What Did We Use To Record Our Christmas CD?

Before I get back to recording on the Ken and Lisa Theriot Christmas Album project (I know!  We need to hurry), I thought I’d send out a quick message telling what hardware and software I’m using.

Starting with the mics, I use a Shure SM-81 for acoustic guitar and either the Rode NT2-A or the Oktava MK319 for vocals.  These all feed into the EMU 1820m Audio Dock (which isn’t available anymore. I now use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 instead), which is my computer interface and has the mic preamps and analog-to-digital converters.  Then it’s all software.  I record into Reaper and do all my mixing and arranging (as well as track effects such as compression, EQ, Auto-Tune, reverb, etc).

Once all tracks are recorded, treated and mixed, I render it all to a 2-track stereo file.  I then open that file in Adobe Audition for final treatment, which includes stuff like trimming the front and back of the song to get rid of count-ins, and audible stuff at the end of the song.  I like to use quick fade ins at the beginning and fade outs at the end so everything starts and ends at absolute zero.

I then apply light compression to the song and normalize the volume so that the loudest bit of audio in the song is JUST below 0DB (the loudest digital volume level before distorting).

I do that for all the songs, making sure the average loudness (measured in Audition) is about the same (usually about -14 dB).  If a song is way below or above that, I’ll undo the compression-normalization steps and do each a little more or less until I get the average loudness to about -14DB.

Then I convert each song from 32 bits down to 16 bit audio, which is required for playing in a CD player.  I’m then ready to create a CD, burning directly from Adobe Audition.

Wow, that was a bit more than I had planned to say, but I couldn’t stop myself;).

We’ll have this thing out soon.  We promise!

Happy Holidays!


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