When you first open Audacity you’ll see a set of toolbars at the top. Note that they might not be in this exact order or location.
If you’re missing a toolbar or would like to customize which toolbars are visible, select ‘View > Toolbars’ and un/check from the menu as you like. You can also rearrange the toolbar order using the ‘grabber’ column at the left end of each, or resize a given toolbar using the ‘drag bar’ column at the right end.
The Device Toolbar
Next, you’ll see the Audacity device toolbar, where you can make routing selections from a handful of dropdown menus. From left to right, you can choose your audio host, recording device, recording channels, and playback device.
If you’re using Audacity with MacOS, ‘Core Audio’ will be your only choice for audio host. On Windows, there are a handful of options, but the default ‘MME’ is most compatible with all audio devices.
From the recording device menu, choose your connected USB mic. Usually the brand and/or make name will be listed such as ‘Logitech H390 Headset’ or ‘Microsoft Lifechat.’
If your mic is not available from the dropdown, a few troubleshooting steps include making sure your mic is plugged in and turned on and checking your computer system preferences to verify that your mic is connected and selected. If those steps check out, closing and restarting Audacity can sometimes jog its memory. You can also consult Audacity’s extensive manual for further help.
Since you’re recording on one microphone, choose ‘1 (Mono) recording channel’ from the recording channels dropdown.
Set your playback device to zero which is all the way to the left. This may seem wrong but you are recording in Audacity but listening to the Zoom conversation so set your playback (listening) volume in Zoom. We will walk you through the best listening volume when we all meet in Zoom but FYI, the goal is the lowest volume possible to avoid ‘audio leak’ in which the conversation in your headphones loud enough to be picked up by your microphone.
Test Your Input
The final step before you begin recording is to test your microphone.
Microphone Level Meter
Reference the microphone meter and, if necessary, select the ‘Click to Start Monitoring’ button. When you talk into your mic, the meter will measure and display the volume your voice in decibels.
Microphone Input Level
With the meter engaged, begin speaking at a comfortable level and increase or decrease the microphone input slider so that it registers peaks (loudest parts) around -12dB. Remember to speak at your normal, I’m-on-TGAPCQS voice, not your telling-secrets-to-my-cat voice.
Press the red record button in the transport toolbar (or keyboard shortcut ‘R’) to begin your audio recording. When Dave tells you to stop your recording at the end of the episode, hit ‘space’.
Save, Export & Upload
The last step of the process is getting your file to Dave. We’ll save the Audacity project, export your audio to a WAV file then send it to Dave. This will happen with you are still on the call with us so Dave will walk you through it but this is the process.
Save your Audacity project by going to ‘File > Save Project > Save Project’. The project is all the settings, tracks and raw data that goes into Audacity for the recording. Save it to your computer in a location you’ll remember. You will not be sending us this project file but keep it around until your episode goes live for our peace of mind.
Export As WAV
Now we will create the file you will send to us. Go to ‘File > Export > Export as WAV’ and save it to your computer in a location you’ll remember. You may get a dialog box for ‘Edit Metadata Tags’ pop up after you click ‘save.’ Just click ok, you don’t need to do anything with the metadata. You may also get an alert about tracks being ‘mixed down’ but again, don’t sweat it and just click through it.
Upload For Dave
The last step in to send Dave your file. This file will be big so can’t just send it as a normal attachment in email. One of these methods will do the trick:
- Send it via Gmail and Gmail will detect the file is huge and put the file in your Google Drive and put add a link to it in your email.
- Put it on your file transfer/storage service like Dropbox, WeTransfer, Microsoft OneDrive or Box and send Dave the URL to download.
The email to send your file to is firstname.lastname@example.org