The four types of dynamic processors—the compressor, limiter, expander, and noise gate—can be defined in terms of how they behave around their threshold and ratio parameters. Matt shows how the compressor and limiter turn down signals louder than the threshold, and the expander and gate turn down signals softer than the threshold. Of those, the compressor and expander have a subtle effect on the amplitude of the sound, while the limiter and gate have a more drastic effect.
- We can define each dynamic processor…in terms of two parameters: threshold and ratio.…The threshold is the volume level the processor…is always watching to see if the signal's amplitude…crosses it.…The ratio is a mathematical ratio…like two to one, one to two,…three to one, ten to one, and so on.…Let's see how a compressor interprets those…two parameters, then compare the compressor…to the other dynamic processors.…A compressor kicks in whenever the signal goes…above the threshold.…
And then the ratio determines how far the compressor…turns it down in response.…Let's watch a compressor in action…with a ratio of two to one…and a threshold of a medium level.…The signal going into the compressor…constantly fluctuates in level like signals do.…As long as it stays quieter than the threshold…the compressor leaves it alone.…But, now, at one point, let's say the input signal goes…two decibels over the threshold.…At that moment, the compressor sees that…the signal has exceeded the threshold…and reacts by turning it down.…
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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