Nashville, TN â€¦ As anyone in the record business knows, the King is still a major recording artist. More than 30 years after his passing, Elvis Presley records continue to deliver big numbers. Now, thanks to the power of modern recording technology, the King is about to release a new album for the Holidaysâ€”aptly titled Elvis Presley Christmas Duets. Paring contemporary Nashville artists with the King is no small challenge, and Audio Recording Engineer Chuck Ainlay was tasked with making the magic happen. Among the many tools in his arsenal used on this project are several ribbon microphones from Royer Labs.
Scheduled for release in October 2008, Elvis Presley Christmas Duets, on the RCA label, will pair the King with todayâ€™s leading Country artists, including Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, and Martina McBride. Equally fascinating is the fact that the new album will also include backing vocal performances by the same vocalists who backed Presley on many of his early records. Considering that past Elvis Holiday albums have sold more than 25 million copies in the US alone, expectations for the new release are running high.
According to GrammyÂ® Award winning Producer/Engineer Chuck Ainlay, whose credits include work with George Strait, Mark Knopfler, Peter Frampton, Sugarland, Lee Ann Womack, and Taylor Swift to name but a few, Elvis Presley Christmas Duets came together in two recording studios. â€œRecording was done at the RCA Records Studio B in Nashville where Elvis recorded,â€? states Ainlay, â€œas the studio has been maintained in its original condition. Mixing took place at my studio at Sound Stage Studiosâ€”also in Nashville.â€?
For the Elvis Presley Christmas Duets project, Ainlay reports that he used Royer Labsâ€™ R-121 ribbon microphone for ambient room miking and electric guitars, an R-122 Active Ribbonâ„¢ microphone for acoustic guitar, as well as an R-122V Vacuum Tube ribbon microphone for capturing strings. When asked why he selected these microphones, Ainlay responded, â€œI wanted this album to sound classic but current, so I chose these Royer mics because of their warmth along with their ability to capture rapid transients. On lower level instruments like acoustic guitars and stings, the 122â€™s work really great because their built in preamp allows for suitable gain without noise.â€?
Ainlay further elaborated on the benefits of using ribbon microphones. â€œWith analog recording,â€? explained Ainlay, â€œwe were always struggling to maintain a sweet high endâ€”knowing that any additional boost to the high frequencies during mixing was also going to introduce more tape hiss. With digital recording, the opposite is the case, as the sound can easily become too edgy. Ribbon mics add a certain warmth to a recording thatâ€™s difficult to achieve without them and Royer mics, because of their robust build quality, allow the engineer to place them in situations that youâ€™d have dared not to with previous designs.â€?
Before turning his attention back to his engineering work, Ainlay offered this final thought on Royerâ€™s build quality and technical support services. â€œWith a little care,â€? said Ainlay, â€œRoyer mics can withstand more rigorous treatment than other ribbon designs. Theyâ€™re quite robust. In the one case where I needed my stereo SF12 repaired, Royer tech support turned the mic around so quickly that I never missed it. Theyâ€™ve been a pleasure to deal with.â€?
For additional information on Chuck Ainlay, visit him online at www.chuckainlay.com.
About Royer Labs
Located in Burbank, California, Royer Labsâ€™ microphones are a staple of leading recording and broadcast facilities as well as a popular choice for todayâ€™s live sound professionals. Additional information on Royer Labsâ€™ R-Series and all Royer microphones can be found at www.royerlabs.com.