In audio mixing, as in the visual arts, context and relationship is everything. Matt demonstrates how loud and soft define each other, and describes one of the standard listening levels used for mixing audio for film and video. When setting your monitoring levels to a standard, calibrate pink noise at -20dBFS to an acoustic measurement of 83dBSPL. To ensure that your mix sounds good in many different situations, listen at very soft and relatively loud levels, in addition to the standard.
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- How do we know that the monster is huge?…Do we still perceive it as huge, whether watching the show…on a big movie theater screen, on a living room size TV,…or on a mobile phone?…Well, yes,…because what determines the perceived size of the monster…is the relationship between the monster…and the other elements,…not the absolute size of the monster's image.…Now, that doesn't mean that it's the exact same experience…on all the different screen sizes.…
In the theater, you might see a lot more details.…On a phone, maybe all you get is the general idea.…Regardless, though, the comparison, or context, is the key.…By analogy, when mixing audio, we need to be aware…of how the mix comes across at different listening sizes,…that is, volumes.…The listening volume, or more precisely,…the monitoring level makes a big difference in how we hear…while mixing, and therefore, which mix choices we make.…
Part of that is how the acoustic personality of a room,…good or bad, becomes stronger at higher levels.…Mainly, though, our ears hear sound differently…
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