Every analog signal goes through one or more gain stages. A gain stage is a point where a signal is amplified or attenuated. Matt describes the distortion that can happen when the gain is set too high, and possible issues with signal to noise ratio when the gain is set too low.
- Every signal path, even a relatively simple one,…has one or more gain stages.…A gain stage is any point at which…the signal can change volume.…That is someplace it passes through…an amplifier or attenuator.…Analog audio passes through more…gain stages than you might expect.…For example, a microphone signal going…into this mixer might pass through…as many as three or four gain stages…before coming out.…
Setting the volumes in a signal path…is called gain staging, or setting a gain structure.…It's important to adapt the gain structure…to the situation to minimize noise and distortion.…If the signal going into a gain stage is too strong,…the amplifier will hit its maximum output…voltage in each direction, positive and negative,…and be unable to trace accurate tops…and bottoms of the waves.…The shape of the output is then distorted…by flattening out the peaks and troughs.…
To prevent this distortion, we can attenuate,…or turn down, the input signal…so that the amplifier has enough head room…to produce an undistorted output.…
The course starts with explanations of what sound really is and how we hear it, including discussions on frequency, amplitude, phase, and psychoacoustics. Matt explores analog audio signal path, explaining connections, gain staging, and metering. Next, he brings the audio signal into the digital domain, discussing analog to digital conversion, digital gain staging, file formats and compression, and dither.
Then the course digs into digital audio workstations (DAWs), explaining the concepts and misconceptions involved in digital recording systems. Matt describes how memory, CPU speed, and storage affect your DAW's performance, as well as how to manage computer resources and understand the plethora of file formats associated with digital recording. He follows with an overview of MIDI: how to generate, store, process, and communicate MIDI data. He wraps up with the audio processors that are often used for mixing in a DAW—including EQ, compressors, reverb, delay, and many others.
- What is sound?
- The three domains of sound: acoustic, analog, and digital
- The analog vs. digital signal paths
- Converting analog audio to digital
- Digital formats and data compression
- Understanding the five types of DAWs
- Recording performances with MIDI
- Mixing and processing audio with EQ, compression, and other effects
Skill Level Beginner
Music Production Secrets: Larry Crane on Recordingwith Larry Crane2h 21m Intermediate
Drum Setup and Mic'ing in the Studiowith Ryan Hewitt1h 14m Appropriate for all
1. Concepts of Sound
2. The Signal Path: Acoustic and Analog
3. The Signal Path: Digital
4. Digital Audio Workstations
6. Mixing and Processing Audio
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