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Guibord Technical Writing Services, Inc.

 

 

How to record audio files with the use of a microphone
and Microsoft's Windows operating systems

2016 Guibord Technical Writing Services, Inc.

 

 

The process described in this document makes use of Windows VISTA. For other operating systems (Windows XP, Windows 7, etc.), the names of the icons, dialog windows and applications will differ, but the fundamentals of the process are the same.

 

For your VISTA operating system, the devices listed in the dialog windows may differ depending on the equipment (sound card, microphone, etc.) connected to your computer.

 

 

General Setup

Be certain that a microphone is connected to the input jack of your PC or laptop before modifying the following settings. Otherwise, if a microphone is plugged in only after you modified the following settings, the microphone may not work (rebooting your PC or laptop may solve the problem).

 

 

In the Control Panel, double click on Sound.

Windows' Control Panel

 

Figure 1

 

 


In the Sound dialog window, use the settings as described in the following figures.

 

In the Playback tab, be certain that the Speakers are checked and stated as Working.

Sound window, Playback tab

 

Figure 2

 

 

In the Playback tab, with the Speakers selected, click on Properties.

In the Speakers Properties dialog window, General tab, verify that Device usage is set to Use this device (enable).

Speaker Properties window - General tab

 

Figure 3

 

 

In the Speakers Properties dialog window, Levels tab, verify that the Volume Control is set to its maximum;
also,
verify that the speakers are not muted.

Speaker Properties window - Levels tab

 

Figure 4

 

 

In the Speakers Properties dialog window, Advanced tab, verify that the Exclusive Mode settings are checked as indicated in Figure 5, then with the Test button, test the speakers (you should hear test signals generated by Windows).

Speaker Properties window - Advanced tab

 

Figure 5

 

 

In the Recording tab, be certain that the Microphone is checked and stated as Working (A microphone must be connected to the input jack of your PC or laptop for the microphone to be recognized by Windows as Working).

Sound window - Recording tab

 

Figure 6

 

 

In the Recording tab, with the Microphone selected, click on Properties.

In the Microphone Properties dialog window, General tab, verify that Device usage is set to Use this device (enable).

Microphone Properties window - General tab

 

Figure 7

 

 

In the Microphone Properties dialog window, Custom tab, verify that Microphone Boost is checked. If later on you find that the microphone is too sensitive, uncheck Microphone Boost. If Monitoring is also checked, any sound picked up by the microphone will be simultaneously played back through the speakers, which will likely cause audio feedback.

Microphone Properties window - Custom tab

 

Figure 8

 

 

In the Microphone Properties dialog window, Levels tab, verify that the Microphone level is set to its maximum;
also,
verify that the microphone is not muted.

Microphone Properties window - Levels tab

 

Figure 9

 

 

In the Microphone Properties dialog window, Advanced tab, verify that the Exclusive Mode settings are checked as indicated in Figure 10. For voice recordings, use only the 2 channel, 16 bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality) setting.

Microphone Properties window - Advanced tab

 

Figure 10

 

 

The settings available in the Sounds tab of the Sound dialog window do not affect the recording nor the playback of audio files.

Sound window - Sounds tab

 

Figure 11

 

 

Recording of audio files

Once the microphone works properly, find the shortcut for Windows' Sound Recorder and click on it (Windows > Start > Programs > Accessories > Sound Recorder). Use Windows' Help to locate it if necessary.

Start Menu - Sound Recorder

 

Figure 12

 

 

The Windows' Sound Recorder Graphical User Interface (GUI) will display on screen.

Sound Recorder - VU-Meter

The Windows' Sound Recorder GUI contains the visual equivalent of a VU-Meter.

 

Speak in the microphone to verify that the Sound Recorder works properly. If it does, the VU Meter should indicate sound variations as you speak in the microphone.

 

To record an audio file, press on the Start Recording button.

 

Once you are through recording the audio file, press on the Stop Recording button (this button will display once you've

pressed on the Start Recording button) and then save the file in an appropriate location.

 

 

Trick of the trade

 

A "Y" adapter for 3.5 mm plugs can be used to mix two microphones instead of using an expensive and cumbersome microphone mixer.

3.5 mm Y Adapter

 

 

This online article is available for download as a PDF file