31 Hz Pink Noise
distant waterfall
63 Hz Pink Noise
thunderous wind, close waterfall
125 Hz Pink Noise
distant jet, distant thunder, warehouse sliding door
250 Hz Pink Noise
close jet or inside airliner
500 Hz Pink Noise
jet taking off, distant roller coaster
1 kHz Pink Noise
stadium crowd, car on wet road, vacuum cleaner
2 kHz Pink Noise
car wash water sprayer
4 kHz Pink Noise
air hose, pouring sand
8 kHz Pink Noise
sizzling grill, escaping steam
16 kHz Pink Noise
tropical rain, water sprinkler, shower
31 Hz Music
Low Kick, Thump
63 Hz Music
“Boomy” end of mix
125 Hz Music
Low bass
250 Hz Music
Instrument Fundamentals, High Bass, Low acoustic Guitar, low snare
500 Hz Music
1st instrument overtones (instrument boosted, but not naturally)
1 kHz Music
Mids, nasally, telephoney
2 kHz Music
brightness, presence, instrument character
4 kHz Music
brittle, edgy, “rattles my fillings”
8 kHz Music
crispness and clarity
16 kHz Music
“air,” high cymbals, acoustic guitar pick scratch, shakers
MIDI Qualities as compared to Digital Audio

Performance Event Data

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Sound Quality Depends on External Sources

Flexible Data Structure

Parts can be individually altered

small storage demands

playback requires synthesizer

limited reproduction of nuances

Digital Audio Qualities (as compared to MIDI)
Sampled-sound data Sound Quality inherent in data inflexible data structure parts not easily separated large storage demands playback requires D/A hardware perfect reproduction of nuances
Simple Project Studio Setup
Computer goes to MIDI Interface and Audio Interface
Audio goes to mixer (which is connected to the sound module)
MIDI Interface goes to MIDI Controller and to Sound Module
Typical Production Process
MIDI sequencing
Record MIDI sequences to digital tracks
add live performance tracks
Order of History of Music Tech

Edison Phonograph

Player Piano


Magnetic Tape Recording

LP Record

Moog Commercial Synthesizer

Switched on Back

Memory Help Music History
Every Pianist There Made Me Switch Back
Edidson Phonograph
Player Piano
Magnetic Tape Recording
Moog Commercial Synthesizer
Switched on Bach
Direct to Disk Recording***
Higher Quality with no degradation
random access, more efficient production
virtually unlimited tracks
inexpensive, reusable, portable media
Digital Audio Workstation!
Direct to Disk Recording***
Graphical Editing Interface
Digital Signal Processing
Share sessions over digital networks
affordable, cost effective recording solution
facilitates integration of visual elements
easy export/ conversion to alternate digital formats
ProTools Specs
Audio ProTools Spec
Digital Samples from 16bit 44kHz up to 24 bit 192 kHz
up to 192 playback tracks, unlimited virtual tracks
digital real editing
MIDI protools spec
256 midi tracks
event performance data
external sound modules or internal sound synths
Recording mixing protools spec
complete mix control over signal routing, effects processing, dynamic faders, and automation control
store entire session for instant recall
share sessions with other users
ProTools Edit Modes
Shuffle Slip Spot Grid
Shuffle Mode
changes you make effect other regions on the track
Slip Mode
changes you make do not effect other regions on the track
Spot Mode
places regions at precise locations
Grid Mode
Regions Snap to nearest time increment specified by Grid
ProTools Track Types
Auxiliary Input
Master Fader
Audio Track
import/ record/ edit of digital audio
MIDI track
import/ record/ edit of MIDI data
Auxiliary Input
used for audio routing, such as effects send or a sub-mix
Instrument track
combines function of MIDI and aux input into single track
master fader
controls overall level of the audio tracks
Sound Fundamentals
Series of compressions and rarefactions
shape of the sound; from simple sine wave to jagged and complex
height of wave; larger = higher volume
cycles completed per second (hz); higher it is the higher the pitch!

