In this video, Matt Mayfield reveals the foundation that all digital and analog audio is built on: physical sound waves. He explains that sound can travel through almost any solid, liquid, or gaseous material, and although the nature and speed of sound is different in different mediums, all of them are part of the acoustic domain.
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- We take it for granted nowadays that computers…can play and record digital audio.…Digital audio is how computers represent sound.…But there's a lot beneath the surface,…and the better you understand digital audio in-depth,…the more the technology can work for you…instead of the other way around.…To really understand what digital audio is,…we need to start at the beginning of how sound is made.…All around us are air molecules.…Sound happens when those molecules…are disturbed in some way.…
When I clap my hands together, for example,…I'm causing a sudden disturbance…in the air molecules around the place…where I clapped my hands.…(claps) This creates a sound wave that we can hear.…Notice how the molecules themselves…don't travel along with the wave.…Instead, the wave is made of moving patterns…of the molecules colliding with each other in the air.…I should mention that sound can travel not just in air,…but in any medium: solid, liquid, or gas.…
For example, sound can travel in water,…like whale calls under the ocean.…
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