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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Start the program up.
This is what the top of the Audacity screen looks like in Windows:
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: 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:
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:
- Amplify (if the audio is too quiet), and then
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 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.
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.