Thanks for considering to record your piece to share with The Kenyon Review! Here are some very basic instructions that you might find helpful. THESE ARE NOT YOUR ONLY OPTIONS! Far from it. However, if you don’t have experience making a digital recording, these directions could be a useful starting point.  As much as we’d love to provide tech support for each of you, we unfortunately cannot—there are too many nuances across computers and software versions to provide comprehensive help. While each of the methods listed below will yield results, we can advise that the iPhone/iPad option is easiest, and a recording can be done by borrowing one of these devices if you do not own one.

Remember before submitting any recording to start with your name and the title of the piece(s), and then the piece itself.
 KR retains the right to not use the recording.

Thank you!  If you have any suggestions for or comments on these directions, please email them to Jackson Saul (saul1@kenyon.edu).

First Things First

Many of our contributors are faculty members at colleges. If you are one of these people, the chances are very good that your institution has some sort of recording facility, be it a college radio station or an actual recording booth (typically run by the music department.) If you can avail yourself of these facilities (with technical help from the people in those departments, of course,) the recording will be quite professional.

If you cannot get access to a professional recording facility, do not despair. You can record a perfectly serviceable reading on your own if you follow the following advice:

You’ll want to find the quietest place possible to record your work. A small, carpeted room is good. A small, carpeted bedroom is even better. (The carpet and bedding absorb a great deal of reflected sound.) Consider turning off your air conditioner, furnace, fan, humidifier, etc. before recording. You would be surprised to learn how clearly a running fan or furnace can be heard in a recording! Have a glass of water or a cup of tea with honey before you record. This will keep your throat and vocal cords well-hydrated and sounding great. Once you’re situated and comfortable, try a few recordings. Rest assured, no one–not even the most professional voice-over artist–gets it right the first time. You will stumble over a word or two. You may have to cough or sneeze. It’s OK!

A few more “Do”s and “Please Do Not Do”s:

Please do not add music to your reading.
Please steer clear of reverb, echo and delay effects. (These are especially tantalizing in GarageBand.)
Please remember to say your name and the title of the piece at the beginning of your recording.
We understand no one has access to an acoustically treated space. Some ambient noise is to be expected, especially from our city-dwelling contributors.
Your finished file may be too large to send via e-mail. If you find this to be the case, feel free to use one of the many file-sharing sites such as DropBox, Box, or others.

I have an iPhone or iPad with Voice Memo

To record your podcast:

  1. Open Voice Memo
  2. Touch the red button at the bottom left to record—be sure your hand or other objects aren’t covering the microphone. Touch again to stop the recording.
  3. When done, touch the button on the bottom right to hear playback.
  4. Use the Share button to send the recording as an email. When satisfied with your recording, send the MP3 file as an attachment to Jackson Saul (saul1@kenyon.edu).

I have a Mac with GarageBand ’10 or newer already installed:

To record your podcast:

  1. Open GarageBand
  2. Click on Voice
  3. If you don’t see the quick-launch screen, go to File -> New to bring it up
  4. The default type should be set to “Narration Vocal”–please leave it at that setting or select it if something else is selected.
  5. Name and save your project
  6. If you are NOT using headphones or a microphone skip to step 8.
  7. Plug in your headphones and/or microphone. You might see a message that asks you if you want to use the device you have just plugged in.
  8. Click Yes to use your headphones.
  9. Test your microphone – you should see green bars moving when you speak.
  10. Click the red Record button to start recording.
  11. Click on the triangle play button to pause recording.
  12. Click on the square stop button to stop recording.
  13. To listen to your recording, click on the back to start button (to the left of the play button).
  14. Save your recording by clicking on File -> Save.

As long as the recording sounds reasonably good to you, there is no need to edit. Here at the KR office, we will spruce up the recording for optimal sound output.

To save your podcast and send to KR:

  1. Click on Share -> Export Song to Disk.
  2. Using the dropdown menu select the following:
    • Compress using: MP3 Encoder
    • Audio Settings: High Quality
  3. Send the resulting mp3 file as an attachment to Jackson Saul (saul1@kenyon.edu). If the file is too large to send over email, please contact Jack for further instructions.

I have a Mac with an older version of GarageBand already installed:

  1. Open GarageBand
  2. Click on Create a New Project
  3. In the dialog box, choose a name for your project and choose a place to save it. Click Create at the bottom.
  4. You will see a “Grand Piano” in the foreground. Click it shut.
  5. You also want to get rid of the green Grand Piano track that has been opened by default. Go to Track > Delete track and it will disappear.
  6. Now you are ready to create your own track – the one you will be recording.
    First you have to define what sort of track you want to record. In GuitarBand, vocal tracks come under the heading Real Instrument.
  7. Click Track > New.
  8. In the upcoming window, Real Instrument (as opposed to Software Instrument) should already be selected.
  9. A Track info screen will open to the right of your main window. In the left part of the window, select Vocals and then, in the right window, No Effects.
    Leave input source on Channel 1 & 2 (Stereo) and leave Monitor Off.
  10. Click Create.
  11. You will see that a new track has been created.
  12. Select Control from the menu. The first item, Metronome, probably has a tick next to it. Click on it to deselect it (you don’t want a metronome).
  13. If you haven’t plugged in your mic, do so now (or use your built-in mic). Go to GarageBand > Preferences > Audio/MIDI to check it appears in the Input field.
  14. Now you’re ready to record. Before you do, make sure that the recording light in your track is on – you’ll find it on the left-hand side, in the panel underneath No Effects. It’s the left-most symbol. If for some reason it’s not red, click on it.
  15. Click the red Record button to start recording.
  16. Click on the Blue play button to stop recording.
  17. To listen to your recording, click on the back to start button (to the right of the record button).
  18. Save your recording by clicking on File -> Save.

To save your podcast and send to KR:

  1. Same as above.

I have a PC or a Mac without GarageBand:

You will need to download a free software program that will allow you to record on your computer.

We recommend WavePad Audio Editing Software – free version. Another option is Audacity—use the handy directions found here to install and create recordings.

WavePad Instructions:

  1. Open WavePad.
  2. Click on New File
  3. Set the Sample Rate at 44100 and choose Channels: Mono (Single)
  4. Click the Record button (the red circle next to Play in the Playback Controls)
  5. A Record Control window will open. If you have a built-in microphone, all the settings should be fine as is, if you have an external mic, you may need to choose it in the “Recording” area of the window.
  6. Press the red record button to start recording.
  7. Press the square stop button to stop recording.
  8. To listen to your recording, click on the play button (to the right of the record button).
  9. If you are happy with your recording, and you are ready to save it, close the Record Control window.
  10. Under the File menu, click Save File. A new window will open up. Type the name of your file into the box labeled “Save As:” and choose the format “MPEG Layer-3 (*mp3)
  11. An MP3 Encoder Settings window will open. Click on Variable Bitrate and use the default settings: Minimum Bitrate: 32; Maximum Bitrate: 128; Quality: 4.  Stereo should be chosen for “Stereo encoding.” Click OK.
  12. Send the resulting MP3 file as an attachment to Jackson Saul (saul1@kenyon.edu). If the file is too large to send over email, please contact Jack for further instructions.