This is the way to get started with the least investment in new equipment. First you need a USB microphone. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but the microphone on your laptop is not good enough for broadcast. These microphones will do the job, although they won’t be as good as the mics we normally use:
You also need to get the Audacity audio editor. It’s available as a free download.
Install Audacity on your computer. It runs on Windows or Mac OS.There is an extensive manual for Audacity that will be able to answer more questions than I can address here.
If you have Mac OS 10.15 or later, you need to run Audacity from Terminal.
If you have Windows or an older Mac you can skip the next section.
For those running Mac OS 10.15 or later: Terminal can be found in the Utilities folder in your Applications folder. Go to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal. A new window will open in Terminal. At the prompt, enter:
Audacity will now open. Do not close Terminal while Audacity is running.
Once you have Audacity open, you need to set the input to receive signal from your microphone. You can do this by using the drop-down menu next to the little microphone icon in the control panel at the top of the window. This is what it looks like on my Mac:
By default, it will be set to “Built-in Microphone” but when you click on the little arrows, you’ll get to choose your USB microphone or your external audio interface. In the screenshot of my Windows machine, the input is set to “Focusrite USB” because I have an external audio interface. More on that on the page for doing a show in live production mode.
Once you have the input set to receive a signal from your microphone, you should be able to record your voice using Audacity. Hit the red record button and you should see the cursor start to move across the screen in Audacity. Speak into your microphone and you should see the wave form appear in the Audacity window. There’s a slider to adjust the volume of your microphone which you can see in the screenshot from the Mac. You probably want to turn that most of the way up. You want the wave form to fill most of the band without touching the edges. In this screen shot, you can see examples of too quiet, about right, and too loud:
Once you’ve gotten the microphone working, it’s time to add some music to your show. This works a little differently in Windows and Mac. Running Audacity in Windows, you simply drag and drop mp3s into your Audacity project. If you’re using Mac, you need to go to File -> Import -> Audio and choose your track from a folder:
When you import tracks into your project, they will layer on top of one another like this:
Once you have your tracks in the project, you can change their order by moving them around. You can do this by dragging the tracks back and forth where they are so that you get something that looks like this:
Once you get all of your tracks into the project and get them in the order you want them, it’s time to export the audio.
If you’re using Windows, click on “File” in the top menu bar and choose “Export Audio…”
If you’re using Mac, you save your work by clicking on “File” in the top menu bar and choosing “Export” then “Export As MP3”
The screens you see might very slightly depending on which versions of software you’re running, but the basic settings will apply regardless.
Once you have saved your file, you’ll need to get it to me for broadcast. If you have a Google account, you should use Drive. Upload the file to drive and share it with me. I’ll be able to download it on my end and get it ready for play.