Audio recording is a noise-sensitive process that requires a quiet space, free from typical ambient office sounds such as voices, phones, air-conditioning, street noise, and so on. Choose an office space to record in that has minimal evident street noises. Listen for air-conditioning hum, voices, and other obvious noise in the space. If there are blinds in the windows, lower them to further reduce outside noise. If you are recording in more than one session, be sure to record in the same space each time. This reduces obvious changes in sound quality.
Selecting a Microphone
There are many microphones available to use with your computer. DO NOT use the internal microphone on your computer; it is not appropriate to record narration, as it will pick up hard-drive and cooling-fan noise. USB microphones are primarily made for low budget applications and are not recommended for professional recording. These microphones tend to add background noise and have limited dynamic range.
Noise cancellation or rejection microphones are recommended. These microphones only pick up the sound from directly in front of the microphone. A windscreen helps cut the sound of the speakers breathing. Some microphones listen for sound from all directions and are not recommended because they will pickup extraneous sounds during recording.
Microphones designed for the telephone are not a good choice because they usually use only mid range frequencies to reduce bandwidth requirements. Choose a microphone with a wide frequency range (100Hz to 15kHz). Analog microphones are preferable because they plug directly into the audio card microphone input and can take advantage of the computer's pre-amp instead of the lesser quality pre-amp typically found in a USB cable.
When using an external microphone, always turn off the Line In and Internal Mic controls to prevent interference in the recording quality. Close any extraneous applications on your computer, particularly those with alerts and sounds, such as email that has new mail notification. These sounds will record with the audio if not turned off.
For additional microphone information, go to http://www.microphones.com.
Choose a microphone with a headset mount or a stand. If you are using a free-standing microphone, always place the microphone in the same location to help ensure recording levels are the same for each recording session. With free standing microphones, you often have to turn up the gain to increase the signal enough to get a good recording. Turning up the gain also turns up the background noise. Moving closer to the microphone can eliminate the need to turn up the gain but often creates an uncomfortable position and is not ideal for long recording sessions. If you are using a headset, position the microphone several inches away and below your mouth so that when you speak, you are speaking over the microphone. This reduces the risk of distorting the signal into the computer. A headset with a flexible boom microphone that moves with the speaker is ideal for long recording sessions.
Create a script for your narration
Scripts are helpful when you record audio. They ensure that the final presentation flows coherently and incorporates the appropriate level of detail, ensuring that the audio portion delivers easily and the message is clear and succinct.
Create a test recording to determine the proper levels
Record the narration for the first page of your presentation using the Sound Recorder's VU meter to monitor and review the audio for quality.
Record in one session
It is very clear when a narrator has recorded audio at different times and on different equipment. This can distract learners. If possible, plan enough time to record your presentation, play it back, and edit the audio in a single session.
Set Sound Playback and Record Options
Do not mute the speaker on your computer while you are recording because sounds are used to indicate Record and Pause states.
To prevent feedback, set your Windows audio to mute the Playback microphone. These instructions are specific to Windows XP. If you are running a different version of Windows, they will be similar, but not exact.
To set sound playback and record options:
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