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Digital Audio Principles
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Room considerations


From:

Digital Audio Principles

with Dave Schroeder

Video: Room considerations

Okay, assuming that you now have your speakers, let's think about how we are going to set them up in the rooms that we are going to set them up in. The first thing you want to do is find a location where you can set your speakers up so that they have the appropriate relationship to you, the listener. And in a nutshell, you want to find yourself in the sweet spot. Now, what this means is kind of these three items over here that I have listed. The main thing is equidistant between the three of you, and symmetrical so that there's balance. You want the left speaker be as far away as the right speaker. You want them to be coming at you from the same angle. The distance is usually 3 to 5 feet apart.
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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

Room considerations

Okay, assuming that you now have your speakers, let's think about how we are going to set them up in the rooms that we are going to set them up in. The first thing you want to do is find a location where you can set your speakers up so that they have the appropriate relationship to you, the listener. And in a nutshell, you want to find yourself in the sweet spot. Now, what this means is kind of these three items over here that I have listed. The main thing is equidistant between the three of you, and symmetrical so that there's balance. You want the left speaker be as far away as the right speaker. You want them to be coming at you from the same angle. The distance is usually 3 to 5 feet apart.

I usually say if you can reach the speaker with your arm, it's a little too close. But if it seems like its really far, beyond that, like you have to get up and really stretch to turn it, then it's maybe too far, so 3 to 5 feet, somewhere in there. Usually 4 or 6 feet apart from each other on a console or on speaker stands is where you want to start. And then you can rotate those in towards your head evenly, turn each one a little bit and tell where you want to be sitting, wherever that is, behind a mixing board, behind a keyboard and a computer monitor.

Make it so that they're pointed right at the sides of your head, and that you're here in the sweet spot. The other thing you want to do is keep obstructions to a minimum, which means anything that you kind of put in the middle, in between the speakers, or kind of off to the immediate sides. Because the speakers are going to generate sounds in all directions, and things close are going to reflect and deflect that sound and affect the sound that gets to you. So if you have to put a computer monitor there, try and get a flat screen monitor. But don't put a bunch of big stuff. Don't put a PC there obviously, one, because it's really truly noisy, but two, because it's a big box.

So try and keep that space clear between the speakers. The other thing you want to do is set up your speakers at the right height. The general thinking is that you want to put the speakers at about your height. So you can have them set up either vertically or horizontally, here is the vertical and the horizontal. The main thing to keep in mind if you go horizontal is to keep the Tweeters either on the outside or the inside, but just make sure it's the same. Don't have one with the Tweeter on the outside and one with Tweeter on the inside.

That will actually affect the imaging that comes to you. If they're set up horizontally, just put the Tweeters on the top. Again, angle them in. If this is you, and this is your green Mohawk, this is a good place to have your speakers. The other thing you want to do is put them on foam or insulate them somehow so that you reduce the vibrations. You don't want them sending vibrations through your table or through your desk, or rattling anything. So I've heard that you can buy pre-made foam things, you can also stack them up on a bunch of mouse pads. Anything to kind of put something between your speaker and the surface so that they're isolated from vibration.

Okay, so now that you know what relationship you want to have with your speakers, how do you want to set up that relationship inside different rooms? Well, basically there are a few kinds of rooms. Most of us are going to end up in either a square room or a rectangular room. In older houses and unique spaces, you'll get some different angles, and that gets crafty, and then you have to really play around and figure out what's the right location. But here's the basic thinking on stuff like square rooms. First of all, you don't want to put yourself in a corner. It'll do two things, it'll create uneven room reflections, and it will also cause an increase in the low frequencies that you hear from the speakers in the corner.

So what you want to do is find yourself in the middle of the room with a good distance from the back wall. This will actually increase the sound and your reflections, while you hear them, will all be the same. You want the way that the sound bounces through the room to be even, and you don't want to put any speaker too close to a walk, because sometimes it'll affect how you hear different frequencies. It might boost certain frequencies, and it might cut certain frequencies. So you want to try and keep your speakers away from walls, if you can. Now in a rectangular room, you basically have two other options, knowing that we want to be kind of in the middle of the room.

So long story short is if it's a rectangular room, don't set up along the long wall. Set up along the short wall so that you have maximum space behind you so that these direct reflections take longer to get back to your head. In this setup those reflections come a lot faster, and that's mostly it, plus, you'll be able to put these speakers farther away from the back wall without feeling cramped. Finally, let's talk a little bit about sound dampening. And what we want to do here is place absorbing materials on the walls to kind of limit the direct or immediate reflections of the sounds.

If you look at this graphic, you can kind of see I have shown where the immediate reflections go. The speaker, of course, shoots at your head and behind you. It really kind of comes in over here and bounces over there. That's a direct reflection. Also, these side walls, the sound comes off and comes back to you like this. What you want to do is try and put some foam or something that absorbs sounds like blankets, shag carpet, old Led Zeppelin tapestries, whatever you've got, in those areas. But try and do it evenly. You want it to do it about head level, which is also going to be about speaker level of your setup.

And you don't want to make it completely dead, you just want those sounds when they come to that back wall or on the side walls to slow down quite a bit. And you'll know if you've succeeded, because when you start to do your mixes with these dampeners in place, you'll notice a lot more clarity in the room. You'll be able to kind of hear the direct signal more, and there won't be, kind of some of the mud or murkiness that comes with a lot of reflections in the room. So these were a few things you can do to try and get better sound when you set up your monitoring system. It's really all about the environment. Now you're going to be in different rooms, and there will be different things going on, so you'll have to adapt a little bit.

These are kind of starting scenarios, and you always need to test and tweak, test and tweak. But if you start it out this way, you'll be doing pretty well.

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