Turn Your Computer Into a Recording Studio


Most of us who own a computer haven’t used it to its full potential.  Listening to songs or podcasts is great, but what about making our own audio files?  I am going to describe how to record to your computer in a very basic way.

You may have seen a little headphone jack on your computer, but did you notice a “mic jack” (hole for a microphone)?   Holes labeled “mic” or “line in” are where you can plug in a microphone to record speaking or singing, for example.  In addition to microphones, you can also plug in any audio input.  For example, you can plug an electric guitar into the “line in” jack. 

(Note: For a PC to be able to “hear” the microphone or device, you may need to open your volume controls and un-check the “mute” box for “line in” or “mic in”).  If your microphone cord is too thick for the jack, you can buy a low-priced adaptor.

The next step is to record yourself to a program on the computer.  One FREE program that I love to use is Audacity.  It is available as a free download through their site.  With Audacity, you can edit your sound files (trim their length, splice segments together, and add effects), and multitrack (sing along with yourself, or speak along with background music).

Written by Toby


Toby is a reference librarian at the East Grand Rapids branch and he also teaches KDL computer classes. In his free time he enjoys reading and playing guitar.

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