Speakers and other transducers convert analog signals back into sound in the acoustic domain. Human ears hear differently depending on the volume of the sound, with bass and treble seeming louder at higher overall levels—as shown by the Fletcher-Munson equal loudness contours. Room acoustics, and the physical nature of speakers, also affect the sound.
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- We're almost done with our tour…through the analog signal path.…The last step is to bring the sound…back into the acoustic domain so people can hear it.…To do this, we need another transducer, a loudspeaker.…Most loudspeakers work exactly like…a dynamic microphone in reverse.…The signal runs through a large coil of wire,…creating magnetism that pushes and pulls a paper cone.…That's why speaker level is such high voltage.…We need that much electricity to produce enough magnetism…to move the mass of the speaker.…
Speakers come in all kinds of shapes and sizes,…and there's a lot of science behind what makes a speaker…well or poorly suited for a particular purpose.…The physical properties of the transducer…determine the tone of the sound that it makes.…As one example, large speakers are better suited…to playing back low bass sounds,…and small speakers are better suited…for playing back high sounds…just like large musical instruments are better…for playing low sounds…and small instruments for high sounds.…Speakers also involve the acoustics of the listening space…
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