Human hearing is complex. Matt shares some facts, and some opinions informed by teaching and engineering experience, about the way people hear. Hearing loss occurs because of long-term exposure to loud sounds damaging the tiny hairs within the cochlea, part of the inner ear. The McGurk effect is one demonstration of how the subconscious mind pre-processes sound before the conscious mind even hears it.
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- How do we hear sound?…The process is quite complex and scientific studies…are still discovering new information about it.…I'll explain how I like to think about hearing…by dividing the process into three parts:…physical, subconscious, and conscious.…When sound in the air reaches our ears,…the first part of perceiving that sound is physical.…Fluctuations in air pressure, acoustic sound,…are reflected and shaped by the pinnae,…the parts attached to your head,…and directed through the ear canal.…
The ear drum resonates, or moves back and forth,…with the air pressure fluctuations,…setting into motion a tiny chain of…bones called ossicles.…The ossicles mechanically amplify these movements…causing fluid motion in a complex spiral-shaped…structure called the cochlea.…Inside the cochlea are thousands and thousands…of tiny hair cells, each of which is tuned to a very narrow…frequency range through its size and stiffness.…
These tiny hairs can feel movement…but instead of being processed as a feeling by the brain,…like how you can feel wind in your hair…
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