You will need a computer running either Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Mac OS X, or Linux/UNIX. If you run Mac OS 9 see below.
You should have at least 64MB RAM and a 300MHz processor - unless your computer is really quite old then it most likely exceeds this specification. You will also need to have a sound card (unless you use a USB microphone - see below), but again almost all modern computers will have this as standard.
There are many software packages that can be used to record hypnotherapy CDs.  Some of them can cost a lot of money, but there are also some excellent free ones such as Audacity and WavePad. For the purposes of this tutorial I will focus on Audacity since it is easy to use and available for a wide range of operating systems. You can download a copy from here:
Note that if you run Mac OS 9 then you can only use the old version 1.0.0 of Audacity. This tutorial was written for version 1.2.3 so you may find that not everything described is applicable to version 1.0.0.
Although you don't need a top of the range microphone for voice recordings, it is worth spending a bit in this area. If you happen to have a microphone already then by all means try it, but otherwise here are some pointers:
- Buy from a specialist music technology shop such as Digital Village or Turnkey as they will very often let you try out a microphone and exchange it if you're not happy with the results.
- The cheapest option is to get a 'dynamic' microphone. This type of microphone is not very sensitive so you would need to speak close to the microphone to get a good recording. However the big advantage of a dynamic microphone is that it will plug directly into your computer sound card. A good entry level dynamic microphone is the AKG D40S which sells for about £25.
- A better quality recording can generally be obtained using a 'condenser' microphone. This type of microphone is more sensitive so you won't need to speak quite so close to it (although bear in mind that if you are too far from the microphone the room reverberation and any background noises will be more noticeable). The problem with condenser microphones is that they almost always require an external pre-amplifier which provides 'phantom power' to the microphone (you can't just plug a condenser microphone straight into your computer sound card). Although nowadays you can buy a fairly good quality pre-amplifier quite cheaply, there is a more convenient and cost effective option: a condenser microphone that can plug directly into your computer's USB port. A microphone of this type is the Samson CO1U and it sells for about £69 which is very good value considering you have a decent quality condenser microphone here plus a built in pre-amplifier and audio interface.
It is not advisable to hold a microphone by hand while recording - quite apart from the fact that you will have difficultly turning the page of anything you are reading, unless you are extremely careful you will tend to pick up mechanical noise in the recording.
You could probably rig up some kind of makeshift stand using some bits of wood and some tape or something, or you may find it more convenient just to buy a cheap microphone stand - again a specialist music technology shop is a good place to go. The microphone will come with a bracket to fix it to a stand. If you use a condenser microphone you can also get a shockmount bracket that suspends the microphone with elastic to help isolate it from mechanical noise. However as long as you're careful not to tap your feet or knock the stand while you're recording then you don't really need one of these.
If you decide to make your own stand, bear in mind that with a dynamic microphone you speak into the end, whereas with a condenser microphone you speak into the side.
If you don't already have some, you will need a set of speakers for your computer. It's not necessary to have super-high-quality speakers - really almost anything will allow you to hear your voice well enough to edit it, and judge the loudness of any background music.
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