Children hear between 20Hz and 20kHz

Nyquist Theorem
2x the samples per cycle

20 kHz frequency= 40kHz sample rate

higher frequencies require higher sample rates for accurate reproduction (avoids aliasing)

Sample Rate
discrete snapshots
higher the sample rate= better approximation of original sample
Bit Depth
useful dynamic range of music/speech is 40- 105 db = 65 db.
each sample assigned it’s closest amplitude value
4 bit= 16 different numeric amplitude values
Dynamic Range
8 bit = 48 db
16 bit= 96 db
24 bit = 144 db
Sampling and Bit Depth Tradeoffs
Higher sample rate and greater bit depth improve audio quality but at a cost:
Larger sample rate = more data
Higher bit depth = more bits
What does higher sample rates and bit depths equate to
larger files and session sizes
greater storage requirements
higher system performance requirements
1 min of audio storage sizes:
16bit/48kHz stereo : 11.4 MB

24bit/28kHz stereo : 17 MB

compilation of 16 bit words
8bit 11khz mono audio file
8 bit 22khz mono audio file
22 KB/sec
8 bit 11khz stereo file
16 bit 22khz mono audio file
44 KB/sec
16 bit 22kHz stereo file
16 bit, 44khz, stereo audio file,
176 KB/sec -> Redbook Audio CD
three types of microphones
dynamic condensor and ribbon
dynamic mike
rougher response
rugged and reliable
not sensitive to environment
handle high volume w/o distortion
good for guitars/drums/some live vocals
preferred for live events
condensor mike
wide, smooth frequency response
detailed sound, especially highs
great low frequency response
sensitive to transients (but you have to be careful)
good for acoustic instruments, studio vocals
can be mini
ribbon mike
warm, smooth quality
good alternative mike to complement condensor mike
Controls of the Mixer
master fader
aux sends
audio signal going in
audio signal going out
allows inserting of device directly into signal path
sends (aux send)
allows sending of signal to external device
returns (aux return)
allows return of signal from send to mixer
Why edit music?
conform to visuals, timing restraints
seamless looping or length extension
creates “alt- mixes” without having to go back to mix stage
goals of music editing
not an itunes sample!

capture essence of original
get to hook or melody quickly
timing is critical; no room for overshoot
natural beginning/natural ending
maintain energy and momentum to very end

generate signal, usually you can choose the wave type

in a synth

remove unwanted frequencies much like an equalizer (VDF filter in Korg)

in a synth

envelope generators
in a synth

create the attack and release of the sound (VDA- variable digital amplifier)

low frequency oscillator
creates vibrato
sound envelope
adsr curve
attack decay sustain release

sound envelope

multiple concurrent voices (notes)
single voice (note) at a time
receives unique data on each channel, allowing it to function as multiple instruments
MIDI stands for
musical instrument digital interface
What does midi do?
communicates performance data between computers, synthesizers, drum machines, controllers, digital mixers, processors, etc

even used for live performance control of multiple instrument settings, external devices, lighting, etc

Devices connected via midi cables
5 pin “DIN”
midi in
from controller
midi out
to sound module
midi thru
passes midi data to other devices w/o affecting it
How many channels per port?
16!!! interfaces can have multiple ports
MIDI Event Examples
note on- note off
key pressure (after touch)
program change
pitch bend
song position
Typical MIDI Set Up (begin with keyboard)
MIDI Out of piano to MIDI In of sequencer
Out of sequencer to midi in of sound module 1
midi thru of sound module 1 to midi in of sm 2
midi thru of sm 2 to midi in of sm 3
midi thru of sm 3 to midi in of drum machine!
General MIDI or GM is what?
specification for synthesizers which imposes several requirements beyond the more abstract MIDI standard. it attaches certain interpretations to many parameters and control messages which were left unspecified in MIDI, such as defining instrument sounds for each of the 128 program numbers
GM allows what?
allows portability of MIDI files across different platforms while retaining fundamental essence of the performance!!!
What else ab GM?
24 voices to be active at the same time
responds to note velocity
support all 16 channels simultaneously
supports polyphony!
LP Record
First DAW
MIDI specs in what year?
ProTools launched in
To Find how much data a time is in MB?
time * 60sec/min = seconds

seconds * 176 KB/sec (because of 16 44) = KB

1024 KB = 1 MB

KB * (1 MB/ 1024 KB) = Data in MB

How a dynamic mic works
coil of wire attached to a diaphragm suspended in a magnetic field

sound vibrates the diaphragm, coil vibrates, generates electric signal

how a ribbon mic works
thin metal foil/ribbon suspended in a magnetic field
sound waves vibrate ribbon and generate electric signal
how a condensor mic works
conductive diaphragm and metal back plate, charged with static electricity

sound waves vibrate diaphragm, varies space between plates, changing capacitance, which can be detected and translated into electric signal

