A DIY guide to recording your own podcast, prepared by Gambra.

THUMPED.COM DIY podcasting guide
by Gambra

WHAT IS A PODCAST?

First things first, what is a podcast? Well, it is essentially a radio programme that you can download an mp3 of. Anyone who wants to can make one and make it available for people to listen to. There is usually a mix of music and of the host (thats you) speaking between tracks. Presumably as Thumped is a music site the majority of podcasts from here will be music based, however it is nice to hear the person making the podcast speak between tracks or else theres nothing to discern it from a mere mix.

WHAT DO I NEED?

You will need:

  • 1 x Microphone
  • 1 x line in on your sound board
  • 1 x copy of Audacity (free)
  • 1 x list of tracks you want to play
  • 1 x script of what your going to say between tracks
  • 1 x copy of the most recent Winamp


Thats it! I'll not go through step by step how to use each of these to creat e your own podcast.

The microphone: Frankly because its MP3, any form of mic will do. If you want something really really cheap theres Trust PC microphones (will sound as if your speaking on the telephone) available at http://www.elara.ie/products/microphone.asp for like 4 quid. For regular podcasts, you may as well invest in a somewhat better. You can get ones from Maplin for about 20 euro. Ask they people there for what connectors you'll need for connecting it to PC (XLR to 2.5mm jacks is the technical terms). A desktop mic stand might also be a good idea rather than be holdong it the whole time. They are also available from Maplin for about a tenner.

Line in: You'll one of the below for all this to work:

If you haven't got one somewhere on you laptop of PC then I'm afraid you won't be able to record any vocal tracks.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR FIRST PODCAST

Ok, You've bought your microphone and you've it plugged into your line/mic in on your sound card. Now you gotta download Audacity. This is a free audio recordng program with basic editing functions. Grab it from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ and install it.

Now you need to plan out your podcast. Pick what tracks you want to play in it and then think about what your going to say (if anything) between the tracks themselves.

Boot up Audacity. Select linme in as your source and then click the big red button. Then record your intro to the podcast. When your done click the stop button. Delete any silence at the beginning and end of the track and then click "File" and then "Export to WAV". Save it somewhere you can find it again later on.

Delete the track you just recorded (in Audacity, NOT off your hardrive) and do it again and again for each speaking segment you want to do.

When your done that open up Winamp. Make a playlist of all the songs you want to play during the podcast. Put in the speaking bits you've just recorded in between the songs you want.

Example playlist for Winamp:

01-intro.wav
02-song#1.mp3
03-song#2.mp3
04-speaking1.wav

etc etc

When you have that sorted out right click anywhere on the top bar of winamp to open up the menu list. Hover over Options, then click Preferences. When that window pops up click "Output" under the Plug-Ins heading. There should be a plug in listed called Nullsoft Disk Writer. Double click that. Another window will pop up. You now need to click the "Enable" box under "Single File Output". This will record your entire playlist top a single WAV file on your hard drive. You can change the directory and quality here if you wish.

Now go back to your playlist and click Play in Winamp. It will play really fast and no music will come out. Don't worry, that just the files being written to WAV. now you'll have a nice WAV file of your podcast. Use your favourite MP3 software (i use CDex. get it at http://cdex.sourceforge.com) to compress this WAV to an MP3. FOr podcasts theres no need to encode any higher than 192kps, though I like to encode ar VBRkps between 160-320kps. With this resultant mp3 file yuo now have your first podcast! Use petes instructions on how to upload it and your've become a podcaster.

Oh and don't forget to switch back to your normal Output plugin in Winamp or else anything you listen to will end up being output into a wav file…

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