A SuttaCentral Podcast

I found this 2018 PopSci article on recording audio with a phone, with useful tips. Probably we’ll want to avoid mp3, as it’s a lossy audio format.

I’d say let’s give it a try and see if we can get a good quality generic intro & generic outro.


SCV started with OGG but is now fully MP3 for broadest use. MP3 is lossy at the high-end, which older people can’t hear anyway. That said, offering a high fidelity version along with MP3 would probably be well received.


I stand semi-corrected…

Turning over some loose thoughts about a more ‘primitive’ version of this, that has, in fact, come up on conversation already, I had a casual review of how SCV currently handles human voices. My explorations lead me to this given in the connected resources page. I’m not 100% sure why but it makes be very happy.


It actually does sound like a bit of a hoot, but I’m not fully sure the extent to which I can commit to this. Nevertheless, I’m certainly around if you need any help.

Exactly what I was thinking! It’s great to harness the energy that’s gathering and keep some momentum behind this, but I think a little good, measured thinking/exploration time is no bad thing.

I know, right?! :heart_eyes:


Not recommended for proper use, this is just a proof-of-concept.

Just last night, we were very fortunate to be visited by a SC dhamma friend, Michael, who works in the video industry as IT support in Sydney. He generously offered us some mics and an interface. We are still playing around to see what works, but here you can see the difference. The folder has two files:

  1. From my phone to anchor.
  2. recorded using a proper mic (Rode cardio mic) through a preamp using audacity. It has noise reduction and compression.

sn1.01-recording-compare.zip (1.9 MB)

There’s a huge difference in quality.

I’m hoping that we can use anchor for recording, but we will definitely need to use proper mics. Thery’re not that expensive. I’ve asked Michael if he can help people with testing and setting things up: it’s what he does!

Check out Read beyond, who made the segment matching software I mentioned above:

Their whole thing was audio ebooks: you listen to the ebook and it highlights the passage as you go. This is an awesome functionality. With segmented texts and aeneas to map the audio, it’s trivial to produce them.

Read Beyond, unfortunately, did not survive as a company, but the basic principles are part of the EPUB 3.1 standard. So there will be apps that support it going forward, and meanwhile, the Read Beyond things still work just fine. Try downloading their app on your phone and see how it works.


Nice, will have to have a look.

I don’t think my phone’s IQ is that high.


Thank you Bhante, I stand corrected :anjal:.

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WOW. The OGG is definitely immersive. Your voice chases away ALL the silly thoughts.
Please please please more of this, Bhante!

:pray: :pray: :pray:


Inspired by Lokanta Vihara’s Dhamma Drop format, an idea came to my mind. What if we add some extra silent time to the podcast episodes which can be used for meditation? I’d love to hear any opinions, suggestions, criticism, et cetera.

I was thinking about the following structure (drawing on Bhante Sujato structure earlier in this thread):

  1. Opening theme
  2. Generic intro
  3. Blurb
  4. Sutta
  5. Generic outro for the sutta part
  6. Time for meditation (optional)
    a) Intro and gong
    b) X minutes of silence
    c) Gong

The intro describes what’s happening, along the lines of ‘the sutta is finished, there’s now X minutes of silence after which a gong sound is heard.’ No guided meditation, just silence.

But why? Surely people can just use a meditation app? That’s correct, and many do, but I think the extra time might nudge people to relate to the suttas reflectively. An episode becomes a “cyber drop” of Dhamma.

Question: How much additional time would be most suitable for a sutta podcast? Thanks for voting :anjal:

  • No additional time
  • X = 5 minutes
  • X = 10 minutes
  • X = 15 minutes
  • I don’t know/something else

0 voters


If there is just the ending gong, then immersion will happen as it happens.
And it will stop when it stops.


That’s a good point. So you’d have:

5’. Generic outro
6’. Gong


Do you also think of doing recordings in Pali? I was thinking it would actually be very worthwhile to have human voice recordings of the Pali texts. :heart_eyes:


YES. <= Karl shouting and jumping up and down.

