Creating Simple Audio Recordings Using Audacity

Image of sample audio waves

CC BY Flickr photo by Iwan Gabovitch:

There are many different ways you can create audio recordings using your computer, tablet or smartphone. The short video in this post takes a quick look at using the free desktop application – Audacity.

Audacity is available on all University computers as part of the Managed Windows Service, but as it’s free you can easily download it on your personal computers as well. Head over to the website to download! The only other piece of equipment you will need is a microphone – many computers/laptops already have a built in mic, but I just tend to plug in the earphones from my iPhone which work a treat!

Tips & advice before you get started

Firstly, ignore any advice that suggests you need expensive mics and recording studios. My two key pieces of advice are:

  1. Prepare (at least loose) scripts for recording – unconsciously we include ‘erms’ and ‘ahms’ that give us time to think about the words we want to say, but they don’t come across too well on recordings. Scripting can help reduce this and improve the quality of our recordings significantly;
  2. Find a quiet space to record. Having traffic noise or building works in the background can impact on the professionalism of recordings;
  3. If you are talking to pre-prepared slides, remember to leave a pause of at least a few seconds before progressing on to the next slide. have a much more in-depth set of tips and good practice suggestions if you want to head over to their help pages. Otherwise, the following short video demonstrates some very basic aspects of using Audacity, and exporting audio in WAV and MP3 formats.



Next Steps

When you’ve recorded a piece of audio, you need to decide what you’re going to do with it:

  • You might want to embed it into a Powerpoint presentation or merge it across slides using a package like Camtasia or iSpring. If you are doing this, it is always a good idea to note the timestamps for each slide so as to make editing/synchronising that bit easier e.g. slide 1 = 0:00-1:36;
  • Alternatively, you might want to upload it to the University Streaming server –, and then embed the audio file into VITAL or other webpage.

If you don’t know what your best option is, feel free to give me a shout to discuss the options in more detail.


3 responses to “Creating Simple Audio Recordings Using Audacity

  1. Hi! I’m trying to upload a simple podcast from Audacity to my wordpress blog…Audacity will let me export it as a wav. file, but not an mp3. And wordpress doesn’t seem to let me upload it in any format! What do you suggest?

    • Hi Kathleen,
      You should be able to upload the audio file to wordpress but it might a file size issue.
      Firstly I’d install the LAME MP3 plugin so audacity can export as mp3 (see video), then try uploading the mp3 using WordPress’ media library. If that still fails you could try uploading to a third party tool such as sound cloud…
      Hope that helps.

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