Prepare and post a dharma talk


This section describes how to prepare a dharma talk recording for uploading, how to upload it, and how to update the Dharma Talks page so that the talk can be listened to.  These steps envision use of a freeware audio editing tool called Audacity.  Versions exist for both the PC and the Mac.

These steps assume the audio track is already in a digital format, such as mp3. If it is truly audio on a CD, you must first rip the CD using whatever program you prefer (Windows Media Player and iTunes will both rip CDs to mp3 files).

Preparing a talk for uploading and inclusion on the Dharma Talks page involves editing the recording to remove unwanted material, removing an unnecessary stereo track, minimizing noise, and adjusting volume to a standard level.  These steps are intended to make the talks on the website all be of comparable recording quality.

This is easily done using the free software Audacity.  You can download Audacity from   You will also need to download and install a free plugin for Audacity: Chris’s Dynamic Compressor.  The instructions for downloading and installing the compressor are included in the link just given.

Preparing the talk for uploading

I organize the “raw” (as-ripped) files in two directories: Monthly Talks and Retreats. These directories contain files directly from recorder (or ripped from a CD). The Upload subdirectory contains files ready to be uploaded to web site.

  1. Open file in Audacity
  2. Click on track name and “split stereo to mono”
  3. Delete one track
  4. Cut any unwanted time at beginning and end of recording
  5. Remove Noise
    • There are usually some very loud clicks at the beginning and end of the recording.  The best approach, if possible, is simple to edit the beginning and end of the recording to eliminate the time containing the clicks.
    • Overall noise is more difficult to fix.  If the noise is uniform throughout, select a period containing just background noise, select Effect/Noise Removal, and click on the Get Noise Profile button.  Then press Ctrl-A to select all and Ctrl+R to apply the noise profile to the entire recording.  Note that if there are barely audible background questions, they may be completely indecipherable after applying noise removal.
    • Removing more complex noise is an art that is often not done well.  It’s always best to have a better recording to begin with!
  6. Compress dynamic range to make quiet passages louder and loud passages softer:
    • Select entire track (with Ctrl-A)
    • Select Effect/Compressor Dynamics 1.2.6
    • Set settings to 0.85, .5, -32, 2, 0.95
    • Click on OK (this process may be slow)
  7. Optionally save project as … to the “Edit” subdirectory. (Project files are very large and worth saving only if you have done a lot of not-easily repeated work to get the file ready for uploading.)
  8. Export track to “upload” directory:
    • Selecting File/Export…
    • Click on the Upload directory to navigate to that directory.
    • Name the file “yyyy-mm-dd-Speaker”. (e.g., “2012-01-07-Kaszniak”).  For retreats, add something that indicates which talk of the retreat this is.
    • Click on Save.
    • In the Edit Metadata window, make sure all mp3 flags are set properly:
      • Title: Speaker mm/dd/yyyy: talk title  (e.g., “Kaszniak 1/7/2012: New Beginnings”)
      • Artist: Speaker name as he wishes it known (e..g, “Sensei Al Genkai Kaszniak”)
      • Album Artist: same as speaker name
      • Album: Upaya Tucson yyyy
      • Genre: Dharma
      • Date: date talk was given
    • Set VBR Quality 9.
    • Click on OK to export file file as an mp3 file (this process may be slow)

At this point, you have a file ready for uploading to the web site and then for placing a link  to the file on the Dharma Talks web page.

Uploading the talk to the web site

  1. Logon to the web site WordPress administrative account.
  2. Select Media/Add New
  3. Open a window to the folder where the prepared dharma talk is located and drag the talk to the Media/Add New window in the browser.
  4. Wait for the upload to complete (this is likely to take several minutes).
  5. Now, move the uploaded mp3 file to the Audio directory by:
    • Select Media/Media File Manager
    • In the right side, click on the Audio directory to make it active in the right side folder
    • Click the checkmark for the new audio file in the list on the left side
    • Click the right-facing triangle between the two lists to move the file from the media root folder to the audio folder

Adding the new file to the Dharma Talks web page

  1. Select Pages/All Pages
  2. Find the Dharma Talks page.  Hover over the page title “Dharma Talks” and click on the word “edit” when it is shown
  3. Find the lines beginning with “[mp3-jplayer” for the year this talk is in.  Add the name of the file to the comma separated list of file names, in the proper place so the talks end up in order by their date
  4. Click on the Update button in the upper right to save the changes to this page.
  5. Now examine the Dharma Talks page to be sure the new talk shows up and plays correctly.

There are some exceptional conditions that you need to keep in mind about editing this page:

  • You must have at least two dharma talks in the list.  If it is the first of the year, and there is only one talk, just list that talk twice and remove the duplicate when you have a second talk for the year.