Sound engineering

While the standard instrument is four stringed, it is not unusual to see five- string basses with an additional lower (C or B) string, or even six-string instruments with an additional lower and upper string. Most bass guitars are active in that they require battery power for a circuit that controls the tone of the instrument. Cardioids/nun-directional – The predominant kick-up pattern of microphones. Cardioids or nun-directional microphones typically have a heart-shaped pick-up pattern (from Greek ‘cardiac’ = heart) and are sensitive in only one direction.

This means they have less sensitivity to instruments to the side or behind them. In studios this means that The ‘Cardioids’ pattern they pick up best the instrument they are pointing directly at and are less sensitive to other instruments in the room. In a live situation this means the same, with the additional benefit that being less sensitive to the outputs from loudspeakers means they cause fewer problems than other types of acrophobic with regard to feedback. See also hyperboloid and super- Cardioids. CD – Compact Disc.

The standard optical, read-only format of consumer digital audio devised in the asses by Sony and Philips. A CD has a continuous track of digital data represented by pits burned into the surface of the disk read by a laser. A CD can hold up to 750 MBA of information which equates roughly to 74 minutes of stereo audio at a sampling frequency of 44,100 Hz’s and a bit depth of 16. These standards for audio reproduction via CD are called the red book standard. Channel – On a mixing desk the channel is the series of electronic circuits signaled to an input source.

This is then duplicated a number of times to accommodate more inputs. A 16-channel desk therefore has 16 sets of the same circuitry to accommodate 16 different input sources. Chorus (song structure) -? The part Of a song that is normally repeated a number of times within the song. The chorus of a song may also contain the hook. 6 circuit breaker – Electrical safety device that automatically switches off the power supply as soon as it detects a problem or fault. Modern circuit breakers feature a trip switch which can be simply reset once the fault or robber has been rectified. Injector – The plug or termination at either end of a lead or cable. A number of different connectors exist in sound engineering, the most often encountered being the jack plug for general connections, the XSL for microphone and professional connections, and the phonon or RCA plug for Hi- If, S/PAID and non-professional connections. Control room – In a recording studio, the room where all the equipment and the engineer is situated. Count-in -? The beats before the song or piece of music starts, to give the performers the start point and tempo.

Like the click track (which may incorporate the count-in) this should be eliminated from the final mix. Distortion – The rasping, grating sound generated when an incorrect (too high) setting is used. While generally it is an undesirable effect, on some instruments, the electric guitar and the organ, for example, it has become a standard creative effect. See also overload. Drum kit – The group of drums and cymbals that have been pieced together and standardized over the years to create a drum kit includes a bass drum, snare drum, usually 2-4 tom-toms, a pair of hats and at least one crash and one ride cymbal.

Rock and fusion rammers have managed to take this to extremes, however, and it is not unusual to find kits that incorporate two bass drums, two snares, countless toms and cymbals, a gong and various other bits of kitchen hardware. Dry – A signal that has had no effect added to it. Echo – The physical reflection of a sound wave from a reflective surface which diminishes gradually in energy, thus getting quieter. Sound travels at roughly 340 meters per second (MSP), so for a naturally occurring echo to be 1 second, the surface off which the original sound wave was reflected would have to be 1 70 meters away (170 m there and 170 m back). Electric guitar – A version of the acoustic guitar which derives its signal entirely electronically from a series of pick-ups positioned close to the steel strings (nylon strings won’t work due to the use of the electromagnetic principle – see dynamic microphones and pick-up). While electric guitars have jack sockets, their output is more like that Of a microphone; therefore, when recording there are three preferred techniques: 2. 3. Positioning a microphone in front of the amplifier speaker plugging the guitar into a ODL box using a guitar pod/processor which fulfils the roles of both the amplifier and he ODL box. Dad in – When a track or piece of music increases in volume gradually from silence. Fade out – The opposite of a fade in – when a track or piece of music decreases in volume gradually to silence. This has become a widespread practice in minnows technique as a tidy way of ending a song. Gain – Amplification. Gain is determined by the amount an electronic circuit amplifies the input signal. The gain control on any device is therefore, very, very important. Setting a gain too low will mean the engineer has to compensate for low-level signals by increasing output volumes. This results in increased noise levels.

Too much gain, and the signal will overload the input circuitry and result in distortion. All recording devices have a gain control as part of the pre-amplifier. It makes sure the signals from all the different sources are at a suitable level for the following electronics as mimic-level sources generally have a much lower output signal than line-level sources. The gain control evens them out. Headphones – A small stereo loudspeaker system that can be worn on the head or in the ears to allow isolated monitoring of signals. May be referred to as ‘can<. iss/white noise - Electronically generated high-frequency noise.

All audio devices will generate a small amount of hiss. It is the sound engineer’s job, through Correct Operation, to minimize this at all costs. 8 hum – Electronically generated low-frequency noise. Hum is usually the result Of interference from mains cables or poorly earthed or grounded equipment. It is worth noting that only faulty or incorrectly wired equipment will generate hum. Input -? The connection to send a signal into a device. Introduction – The first or opening part of a song. Often abbreviated to intro. Jack plug – A basic form of connector found on guitars, keyboards and mixers.

