Wikisource encourages linking from our source texts to oral recordings of them (audio books).
This page gives technical help to those who want (1) to listen to the audio texts listed at Wikisource or (2) to upload new ones of their own.
Note: Oral recordings of source texts may be uploaded in two places:
- Here at Wikisource;
- At the Wikimedia Commons.
Playing Ogg Vorbis
Some people may not need full information on how to record audio files, but simply want to know how to play the files they download from Wikisource in the Ogg Vorbis audio file format.
In general, most computers already have media software on them that will automatically open and play soundfiles when you click on the file.
The only difference here is that the prefered audio format at Wikisource is Ogg Vorbis (.ogg). This format is supported by the music playing software on most computers, but if your current software cannot play it then a good, simple alternative player that does support Ogg Vorbis is Zinf, which may be downloaded here. Zinf is safe, free, open source software.
To listen to audio files on your computer, you also need speakers or earphones/headphones, of course (which plug right into your computer).
Converting to MP3
Some people may want to listen to audio files on MP3 music players that do not support the Ogg format (though many brands do).
To convert Ogg Vorbis files to MP3, the simplest thing to do is to use the free, Open Source CDex program.
The first time you convert files using CDex, you need to select the file-format you want to change your files to. Do this by going to the "Options" menu and selecting "Settings." Then click on "Encoder" and select "MP3" from the list of available file formats.
Once you have selected the file format you want, the rest is easy. Go to "Convert" in the main Cdex menu and select "Re-encode Compressed Audio File(s)." Then select the file(s) you want to change and click "convert."
Your files will then be in MP3.
Recording on your computer
To get started making recordings on your computer, you need some very basic hardware and software:
You need just two very basic pieces of hardware for this:
- A microphone, which plugs right into your computer. A basic microphone with decent quality can be purchased in most places for about $10 (US) or less.
- Speakers, headphones, or earphones, so that you can listen to what you have recorded. Most computers today are sold with speakers.
You need one basic software program for this, an audio recorder. In the most basic terms, this simply means a software program that lets you click a "record" button on your computer screen, and then automatically records what you speak or sing into your microphone. When you are done recording, you click a "stop" button on your screen, and you have an audio file.
The following are good programs that do this (and do a great deal more, too). The recommended ones listed below are all free, safe, and open source:
- Audacity - highly recommended.
- CDex - a good basic program to use alongside Audacity, especially good for file format conversions.
- HardDiskOgg - You have to unzip this freeware to use it. Very simple to use!
Recommended: Record using Audacity.
- Make sure your microphone is "on" (if it has a switch).
- Click the Audacity "play" button on your screen (the pink circle) to record.
- Click "stop" (the yellow square) when you are done recording.
- Click "File" > "Save Project As" to save your file.
You now have an audio file in Audacity format!
Editing your sound file
It is a good idea to "clean up" your sound file using the following options in Audacity's "Effect" menu:
- "Amplify" - if you have recorded on a basic microphone plugged into your computer, it is quite likely that the volume of the recording is too low. So do the following:
- Click "Select all"
- Click "Effect" > "Amplify"
Note: You can also amplify the sound by using a volume control on the left side of the area where it shows your recording.
- "Compression - Keeps softer parts of your recording the same volume or louder, while lowering the volume of the loudest parts.
- Click "Select all"
- Click "Effect" > "Compression"
- Noise Removal - this is important if there is background noise in your recording, for instance: A continual hum from your computer while you recorded. The way it works is that you select a period of "silence" in your recording, where there is only "noise" but not your voice or music (this is the "Noise Profile"). Then the program removes that "noise" from the entire recording. Very cool, but results in minor distortion.
- Select some "noise" in your recording.
- Click "Effect" > "Noise Removal"
- Click "Get Noise Profile"
- Click "Select All"
- Click "Effect" > "Noise Removal" again
- Click "Remove Noise"
- Note: In "Remove Noise" you have the option to filter out "more" or "less" noise. The "less" you filter out, the less distortion you will have.
- Note: For "Noise Removal" and for other reasons, it is always recommend to pause for a couple of seconds at the beginning or end of your recording.
Converting File Formats
Converting file formats in Audacity is easy: Simply click: "File" > "Export as WAV" or "Export as Org Vorbis" or "Export as MP3."
To control the quality/size of compressed file formats in Audacity, click "File" > "Preferences" > "File Formats."
To do the same in CDex (which has some options that are different than Audacity) click: "Optoins" > "Settings" > "Encoder"
Recording from a cassette player
This creates lots of noise and is not recommended. If you do it, you will need a wire that plugs in to your cassette player's headphone jack on one end, and to your computer's microphone jack on the other end. Then proceed as above ("recording").
Recording using a digital music player
This refers to the iPod and similar neat gadgets. It is a good option, but I don't own one of these, so I can't give tips on how to do it. Someone else can write up this part.
Professional Quality Recordings
It would be great if someone with professional experience could supply useful details on this.