The basics of the electronic music studio
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THE BASICS OF THE ELECTRONIC MUSIC STUDIO. Audio Sources and Devices Microphones, Synthesizers, Tape Decks Digital Audio Workstation Patch Bay and Cables Mixing Console Playback System Power Amplifier Studio Monitors. PLUGS AND JACKS. TYPES OF CABLES.

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The basics of the electronic music studio l.jpg
THE BASICS OF THE ELECTRONIC MUSIC STUDIO

  • Audio Sources and Devices

    • Microphones, Synthesizers, Tape Decks

    • Digital Audio Workstation

  • Patch Bay and Cables

  • Mixing Console

  • Playback System

    • Power Amplifier

    • Studio Monitors



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TYPES OF CABLES

  • Shielded cables reduce hum and interference

  • One or two conductor wires, plus shield

  • Line level versus microphone level

  • Balanced versus unbalanced lines


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PLUGS AND JACKS

RCA (phono)

  • with single-conductor shielded cable: for consumer (e.g., home stereo) and some studio gear, such as cassette or CD player


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PLUGS AND JACKS

XLR connectors (male left, female right)

  • are normally used with two-conductor shielded cable. XLR connectors have three pins or sockets (male or female, you'll figure it out). Used for microphones or high-quality balanced equipment (such as DAT players). The cables are usually male to female, so they can be extended by connecting one to another. A locking mechanism requires you push down a tab to release them. Absolutely the best choice for long cable runs.


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PLUGS AND JACKS

1/4 inch phone

  • 1/4-inch mono phone (TS - Tip/Sleeve) with single-conductor shielded cable: used to connect synthesizers, electric guitars, and signal processing gear to mixing consoles. Unbalanced, so long runs susceptible to interference and ground loops between equipment.

  • 1/4-inch stereo phone (TRS - Tip/Ring/Sleeve) with two-conductor shielded cable: can carry stereo signal or mono balanced line (see below). Found at end of stereo headphone cables and used to connect professional balanced gear to a mixing console.


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PLUGS AND JACKS

XLR connectors (male left, female right)

  • are normally used with two-conductor shielded cable. XLR connectors have three pins or sockets (male or female, you'll figure it out). Used for microphones or high-quality balanced equipment (such as DAT players). The cables are usually male to female, so they can be extended by connecting one to another. A locking mechanism requires you push down a tab to release them. Absolutely the best choice for long cable runs.


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HOW A BALANCED LINE WORKS

  • Balanced equipment is typically more expensive, but is quite effective at eliminating interference.

  • Nearly all microphone cables are balanced.


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DIRECT BOX (OR D-BOX, OR DI BOX)

  • is an impedance-matching device usually used to send either an electric guitar (high impedance) or contact mic signal a long distance to a mixer (low impedance) without interference. Some active direct boxes can be powered by phantom power from the mixer


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PATCH BAYS

  • Inputs and outputs of most studio devices

  • Connected by cables, or “patch cords”

  • Vertical pairs of jacks in horizontal rows

  • Outputs on top

  • Inputs on bottom

  • “Normal Connections”



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MIXER BASICS

  • Input Section

    • Microphone vs Line

    • Tape inputs

  • Output Section

    • Groups

    • Masters

  • Routing via “Busses”

  • Monitor Section

    • Source and Level


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INPUT CHANNEL (“STRIP”)

  • Trim Pot

  • 20 dB Pad

  • Input selector (Mic, Line, or Tape)

  • Aux Send Controls

  • Parametric EQ Section

  • Bus Matrix (routing to outputs)

  • Pan Pot

  • Fader (overall signal level)


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OUTPUT SECTION

  • Individual Group Controls

    • Input from Bus Matrix

    • Fader and VU Meter

    • Pan pot

    • Patch bay connection

  • Stereo Master Faders

    • Input from Group Controls

    • Left and Right faders and VU Meters

    • Patch bay connections


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MONITOR SECTION

  • Choice of what to monitor

    • Usually, monitor main stereo mix

    • Optionally, monitor “cue mix”

  • Headphone jack and level control

  • Main monitor level control

    • Outputs on Patch Bay

    • Normalled to Amp Inputs


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GAIN STAGES

  • Goal: Maximize Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR)

  • Opportunities:

    • Original Signal (at the microphone)

    • Trim Pot and -20dB Pad

    • Input Channel Fader

    • Group Fader

    • Stereo Master Faders

    • Inputs to Tape Deck or DAW Audio Hardware

  • Use the VU Meters and watch Peak LEDs


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BASIC MICROPHONE TECHNIQUE FOR YOUR NEXT ASSIGNMENT

  • The golden rule of microphone placement is get the distance right. In general, place the microphone as close as practical to the sound source without getting so close that you introduce unwanted effects.

  • In the case of recording speech, this can result in overly accentuated consonants and unwanted “pops” or “booms”.

  • Try to keep the mic 6 inches or so from you mouth and direct your speaking slightly off-center.


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BASIC MICROPHONE TECHNIQUE FOR YOUR NEXT ASSIGNMENT

  • If a vocal mic is to close to the speaker's mouth, the audio may be unnaturally bassy (boomy, excessive low frequencies). You are also likely to experience popping and other unpleasant noises.

  • The Low Cut Filter inserts a 75Hz low cut (high-pass) filter into the channel's signal path. (75Hz is the very lowest fundamental frequency of the male voice) When you use this filter you may notice that it doesn't have any audible effect on the human voice... but it cuts off mic thumps and room rumble.


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INTRODUCTION TO PEAK PRO

  • Stereo Digital Audio Editor

  • Record, Edit, Process, Playback

  • Optimized for editing individual sounds

  • Limited mixing capability

  • Multiple file storage formats

  • Fairly Extensive audio processing capability

  • Extendible through plugins


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