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ONTAP - Recording Equipment

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ONTAP - Recording Equipment

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ONTAP - Recording Equipment

  1. 1. We hear recordings all the time: movie and television soundtracks, ads, radio shows, podcasts, music, voice, sound effects. Recordings are everywhere. But what is a recording... and how is it made?
  2. 2. Recordings are sound documents. Sound waves are converted into electrical signals. These signals are stored on a recording medium, like a cd, a sound file on a computer, or vinyl record. Copies can be listened to multiple times.
  3. 3. Sounds can be captured using a microphone which uses a diaphragm to sense sound pressure and convert them into electrical signals.
  4. 4. Some instruments use a pickup to capture the vibrations of the instrument and convert them into electrical signals. Acoustic guitar with pickup
  5. 5. The electric guitar uses pickups. This signal passes via a cord to an amplifier. The amplifier is then mic'd and that signal goes to the recording device. Amplifier (amp) Microphone (mic)
  6. 6. Some instruments, like synthesizers and other electronic instruments can be plugged directly into recording devices. This is called Line In as opposed to Mic In. Analog Modular Synthesizer
  7. 7. Recordings have been made on wax cylinders, magnetic tape, vinyl records and cassette tape. But today almost all recordings are made on a DAW (digital audio workstation) in the form of recording software on a computer. Cassette tape
  8. 8. Analog recordings used mechanical means to record sound. Sound waves might be etched into vinyl so that a stylus could translate them back into an electronic signal to play through a sound system. Turntable with vinyl record
  9. 9. Or the sound would be converted and stored on tape coated with a magnetic solution. Tape heads would then read the tape to convert the magnetic information back into sound. 2 inch, 24 track tape machine
  10. 10. Since 1982, with the invention of the cd, digital recording has almost completely replaced analog recording. Sound waves are digitized. The recordings can be stored as files on computer systems and played an infinite number of times with no loss of quality.
  11. 11. Digital recording requires two conversions: AD which converts Analog to Digital and DA which converts Digital back to Analog. Digital information is stored as 1's and 0's and can't be heard until it is converted back to sound waves. This process is referred to as AD/DA conversion.
  12. 12. In the early days of recording music, all of the musicians played at the same time. One microphone would be used to pick up the sound of the whole group. These were mono recordings.
  13. 13. Later, stereophonic sound (stereo) was developed. Stereo used two recorded signals to create the illusion of 3 dimensional space on a recording. It made it possible for sound to appear to come from the left or right, or anywhere in between, in the stereo spectrum.
  14. 14. In 1955 multitrack recording was invented. This made it possible to record audio tracks at different times, or even in different places. An engineer could effect single instruments without effecting others.
  15. 15. To keep track of and control these many tracks, a mixing desk was required. A mixing desk would have a strip for each channel of sound. Mixing desk
  16. 16. Typically, this strip would have a fader to control how loud the sound was. It would have a Pan knob that would control where the sound was, left or right in the stereo mix. It would have an EQ (equalizer) section that could control the high and low frequencies of the track.
  17. 17. There would be sends and returns that would allow you to use special effects such as reverb, echo, compression on the individual tracks.
  18. 18. You could also group the channels, take 2 or more of them and send them to be controlled by 1 or 2 faders. This came in handy if you had many instruments on different tracks, such as a horn section, that you wanted to control all at once.
  19. 19. A modern DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) mimics these older technologies to make modern recordings. You can import or record multiple tracks. Your mixer will control your levels. Plugins will allow you to manipulate the sounds with various effects. Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  20. 20. MIDI (short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a technical standard that allows electronic musical instruments, computers and other devices to connect and communicate with one another. MIDI carries messages that specify notation, pitch and velocity, control signals for parameters such as volume, vibrato, audio panning, cues, and clock signals that set and synchronize tempo between multiple devices. MIDI plugs
  21. 21. Sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece. Modern computers make sampling much easier than historically possible as portions of music can easily be cut, copied, pasted and looped. Sampling is now used in many genres of popular music. Sampler
  22. 22. There are 3 stages to making a recording: tracking, mixing and mastering. Tracking is the physical act of recording the instruments. This is usually done in a recording studio.
  23. 23. A studio will have several rooms that have been specially treated to record in. The control room will be separate from this room so that none of the sounds that the engineer might make will interfere with the recording. Often there is a vocal booth, a special room just for singing or speaking. A control room
  24. 24. Different people perform different jobs in the recording environment. The artists, made up of musicians, singers, performers are in charge of knowing their material and performing to the best of their abilities.
  25. 25. Recording Engineers set up the equipment, including microphones, and run all of the cables to the various machines, making sure that everything is physically functioning properly. one way to mic a drum kit
  26. 26. Producers are usually hired to oversee the entire project. They have a vision of how the recording should sound and they coach the musicians to get the required results.
  27. 27. When all of the tracks are recorded, it is time for mixing. Mixing is where each track is manipulated so that it sounds good with the other tracks all at the same time. DAW used for mixing
  28. 28. Volume, compression, limiting, reverb, flange, chorus, equalization etc. may be applied to change the quality of the sound. When listening to a good mix, you should be able to hear every instrument clearly.
  29. 29. Once the tracks have been mixed, the tracks are sequenced, that is, put in an order. Just like a play, or a movie, the record should have a beginning, a middle and an end that makes sense.
  30. 30. Then the tracks are submitted for mastering. The mastering engineer uses software and equipment to make the different recordings of the entire record sound unified and even, none too loud or soft. A mastering studio
  31. 31. The mastering engineer also decides how long the spaces between songs should be. When this process is over, a master recording or file is made that all subsequent copies will be made from.

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