I would prioritize human Pali chants of suttas highest simply because they would be applicable to all translations. Aditi is useful but does not have proper chanting cadence. Even ONE Pali sutta done this way (e.g., SN12.23) would be of great benefit to all listeners. And if that one sutta could be done with one audio file per text segment, that would be quite wonderful because it would permit the line-by-line reading of Pali+Translation+Audio for both. This would permit global chanting of that one sutta in Pali!


Thank you! That made my day. :smile:


:joy: :rofl: :balloon: :orange_heart: :man_cartwheeling:

I’d fully agree on that one!


I have been thinking about which sutta to use for which episode. I can’t find much fault with following In the Buddha’s Words (ITBW).

  • The order is meaningful and well thought through
  • Even if listeners have read ITBW, it’s quite likely they haven’t done so with the new translations. Plus, listening instead of reading gives a different twist.
  • Paywalls and copyright guard ITBW, but the episodes will be freely accessible and CC0

Some further remarks:

  • We don’t have to follow ITBW rigidly!
  • I’m inclined to air full suttas instead of excerpts to preserve the unity of each sutta
  • Concretely, the first episodes would be SN 3.3, SN 3.25, and AN 3.35, and perhaps other suttas which fit the theme “old age, illness, and death.”

Feedback—positive & negative—is very welcome


Having never heard ITBW, I’ll happily follow your lead.


Haha I’ve been so deep in Sutta segmentation for Bhante’s voice project, I haven’t been able to add any thoughts to this thread which is what prompted it all!

I pretty much was listening to BSWA’s Deeper Dhamma almost every day for three years, so I just wanted to set up a space in Sydney for similar Sutta or Dhamma discussions to be recorded or broadcasted. On the way a podcast might go, I am happy to help with any format is chosen! The lessons we’re learning from Sutta recordings apply to podcasting too, yay!

Podcasts shouldn’t really need all that much room treatment (tiles for echoes and blocking sound getting in) but some is usually necessary.

The first thought I had was the the forest might be very good for recordings, just birds! :slight_smile:

The mic that Bhante is using is a Rode Procaster with XLR, but I think any Rode Podcaster will be very good in pretty much any room with a few rugs. I also have one mic to donate, possibly two and would be happy to get more.

We could easily syndicate to many different podcast services, depending on whether they charge. Podbean, Podcast Republic has lots of Theravada podcasts already like Amaravati, Ajahn Sumedho, and BSWA. Anchor.fm and Overcast for iOS look popular too. If we wanted to do it live or cut together is another question, and which one to go live with.

Last month Bhante Sujato did a Sutta class at the Buddhist in Sydney, and it’ll be up soon on YouTube. Editing can take ages, post-production on films usually goes for years haha! The audio had some issues but is okay now.

But I think the Buddhist Library’s digital recording setup is finally okay now and might be able to stream video or audio (this is what I’ve been working on slowly, along with a way of cleaning audio using different tools, it can be very hard to get this stuff right!

Already I was able to put a live SC forum thread for comments or questions into the video. Bhante’s talk on this Sunday at 5AM UTC might be able to go live like this too - I’ll start a new thread if this is possible so people can watch. The Buddhist Library internet is quite slow until the next few months, so it might need to be an Internet radio instead of YouTube, (not off topic, see! :))

I’ve created a shoutcast account for this already on shoutcheap.com which might be able to be used for live SC podcasts too. It should be possible to do radio and video recording, but I couldn’t get Open Broadcast Studio to both record and talk to the server as yet but I’m fairly confident, we’ll see over next few days.


Thanks so much Michael for all your work. I’ll see you at the BL if not sooner.

I’ll be doing a course on buddhism and Mythology at the BL soonish, as well. I wonder if we can record that?


I’d love to see recordings for this course! Despite its importance, mythology seems somewhat neglected in early Buddhism. Time to change this! :grinning:

Michael, this is just amazing. I fully agree with applying the lessons from sutta recordings to podcasting. My current estimate for airing the first episode is late 2019/early 2020 as we first need the sutta recordings. Ideas are very welcome, the format is still far from fixed! By the way, I love your project to make Dhamma recordings at the Buddhist Library. Sadhu! :anjal:


It seems like a promising project. So will there be any commentary added to the podcast, or just reading? Or, could there be a separate edition of episodes with commentary?