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Recording your voice

by R. J. Kirkham

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Hear an example
of a great voice track.


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Letters to Michael
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Read the exciting
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Mother and son are
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What can heaven do?

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Deep Relaxation & My Place of Tranquillity CD

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Recording your voice

This page is a guide for those of you who wish to submit an audio recording of yourself reading/performing any one of the featured creative pieces located throughout The Bright Light Café.

It is our aim to maintain a high standard of professional presentation throughout the website, so our preference is for you to submit a good quality digital recording to complement and augment the written piece you have chosen.  

To achieve this goal, you need the following pieces of equipment:

  • A Personal Computer with a sound card installed that you can plug a microphone into.

  • A microphone to plug into the sound card.  Some PCs come with a small desktop microphone, or have a microphone built into the monitor/screen area.  PC and consumer electrical stores sell these items at reasonable prices too.

  • Audio editing software.  Your computer may even have an audio editor that came 'bundled' with a bunch of software when you bought it.  Or, you can download a copy of decent freeware, or 15/30 day timed-demonstration sound wave editing software from places like CNet's Download.com or TuCows.

  • Software to convert the soundwave file that will be produced when you record your voice (eg: myvoice.wav) to a MP3 file format (eg: myvoice.mp3).  The MP3 format creates much smaller sized files than .wav files whilst maintaining good digital quality.  And they can be emailed and published on the web without creating an enormous download overhead.  CNet and TuCows also have the freeware product you need to do this.  If you read the notes of the audio software you're thinking of downloading to record your voice, you may find it has "convert to mp3 format" as one of it's features.

OK!  Now it's time to record your reading.  If you follow the steps below, you should end up with a good quality recording.

Step 1.

Plug your microphone into the microphone input jack on your PC.

Step 2.

After you have downloaded and installed your soundwave editing software, launch your wave editor and place it in "Pause/Record" mode.  If this function is not immediately obvious, refer to the software's help files.

Step 3.

Practise reading the chosen creative work several times in front of the microphone.  Watch the loudness meters on the software interface to ensure you don't "spike" the meters with too loud a reading, or that you're not so far from the microphone that you're too quiet.

Step 4.

Now comes the trial and error bit!

Create a test recording of yourself, and when you've finished, stop the recording process and playback your voice track.  Unless you've done a bit of recording work before, you might think - "That isn't me!", when you replay the track.  Most people aren't used to the sound of their recorded voice and it can sometimes be a bit of a surprise.

Now, it's not impossible that you're a "one take wonder", but the more likely result is that you'll want to record the track again - and again - until you are happy with your performance, and the quality of the recording.

You can keep any number of your "takes" and decide on the best one later, but remember that wave files are quite large, so be careful that you don't take up valuable disk space by saving too many versions.

Step 5.

Once you've decided which is the best track for performance and quality, you can clean up the front and back of the track by highlighting and deleting any unwanted noises.  Read the software help files if you're in doubt about this.  Save the file again.

Step 6.

Now you're ready to convert the Wave file to MP3 format.  Either the wave editing software you've been using, or a specific file conversion software program you downloaded will need to be employed here.  Software varies in functionality, but there should be a "convert your file" choice under the File/Save As area of the program.  Once you've achieved the conversion and saved the new file, check out the different file sizes of the wave and MP3 files, and you'll notice a huge difference.

Step 7.

Read the Audition Guidelines for information on the process of how to submit your audition piece.

Good Luck!

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