How to Record Your Own Self-Hypnosis Scripts

This page provides advice on recording your own self-hypnosis scripts so that you can play back your own voice. It’s part of my online self-hypnosis course.

If you already have a recorder of some kind – either a cassette tape recorder or dictaphone, or one of the newer digital recorders – then that is fine to use. If you don’t, though, there is a cheap alternative, which is to record on your computer, and that is what this page is about.

I say “cheap” rather than “free”, because although the software costs nothing you will need to get a microphone if you don’t have one already (some computers come with one built-in or included in the package). You don’t need a really expensive one; you’re not doing studio recordings of classical music, you’re just recording your own voice.

Record self-hypnosis scripts with a cheap computer mic
Creative Commons License photo credit: julianrod

A $20-$30 microphone, from a retail electronics shop (like Dick Smith’s if you are in New Zealand or Australia), will be fine.

Make sure the microphone is intended for a computer – there are several different types of plugs, only one of which is likely to fit your computer without buying an adapter as well. Most computers accept the small plugs that are also used in personal music players, and most cheap microphones have this kind of plug.

Getting the software

You also need some software. The most widely-recommended free recording software is Audacity, which works on Windows, Mac or Linux. You can get it from the Audacity download page.

Choose the Stable version for your particular operating system (Windows/Mac/Linux).

Download the installer. If you haven’t done this before:

  1. When you click the link, your web browser will give you the option of running the file or saving it locally. You want to save it locally.
  2. When it finishes downloading, go to wherever you saved it to on your hard drive and start it like you would any other file. It will take you through a series of installation steps, with instructions.
  3. Start the program up.

Running Audacity

This is what the top of the Audacity screen looks like in Windows:

Audacity toolbar

The main controls do pretty much what you’d expect – exactly what they do when you see them on a tape deck, VCR, CD or  DVD player: pause, play, stop, rewind, fast forward.

The control that looks like this: Audacity record button is the record button.

The selection list (dropdown list) that says Line In specifies how your microphone is attached to the computer. You probably want to change it to Microphone if you have plugged your microphone into the socket on your computer marked with a little microphone picture. Then press the record button and talk to make sure it’s working.

You’ll see something roughly like this:

Audacity track

You can delete your test track by clicking the X at the top left of the track.

Now you’re all set up to go. If it hasn’t quite worked or you have trouble, look at the documentation under the Help menu, and if that doesn’t help you, try the Audacity Help Centre. (Don’t email me; I’ll only refer you to the Help Centre.)

One more tip: to clean up your recording and make it better quality, you may want to apply some filters. Select the whole track by clicking the grey section at the left-hand end (the part with the title “Audio Track”), or using the menu path Edit, Select, All or the keyboard shortcut CTRL + A.

Then apply, in order, from the Effect menu:

  • Equalization,
  • Compressor,
  • Amplify (if the audio is too quiet), and then
  • Normalize.

If you have a lot of noise in your audio, Normalize may increase it, so use the Preview button to check before you do it. If it makes it too noisy, skip this step.

It’s a good idea to preview each effect, actually, to make sure that it makes your sound quality better and not worse.

If your track is really noisy, you can use the Noise Removal effect, but be careful – it can replace the background hiss with distortion of your voice. Less noise removal can be better.

If you do something that messes up your recording, go to the Edit menu and choose Undo (the first option) to put it back how it was.

Saving Your Track

To save your track so that you can use it on a CD or MP3 player, these are the steps. (Warning: Don’t listen to hypnotic scripts while in motion, walking or driving around! Do it in bed before you go to sleep, for preference, or set aside some time and sit in a comfortable chair.)

For CD

For a CD, you will want to save the track as a WAV file. From the menu, choose File, then Export as WAV.

There are lots of programs around that will burn a WAV file to an audio CD for you. Your computer may already be set up with one, such as Windows Media Player. If not, try something like CD Burner XP Pro – it’s free, despite the “Pro” in its name.

For MP3

If you are going to save your track for use on an MP3 player (and again, don’t use it while moving around), you will need to download another piece of software from the Audacity site, which is known as the LAME MP3 encoder. You can get it from the same page as the main Audacity software: Windows, Mac. There are instructions in the Help for installing it.

You can then use the menu path File, Export as MP3 to create an MP3 file.

If you want to record professional hypnotherapy recordings

If you are at more of a professional level and want to create recordings for other people, the setup I use is:

  • An ordinary laptop.
  • Audio recording and editing software called GoldWave ($49 USD). I use it rather than Audacity mainly because it’s got a better noise filter – the Audacity one, as I mentioned, can distort my voice a bit.
  • A Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone (around $200-$300). It’s designed for spoken voice work on a computer. I have it on an ordinary tripod mic stand that I got for about $30 – in a quiet environment it doesn’t need a shockmount. I set it up beside my chair and point it at the side of my mouth, so I don’t need a pop filter either.

How to create your own scripts

For simple, straightforward advice on how to actually write your self-hypnosis scripts, check out my online self-hypnosis course.