The jack plug is normally a mono signal carrier, but can also carry a stereo or balanced signal if the plug has a Tip/Ring/Sieve (TRY) configuration like that found on headphone jacks. While the jack plug is probably the widest utilized of all the connectors in sound engineering it has its pitfalls; its is, for example, a non-latching design so it can be easily and accidentally unplugged. On mixing desks, guitars and keyboards, jack plugs are normally the larger 1/4 inch version although more and more the compact 3. Mm version is being utilized by manufacturers primarily to save space on increasingly smaller devices. Dead/cable – The wire that joins two connectors. In sound engineering it is standard to refer to the leads and cables by their termination connectors, for example an XSL to XSL cable would be referred to as either an XSL cable or a microphone (mimic) lead. There are essentially three types of cable in sound engineering: ‘screened’, unbalanced cable usually used to connect between guitars and keyboards, hi-if and non-professional devices. Normally these terminate in either jack or phonon plugs. The ‘screening is usually a braided cable that surrounds an inner core cable.

The screen is connected to earth and the core carries the signal. This screening eliminates interference and hum. Screened, balanced cable normally used for microphone leads and to interconnect professional and semi-professional equipment. These normally terminate in either XSL or TRY jack plugs. 9 Speaker cable used for connecting the output of amplifiers to loudspeakers or PA systems. Speaker cable must be unscreened. Using speaker cables for audio connections other than speakers will result in hum and possibly radio regency interference. Lead vocal – The main vocal part or track in a song. Bevel – The degree of intensity of an audio signal. Loudspeaker – A transducer that converts the electronic audio signal back into a sound wave. Due to physical constraints, it is difficult for one loudspeaker to convert accurately the entire audio spectrum, so manufacturers use a number of drivers in a single cabinet to properly reproduce the full frequency range. Each frequency-range speaker is given its own name. High-frequency units are called tweeters, indifference units squawkers and low-frequency units woofers. It is not uncommon to also get very low-frequency units called sub-woofers.

It has become a common practice for manufacturers to incorporate amplifiers within the speaker cabinets. Such loudspeakers are known as active loudspeakers. Mains multimillion – A mains adapter that splits a single outlet socket into four or more outlets. Many these days come with built-in circuit breakers for added protection and even anti-surge protectors which protect against sudden surges in voltage which could potentially damage equipment or crash computing devices. mimic stand -? The heavy-based stand which holds a microphone. See also boom stand. Microphone – A transducer designed to convert a sound wave into an electrical current.

Microphones are one of the most important elements of any signal path as they are the initial conversion point for any signal to be recorded. It is therefore important that hightail microphones are used in recording studio situations. All microphones have their own ‘sound’ due to tiny fluctuations in their frequency response, and many microphones are manufactured for a particular purpose or even instrument. Minidisk (MD) – A digital, optical, record-and-read storage medium. Similar to he CD in operation, Minidisk uses compression software to limit the material recorded in order to get all the information onto a very compact format.

While Minidisk recorders/players are generally 2 track devices, some multicultural versions exist. 10 mix(down) – The act and art of creating a balance of all the recorded tracks, processing where appropriate and necessary, and creating a two-track, stereo-mixed version of the music. Mono(phonic) – A single channel of audio. Noise -? Any unwanted signal. See also hiss and hum. Output – The connection in an audio device from which its signal comes. Outputs should always be connected to inputs. PA – Public Address. A PA system is a large-scale loudspeaker system designed to help musicians be heard clearly in a large space.

A PA system is similar to a recording studio, but without the necessity for multicultural recorders as the mixed sound goes straight to amplifiers and loudspeakers. A sound engineer using a PA system will employ largely the same microphone, mixing and processing techniques that one would use in a studio. phonon plug – An unbalanced two-pin connector predominantly found in domestic hi-if systems and non-professional equipment. Due to their normally being used in stereo systems, phonon plugs tend to come in pairs colored red and white. Generally the red connector will be used for the right-hand signal and white for the left. Cord – To store a performance onto a medium so it can be played back or edited. Riff – A repeated rhythmic chord sequence within a song or around which a song may be based. Session – The time spent in a studio creating a recording. Session log – A note, usually formalized, of the activities carried out and completed within a session. Session logs are a great way of keeping on top of a recording project. Keeping a note of settings, microphone placements, even problems you have encountered in a session means you can always come back to the log in the future to reproduce the settings or overcome a similar problem. Signal – An electrical representation Of a sound. 11 stereo – A Mo-channel audio system with the channels designated as left and right. Devised primarily because we have two ears, stereo reproduction Of recorded sound has been the norm for many decades as it offers an excellent representation of what we hear acoustically. Any multicultural recording has to be mixed to stereo in order for it to be played n a standard domestic hi-if system. Studio – The room in which the performers play in a recording session.

Ideally, a studio will be soundproofed so noise cannot penetrate inwards or outwards, and also have an element of adjustment to its acoustic, perhaps a live sound at one end and a dead sound at the other (known as led design). Only instruments that require microphones need be played in the studio. Instruments that can be TLD can perform just as well in the control room. Synthesizer – Electronic instrument, usually keyboard based, that uses electronically generated waveforms through filters and processors to emulate or synthesis) acoustic sounds.

While most Of these emulations of real instruments are at best approximate, synthesizers are capable of generating a wide range of sounds that no acoustic instrument ever could. Thus they have become an important element of modern sound production as an instrument in its own right. Take – The recorded performance of a part or track of a song. Standard studio practice has the performer do a series of takes and the best take, or a combination to make up the best take, will be used in the final mix. Tape – Linear magnetic storage medium. As tapes are a magnetic storage armor, they are susceptible to strong magnetic fields.

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