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Important Notice: XO Wave is now discontinued as we prepare to bring you the next generation Digital Audio Workstation called Xonami. This site remains available for anyone who purchased XO Wave in the past. However, please keep in mind that as discontinued software:

  • This site may not contain up-to-date information.
  • Technical support is discontinued, though we will do our best to continue to provide email support, especially to anyone who purchased recently.

XO Wave: Podcasting with XO Wave

partners in rhyme
Partners in Rhyme has a great selection of royalty-free music for your podcasts.

Here's a quick outline of podcasting with XO Wave on Mac OS X. You don't need to be an expert and you won't need to break the bank. In fact, you won't even need to purchase XO Wave: everything you need for podcasting is available in XO Wave Free.

Pick a Topic

Although we of all people will not let you forget the importance of high-quality sound, we would also be the first to admit that the most important part of a good podcast is a good topic. After all, if you want people to listen to your podcast, you've got to have something people want to listen to.

Once you have a topic, prepare what you are going to say and maybe even do a practice run. If you are interviewing someone or having a discussion, be sure you have questions prepared and everyone has what they need, such as notes, water and so on before you begin. Even if you intend to have an unscripted discussion, it's probably worth having some prepared ideas for questions or topics, in case the conversation winds down and needs a jump-start.


Start by downloading and installing XO Wave; then play around a bit to familiarize yourself with the software.

Once you've got XO Wave working, you'll need a microphone and headphones. You need to use headphones instead of speakers while you are recording because the sound from speakers could feed back into your microphone, which can cause a hollow or ringing sound at best and a loud, ear-splitting howl at worst.

Podcasting Is All the Rage
After all, podcasting is all the rage!

If you have the budget, pick up a high quality microphone and audio interface. If not, consider getting a lavalier (clip-on) mike. We have found that low cost lavaliers tend to be of reasonable quality, whereas a number of cheap hand-held mikes including USB mikes are very poor quality. A combination USB headset/microphone is cheap, requires little or no configuration and can produce acceptable results, so that is a good choice as well -- it also frees your hands up while you are recording your podcast, and helps you maintain a constant distance between your microphone and your mouth.

If you are interviewing someone or having a panel discussion, you can either share a mike or use separate mikes. A single "boundary" or PZM microphone on a table works well for panel discussions, but make sure everyone is about the same distance from the mike; otherwise some people will be louder and others will be harder to hear.

If each speaker has his or her own mike, try and make sure they stay about the same distance from the mikes. Ideally, with a good mike and a quiet room, you want everyone about 6-24 inches away from their mikes. If they are too close, slight movements towards or away from the mikes will cause large changes in volume. If they are too far away, you'll hear more noise and more echoes from the room.

Set Levels (Part 1)

Once everyone is in place, you'll need to set the input levels on the computer. Go to System Preferences and select Sound, then click on the Input tab. Select the input device to use and adjust the input volume slider until the input level indicators are as high as possible without going over the top. Depending on how dynamic your speaking is, you may want to be conservative: once the signal goes over, it will distort and blow the professional sound you worked so hard to create! Even if you plan to distribute your podcast as a highly compressed MP3, distortion can greatly reduce the quality of your podcast, and you can always increase the levels later if you need to, so if you are unsure, just turn it down.


Launch XO Wave and select Create New Session. Choose a location and name for your podcast in the New Session window. When the Session Setup window comes up, don't worry if you don't understand what it all means: the defaults are normally fine, so just click Okay.

If the device you want to use for input is already the default device, you don't need to select it in XO Wave. However, if you are using devices that are not the default or you are not sure, select Audio Engine:Hardware Settings... and select your input and output devices and click Okay. Most of the other settings are not crucial for recording a podcast, though you may want to reduce the latency settings on the right side of the window if you hear a delay or echo through the headphones when you talk.

Now, you need to create a new track. That's easy: just click on New Track... in the Edit Window, which should have appeared when you started XO Wave. In the New Track window, choose a name for your track, such as "test track one", or "interviewer". For speech, you probably only need to create mono tracks so for Channels:, select 1. If you have multiple mikes going into separate inputs on your computer, you'll probably want one track per mike.

When the track appears, you are ready to go: click the R button to start recording. If you have multiple mikes or an unusual setup, you can double click on the R button for more options. You'll know it's working when the meter to the right of the R button starts to move and you hear yourself speaking through the headphones.

When everything is ready, just hit the Record button and then the Play button (instead of these buttons, you can also press Shift-Space). The red area growing across the screen is your recording. So take a deep breath and record your first podcast!


After you've recorded your podcast, you can press the Stop button or just hit the Spacebar. Your recording should appear in the track, replacing the red area. You can now edit your recording, create a music track, remove silence, etc. For details on editing, check out the Getting Around and Editing Audio sections of the XO Wave Quick Start Guide. The Guide can also help if you are having trouble with some other aspect of XO Wave, or just want to learn more.

Set Levels (Part 2)

If, at this point, your podcast is loud and clear and all the dialogue can be understood, you can move on to the next step. If, however, some portions are too loud or too quiet, or you find yourself reaching to crank up the volume on your speakers, you should check out the section on Setting Levels in the XO Wave Quick Start Guide. For podcasts, it is usually much easier to simply use the XO Wave compressor described in the documentation on XO Wave's Compressor. The Compressor can serve as an automatic volume control, raising and lowering the volume when needed, so it's perfect for helping to smooth out the levels in a podcast.

Export Your Audio

Once you are happy with your podcast, it's time to export it in a format that's appropriate for the Internet. Usually, you'll want to export it as an MP3 or AAC file. If you are using XO Wave Pro, and you wish to export as an AAC file (compatible with most podcast programs, including iTunes, and all iPods), select File:Export:Export to AAC (for iTunes/Pocasting...). Select a location and name for your file. Unless you just want to export a section of the session, select Entire Session under Set start and end of export using.... Click Save, and just wait for the export to complete. (XO Wave exports in the background, which allows you to keep working on other things. This is called an Offline Operation. To monitor the progress of an export operation, select Windows:Offline Manager).

If you are not using XO Wave Pro or you want to produce an MP3 file, select File:Export:Export to AIFF/WAV. Select a location and name for your file. Unless you just want to export a section of the session, select Entire Session under Set start and end of export using.... Be sure to select Open in iTunes when Complete and then click Save; then just wait for the export to complete. Once the exported file has been opened in iTunes, select it in iTunes and right- or Option-click on it, and then select Convert Selection to MP3. If you'd prefer to export MP3 format directly from XO Wave, see our Technical Note: Using LAME to Encode MP3s from XO Wave.

Share with the World

Finally, you need to put your MP3 or AAC file online, along with an RSS feed file which will direct people to it. How you do this depends on the site hosting your podcast, but usually you can transfer files using SFTP or FTP. In Mac OS X, you can connect to FTP servers by selecting Go:Connect to Server... from the Finder. In Terminal, sftp and ftp commands are available.

Yahoo! has a very simple explanation of creating an RSS feed and Apple offers more detail.

That's it. You are now armed with everything you need to know to create your own podcast. Have fun!

Legal & Copyright This page was last modified January 2008.
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