1 – Macintosh OS X computer
1 – Griffin iMic (for machines without a line-in input)
1 – Microphone
1 – Set of earphones or headphones
1 – copy each of the following pieces of software installed:
- Open Audacity. Using its preferences, set sound input source to Soundflower (2 ch).
- Use SoundSource (headphone icon in the menu bar) to set “Output” to Soundflower (2 ch). Set “System” to built-in audio if not already set there.
- Open LineIn and set it to input from your microphone source (Built-in audio if using internal microphone or a line-in, the USB sound source if using an iMic or USB microphone) and output to Soundflower (2 ch). If you make any changes, click the checkbox to disable and re-enable to make them effective.
- Open Soundflowerbed. Set the Soundflower 2 Ch monitor to “Built-in Audio.” At this point, you should be able to hear in your headphones the sound from the microphone.
- Open any media player programs you will be using – iTunes, Quicktime, etc. For any player program that was open before you began and for which you are not hearing output, close and restart it. Some programs (like Quicktime) only set their outputs at startup. iTunes, on the other hand, happily changes outputs while it is still running.
- Begin recording in Audacity. You should be able to see the waveforms of the recorded sound from your microphone, et al. Try playing sound from other sources. You should both see them recording in Audacity and hear them in your headphones.
- At this point, you are set up. Let your creativity be your guide. When done recording, always save your audio files before editing. Audacity is not crash free, and you don’t want to lose your copy of the original by editing before you save it (says the voice of experience.)
- Shutting down is not to order dependent. Be sure to use SoundSource to set sources back to their proper locations.
How to edit and do all that fun stuff is beyond the scope of this particular joint, but this should get y’all started.
These directions should be pretty close to on the money. As I was setting up my current podcast, I actually used this recipe to verify I had all the steps right and in the right order. LineIn is a step that can be tricky, because changes don’t take effect until the next time you enable with the check box. I have also been bit before by the fact that if you have Quicktime already open, it will never respect that you have directed the audio output to Soundflower. Until you restart it, it will continue going wherever it was.
If you use these and have any issues, let me know and I’ll publish errata. There is the caveat that this may not cover every possible configuration and I’ve never done it on the beefier Powerbooks which I think have more audio stuff. It works great on my iBook and I think it should work on nearly any OS X Macintosh.
Update: I forgot to cite Hugo Schotman as the pioneer of this class of Mac OS X audio setup. He’s the first guy who started doing really cool combinations of freeware off-the-shelf components to create a full system. Also note that this only takes you up to recording a file. There is editing, getting it to MP3 and then publishing an enclosure feed all necessary before you are actually podcasting. The former of pretty simple with Audacity and there are docs out there. The latter is highly dependent on your blogging tool and not something that can be addressed in a general way. I don’t want to give this impression that this is a be-all and end-all, because all this is just step one in a process.