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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

Video: Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats commercial

I thought I'd show how I make a radio commercial in the free program Audacity. This was produced for KVYN Napa and is Another Planet Entertainment Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats concert commercial.

As you can see Audacity has a mixer view and a tracks view. Here is the mixer.

My setup starts with an Element microphone from Aston. This is a really great sounding mic for $150. If you work it close for vocals it can have some proximity effect that leads to an increase in low frequency response so it can sound very "boomy." You can't have the mic close to your mouth. With a little distance, say 2 fists, it sounds great for vocals.

If you have a room that doesn't sound so great having a mic that far away could be a problem. Here is a solution to make any room sound good with any mic or at least give the mic a chance to sound as good as it can.

My desktop has a RealTraps Carrel to quiet ambient room sounds and give me clear, dry sounding studio quality voice-over recordings in any room. I have traveled with it and used it in a variety of places. I love it. If I was setting up a home studio this is the first thing I would buy!

Carrel noun a table that is often partitioned or enclosed and is used for individual study especially in a library

This photo is from the RealTraps web page and gives you an idea of the size and layout of their Carrel panels.

The mic feeds directly to a Symetrix 528e processor that has:

De-Esser (used to reduce the level of objectionable sibilant sounds (S and T sounds)

Downward Expander (to reduce background noise like an audio gate)

Compression (reduces the dynamic range of audio)

EQ to dial in the sound

I have that set exactly how I like so my voice sounds good recording in Audacity.

But first...

After the processor the signal goes to a pretty old but still working great Alesis iO2 EXPRESS USB Recording Interface that does the magic to make the signal go USB to my PC. The Alesis is pretty basic but it is all I need and is still very quiet and does what it does perfectly.

With a good USB mic you don't really need all this stuff. You can just plug it directly into a your computer and record.

The Aston mic and 528e sounds great but If I do a concert spot like this I might have to adjust a few more things in the Audacity software.

In this commercial with music I used the Audacity Normalize, Compressor, Amplify, and Limiter as needed.

Then I used the Audacity Auto Duck (no not quack quack duck) to have the audio of the music fade when I talked and return to a full level when I was done. It is a great feature and fully adjustable to how much is fades and how quickly it activates on the fade down and up.

The song transitions needed a little fade up and out editing for the mix.

I think it sounds pretty good.

Audacity is pretty amazing and free! It has a lot of effects built in and you can add others.

It was first released in 2000.

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