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Audio Production

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Helpful tools and techniques for producing high-quality demo recordings. Produced for participants of Centrum's music workshops by David Christensen. Learn more at www.centrum.org,or at …

Helpful tools and techniques for producing high-quality demo recordings. Produced for participants of Centrum's music workshops by David Christensen. Learn more at www.centrum.org,or at www.david-christensen.com

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  • 1. Audio Production This PowerPoint presentation was prepared by David Christensen, Technical Director for Centrum. www.david-christensen.com for use class presentations during Centrum’s Blues and Chamber Music workshops in 2007. There are two files…the MHTML file made from PowerPoint, which you of course have found. (Note: Click “slide show” in the lower right for full screen viewing.) There is limited audio in the presentation, so turn up your volume. There is also a file called samples of A.wav If you load this file into any audio editing program (including Audacity a free program you can download) you will see the wave forms for a pure 440 Hz tone (A) and the wave form for the note A from a human voice, a flute, a guitar and a piano. This helps in understanding harmonics/overtones. The program will suggest when you want to look at this file. I hope you find the program of interest. I’d love to hear your comments. David Christensen [email_address]
  • 2. Audio Production Basics & Techniques for Demo Recording David Christensen, Technical Director for Centrum www.david-christensen.com Prepared for the 2007 Port Townsend Jazz and Chamber Music Festival
  • 3. Audio Production Basics Goal: Make someone's ear drum move.
  • 4. Side view of an ear drum
  • 5. Side view of an ear drum
  • 6. Side view of an ear drum
  • 7. Creating a wave form Time Frequency Volume
  • 8. Creating a wave form Time Frequency Volume
  • 9. Simple wave form – A 440 Time Frequency Volume (click the speaker icon to hear tone)
  • 10. Audio Production Basics Just what do we hear and how loud is too loud
  • 11. What can we hear?
    • Frequency Range:
        • From Approximately 20 cycles (Hz)
    • (click the speaker icon to hear tone)
        • (You probably won’t hear much from these two samples…chances are your speakers can’t reproduce 20 Hz and you can’t hear 20,000 Hz!)
  • 12. What can we hear?
    • Frequency Range:
        • From Approximately 20 cycles (Hz)
        • To Approximately 20,000 cycles (Hz)
    • (click the speaker icon to hear tone)
        • (You probably didn’t hear much from these two samples…chances are your speakers can’t reproduce 20 Hz and you can’t hear 20,000 Hz!)
  • 13. What can we hear?
    • Frequency Range:
        • From Approximately 20 cycles (Hz)
        • To Approximately 20,000 cycles (Hz)
    • Volume Range
        • From 0dB
        • To Approximately 120dB (considered threshold of pain!)
  • 14. Audio Production Basics How does this relate to what we want to record?
  • 15.  
  • 16. So… What is it that creates the Timbre or Uniqueness of a Sound
    • The attack or how the sound is created
  • 17. So… What is it that creates the Timbre or Uniqueness of a Sound
    • The attack or how the sound is created
    • The release or how the sound is terminated.
  • 18. So… What is it that creates the Timbre or Uniqueness of a Sound
    • The attack or how the sound is created
    • The release or how the sound is terminated.
    • The overtones or harmonics
  • 19. Overtone Progression
    • 440hz Fundamental
    • 880hz First Overtone
    • 1320hz Second Overtone
    • 1760hz Third Overtone
    • 2200hz Fourth Overtone
    • 26 40hz Fifth Overtone
    • Etc.
    • (click the speaker icon to hear tone)
  • 20. Overtone Progression
    • 440hz Fundamental
    • 880hz First Overtone
    • 1320hz Second Overtone
    • 1760hz Third Overtone
    • 2200hz Fourth Overtone
    • 26 40hz Fifth Overtone
    • Etc.
    • (click the speaker icon to hear tone)
  • 21. Overtone Progression
    • 440hz Fundamental
    • 880hz First Overtone
    • 1320hz Second Overtone
    • 1760hz Third Overtone
    • 2200hz Fourth Overtone
    • 26 40hz Fifth Overtone
    • Etc.
