Unless you're very quick on the timing, you'll want to have a little lead in that you record. Audion lets you trim that lead in for MP3 files; if you recorded in AIFF format, you can use a variety of software, including SoundStudio Pro (http://www.felttip.com/products/soundstudio/).
- Select File > Open MP3 in Editor.
- Choose the MP3 file.
- Wait for Audion to produce a picture of the waveform.
- Select the part you want to trim and then choose Edit > Clear.
- Select File > Save and your MP3 is made whole again without any conversion.
You may want to record at a higher MP3 compression rate than you ultimately reduce your audio to. I haven't yet found the secret sauce that produces both a compact and high-quality audio recording of voices only from within Audio Hijack Pro. I'll record with the MP3 (Medium) setting, which is 128 Kbps in stereo using CBR (constant bit-rate). This provides a very high quality for the level of audio I'm sampling from.
I then use iTunes as my conversion engine. You can set iTunes to a low MP3 conversion factor, but be warned that you need to remember to reset this to your preferred ripping setting later for importing music, or you'll be a bit more than mildly disappointed.
- Select iTunes > Preferences in iTunes.
- Click the Importing icon.
- Make sure MP3 Encoder is selected (as it is by default) for Import Using.
- Select Custom from the Setting menu.
- Set your options to the ones shown in this screen capture.
- Click OK and OK.
- Drag your MP3 file from where Audio Hijack Pro stores it into iTunes.
- Select the file and choose Advanced > Convert Selection to MP3.
These settings produce a slightly muffled, but perfectly decent sound, and they cut a 6-minute Skype interview from 5.5 MB to 1.4 MB. I'm still trying to find the perfect balance of size and sound quality. (Post your suggestions below.)
Podcasting may be a flash in the pan, but the volume of material being created and distributed shows a growing trend for people to take the means of (audio) production into their own hands and become narrowcasters rather than narrow listeners.
By adding "phone calls" (both VoIP and internet telephony varieties) into the mix, you can produce a podcast that sounds as much or as little like a radio show as you have the desire and ability to make it.
Glenn Fleishman is a freelance technology journalist contributing regularly to The New York Times, The Seattle Times, Macworld magazine, and InfoWorld. He maintains a wireless weblog at wifinetnews.com.
Return to the Mac DevCenter