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In the last chapter, we looked at the frequency spectrum and how it relates to equalization and the mixing process. We learned that a sound wave's frequency determines its pitch. But it is the waveform's amplitude that determines its relative loudness in relationship to other sound waves, and even itself as it propagates over time. In other words, if the frequency defines the difference between the high and low end, dynamics define the difference between the loud and soft. Dynamic range is simply the difference between the loudest and the softest part of a changing signal.
In mixing, this can be measured over a short period of time like the difference between the transient peak of a snare drum and its ringing decay or the volume difference between the loud and soft words of a vocal phrase measured over a longer period of time. So Dynamics, I'm sure you have experienced some sort of dynamic range in terms of sound in both positive and negative ways in your life. For example, a person delivering a speech who is a very dynamic speaker, they can command the audience with the dynamics of their voice.
Or sort of more in the negative side, someone moving the receiver of a telephone around. Let's say they're talking to, and it blows out your ear and then they pull it away and you can barely hear them. These are examples of variations in dynamics or dynamic range. We also see dynamics come up in musical notation. So notation that represents piano or forte to give the performer information about how loud or soft they should play a specific note or phrase. In the mixing world, Dynamics Processors work within this realm of dynamic range and they react to the changes in a variety of different ways.
In a sense, they're kind of like automatic volume controls, turning things up or down, providing control over a signal's dynamics. Over the next few videos, I'll discuss why, when, and how we use these processors in our mixes.
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