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Digital Audio Principles
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Other adjustments and considerations


From:

Digital Audio Principles

with Dave Schroeder

Video: Other adjustments and considerations

So, let's talk about a few other considerations to keep in mind when you're dealing with audio file compression. Now generally speaking, lossy compression doesn't do so well with the higher frequencies when you have to use lower bit rates. When I say lower bit rates, I am thinking about rates below that magic combination of 128 kilobits per second, matched with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. You'll notice that if you start to apply rates lower than this, you might get something like a searing sound on some of the higher frequencies or quicker transients, things like vocals and symbols.
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  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Digital Audio Principles
7h 57m Appropriate for all Mar 02, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Whether one is producing music, podcasts, game sounds, or film sound effects, Digital Audio Principles provides the tips and techniques that will make the project a success. Author Dave Schroeder explains the basics of digital audio production techniques and covers the essential hardware and software. He also discusses sound theory, frequency response, the range of human hearing, and dynamic range.

Subjects:
Audio + Music Audio Foundations Acoustics Microphones
Author:
Dave Schroeder

Other adjustments and considerations

So, let's talk about a few other considerations to keep in mind when you're dealing with audio file compression. Now generally speaking, lossy compression doesn't do so well with the higher frequencies when you have to use lower bit rates. When I say lower bit rates, I am thinking about rates below that magic combination of 128 kilobits per second, matched with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. You'll notice that if you start to apply rates lower than this, you might get something like a searing sound on some of the higher frequencies or quicker transients, things like vocals and symbols.

I call it a searing sound, it's like if you think about you sear some ahi tuna and throw it on a hot pan, there's that sizzling, searing sound, and you know it when you hear it, because you don't really want to listen to it. Sometimes you'll listen to some voices that are compressed too much, and you'll have to hear that, and you usually end up turning it off because that's little searing sizzle in there it's just enough to make it uncomfortable, or annoying to listen to. So, the first thing to do is generate a file at that rate you want to use, and just listen back and see if you have trouble with some of these higher frequencies, and if there's a little bit of that searing sound.

Now if there isn't, you are in the money, and you can just go with it. But if there is, there are a couple things you can do. The obvious solution is to go ahead and increase the bit rate. Chances are, at 128 kilobits per second, you won't notice these kinds of searing artifacts at all. But if you know you have to use a low bit rate because you have to meet a certain target file size, there's something you can do to try and improve the sound a little bit and get rid of that searing quality. This involves cutting some of the high frequency material before you apply the file compression. Now I know this is hard to stomach, because you've been working for a long time on this thing and producing it, trying to make it sound good, and doctoring the EQ, and just really trying to make it sound sonically even, and now we are going to go ahead and actually chop some of that off and basically undo some of your work.

But we have to remember our objective, and that's to create listenable audio. We might generate a great sounding production, but then if we compress and it sounds lousy and send it out there, people aren't really going to want to listen to it, or they are not going to be as attentive to it as we want them to be. We want something that people are happy to listen to and not distracted by the sound quality. They are more interested in the content. They want to hear if that's a great song, or they want to hear who you're interviewing in that podcast. So remember that we're always trying to make listenable audio. So what I like to do is I take my final, mastered file, whether it's stereo or mono, you can go and go in and make a few different copies of that file and then start applying different EQ to these different files.

We want to reduce the high-end. So you can do one where you just shelve most of the high-end down a little bit, and you're just turning it down a little bit. Then you can do a few where you use a high cut and cut off things at different frequencies. Maybe do a cut at 16K, maybe one at 12K, and then another version with a cut at 8K, so that you have three or four different files that have the high frequencies lopped off the top, more or less. Generally, it's always a good idea to generate a few different masters, with different EQ cuts on them like this, so that if somewhere down the road it comes up that you need to compress things at different rates, you have files ready to go, and you don't need to go back in and open up sessions.

But always remember, regardless of what you're doing with EQ and rates and math, and whatever you're working with to come up with these files, it's always best to give them a listen and trust your ears. Your ears will help you determine what sounds good enough and what doesn't.

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