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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.
Audio file compression is not to be confused with audio dynamics compression. Now as I mentioned earlier, dynamics compression is an effect that we use to change the dynamic range. But that's not what we are doing when we talk about audio file compression. With audio file compression what we are trying to do, we are trying to actually reduce the size of our digital audio files, and there are a couple of reasons we want to do this. Primarily, it's because smaller file sizes are just easier to store and share. They are just easier to deal with. We can move them around, we can put a ton of them on a portable MP3 player, or use them as a ringtone on a cell phone.
There is all kinds of applications. And without audio file compression, a lot of the things we enjoy today, in terms of rich media and cool experiences, probably wouldn't be able to take place. A lot of our favorite web sites, MySpace and YouTube, things like that all exists because you can actually compress audio files. Of course, you probably know there is a trade off. When we compress an audio file, or make it smaller, we have to take some of the data out of there, and that's the sound quality of the file itself. Whenever we compress the file, we have to figure out a way to make it smaller, and a lot of times, the quality of the sound is reduced via compression.
Now when you are working, and you have gone through all these different tasks that we have shown in these other movies to get a good sound and get a great sound and work with your audio at really high audio quality levels, it can be a little hard to stomach the idea of losing some of that sound quality just to create a smaller file, and I know how that feels. But the other reality is that, in all likelihood, whatever you are making, it's probably going to be heard in a compressed format at this point. If you think about distribution and getting things out there, it's a lot more likely that whatever you are making is going to be heard in a compressed format.
So it makes sense to kind of take charge of the situation, get to know what audio file compression is and apply it in a way that at least you can be happy with the results. While people still buy audio CDs, and there are other uncompressed delivery formats, the amount of things you can listen to or preview and access online in a compressed format is really amazing. And if you are making something, it's also a way to get it out there for free. So there is a really good chance that compressing your files down to get them out there is going to take place.
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