Psychometric Research - Professional Tools for Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy Practitioners
Hypnotherapy CD Tutorial - Recording your voice

Plugging in the microphone

If you are using a USB microphone, plug it in and install the relevant drivers (follow the instructions that come with the microphone).  Otherwise, when using a dynamic microphone, plug it into your computer sound card.  If your microphone has a 6.35mm (1/4") jack plug you will need to use an adapter to fit the sound card's 3.5mm socket.

The sound card inputs are quite often colour coded - the microphone socket will be pink (or sometimes red).  Otherwise, look for the microphone symbol by the socket.


Setting up the software

If you haven't already done so, install the Audacity software you downloaded.  After starting the program for the first time there are a couple of settings to check:

From the File menu choose Preferences.

On the "Audio I/O" page you need to make sure the Recording Device is set correctly: by default it will be set to "Microsoft Sound Mapper - Input" (for Mac or Linux users it will say something different but equivalent).  This is fine if you are using your computer's default sound card, but if you are using another device, or something like the Samson USB microphone then you will need to set this as the Recording Device.  Also make sure Channels is set to "1 (Mono)".

On the "Quality" page ensure that the Default Sample Rate is set to 44100 Hz.  This is essential if the end result will be put onto CD.

On the "Directories" page you can set the Temp Directory Location where the audio will be recorded before it is saved.  This directory should be on a hard drive that has plenty of free space.  For example, if you have a lot of free space on your D drive, set the Temp Directory Location to something like "D:\TEMP".  If you have only 1 hard drive in your computer then you can just leave this setting alone.

That's all that needs to be set, so click the OK button.  IMPORTANT: If you changed either of the above settings, you must close and re-open Audacity before proceeding.


The recording space

Very important when recording is to have a nice quiet space.  So shut yourself in a quiet room, choose a time of day when there is minimal noisy activity going on outside, and if your computer has noisy fans, try to locate it outside the room in which you are recording.  Remember also to turn off any phones before you start recording.


Microphone placement

To get a good quality recording it is important to speak close to the microphone, otherwise your voice can sound echoey or unclear.  This is especially important when speaking quietly.  If you are using a dynamic type microphone then you should speak into the end of the microphone and maintain a distance of approx 6".  With a condenser microphone you generally speak into the side and, since this type of microphone is more sensitive, a distance of up to 12" is ok.  Note that while dynamic microphones usually have a 'pop shield' built in, condenser microphones usually do not, so if you speak too close to a condenser microphone you may get loud pops in the recording when you speak hard letters such as 'p'.  For best results you can buy an external pop shield, but you'll probably find you can avoid such pops just by speaking a bit further away.  As a test, make a recording saying something like "Peter picked a pod of pickled pepper" and see how it sounds.

It is most important to maintain a constant distance and angle to the microphone during a recording, so make sure you place the microphone so you are able to comfortably maintain your position to it.  If you move closer and further away the recording will get louder and quieter, and if you change your angle to the microphone the recording will change in tone.


Recording

So you are now set up and ready to go!  In Audacity set the input level to maximum and (if available) set the input source selector to Microphone.  To start recording click the record button.  Try speaking a few words and verify that you see the waveform of your speech appear in the recording track.  If all is well, click the stop button, close and discard the audio track (click X at top left of track), and restart the recording for real.  If you don't see a waveform appear then check the microphone connection and Audacity settings.



If it is your first time speaking in front of a microphone it can be a little strange, so just imagine you are in a normal session with a client and pretend you are speaking directly to them.  You may like to start the recording with a short preamble describing the purpose of the CD, asking the client to sit or lie in a relaxing position, and perhaps a warning not to listen while driving or operating machinery.

While recording be careful not to knock the microphone stand or make any other mechanical noises, as these will tend to be picked up in the recording.

If you make a mistake at any point during the recording there is no need to start again: just go back to the beginning of the current phrase and continue - you will edit the mistake out afterwards.  Do go back to the beginning of the phrase or sentence rather than just starting from the word where you made the mistake - this will help your tone of voice stay consistent and result in a seamless edit later.

If at any point you need to cough, turn pages, or make other noises, this can also be edited out later.  Just be sure not to make a noise as you are talking - e.g. turn pages in between sentences, not as you talk.

It will greatly speed up the editing of your recording if you somehow mark where the mistakes or noises are as you make them.  If you have an assistant then they can write down each time position in Audacity, but there is an easier way: each time you need to mark a place to edit, simply give the microphone a good tap - this will show up as a sharp spike in the recorded waveform and is visually very easy to spot.

When you have finished, click the stop button.  If you were happy with what you just did, save the recording (File menu -> Save Project).  If you weren't happy then you can close and discard the audio track (click X at top left of track) and record again.


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