Create an audio file

Forgive my ignorance. I am new to this. What I want seems simple to me but please feel free to give me as much detail as possible. I would like to record myself speaking. Doing a podcast. I have my mac laptop hooked up to a mackie dfx12 with multiple inputs. I now need to just basically hit record and create an audio file. What are the steps I need to take to record? Please go step by step. Once I record is it in the right format to then upload as a podcast or do I need to run it through additional software? Thanks in advance.

Here are some resources that may help:


I’ll try to write the shortest possible guide. I don’t have a Mac but Linux box, but I assume the procedure is the same.
I will also assume you hooked up your mixer’s “tape out” output to laptop’s “line in” input using RCA to 3.5 mm TRS cable.

  1. Start Ardour.
    “Session Setup” window should appear. Click the “New Session” button.

  2. You will be asked to enter a session name. Write any name (possibly select a folder if the suggested one is not to your liking) and click “Open”

  3. “Audio/MIDI Setup” window appears. I would advise to leave everything as is and click “Start” (top right corner).

  4. The main widow appears.
    Go to main menu: Track -> Add Track, Bus or VCA…

  5. “Add Track/Bus/VCA” dialogue appears. Leave everything as is and click the “Add and Close” button.

  6. A new track named “Audio” appears in the editor space. (you can rename it by double clicking on “Audio”…).
    To the right of the “Audio” (or whatever name you gave the track) and above a button with letter “P” there is a button with a circle in it.
    Click on that button and it will become bright red. Now you have armed your track for recording.

  7. At this point you should set up your Mackie mixer. Connect your microphone to the first input channel (engage phantom power if you have condenser mic…). Set the first channel fader, CD/TAPE RETURN fader and MAIN MIX fader to “0”. Set the first channel “PAN” pot all the way to the left - full counterclockwise (since you want to record a speech - a mono track and the system is set to recognise the left channel as the default first). On your laptop you should look for the “System Settings” or something similar and look for Audio or Sound, and select “Line in” as the input port (or device), otherwise the system will assume you want to use built-in microphone as your recording device.

  8. Set up correct signal level. There is a meter bar in the “Audio” (or whatever the name…)track in the Ardour’s editor window, to the right of the M,S/P,A,G buttons. Talk to your mic, while adjusting the recording level by turning the “GAIN” knob on the Channel 1 of your mixer.
    The right amount of gain is when the meter (green bar…) shows anywhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of the full bar while you are speaking.

  9. In the transport section (top left corner, just below main menu) click on the button with a circle in it. It will turn bright red and blink. Then click “Play” (or “>”) button to start recording. The recording proces will be visible in the “Audio” track as a waveform will be drawn in the real time. For stopping the recording click the stop button.

  10. For getting the actual file you need to “export” the recording. Go to main menu Session -> Export -> Export to Audio File(s)… The “Export” dialogue appears. Select a format from the dropdown menu (I suggest “CD”. MP3 is not available yet - it will be in the near future… you will need to convert wav to mp3 with another program for now), choose a folder to store your file and build the name. Click the “Export” button AND THAT’S IT :slight_smile: .

It seems like quite a complicated process for such a simple task to me. Ardour is designed for so much more complicated tasks an because of that there are so many steps and choices. I think lots of podcasters use simpler programs, for example Audacity or maybe GarageBand on Mac.