Digital audio can be transmitted using many different physical connections, communication protocols, and audio formats. Matt gives a basic description of how USB, Thunderbolt, and FireWire carry audio, and also shows the difference between those computer-based connections and others like AES/EBU, S/PDIF, and ADAT, which are carried over optical, coaxial, or XLR cables.
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- With analog cables and connections…there are many different physical plugs…and several types, or levels, of signals…and the physical connection doesn't necessarily…have anything to do with what kind…of signal passes along the wire.…With digital cables and connections it's a similar situation…but with a couple more layers of complexity.…First, there's the physical connection,…the shape of the plug and the type of the wire.…Second, there's the communication protocol,…how the data is encoded and timed as electrical voltages…and how the flow of that data is controlled.…
Third, there's the format of the audio itself…and that includes factors like sample rate, bit depth,…and whether the audio is mono, or stereo, or multichannel.…Let's discuss some common digital audio connections,…which I like to sort into two categories.…The first category is general computer connections,…which are used for audio…but also for other computer peripherals.…The most common digital connection in…the average home studio, at the time of this writing, is USB…
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