Due to the prices charged by professional recording studios
(some in the region of hundreds of dollars per hour), many talented soloist and
group musicians cannot afford the cost of producing their first CD. What’s more,
attempts at recording an entire performance using a single microphone invariably
lead to very poor results – results that are so bad that reviewers cringe when
hearing even the most promising artists.
But there is a way out. The latest PC recording software makes
it possible to obtain surprisingly good results using relatively simple
equipment in the comfort of your own home.
Before describing how you go about making such recording, let’s
take a look at the equipment you need. The list is as follows:
(1) A standard desktop computer (the faster, the better);
(2) A CD writer (writing speed not critical) and CD writing
(3) A good quality sound card (at least 16-bit) or on-board
(4) A good quality desktop microphone;
(5) Adobe Audition 1.0 (Win98 users can use CoolEdit and/or
CoolEditPro) or Diamond Cut;
(6) A home stereo system capable of good performance; and
(7) A hifi "sampler CD" of known high quality and containing
material familiar to you
There are also a few important things to consider before you
This project is
intended for those who are fairly proficient in the use of computers, Adobe
Audition 1.0 and have some experience with audio.
It is extremely
unlikely that you will achieve adequate results using a bargain-basement laptop
and/or a $99 combination CD/radio/cassette home "hifi" system. As with all
systems, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Fig.1: this is the Windows volume control mixer panel. Set both the "CD" and "wave" level controls to about 80% and the "master" or "volume control" to zero.
Fig.2: the Windows volume control mixer panel properties window. Be sure to select the Microphone option for recording.
This project is much
more easily carried out with the help of an experienced musician, preferably
someone who can play an instrument (eg, guitar) and sing.
of less than 1280x1024 will make it difficult to control and organise the
program windows used in this project.
An absolute minimum
of background noise is essential to the re-cording process. If your computer has
a noisy fan, then you should attend to this before embarking on this
Also, remember to take the phone off the hook and switch off
your mobile phone prior to any recording.
The objective is
here is NOT to strive for bass levels that will rattle the windows or searing
treble that causes bleeding from the ears. Instead, the aim is to achieve a
well-balanced, pleasant and realistic level of sound.
Many stereo systems
possess lots of "effects" options and it is vital that they be bypassed
(disabled). The same goes for any "effects" on the computer (eg, "3D Depth",
"Stereo Enhancement", "Surround Sound", etc).
For best results,
all file operations for this project should be done in WAV format. Avoid the use
of MP3 or any other type of sound file extension.
If you are having
trouble getting sufficient gain through the microphone, go to the volume control
panel (Fig.1), select "Options", "Advanced Controls", then in the microphone
section, click on "Advanced" and select "Mic Boost".
In Adobe Audition
1.0, enable (tick the box marked) "Live update during recording" under
"Options", "Settings". This will greatly facilitate monitoring the recording
While this project
only uses a 2-track performance as an example, the principles and methods
outlined can be extended to include up to 128 performers and/or instruments, by
switching to the "multitrack" mode of Adobe Audition.