Technology Breakthrough

For years I've been suggesting that people record themselves reading their own stories. That's something I also kept meaning to do. Today that changed. I recorded a short story, Things That Go Rattle In the Night. You can hear it by clicking here. (This link opens the QuickTime player, which will play in the background if you right-click and open in a new tab or window.)

For recording this story, I used Audacity, the universally recommended Open Source freeware product for making digital voice recordings and doing simple edits. I found it straightforward and easy to use. When the story was recorded to my satisfaction, I exported it to the MP3 format. At 3.2 MB, the file compares favorably with the 28 MB of data in the Audacity file.

Now that I have this file, I may save it in WAV format for burning to a standard CD disk. Or, considering the speed with which everyone is turning to MP3 players and iPods, I may leave it as it is. In either case, it's ready to share.

If you want to try one of these projects yourself, here's how:
  1. Download Audacity and follow the instructions to install it.
  2. Go here and download lame_enc.dll. Unzip this file and put it in C:\Program Files\Audacity.
  3. Open a new file in Audacity, then click on the red circle to begin recording. Click on the orange square to end the recording.
You'll need a microphone for this project. I use one mounted on a headset, such as you use for voice recognition software or an internet phone service like Skype. I tried several desktop microphones, and none were satisfactory, but if you have one, give it a try.

While using Audacity, you may need to adjust the microphone input level to keep your file from sounding hissy or to make it loud enough. Windows users can find this adjustment by double-clicking the sound icon in the system tray at the bottom right of the monitor. If you don't see the microphone meter, go to Options > Properties on the menu and click Microphone. Adjust the slider up and down until you get the result you want.

I had lots of fun with this project, and plan to record many more. How about you? Isn't it time you ventured into a new corner of technology? Stories always sound best with the author reads them. What stories do you have that your family would enjoy hearing in your voice?

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal


Stephanie said...

Sharon, I think you would love this book:

I am reading it right now and truly enjoying it. Your post reminded me of it. Explore the site, too.

Keep up the great posts!

Ritergal said...

Thanks Stephanie,

This does look like a fun book. Let us know what projects it inspires you to create.

Anonymous said...

"Things That Go Rattle" sounded great, not just the MP3, but the reading itself. Simple story, full of suspense, something we've all experienced. Very nice. Another direction to go with audio: record the voices of other people in YOUR life story. Lots of possibilities here--thanks for showing how simple it can be.

John Kotre