Premiere Issue December 2001
Product Development Technique
Basic Audio Tape Production
Although very, very slowly on the way out, the simple
audio tape can still bring a great deal of money to your business. Not
only that, it is extremely easy to create compared to other audio and
My philosophy is to create informational products and
giveaways that help push your agenda. I've sold as much as $32,000.00
worth of audio tapes at the back of the room on one speech and $8500.00
in one teleseminar.
One of the easiest information products to create is the
audio tape. You don't even have to know how to type to create an audio
tape although it will be easier on you if you choose to write a script
to use while recording your tape.
Before we get into the details lets dispense with
Myth 1: You have to go to a studio and pay big
hourly fees to create a decent audio tape
Tom's Response: I
have only done one audio tape project in a studio. It worked out just
fine and wasn't really that expensive in the long run. I think it cost
about $40.00 per hour for a digital studio in someone's basement. If you
practice before you get there you can save lots of time and money.
The rest of my audio tapes have been recorded in my
office using my own equipment, or by the company providing the phone
service when I was doing a telephone seminar. When necessary, I edited
the tapes right on my personal computer with inexpensive software.
Myth 2: You must have music on the tape and make
it sound like Nightingale Conant to be successful with audio tapes.
Tom's Response: None
of my tapes have music on them. They are completely informational and
sell around the world with virtually zero returns.
Myth 3: You need four color packaging and lots of
expensive graphics so the product looks professional
Tom's Response: I
make my packaging look as good as I can, but I never spend big money on
graphics. About the most I've ever spent is $85.00 for an artist to draw
a color picture for me which I scanned and used both on the web as an
advertisement for the product and on the cover of the product. Want to
see? Click here http://www.antion.com/teleseminarkit.htm
This is fairly easy
The human voice is just about the easiest thing to record. I have
literally used a radio shack portable cassette recorder to create
demonstration tapes and tapes for sale. You don't need the fanciest and
most expensive recorders to create your products. Of course I recommend
that you buy the best that you can afford because you will get a greater
clarity with higher grade equipment . . . up to a point.
You see there comes a point when the extra clarity and
quality is not enough to be worth the extra expense. Also, when you
consider that the tape will most likely be listened to in a car or while
someone is jogging, the extra little increase in clarity (which may cost
a bundle to get) is just not worth it.
equipment I use
Small TeleSeminar Recording
When I'm recording something at my home office here are the methods and
equipment I use:
If I'm recording a small TeleSeminar, I usually use a
Marantz portable cassette recorder. I use it just because I happened to
buy it a long time ago when I had some extra money. You certainly don't
need a $300.00 machine to do this.
I put it next to me on
my desk where I can actually see the amount of tape left as the
recording goes along. I'm also timing with my watch. I use a one hour
tape which gives you 30 minutes on each side. During the seminar, when I
see both by my watch and by the amount of tape left on the first side
that it's time to turn the tape over, I call for a halt to the seminar.
I come right out and say, "Let's hold it for a moment folks while I
turn the tape over." This keeps me from missing anything that was
said during the tape turnover.
I continue recording until
I get near the end of the second side and then I take tight control of
the seminar so that I finish up totally before the tape runs out. This
really reduces or in most cases eliminates the need for extensive
editing and recreation of things that didn't get on the original
I then take this tape that I call
"Original Footage" into my bedroom where my personal stereo is
located. I have a dual cassette player/recorder as part of my stereo.
This allows me to make copies of cassette tapes. I carefully load in the
original footage tape and fast forward it to the end of side one. I
locate the last thing I said on side one. I have already pre recorded
another tape that says, "You have reached the end of side one.
Please turn the cassette over to listen to side two."
put the pre-recorded tape in one side of the dual cassette machine and
copy the turn the tape over stuff on to the end of side one of the
I have another tape that has
pre-recorded "You have reached the end of this tape please fast
forward to be ready for your next listening."
variation of the above would be, "You have reached the end of this
tape please fast forward to the end and proceed to the next tape."
could also do custom responses for each tape like, "You have
reached the end of tape 1 side 2. Please fast forward to the end to
prepare this tape for it's next listening and proceed to tape 2."
then turn the original tape over to side 2 and fast forward to the last
thing I say at the end of the tape. I then record one of the above
closing statements on to the end of the original tape.
I have the original tape doctored up with the turn the tape over and
closing statements, I make a regular speed dub. This means that I copy
the original tape at regular speed on to a brand new high quality
cassette. Of course, it is also an hour long tape. I use regular speed
because that gives me the highest possible quality copy. This takes
about an hour because it is copying at the same speed at which you
Next, I put the original tape into a fireproof
media safe. The copy of it that I made is called the "dub
master." This is the tape I'll use to make all other copies.
Remember, with audio tape you are eventually going to wear out the dub
master. When it wears out, I make another regular speed copy off the
original that was in the safe and begin using that copy as the dub
master until it wears out and so on.
If you are on a budget and don't have money or time to wait to ship the
tape out to a duplicator, then you can make copies one at a time on your
home stereo. Most dual cassette decks have a high speed dub mode which
will cut down on the time needed to make a copy or "dub."
your sales volume increases somewhat you can purchase a small office size
cassette duplicator. I use a Telex mono3 http://www.longselectronics.com/category.jsp?path=1135|3463&id=3463
that cost me about $900.00 when I bought it, but they have smaller
My duplicator makes three copies of an hour long tape
them in about 4 minutes.