10 Responses to “How to Record Your Own Self-Hypnosis Scripts”

  1. Greg Woolf says:

    I would also recommend the purchase of a podcasting microphone or digital recorder with built-in microphones. (the best ones contain ‘preamps’ that help to reduce ‘noise’ or interference )

    Look for brands like RØde, Samson, Edirol, and Blue for microphones and recorders. A good recording can make a world of difference.

    • mikerm says:

      Very true, Greg, too much hiss or noise can be distracting. But a basic mic is OK to start out with if you’re just doing recordings for yourself.

  2. Pam Britton says:

    Hi Greg,

    I would like to begin with just making a very basic and simple audio (I believe it’s called a “flash” audio) on my new blog on which I write out NLP and hypnosis exercises. Some of my readers are asking that I create the scripts in audio form. I’m a total novice but know I can’t afford at the moment to hire a professional and record in a studio. Besides, I wish to learn it myself. So, I am wondering if the equipment you list above under the category, “If you want to record professional hypnotherapy recordings” is of high enough quality for my purposes? I would be reading the script into the mic with background music playing from my CD player…all this would be done in my living room. And would all the equipment you list also be sufficient quality for eventual sales of the recordings on my website? I would like to make the recording into CD’s as well as MP3′s (I’m not sure how to go about doing that but would be willing to pay you to teach me).

    Thanks,

    Pam

    Thanks for your expertise!

    Pam

    • mikerm says:

      Hi, Pam – Greg is another commenter, I’m the author of the post.

      There’s absolutely no need, these days, to lay out the money to do studio recordings unless you are going very high-end. Recording in your living room is fine.

      You’ll probably want to draw the curtains for extra sound damping, especially if there is noise from outside (though I’ve noticed the Rode doesn’t pick up much extraneous noise). Not sure about the music from the CD player, I’ve never tried that (I tend to go minimalist and avoid background music). You definitely need to think about copyright issues on the music, by the way. Get hold of some royalty-free music from a site like the Freesound Project or audiomicro.com, or the Podsafe Music Network. Or Google for “royalty-free music”.

      If you have a very basic sound mixer (Audacity will do), you should be able to mix in the music directly without playing it over the CD player. The Audacity help should tell you how to do this.

      I sell the recordings I make with my gear, and nobody has ever complained about the sound quality.

      Burning a CD is very straightforward, and I mention how briefly in the article. If you have a Windows computer, which I assume you do, just start Windows Media Player and Windows Explorer at the same time (not Internet Explorer, but Windows Explorer, the file managing application). In Media Player, click to the tab that says Burn. Then in Windows Explorer, click and drag the files you want into Media Player and arrange them in the order you want them. When you’re ready, put a CD in the drive and click Burn. (Sorry, I’m on my Mac right now and I may not have the tab and button names exactly right, and different versions probably label them differently anyway, but they will have the word Burn in there somewhere.)

  3. Pam Britton says:

    Greg, your reply and the information you have provided is very straightforward. I appreciate your willingness to share it here! Thanks so much.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nice post, I agree you don’t need to shell out cash for expensive studios, I think the quality of the hypnotist is the most important thing. Recording voice is easy enough, just make sure you get a good script from a reputable company if you are not qualified in hypnosis.

    Another option is to buy a external sound card for your laptop that has a direct XLR mic input. Then just use a cardoid mic like the Shure SM58 instead. Try to run the mic to another room if you can to eliminate the computer buzz. Shure SM58s are only $150 these days and you can get a decent audio card with XLR and mic preamp for $150 too if you look – so it is same price as the Rhodes USB but way better. I think the cardoid mics are better for hypnosis the condenser so long as you can maintain a consistent distance between the mic and your mouth. That way you get less obvious background sounds and funny mouth sounds. Also helps if you get a coat hanger and form it into a circle and tie it on to the mic so it lays right in front of the where you speak into the mic. This eliminates pop sounds from your mouth.

    Another good thing is to have a background soundtrack which you can add on a second audio track in your editor. Audacity is good because it has a plugin to create binaural or isochronic frequencies. Try to keep them around the theta level for hypnosis. This really helps get your brain following the hypnosis if you mix them into the final mix with the voice.

    I’ve used this set up to record quite a few hypnotists, and their CDs have sold lots of copies and more importantly helped lots and lots of people. Myself and many others believe that minor imperfections in sound quality and voice actually help distract the conscious mind and assist entering trance better anyways whilst the conscious mind is trying to asses all the different sound distractions.. Good luck, and keep hypnosis accessible.

    • Mike Reeves-McMillan says:

      Thanks, good comment. I will look into the SM58.

      For the pop filter, something I think you omitted to mention is that you need to stretch something over the coat hanger, like a nylon stocking.

      I’m personally skeptical about the benefits of binaural beats (hadn’t heard of isochronic frequencies before, but from a bit of brief research the same applies). They won’t do any harm, but I’m not aware of reputable studies showing that they do much good.

  5. Courtney says:

    Thanks for the great tips! I’ve heard hypnosis tapes where the voice is coming in and out – almost like there are two people speaking, one after another. Do you know if there’s a way to produce this with Audacity?

    • Mike Reeves-McMillan says:

      I think you would probably do it by recording on two tracks. One as the right track and the other as the left track, perhaps, but that’s just a guess.



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