    • (click the speaker icon to hear tone)
  • 22. Overtone Progression
    • 440hz Fundamental
    • 880hz First Overtone
    • 1320hz Second Overtone
    • 1760hz Third Overtone
    • 2200hz Fourth Overtone
    • 26 40hz Fifth Overtone
    • Etc.
    • (click the speaker icon to hear tone)
  • 23. Overtone Progression
    • 440hz Fundamental
    • 880hz First Overtone
    • 1320hz Second Overtone
    • 1760hz Third Overtone
    • 2200hz Fourth Overtone
    • 26 40hz Fifth Overtone
    • Etc.
    • (click the speaker icon to hear tone)
  • 24. Overtone Progression
    • 440hz Fundamental
    • 880hz First Overtone
    • 1320hz Second Overtone
    • 1760hz Third Overtone
    • 2200hz Fourth Overtone
    • 26 40hz Fifth Overtone
    • Etc.
    • (click the speaker icon to hear tone)
  • 25.
    • For a given note, the overtones are always the same (for most sounds)…voice and instruments.
  • 26.
    • For a given note, the overtones are always the same (for most sounds)…voice and instruments.
    • What gives the note timbre (what make it a violin or a clarinet etc.) is
  • 27.
    • For a given note, the overtones are always the same (for most sounds)…voice and instruments.
    • What gives the note timbre (what make it a violin or a clarinet etc.) is
    • The relative volume
    • of those overtones
  • 28. Audio Production Basics What does sound look like?
  • 29.
    • Let’s look at the wave forms of different sounds in Sony Media’s Sound Forge.
  • 30. Audio Production Basics Analog vs. Digital No…we are not going to discuss which is better!
  • 31. Analog vs. Digital Audio
    • Analog audio is all the audio we listen to…
    • (You can’t hear digital audio)
  • 32. Analog vs. Digital Audio
    • Analog audio is all the audio we listen to…
    • (You can’t hear digital audio)
    • Digital Audio
      • To create digital audio you first must convert analog audio to digital.
  • 33. Analog vs. Digital Audio
    • Analog audio is all the audio we listen to…
    • (You can’t hear digital audio)
    • Digital Audio
      • To create digital audio you first must convert analog audio to digital.
      • To listen to digital audio you must first convert digital audio to analog.
  • 34.
    • To Record Digital Audio
      • You must first must convert analog audio to digital.
    • To Playback Digital Audio
      • You must first convert digital audio to analog.
    Analog vs. Digital Audio
  • 35.
    • To Record Digital Audio
      • You must first must convert analog audio to digital.
    • To Playback Digital Audio
      • You must first convert digital audio to analog.
    • Not all analog to digital (A to D) and digital to analog (D to A) converters are created equal.
    Analog vs. Digital Audio
  • 36. Digital File Formats
    • Wav or aiff file. CD quality is 44,100 samples per second with 16 bit words.
    • These files are the product of most professional digital recorders and computers. Files can be created in CD quality or even higher resolution files.
  • 37. Digital File Formats
    • Wav or aiff file. CD quality is 44,100 samples per second with 16 bit words.
    • Let’s go back to Sound Forge to actually see the samples!
  • 38. Digital File Formats
    • Wav or aiff file. CD quality is 44,100 samples per second with 16 bit words.
    • CD format: wav or aiff files written to a music cd.
  • 39. Digital File Formats
    • Wav or aiff file. CD quality is 44,100 samples per second with 16 bit words.
    • CD format: wav or aiff files written to a music cd.
    • MP3 format
      • Most MP3 files are 128kbps
      • High almost CD quality are aprox 360kbps
  • 40. Digital File Formats
    • Wav or aiff file. CD quality is 44,100 samples per second with 16 bit words.
    • CD format: wav or aiff files written to a music cd.
    • MP3 format
      • Most MP3 files are 128kbps
      • High almost CD quality are aprox 360kbps
    • Other formats (for streaming etc.) *.rm (Real Media) *.wma (Windows Media) *.mov (Quicktime)
  • 41. Audio Production Basics What do you need to know about recording digitally?
