Latin podcasting experiment

William du Cassé (who’s enrolled in the flourishing UK Institute for Latin Studies) and I began a site this week for publication of recordings of neo-Latin colloquia saved as mp3 files. Should you want to keep track of new additions to the directory, the RSS feed you can use is

That’s suitable for plugging into your copy of iTunes as the subscription information for the colloquia site. (Start iTunes, then pull down Advanced, and select Subscribe to Podcast.)

Alternatively, this feed is registered with FeedBurner.

Note too that we have registered the project with the iTunes Podcast Directory, so you can search for e.g. “colloquia” among the podcasts in the iTunes Music Store via your copy of iTunes, in order to subscribe to the feed. (Subscription to this series of podcasts is entirely free, of course.)

Our RSS feed will work for you at or whatever other RSS reader you like to use to keep up to date with your favorite blogs and podcasts. In fact you don’t even need an iPod to listen to the recordings. These are basic mp3 files playable any number of ways.

As our summary in the RSS file notes, you can if you like simultaneously read (aloud!) the words of the colloquia on Jeff Rydberg-Cox’s CHLT site at

Eventually we expect to produce some QuickTime “text movies” that will sync the sound and the text segments in a single file, but we’re not quite there yet. (We also plan to load all of the TEI-XML source texts into a CTS-conformant eXist database; we’re not there yet either, but we do have a plan…)

Feedback welcome! We are new at this and still learning to control the level and quality of the sound.

By the way, this is quite inexpensive: we are using a Sony ECMMS907 Digital Recording Microphone, a Behringer Eurorack UB502 mixer, and the GPL-bearing program Audacity to edit the audio files, for now.

(Apologies to those who did not need the various explanations.)

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11 Responses to Latin podcasting experiment

  1. Klaus Graf says:

    Very nice!

    I would like to know whether there is in the blogosphere already a latin weblog.

  2. Jose says:

    Very interesting, I think them very useful.

    The quality of the sound is good and the pronunciation clear and intelligible, but the difference in loudness too great. I were you, I would normalize de files before converting them to mp3.

    Also, in some files, the microphone exceeded the limits of recording and was clipped, and also noise resulted from the background. You can check the input level meter by clicking on the level monitor under the microphone tab of Audacity.

    The stereo effect it is sometimes quite strong at it sounds to me almost mono-aural.

    Recording with 22050 Hz would surely be enough. The bit rate of the mp3 files is too high. Likely you could get a good enough quality about 40-64 kb/sec. These measures will reduce the size of the files (at least by half).

    I have got better results saving the sound as “wav 16bit PCMâ€? with audacity and afterwards compressing the wav file using Cdex (also from sourceforge, as Audacity) and setting the Lame mp3 motor to “voice qualityâ€? (audacity use also Lame, but configuration is less flexible).

    By the way, I never imagined neo-Latin colloquia with classical pronunciation.

    Many thanks for the effort.

  3. Ross Scaife says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, Jose. We’ll try them, now that we have some better equipment (listed in the post I made yesterday).


  4. Klaus Graf says:

    Feel free to use the delicious (now purchased by Yahoo) tag Latinitas I feel more idoneus than Latin.

  5. Matteo says:

    Hic est ephemeris mea latine scripta:


  6. JP Devlin says:

    I’d love to be able to listen to your podcasts but can’t seem to be able to listen to them here on your website.

    JP Devlin

  7. millner says:

    I’ve enjoyed listening to the colloquia feeds, which I have found accessible on the feedburner site you mention above.
    After looking around for a poscast-based site for learning Latin, and not being able to find one, I decided to set one up myself. This can be found on the url I have given here. I am still perfecting it ( and my Latin) as I go along.

    -E. Millner.

  8. I laud your efforts and add my small contribution. Radio Tomate Latino is a podcast dedicated to searching for solutions to the issues which are separating the Americas. You are invited to listen, link and enjoy. We also use WordPress. Kindest regards, Jock (bio in “about us.”)

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