These steps will show you how to download Audacity and record a mono track of your speech, then convert and save it as an MP3 file. The program will record while you speak through Skype, but be aware that it is recording outside of Skype, resulting in a recording of your side of the conversation only.
1. Ensure that your microphone and headphones are attached to the computer and configured for Skype (in Skype go to “Tools”–“Options”–“Audio Settings”). Take note of the settings for microphone and headphones because you will be duplicating these shortly in Audacity.
2. In your browser, go to www.audacityteam.org and click on the download link.
3. Choose the download that’s suitable for your operating system. (Note: some Windows 10 devices need additional drivers. If you’re using a PC desktop this shouldn’t be the case.)
4. Download Audacity. (If you intend to use Audacity on your own after the interview, probably best for you to download and install the “Audacity 2.1.2 installer” that includes Help files. If you don’t intend to use the program later, or if you already tried the installer and it didn’t work, then download and install the smaller zip file.) After downloading Audacity, download the LAME MP3 encoder from the same page.
5. Install Audacity. At the end of the setup wizard, choose “Launch Audacity” by making sure that box is checked.
6. Configure your mic and headphone setup in Audacity. These settings will match those in Skype. At the top left side of the window, below the “File” menu and below the blue pause button, there is a drop down menu box with “MME” in it. Leave that as it is. Beside that is a drop down menu with a microphone icon beside it.
a. Use the drop down menu to ensure that the microphone you are using for Skype is selected.
b. In the drop down box beside that, make sure “1 (Mono) Rec” is selected.
c. And in the third drop down menu, make sure that the output (speakers) is the same as that as you are using for Skype.
d. At the bottom left hand corner is a box for “Project Rate Hz”. This should be set at “44100”. However, if you mic records at a different rate and you know that rate (for instance, the Blue Yeti mic records at 48000 Hz) then set it at that. This is not too critical, so if you don’t know about your mic, don’t worry and set it at 44100 Hz.
7. Now verify your settings and make a few more adjustments. Go to “Edit” (up top beside “File”) and in the drop down menu go to the bottom and click on “Preferences.”
8. Under “Devices” you will see your Playback and Recording preferences, and that you have selected “Mono” in “Channels.”
9. Click on “Recording” in “Preferences” and make sure that the “Sound Activated Recording” is NOT checked.
10. Click on “Quality” in “Preferences” and under “Sampling” set the “Default Sample Rate” to “44100 Hz” (unless you microphone has a different default; in that case set it to that). Set “Default Sample Format” to “32 bit float.” Set the “Sample Rate Converter” to “Medium Quality” and the “Dither” to “None.” Set the “High-quality Converter” to “Best Quality (Slowest)” and the “Dither” to “Shaped.”
11. Now minimize Audacity and go back to where you downloaded the LAME MP3 encoder and install that.
12. You are now ready to record a sound file and save it. At this point, you may want to create a folder where you can save your recordings to find them later.
13. Maximize Audacity. Got to “Tracks” on the top menu, then “Add New” and then “Mono Track”–a track pane will appear.
14. Familiarize yourself with the transport controls – Pause, Play, Stop, Rewind, Fast Forward, Record. When you want to start recording, all you have to do is press the Record button. Audacity is recording independently of Skype, but you can still talk through Skype. As you record, you should see a wav file being written in the track pane.
15. When you have finished recording, press “Stop” in the transport controls.
16. To save the recording, go to “File” at the top and in the drop down menu select “Export Audio”
17. In “Export Audio” box, make sure you are saving the file to a folder where you can find it, then give your file a name. In “Save as type” select “MP3 Files”. The “Bit Rate Mode” should be set to “Preset”, “Quality” needs to be set at “Insane, 320 kbps”, “Variable Speed” should be set to “Fast” and “Channel Mode” should be set to “Joint Stereo.” Once these are all settings are correct, click on “Save.”
18. The program will pop up an “Edit Metadata” box but you don’t have to add anything here if you don’t want to. Just click “OK.”
19. Audacity will now convert your recording to an MP3 file and save it. File size should be between 100 Mb and 150 Mb for an hours worth of recording. (Reminder: this is a mono recording made outside the Skype program of your speech only.) All you have to do is send it to us via some file transfer service.