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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.
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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