Successfully Recording Your Lines At Home

10. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to buy a new soundcard for my recordings?

No. The built-in soundcard in your computer or laptop will do just fine. 

  • I want to buy a USB microphone, but will my soundcard recognize it?

Yes. The pink plug is not the only way to attach a microphone. Some USB mics require drivers, others just need to be plugged in and will be recognized by your computer or laptop immediately.

  • How can I configure my microphone once I have plugged it in?

Check your sound settings via Control Panel >> Sound. Set you microphone as default and go to Properties for all necessary settings. Find a detailed description of recommended Windows settings in Part 3 of the Guide.

  • What is the best software to record my lines with?

There are a lot of programs, but Audacity, an open source application, is available for free download and is clearly one of the best and easiest programs you can work with. The download also includes a user manual. Find more details about this in Part 4 of the Guide.

  • My microphone does not produce much white static noise, but there is an annoying electrical buzzing on my recordings.

It seems that your computer or overall power supplies near your microphone are not properly grounded. An explanation can be an outdated power system in the house you are living. Try to put the microphone as far away as possible from your computer. Also google to find out about properly grounding your powered equipment and see what you can generally do about it.

  • How can I reduce the acoustic echo of the room in which I am recording?

You can't. It would be a sin to enable "Acoustic Echo Cancellation" in your sound settings for that (see Part 3 of the Guide), because it reduces your sound quality drastically. Change your recording location to a room with carpets (even curtains or blankets) and no acoustic features.

  • My recording sounds like a radio transmission from like 100 years ago. Do I need a better microphone?

Not necessarily. Check your sound settings in Windows first. Disable all sound effects and, if necessary, the "Noise Suppression". If you are recording completely with settings as described in part 3 of the guide, and your recordings still sound "vintage", then it might indeed be your microphone.

  • How can I avoid the so-called "explosives" / "p-popping" on my recordings?

Get yourself a pop filter as described in Part 2 of the Guide. If you can't attach a pop filter to your microphone for whatever reason, then try to talk across the mic and not directly into it. The explosive sounds are mainly produced by your breath, so watch your sitting and microphone posture closely, as well as the way you are breathing when you speak.

  • I want to save my recordings in .mp3 format but Audacity tells me I need an "encoder".

The answer is: don't do that, if possible. Why downgrading all the efforts you've put into your recordings to the .mp3 format at all? Go for the .wav format which is pure, uncompressed and the best quality, as described in Part 7 of the Guide.