It is incredibly easy to record your voice in 2012. All you need is a high quality computer microphone, which you can pick up from almost any corner store these days (I’ve even seen them at drug stores!), and a computer. Windows has a simple little program built right in called Sound Recorder. It’s small and dead simple. There is one button that either says “Start Recording,” “Stop Recording” or “Resume Recording.” So really it is easier to record in Windows than it is to, say, use e-mail.
Most folks can figure out how to hook up a simple mic, like the little headphone/mic combos you can get at one of those corner stores I mentioned. Assuming your computer has a soundcard (and a vast majority of them do – they come that way from the manufacturer), all you have to do is put the little 3.5mm plug into the pink socket on the card. If it is a headset type of mic, you put its plug into the green socket. Now you are all set to chat on Skype, record a podcast, etc. If all you want to do is have fun talking to friends and family or putting your voice onto a quick video for personal reasons, then you’re good to go with the above recording set-up. However, if you are using your recordings for your business, an internet business with podcasts and videos for example, your audio will not sound professional enough.
So even though most folks can easily figure out how to record their voices, actually achieving an audio product that sounds professional seems to be elusive. Even when people realize their audio could, and should, be better, they often don’t take the steps they need to in order to get professional results. The irony is that it is quite easy, fast and inexpensive to get to that next level. The thing that will have the biggest impact is changing microphones. The kind you plug into your sound card is not the kind you want. You want a USB microphone. As the name implies, these mics can be plugged directly into the USB port of any computer and they’re ready to use. They’re even easier to connect since you don’t have to dig around the back of your computer looking for the little sound card holes.
But not all USB mics are alike. You want something called a large diaphragm condenser (LDC) type of USB mic. These are large mics that look different from the standard hand-held icecream-cone type of mics you see a lot. You usually speak into the side of an LDC, rather than the end as with standard stage mics. But these are not as expensive as you might think. My local Best Buy has one called the Samson C01U that is only about $75. Don’t just believe me. Try it for yourself. Record your voice with a standard PC mic plugged into your sound card. Then record again with the USB mic (LDC type) and compare the two audios. You’ll be amazed, especially if you listen in headphones. Make that one change and you can move from amateur audio to sounding like a pro.