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Speakers

From: Digital Audio Principles

Video: Speakers

So in monitoring, we're striving for accurate reproduction of sound. So our old friend, the frequency response chart comes back into play, and here it is. For each speaker you can get something similar to this, which basically lets you know how it represents the frequencies at the same level. You probably won't find too many speakers that have an ultra-flat response, but you'll find some like this that have a pretty good response and then have bumps, at certain frequencies. Here's the 2K bump on the speaker. As long as you know that exists, you've looked at this chart and you're aware it, you can factor that into when you're working with the speaker.

Speakers

So in monitoring, we're striving for accurate reproduction of sound. So our old friend, the frequency response chart comes back into play, and here it is. For each speaker you can get something similar to this, which basically lets you know how it represents the frequencies at the same level. You probably won't find too many speakers that have an ultra-flat response, but you'll find some like this that have a pretty good response and then have bumps, at certain frequencies. Here's the 2K bump on the speaker. As long as you know that exists, you've looked at this chart and you're aware it, you can factor that into when you're working with the speaker.

And as you get to know the speakers the more you work with them, the more you'll kind of be familiar with what frequencies it favors and which ones it kind of doesn't represent fully. And you'll start to adjust your mixers to that. But you have to kind of learn your speakers, and the first way to learn them is to look at the frequency response chart, to get a sense of what really happens there. Now let's just talk in general about monitors and what they are. Most of these monitors are speakers that we're using for audio and digital audio, home studios, and even professional studios now are near-field speakers.

That means that they're designed to be 4 to 5 feet away from the listener and be really accurate and not have a lot of interruption between the speakers themselves and the listener. This is great, because this means you can listen at more appropriate levels and not damage your hearing as much but also hear stuff very accurately. The key to getting success with these kinds of speakers is placement, which we'll talk about a little bit down the road here in this chapter. But in terms of these speakers kind of hookup size and connections, most of them will be about 18 inches to 12 inches tall, maybe 10 inches wide or so.

They are not huge. They are kind of like a bookshelf speaker, about that size. And even smaller, you can get smaller ones. As far as connections go, you'll have spare ports that you can connect, expose wire to or use banana plugs with or they'll also be quarter-inch inputs. And some you might see RCA jacks or mini jacks. These are probably okay, but they're probably not as accurate and probably not as nice as a few with nicer hardware and input options on the back, that can kind of be a telling thing sometimes. The other thing to keep in mind is that some speakers now are active and have built-in amplification, while others are passive or don't have amplification.

And we'll be talking more about the pros and cons of that in the next slide. But first, let's just look at the different components of the speaker. You have the Tweeter, which reproduces the high frequencies. The Woofer, which reproduces the mid and low frequencies, and then generally a Bass port, which is really just a hole or sometimes it's a slot that lets the bass frequencies out and a lot of the air pressure out of that speaker. So those are the three components of a speaker. Now let's talk about Active and Passive. Now active monitors have built-in amplification, and this is nice because it means that the amp is matched to the speaker itself.

And you can usually get pretty good frequency response out of a combination of an amplifier designed to work with a speaker specifically. It's also nice because you get a lot of Damage Prevention, or sometimes lot of this clip defeat, and that the speaker and the monitor are matched in terms of the power handling. The other thing that's nice is it's more compact. You don't have to have an external amplifier and more cables to set up your speakers. You just take your two speakers, plug one into a wall, maybe both of them into a wall, and then plug your inputs into the speakers, they are ready to go.

It's actually a lot like the speaker systems use to hook up to your computer in general except we're talking about a much higher level of quality and power here. The disadvantage is that they cost more and they weigh more, because they have the amplifiers in the cabinets. A lot of times you'll find a pair where the amplifier is only in one, and so you'll have one heavy one and one light one, something to keep in mind. Make your friend carry the heavy one. Passive monitors, on the other hand, don't have built-in amplification. Now advantages are that they weigh less. And they also cost less because they don't have all that extra hardware in there.

But dealing with Passive monitors can be a little bit dicey in that there's a little bit more to consider. You have to basically learn about amplifiers and kind of figure out how to match an amplifier to work with your speakers. Amplifiers themselves are expensive. And also that matching, making sure you get something that drives a speaker efficiently without overdriving it or doesn't have so much power that it can possibly damage the speaker. There's a lot to learn there, and sometimes it's not worth it. It's actually worth it to just spend the money on the Active monitors and not have to think about that.

The other thing is you'll have a few more cables and more things to set up. And if you want to move stuff around, if you want to work in the living room and then move everything down to the basement to do other stuff, it's one more thing to kind of schlep around. But again, you can have your friend carry that, if you have to. Anyway, these are the things you want to kind of keep in mind when you're looking at dealing with monitors and thinking about, well, should I get Active or Passive?

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This video is part of

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Digital Audio Principles

110 video lessons · 26904 viewers

Dave Schroeder
Author

 
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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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