Develop and Record your audiocast - MP3 - with Financial Crime Broadcasting

About Software

I know many people are fans of Apple's Macintosh when it comes to any audio-visual things but I've never got on with Apple's operating system.

It's just a personal preference thing.

It's all the more silly because since OS X it's been a modified (and expensive) version of Linux and these days I use Linux on everything except one laptop.

I think it's the single button mouse that defeats me.  Anyway, what this means is that my experience of sound production software excludes anything on Apple simply because I know nothing about it.

For years, I've used Audacity. Let's start with the following: it's a far, far, far more complicated and powerful program than you need. But you can just ignore everything you don't use.

Audacity is a cross-platform program: that means that it works on Linux and Windows. Having said that, they are not identical.

Audacity is free and open source: that means you don't pay anyone to use it. It also means that you are allowed to dig around and modify the code. Don't. Seriously. Don't - unless you are a very brave and experienced coder.

There are many sound editing programs available, many free, many expensive. So why do I use Audacity?  Perhaps it's because it is so similar to Fast Edit. Or perhaps it's because if all you want to do to take out all the "fluffs" and pops and in-breaths, it's very, very easy to use - indeed, it's pretty much intuitive.

I'm not going to write a tutorial: there are dozens of people better qualified than I to do that and there is near unlimited help across the internet.

I'm just going to mention a couple of bullet points.

1. Like many programs, you can't just "save as" MP3. The reason is because the software that does that is owned by someone who grants a free licence to everyone to use it but doesn't grant a licence to software developers to include it in their products.  It's not a big deal: just download it, put it into the correct directory on your computer and it will work: no installation is required. To create MP3, you "export as" not "save as." Note, Audacity saves in its own file type, AUP, which cannot be played in any program other than Audacity.

2. It can be fussy to set up to record into any sound software. There are so many hardware "standards" that aren't really standard that it can take a lot of fiddling about. This is one of the reasons that I use the digital recorder. Then I just wop it over onto the PC via USB and open the file (which happens to be an MP3) in Audacity. Whatever method of recording you adopt, keep a copy of the original because you'll make a terrible mess the first few times you try to edit a file.

3. Practice with a few short files before starting work on a long file. The actual editing process is very simple but the human-machine interface will often break down. I.e. you'll select the wrong thing, delete it, then realise too late that you want it but it's already been over-written with something else in the "undo" buffer.

The most common reasons for doing this are

a) you don't make the wave form in the editing screen big enough so when you try to select using the mouse, your aim isn't good enough.

b) at a critical moment, someone opens your door, throws something at your head-phone adorned bonce and says something like "if you don't come and eat dinner right now, I'm giving it to the dog." And you forget what you were doing.

4. When you start your recording, set your room up, sit or stand where you will sit or stand and turn the recorder on for a few seconds before you speak. You might think you are recording silence but total silence is rare and your mic will pick up all kinds of sounds that you probably hear but pay no attention to. I had to move a fridge out of the room. Fans are a particular nuisance: room, computer even air conditioning fans generate sound.

Audacity has a filter that lets you select that "silence" and remove all the sounds in it - and to remove the same from the entire recording. It's under Effects > Noise Reduction. You can play about with the settings until you are happy but the defaults are pretty good. To use it, you highlight the sample at the beginning, click on "select sound" and then the window closes. Open it again and then click on reduce noise. It'll take a few seconds to take out all of that background noise from your recording.

5. Do a test and check for mumbles, clicks, throat clearing, whether you breathe in noisily (I do!). You'll need to edit at least some of those out. So get used to listening for them while you are recording so that when you do it, you can leave the recording rolling but re-record that little bit or, even, leave a short gap after it so that you can easily edit it out in Audacity.

An alternative

I know some people who use a headset plugged into their phone to make their recordings and use on-phone apps to edit.

The actual editing process is quite easy but I find working on a phone or tablet screen inconvenient. If it works for you, that's fine.


I use Audacity to edit the music for my intro, outro and "zings" and to insert them into my own 'casts, I simply open the sound file I want and paste it into the recording. I don't do anything clever like talking over the music but if I wanted to, that's easy, too. There are dozens of tutorials on the 'net but once you've been using Audacity for a few minutes, inserting the sound, even merging it under your intro and outro, becomes pretty intuitive.