  • 42. Ideally
    • When recording digitally you should be creating *.wav or *.aiff files.
  • 43. Ideally
    • When recording digitally you should be creating *.wav or *.aiff files.
    • You should (at least) be recording at a sample rate of 44,100/sec and with word length of 16 bits (not bytes)
  • 44. Ideally
    • When recording digitally you should be creating *.wav or *.aiff files.
    • You should (at least) be recording at a sample rate of 44,100/sec and with word length of 16 bits (not bytes)
    • This will give you files that can be made into any format, and can be easily edited and mastered.
  • 45. Audio Production Basics Best ways to record
  • 46. Record to what?
    • For this discussion we will only talk about recording two channel in real time…which is stereo.
    • Most classical music is recorded in stereo using two mics.
    • Multi-track recording much more complex and beyond what we can talk about here.
  • 47. Record to what?
    • To a Computer:
    • For a usable recording you will need software and an interface between your recording gear and the computer.
    • Software:
    • ProTools
    • Sony Media Vegas/Sound Forge
    • Audacity (free)
    • Many others too.
  • 48. Record to what?
    • To a Computer:
    • Digital Recorder: Many available
      • Hard disk recorders – Masterlink by Alisis
      • Memory chip recorders – M-Audio Microtrack, Sony PCM
  • 49. Audio Production Basics Recording volume level
  • 50. Set record level so the loudest sounds are down 10dB from 0
  • 51. When recording digitally DO NOT allow the volume level to exceed 0dB
  • 52. Audio Production Basics Once you arrive at a recording level for a piece, do not change it for different movements!
  • 53. Audio Production Basics Microphones
  • 54. Audio Production Basics Microphones The Microphone Book John Eargle
  • 55. Microphones
    • Without a good mic, you can’t have a good recording.
  • 56. Microphones
    • 2 types of mics:
      • Dynamic/moving coil mics.
      • Most common and least expensive of good mics.
  • 57. Microphones
    • 2 types of mics:
      • Dynamic/moving coil mics.
      • Condenser mic
      • More expensive and all things being equal, better. But they require some sort of a power supply.
  • 58. Microphone Characteristics
    • Pickup (or polar) pattern
      • Omni
      • Directional
      • (Cardioid)
      • Bi-directional
  • 59. Microphone Characteristics
    • Pickup (or polar) pattern
      • Omni – good for recording groups in a good room. Also great when put in the middle of a drum kit. Can be used as excellent vox mic.
      • Example: Earthworks QTC1
  • 60. Microphone Characteristics
    • Pickup (or polar) pattern
      • Omni
      • Directional
      • (Cardioid)
      • Bi-directional
  • 61. Microphone Characteristics
    • Pickup (or polar) pattern
      • Directional (Cardioid) – pickup pattern helps isolate the sound and avoid “bleeding” Usually used for VOX and close micing instruments
      • Example: Shure SM58
  • 62. Microphone Characteristics
    • Pickup (or polar) pattern
      • Omni
      • Directional
      • (Cardioid)
      • Bi-directional
  • 63. Microphone Characteristics
    • Pickup (or polar) pattern
      • Bi-Directional (Figure 8)
      • Known for a smooth sound. Common in the 30s and 40s. Often used with vocalists on each side of the mic.
      • Example: RCA 44, Royer 122, AKG 414
  • 64. Audio Production Basics Mic placement (a good mic in the wrong place sounds like _ _ _ _!)
  • 65. Mic Placement
    • Voice
  • 66. Mic Placement
    • Voice
    • Guitar
  • 67. Mic Placement
    • Voice
    • Guitar
    • Piano
  • 68. Mic Placement
    • Voice
    • Guitar
    • Piano
    • Chamber ensemble
  • 69. Mic Placement
    • Voice
    • Guitar
    • Piano
    • Chamber ensemble
    • Orchestra
  • 70. Audio Production Basics Is Stereo Important?
  • 71. Audio Production Basics Is Stereo Important? Yes!
  • 72. Stereo Preception
    • How we perceive stereo
      • Volume difference: It’s louder in the right ear than the left ear.
  • 73. Stereo Preception
    • How we perceive stereo
      • Volume difference: It’s louder in the right ear than the left ear.
