4. Audio and podcasts

Bad audio quality cannot only make your audience feel irritated but also affect your credibility.

Decorative Listen to how sound quality affects our perception of facts (ABC Radio, 3m37s). This study, by Dr. Eryn Newman, found that people were less likely to trust the speaker if the audio was poor quality.


If possible, use an external microphone or audio recorder rather than your smartphone or camera’s built-in microphone.

An external microphone will allow you to:

  • get the microphone as close as possible to the sound source
  • record the sound you want to pick up. The built-in microphone will pick up all the sound in the surrounding environment
  • handle and adjust the controls on your video recorder without worrying about the noise you make.

A lavalier (lapel microphone) or a headset microphone, particularly with a noise cancelling feature to filter out background noise, will record clearer audio than a built-in microphone.

If you want to buy a microphone, the Podcast Host has some recommendations:

Where to record audio

If you are videoing in a noisy environment, it would be better to record your audio in another location. You can use editing software to add the audio to the video later. Audio or video editing software can be used to reduce background noise but it will require a lot more effort.

Audio settings

Microphone settings

  1. Place the recording device about 10 cm away from the person speaking
  2. If you have an external microphone, set it at an angle from the mouth (45 degrees) to avoid breathing straight onto it
  3. Record in stereo (two channels — left and right) to get a better sound
  4. Choose to record as a WAV file, if possible. This is a high quality, uncompressed format. Keep it as a WAV file when you are editing. When you are finished, you can select to export the file as a lower quality, lossy compressed format, such as MP3 or ACC, for a smaller file size. Find out more about file types and compression in our Work with data and files module.

Sample rate and bit-depth

Set the sample rate and bit depth in the audio editing software on your computer or the app on your smartphone. If possible, choose a:

  • Sample rate of at least 41 KHz (41000 Hz) — a higher sample rate will record a higher range of frequencies, which gives a better quality sound, but the file size can be very large
  • 16-bit depth or sample format — the bit depth affects the dynamic range of the recording. 16-bit is a good, general purpose, high quality setting. A 32-bit recording will give a better quality but the file size might be too large for exporting and uploading.

Audio recording with smartphone apps

If you cannot use an external microphone, use a recording app on your smartphone, that lets you set it to stereo and WAV file. Read how to make high quality recordings using your smartphone for more tips. If you don’t have a recording app installed, try one of these apps from Google Play or the App Store:

Audio editing software

You can use audio editing software on your computer to record and edit sound.

Tool Guides Tutorials on LinkedIn Learning (A Charles Sturt login is required)
Audacity Audacity Manual Learning Audacity (LinkedIn Learning, 1h42m) Charles Sturt login required
GarageBand (for MacOS) Garageband Support Garageband Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning, 4h4m)  Charles Sturt student login required
Adobe Audition Audition tutorials Audition Essential Training (LinkedIn Learning, 4h15m)  Charles Sturt  login required

Get more information on tools for working with sound, including Logic Pro X.

Decorative Beyond Audacity vs. GarageBand: Podcast Editing Software
Read this article to help you decide which free audio editing software to use.

Use Word for the web to transcribe audio recordings. You can:

  • record in Word, or
  • upload a file to Word. Transcribe supports .wav, .mp4, .m4a and .mp3 formats.

As a Charles Sturt student you have free access to Microsoft Office 365, which allows you to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote for free on up to 5 PC’s or Mac’s and Office apps on Android, Apple and Windows mobile devices. Other free software options are available from the University Software downloads page.

Having a transcript for audio content can help make your content more accessible.

Submitting your audio assignments

Check your Subject Outline for detailed instruction about how to submit audio assignments.


A podcast is a digital recording, usually audio, made available online for downloading. Often users can subscribe to the podcast program and are notified when new podcasts are published. Podcasts can be a monologue, an interview, a documentary and a range of other formats.

Prepare a podcast

Quick tips:

  1. Prepare your script or interview questions using everyday language and short sentences. Long sentences can confuse your listeners
  2. Practice reading your script. Try to vary your tone of voice. Avoid a monotone
  3. Use music to create the mood and engage your audience. The Find and use media module lists sources for music and sound effects.

Podcast tutorials

LinkedIn Learning podcast courses

These courses require a Charles Sturt LinkedIn Learning login:

Podcast hosting

After you create your audio file for your podcast, you can upload it to a site for others to access it.

Tool Storage space for free accounts Guides
Soundcloud 3 hours Creator guide
Podbean 5 hours Podbean podcasting basics
WordPress 3GB Podcasting on WordPress

You can then submit your podcast to directories like:

More audio tutorials

Do these tutorials if you would like to understand more about audio techniques:


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Digital Skills: Assignment Essentials Copyright © 2024 by Charles Sturt University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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