Podcasting kits

Podcasting home

Borrowing a kit

Information Services provides 'podcasting kits', which comprise a digital audio recorder, lapel microphone, headphones, and USB lead. Each School centre outside Nottingham has a kit which any member of staff can borrow. To book a podcasting kit, please email:

snmp-av-support@nottingham.ac.uk (nt-snmp-av-support internally using Outlook)

specifying which centre you want to book it from - this is important so that IS staff don't have to guess which centre you're emailing from. Staff in Nottingham should book the kit hosted in D137 in the Medical School by emailing Medical School Teaching Support or phoning them on extension 30559/30560.

Kits can also be borrowed from Teaching Support Offices on campus, though at the time of writing this documents is slightly out of date as it doesn't mention the two kits available at the Cripps Computer Centre, which can be booked by emailing Bill Vickers. You'll need to give a day's notice for any booking request.

Using the kit

Each kit comes with a concise 'getting started' manual produced by Information Services. There's also a larger, detailed manual that comes with the kit. If you're new to podcasting and recording, you should have a 'dry run' before the lecture you intend to record to get a feel for the kit, and to check on audio quality.

Each recorder is capable of recording some 36 hours of voice in MP3 format, which it stores on a flash memory card, from which recordings can be transferred to a PC via USB. Once you've recorded your lectures, transfer them to a PC or Mac, after which you'll need to edit them with audio editing software - see Editing podcasts for tips and tricks.

Erasing tracks

Erase tracks on the recorder left by previous users. To erase with the recorder, which is easier and safer than with the PC:

You have to delete tracks one by one, unless you format the whole memory card. To erase using the computer:

Tidying up

It's pro-social to erase your recordings once you've transferred them to disc, to save users after you having to do this. Many podcast kit users are 'technically naive' and will just expect the kit to be 'wash and go', and may be confused if, when they download tracks from the kit, they find your recordings. You should also ensure that the kit is returned to its default setting of "Preset-1", which records via microphone to MP3 - please don't return the kit with the default set to line input as this will again confuse naive users who will be scratching their heads when recording doesn't work.

Check settings

Check the display on the kit before you use it. The display shows:


Turn the recorder speaker volume right down, otherwise you'll get howling feedback when you record. It's best to use the supplied headphones to listen to your recordings, rather than the speaker.


Make sure the lapel mike is not brushing against clothing, as this will create obtrusive scratching noises on your recording which will be a devil to remove using Audacity.

Backup and security

After downloading the MP3 files from recorder to PC, back them up before editing. Always edit a copy of a MP3 file, not the original. Rename the copy to something meaningful, eg lecture_010409.mp3, as the default filename (eg MZ000006.MP3) is not only meaningless, but could be overwritten by accident when you download future recordings from the kit to your disk.

Hard drive for editing

Use your hard drive to work on, as audio files can become very large, sometimes tens of megabytes, and you only have a fixed quota on your network drive. Of course, you can place your finished files on your network drive.


To test that you're actually recording, press Rec and Pause - no audio will record, but you should see the recording level lights at the bottom end of the recorder change as you speak.