      • Time arrival: It gets to the right ear before the left ear.
  • 74. Stereo Preception
    • How we perceive stereo
      • Volume difference: It’s louder in the right ear than the left ear.
      • Time arrival: It gets to the right ear before the left ear.
    Stereo perception for frequencies below 700hz is primarily through time arrival.
  • 75. Stereo micing for groups
    • X-Y (note: must use directional mics)
  • 76. Stereo micing for groups
    • X-Y (note: must use directional mics)
    • Spaced Pair 15” to 36”
  • 77. Stereo micing for groups
    • X-Y (note: must use directional mics)
    • Spaced Pair 15” to 36”
    • NOS/ORTF (note: must use directional mics)
  • 78. Audio Production Basics Post Production (or OK, it’s recorded…now what?)
  • 79. Post Production Options
    • Equalize: Adjusting the volume of different frequencies.
  • 80. Post Production Options
    • Equalize: Adjusting the volume of different frequencies.
  • 81. Post Production Options
    • Equalize: Adjusting the volume of different frequencies.
    • Compression: Reducing the dynamic range of the recording.
  • 82. Post Production Options
    • Equalize: Adjusting the volume of different frequencies.
    • Compression: Reducing the dynamic range of the recording.
  • 83. Post Production Options
    • Equalize: Adjusting the volume of different frequencies.
    • Compression: Reducing the dynamic range of the recording.
  • 84. Post Production Options
    • Equalize: Adjusting the volume of different frequencies.
    • Compression: Reducing the dynamic range of the recording.
    • Normalize: Adjusting the volume so that the loudest sections are using the full dynamic range of the media.
  • 85. Before Normalizing
  • 86. Normalized
  • 87. IMPORTANT Adjust volume equally for all cuts of a classical recording. Normalizing
  • 88. Track 1 - 6 dB Track 2 - 12 dB Track 3 - 5 dB Track 4 - 4.5 dB Raise volume of each track 4 dB leaving .5 dB headroom. Normalizing
  • 89. Audio Production Basics Ways to get your demo where you want it.
  • 90. What format for your demo
    • Standard CD
    • The usual form for audition and demos.
  • 91. What format for your demo
    • Standard CD
    • Streaming on your web site
    • You will need to prepare the files in *.wma, *.rm or *.mov format. You may also need help in creating the streaming format using meta files.
  • 92. What format for your demo
    • Standard CD
    • Streaming on your web site
    • Downloadable from your web site
    • You’ll need MP3 files (128bps) for this
  • 93. What format for your demo
    • Standard CD
    • Streaming on your web site
    • Downloadable from your web site
    • uTunes, MySpace etc.
    • Your files have to be compiled for these sites.
  • 94. Preparing your demo disk
    • No more than 3 or 4 selections
    • Select carefully and put your best cut first!
  • 95. Preparing your demo disk
    • No more than 3 or 4 selections
    • No longer than 30 sec. each
    • Note: You don’t have to start at the beginning. If you have a hot 30 seconds embedded in the cut, use it!
  • 96. Preparing your demo disk
    • No more than 3 or 4 selections
    • No longer than 30 sec. each
    • If you want to include full cuts put them after all the 30 sec. cuts.
    • (Be sure to note that on the label)
  • 97. Preparing your demo disk
    • No more than 3 or 4 selections
    • No longer than 30 sec. each
    • If you want to include full cuts put them after all the 30 sec. cuts.
    • Prepare a good looking disk label with:
      • The group name
      • The contact name and address, phone numbers and email address
      • Web address
      • Musicians name(s) and instrument(s)
  • 98. Preparing your demo disk
    • No more than 3 or 4 selections
    • No longer than 30 sec. each
    • If you want to include full cuts put them after all the 30 sec. cuts.
    • Prepare a good looking disk label with:
      • The group name
      • The contact name and address, phone numbers and email address
      • Web address
      • Musicians name(s) and instrument(s)
    • Put in jewel box. Label inserts are optional and can include bios of the musicians and group activity.
  • 99. Audio Production Basics Questions – Discussion – Experiment?