Creating a Voice Recording

Thank you for creating a voice recording for Terrain.org!

Please only record yourself reading your contribution after your contribution has been accepted and we have invited you to submit a recording. You have many options for recording yourself reading your poem, essay, or story. Here are some good options. If unsure, or if it doesn’t work out, please email us at submissions@terrain.org.

Considerations Before You Record

  • Record yourself in a quiet place, and turn off background fans, etc.
  • That said, don’t worry too much about background noise you cannot control.
  • Drink water or tea before you read to lubricate your vocal chords.
  • For poetry or flash fiction/nonfiction, record and send a separate file for each piece, rather than one long recording of all your pieces together.
  • If you’d like to add background music or other ambient sounds, feel free. Be sure to listen to your recording before sending it to ensure there’s a good balance of background noise with your own voice.
  • Be sure to say the title of the contribution and your name, such as, “This is Jane Smith reading the poem ‘Poem’.” For poetry, feel free to add a short introduction to the poem as you might do at a reading.
  • You may get it all right on the first recording, but most readers don’t. That’s okay–record yourself until it feels right, even if it takes several attempts.
  • Once you your audio file(s) is ready, send it to submissions@terrain.org or by reply to previous correspondence with a Terrain.org editor. Sending multiple files via multiple emails is fine. If the file is too large to send via email (over 12 MB), use a free service such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, or Hightail.

Resources for Recording Yourself

University or Other Recording Studio

Many of our contributors are faculty members at colleges. If you are one of these folks, the chances are very good that your institution has a recording facility, be it a college radio or TV station or a recording booth (typically run by the music department). If you can take advantage of one of these facilities (with technical help from the people in the department) the recording will be quite professional, and they can provide the mp3 or similar audio file to you to send to us, or they may email it directly to us with your name in the subject line at submissions@terrain.org.

Using 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 submissions@terrain.org.

Using a Mac with GarageBand 2010 or Newer

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.

To save your podcast and send to Terrain.org:

  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 submissions@terrain.org

Using a Mac with an Older Version of GarageBand

  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 Terrain.org:

  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 submissions@terrain.org

Using a PC, Mac, or Other Computer 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 submissions@terrain.org

Send Your File(s) to Terrain.org

Once you your audio file(s) is ready, send it to submissions@terrain.org or by reply to previous correspondence with a Terrain.org editor. Sending multiple files via multiple emails is fine. If the file is too large to send via email (over 12 MB), use a free service such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, or Hightail.

Thank you.

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