audio files with conversations between two people. We got awesome feedback for the quality of those files. We already (in 2011-2012) published more than 10 hours of audio files.
Let's start with the tools. We use simple things:
- Software: Audacity. It is a free software good enough to edit audio files.
- Microphone: Blue Yeti USB Microphone (Silver Edition). It costs less than $100.
- Computer: anything that runs Audacity. With an USB port to connect the microphone.
- Silence. We record at night when children are asleep and there is almost no noise outside.
- A text to record.
When we record:
- A 10 minutes episode takes around 30 minutes to record because we repeat sentences when we are not sure they were good enough.
- We set the microphone aside to avoid to blow on it.
- We display the text on the computer screen with a big font. We tried paper but it's noisy. We tried a teleprompter on the computer screen but didn't like it.
The time consuming part is when I edit the audio files. Here are the steps I recommend:
- Remove the noise (Noise Removal).
- Remove every part which obviously won't be part of the final audio file: bad pronunciations, words cut, text which is not in the text recorded like comments.
- For every sentence select the best sample available.
- Add rythm to the next. Cut long useless silences, add silence between paragraphs...
- Silence every part when nobody is speaking. This is important. It removes all the breathing noises.
- Remove all the crackles and pops. I also correct some peaks for hard consonants.
- Amplify if needed.
This is my recipe: write an interesting text, put some joy into your recording, edit the audio file. Now you have something nice to hear.
by Pierre Nouaille-Degorce