2. How to Set Up and Use Recording Equipment and Software

Introduction

In this module we show you the equipment and software you will need to record and edit memoirs.

You will learn how to use them to produce the best possible recordings.

If you are not comfortable with, or familiar with, recording equipment and software it may be a bit scary at first.

Practice will help you feel more confident about using the recording equipment; it’s not nearly as hard as it may seem at first.

With practice it will become easier and easier.

Outcomes of this module:

When you have completed this training module you will be able to use the suggested equipment and software, without confusion or hesitation.

Specifically:

  • How to decide what equipment you will need and where to get it

  • How to download free software

  • How to set up for recording using a PC or Mac

  • How to set up for recording using a Smartphone (iphone or Android)

  • How to position a microphone to get the best sound.

The equipment and software you will need:

  • A PC or Mac laptop 

  • A Smartphone (Iphone or Android)

  • A Microphone

  • A Jack or a Jack Adapter

  • A Pop Filter

  • Audio editing software

Microphone

First you need to choose your microphone.


The most suitable microphone will have these features: 

  • An adjustable design that lets you position the microphone easily

  • Noise Canceling Technology –to pick up a clear voice and reduce background noise and echo

  • Plug & Play – which means you just have to plug the microphone into your PC, Mac or Smartphone to start recording.


Here is an example of a microphone ideal for recording from your computer.  You can purchase this microphone from Amazon

For recording on your smartphone, you can use a microphone with a 3.5mm jack that you will find on a lot of microphones like this one which also comes with a small tripod: 

You can purchase this mic on Amazon

A Jack Adapter

A Jack adapter may be needed if you are recording with a Smartphone. 


A Jack adapter is for newer smartphones that don’t have a headphone jack.


If your smartphone doesn’t have a headphone jack, you can use these adapters:

For iPhones (lightning)

For Android (USB-C):



A Pop Filter:


Every time you say “please” and “thank you” you’re moving a lot of air, and those P and T sounds can come off as harsh to listeners. 


A POP filter is designed to physically dampen those sounds. This results in a much smoother sound.

A Pop Filter looks like this:


You can use a POP filter like this one which you can purchase from Amazon: 

Recording with a Mac or a PC:
  1. If you use your Mac or PC to record all you have to do is plug the USB cord into the laptop.
  2. Go to sound settings menu for your computer
  3. Make sure your external mic is selected as the Input channel, and not your built-in microphone on your computer. This is very important. 



How to Position the Microphone:

Make sure your client is sitting where she or he is most comfortable. 


If s/he is sitting next to a table, position the mic so it is comfortable for your client to sit with the mic nearby.

Check the sound level to make sure the mic is picking up the sound properly.


Adjust the environment: Try to eliminate anything that will interfere with a good recording.

Why? Sound bounces around a room in waves, and it will reflect off anything that is hard. It will be absorbed by anything soft. 

Desks, tile floors, glass-paneled walls of an office, are all culprits that lead to a large amount of reverb and echo in a room.

Also, things that create moving air like air conditioning or heaters, your computer fan, or an open window. Make sure to eliminate/minimize this where you can.

Practice:

First practice on your own.


Imagine you are with a client. 


Go through the steps of setting up the microphone and adjusting your settings.


Do this as often as needed until you can follow each step without looking at this manual.


Then ask a friend or family member to pretend to be a client.


Go through the steps making sure the mic is properly positioned, the volume adjustments are correct, and the environment is ready for recording.


Do this until you can do so without confusion or hesitation.