When I have
a big job, I farm it out to a duplicating company. I recommend you find
one near you to reduce the shipping costs. Look on the web or in your
Yellow Pages under "audio tape duplication."
If you are only doing a one shot deal for a couple hundred tapes you can
just supply your dub master to the tape company and they will duplicate
it from your master (they will probably make another dub master as a
If you are doing large numbers of tapes or you
expect to comeback for more copies regularly, you probably want to let
the duplicating company prepare a "bin loop master." This is a
special master that allows them to duplicate your tape at very high
speed. This costs you more up front, but you save in the long run
because the dubs are cheaper.
Record directly on to
I don't normally record directly on my computer if I'm doing a live
Teleseminar because I'm afraid of computer crashes which rarely if ever
happen to a tape recorder. If I'm not doing an event live, I will most
likely record directly onto the hard drive of my computer. This will
immediately create a high quality digital file.
Macs can do this easily although I don't know how. On a PC the record
capability is included with Windows. It's called the sound recorder and
can be found by clicking Start > Programs > Accessories >
Entertainment > Sound Recorder. This is definitely the "el
cheapo" method and I don't recommend it because you don't have much
control over the sound quality.
I use an $80.00 program
called Sound Forge XP. You can find it at http://www.sonicfoundry.com/products/default.asp
This is a streamlined version of their professional grade sound editing
software that is far too sophisticated for our needs. You will have a
little learning curve with this software, especially if you have never
edited sound before on a computer. I can tell you though, once you get
the hang of it, it's really fun and cool. You can actually see your
voice on the screen and cut and paste just like with a word processor.
say you stumble over a word during a speech or teleseminar and then
correct yourself. You simply highlight the stumble, hit delete and it's
as if the stumble never happened.
You can also adjust
the sound quality by adjusting the different frequencies. For instance
one time my voice was recorded over the phone lines and it had a high
frequency noise on the tape. By using the Equalization (EQ) part of the
software I was able to completely remove the annoying sound. This takes
a little experimentation, but you don't have to be any great expert to
Large TeleSeminar recording
I generally have the TelePhone bridge company record my seminars now.
The reason is that I've got plenty of money and it takes the recording
load off my mind. I can better concentrate on emails coming in from
participants during the seminar and the seminar itself. I happen to
presently use http://www.voicetext.com
for my large TeleSeminars.
The microphone for TelePhone seminars is obviously the telephone
microphone. I use a Plantronics headset microphone, but I have found
overall that their reliability is in question. I've been fortunate not
to have a problem during a TeleSeminar.
recordings again, you don't have to have the best of the best to make
this work. My Butt Camp CD was recorded with a $9.95 headset microphone
I got at Radio Shack.
I highly recommend that you
use a headset microphone because it is just more handy. It leaves your
hands free to manipulate your notes without stopping or making excess
noise. Also if you are doing TeleSeminars headsets are much less tiring
than trying to hold a handset to your head.
can afford a really high quality microphone and don't mind spending a
few bucks you can visit a large music store and try out ones like the
rock stars use. You'll have to adapt the connections to use it in your
computer. This is generally overkill, but be my guest if money isn't an
When recording a TelePhone seminar I take the telephone cord that is
coming out of the wall and put a "Y" adapter on it. I send one
part of the "Y" to the telephone and the other part of the
"Y" to the recorder. Make sure you test this out thoroughly
before you try a live TeleSeminar. If in any doubt about the
connections, take the recorder and your telephone to Radio Shack and ask
them to help you with the connections. Just ask them what connections
you need. You probably will only need the "y" adapter and a
few short telephone lines. Bring the entire deal home and test, test,
test with a friend calling you (make sure you tell them you are
recording unless you want to end up like Linda Tripp of the Clinton
For direct recording to your computer you plug the
microphone into the sound card that is in the back of your computer.
There will be a very tiny icon (either a sticker or a picture of a
microphone etched into the metal of the sound card) on the back of your
computer. You might need a flashlight and a magnifying glass to find it.
Once it's plugged in the right hole you can generally leave it there
Other recording options
Two other recorders are being used that are very high quality. They are
digital in nature instead of analog (analog generally means normal
magnetic tape). Recording directly to a digital signal generally gives
you a higher quality.
The first is a DAT (Digital Audio
Tape) recorder and the second is the Sony Mini Disc.
a link to compare a few DAT recorders http://www.storescanner.com/cat/Portable-DAT-Players.asp
They can be had for under $600.00
Here's a link for the
Sony minidisc which can record up to 320 minutes at a shot for under
of these machines have the advantage of being extremely portable, yet
extremely high quality in their recordings. You can take them on the
road with no problem and record speeches, interviews and the like.
to get good sound quality at home
Record in a room with lots of clutter. This reduces
echoes and harsh sounding sound.
Unplug your phones so they don't ring in the middle
of your recording (although you can go back to your last sentence
and record over the ringing using your Sound Forge XP software)
Turn off your air conditioner/heater. The background
noise may be heard on your recording.
If you have lots of street noises you may want to
record in your basement or at a time when their is the least
Some people sit in the doorway to their closet.
Talking toward the hanging clothes makes a really good dead space
with no echoes.
Well there you have it. A simple way to make extremely
high profit information products that can make you a fortune.
Next month we'll talk about writing your script/outline
and other ways to get content for your audio tape products
In future issues we'll discuss really cheap but gorgeous
packaging for your tapes, CDs and other products.
Other upcoming topics
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