How to Record an Audio Poem Using Audacity – Video Tutorial

A listener named Steve was listening to Cloudy Day Art #80 and heard Don and I talking about using to record our audio. So, he promptly downloaded the free program, but had some questions about how to use it to record poetry.

So, I decided to do a quick tutorial. I hope it helps more of you send in your poems!

Here’s the transcript of the video:


Hello, everyone, this is Will from Poetry Podcast, and this is a quick tutorial on how to record your own for submitting to Cloudy Day Art or any other Poetry Podcast out there. Today we’ll be using Audacity version 1.2.4. It is a free digital audio editor. It’s available from There’s actually a newer version out there that’s in beta, but we’ll just go ahead and stick with the current, stable version, 1.2.4, I believe. Let’s go to the website to double-check. First and foremost, what you’ll need besides the recording software is some kind of microphone to actually do the recording. You can get a decent USB mic—I think Logitech is a good one—that’s what I started off my podcast with actually a couple of years ago. Just plug it into the USB, and you’re good to go, or if you already have an existing web cam, for example, you could use that as well to record. Just use the audio off of that to record. So basically, whatever kind of input you have—some laptops also have a little microphone that is included with the laptop as well—so once you have your microphone plugged in, you’re good to go.

What you need to do is make sure that your Audacity is set up to actually use that microphone. Go to Edit>Preferences, and within Preferences here you’ll see here this recording section, and you’ll want to select the recording device that you need. Playback is not all that important for these purposes, but this is basically your sound that you use to play it back. What we want to key in to here is the recording section. Go to the drop-down arrow if you don’t see your recording device selected. For example, for myself I’m using Microsoft Lifecam VX 3000, which is a web cam, so I’m using the audio off of that to record my sound. Channels: mono or stereo—there’s really no reason to choose stereo for an audio recording. Specifically, a voice-only recording, so we’ll go ahead and select mono. All these other tabs and all that you can use those for other things, but for a straight recording of audio, this is basically all you’ll need to set up.

Once you have that, head down to the bottom corner, click “OK”. As you can see, it’s picking up my voice here, and so that’s showing that it is actually hearing input from my microphone. If for some reason you’re not hearing audio here, make sure you have your microphone volume over here set to a decent level. If it’s peaking too much, then you want to drop that down some so that’s it’s not getting too much input and basically topping off, and that will lead to a bad sound as well.

Okay, now that you have that set, and you see that you’re recording, simply hit the big, red recording button. Test-1-2-3, this is my poem: A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G That is a beautiful poem, don’t you think? Okay, so now this is the wave form. This is the actual recording that I just made, and to hear that again, just hit the play button to what you recorded for testing purposes. Here we go: “Test-1-2-3, this is my poem: A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G” So, I have recorded my poem. Listen to that stellar sound. That does bring up a good point: if you are in a noisy room or if you have a noisy computer like I have—this isn’t my normal podcasting computer—then you would have to obviously do your best to get the noise down and quiet that out. So, yeah, those are just a couple of things that you have to consider when you’re recording your poems.

Okay, now that you have that poem—obviously, I don’t need this particular section here: “Test-1-2-3 this is-” This is the actual piece of the poem I want to use: “A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G” So what you can now do is—make sure have the selector tool selected, which is this right here—and you can cut out what you don’t want just by clicking and dragging. I want to do the other part, so I can simply hit the “Delete” button on my keyboard. Or I can go to Edit>Delete, and that removes all that. And I don’t need all this end-space over here so I can highlight that, Edit, Delete, and now I am left with my beautiful poem: “A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G”

Okay, now if I wanted to save this whole project for future reference, I simply hit “Save Project”, but I simply just want to export this. You can export it as a pure .wav file, which is uncompressed, which will also have a large file, or we can export it as .mp3. So I’m going to go ahead and export it as .mp3, and if this is the first time that you’re actually using Audacity, then you won’t have the LAME encoder, which basically is the encoder that changes it from a .wav file to an .mp3 file, so what you to do is download that as well, but all that information will be available to you once you download Audacity. There’s actually a link in there somewhere that tells you where to get the LAME file. Actually, I believe when you try to record, say with .mp3, you’ll get that as well.

Okay, so now you do that you can save as .mp3. I’m going to save this in my jot folder, jot is where I kinda save all my poetry stuff. Lemme go ahead and name this. I’m gonna name the file name. I will name this “ABCabc”. Hit save. You can even put in some ID3 tag information here. This is “The ABC Poem”. Basically, when you put it in your MP3 player, this will be what’s scrolling across the bottom there. Okay… None of this really matters, but this is just options you have. Once you have all that in there, hit “OK”. It will export it to my folder, so now I can go ahead and email it. Let me go ahead and play that for you real quick. Okay, now in that folder where I have all my poems and other .mp3s and recordings and things like that, there it is: ABCabc. I’ll click on it to bring it up here. “A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G”

Okay, so now I have a recorded poem using Audacity, and I can now take that file and email it out to Will at or whoever your favorite poetry podcaster is, and this has been a quick tutorial on how to use Audacity to record a poem.

Will Brown

Will Brown is a poet, blogger, and a scanner of all things new. He also currently blogs at Help Desk Helps where he discusses tips and issues affecting the help desk professional.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterGoogle Plus


  1. I’ve found that manipulating the waveform helps with the quality. I’ll often amplify the wave of the sound is too low. I’ve also found that using bass boost will help the sound, particularly when mixing voice with music since there is often a drop in the voice volume. I also use stereo for the microphone recording because I’m mixing it with stereo music.

  2. Hey Patrick, thanks for commenting!

    I, too, recommend manipulating the wave form. I just wanted to keep it basic for everyone. I just want people to submit!

    I can clean up anything that the listeners send me, so the levels, etc. aren’t the important issues I was addressing, but maybe the next video! Thanks again.

  3. Just found you via twitter – and I am glad I did – I love your site and all the information I’ll be listening and reading so don’t stop posting!! Thanks for all the information!

  4. Thanks, Raquita! I’m following you on Twitter now.
    I see you’re a fan of, too. Cool

  5. Have you tried! I was introduced to it 2 weeks ago. All you do is use your phone or cell phone and call in the audio. Sound quality is not bad I guess depending on your connection.

    Look here: and u edit all through the website. Something else to consider.

  6. I've found that manipulating the waveform helps with the quality. I'll often amplify the wave of the sound is too low. I've also found that using bass boost will help the sound, particularly when mixing voice with music since there is often a drop in the voice volume. I also use stereo for the microphone recording because I'm mixing it with stereo music.

Speak Your Mind