Two types of condensor mic
true condensor


what if my condensor mic is not working?! *gasp*
requires battery of phantom power (48 volts DC)
what is synthesis?
a process which combines together two or more pre-existing elements resulting in the formation of something new
types of synthesis
physical modeling
additive synthesis
combines sine waves
subtractive synthesis
filter sawtooth waves
what if i want a basic midi/daw set up?
basic daw set up with a cord from the midi controller to audio mixer
GM Advantages
portability across multiple platforms
small file size
allows for real time control
allows for collaborative composition
facilitates production cycle during early “exploration” phase
MIDI setup picture
studio setup picture
Storage Req for 16 bit 44 kHz. (in MB)
10 MB
Storage Req. for 24 bit 48 kHz (in MB)
16.4 MB
Storage Req for 16 bit 96 kHz
22 MB
Storage Req for 24 bit 192 kHz
66 MB
8 Bit Dynamic Range
48 dB
16 bit Dynamic Range
96 dB
24 bit Dynamic Range
144 dB
Amplitude signal processors
Compressors, Limiters, Expanders, Noise Gates…
Pitch or Frequency signal processors
EQ, Pitch Shifters, Harmonizers
Time Signal Processors
Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Flangers
Compressors are what and what do they do?
an automatic level control

raises low levels, reduces highest
keeps the average level more uniform and consistent
prevents clipping
makes vocals easier to hear
drums sound fatter
bass/guitars, more sustain

Compression Ratio
ratio of change of input level to output level 2-1 ratio: every 2dB change in input = 1dB change in output
input level (dB) that compression takes effect. Higher threshold, less of signal affected
Attack time
time this compressor takes to react to input signal

long one- larger peaks may pass before gain reduction

short one- compressor may miss peak

Release Time
time it takes for compressor to return to unity after signal has past

short one responds well to music dynamics

input allows reduction of hot input signals; output allows for “makeup gain” (making up for gain reduction of compressor)
keeps peak signals from exceeding preset level; compression ratio: 10-1 or higher; fast attack; high threshold
Noise Gate (expander)
on-off switch that reduces noise during pauses

reduces gain when signal falls below preset threshold

compresses only high midrange frequencies that contain “S” or “T” etc.

mainly used on vox

used to trigger one channel off another

djs use this

EQ process frequencies:
process of enhancing desired frequencies and reducing unwanted frequencies

helps mixes to be cleaner, reduce “mud”, give each instrument their place in the audio spectrum

reduce unwanted noises such as hums or room noise

Low-Pass Filter
graph looks flat down right
High Pass Filter
up left, flat.
Band Pass Filter
Up left, flat, down right
band-stop (notch) filter
space adjuster; adds sense of room acoustics, ambience or environment

creates natural environment since most music is experienced in reflective space

Type or Algorithm (reverb parameter)
simulate reverb pattern of specific room
Decay (reverb parameter)
duration of reverb effect
Pre-Delay (reverb parameter)
early reflections
HF Cut or Damping (reverb parameter)
sets amount of room absorption
Diffusion (reverb parameter)
sets amount of room scattering
Mix (reverb parameter)
ratio of direct sound to reverb sound
Echo Parameters are:
Depth and Rate
Delay (echo parameter)
time between original sound and echo
Mix (echo parameter)
ratio of original and effected sound
Feedback (echo parameter)
number of repetitions
Depth and Rate (echo parameter)
modulation for chorus effect
a short delay time (15 to 35 ms) is modulated causing delayed signal to bend up and down in pitch
Direct and delayed signals are combined with slight, modulating delay (0-20ms) causing phase interference
General Applications for Ableton
live performance, real time triggering of audio clips, sketching out musical ideas for alternate arrangements

warping audio
key triggers

Monitoring System
monitor mixer
power amps
listening environment
flat frequency response is desirable

+/- 4dB between 40Hz and 15kHz

Low distortion
total harmonic distortion under 3% (THD)
higher is better
High: 93 dB/W/m;
low: 85 dB/W/m
Speaker Placement
Equilateral triangle with the proper height.
Power Amp
too much power better than too little

distortion: under .05% at full power

short thick conductor (16 gauge or less) cables to connect

Unbalanced Cables
single conductor surrounded by a shield; 1/4″ TS- Phone Jack; RCA connector
Balanced Cables
two conductors surrounded by shield

Rejects hum better, especially over long runs.

expensive; 3pin XLR; 1/4″ TRS (tip ring sleeve)

Consumer audio cable
rca connector
Guitar Cable
1/4 ” TS
Effect Insert Cable
1/4″ TRS -> Split 1/4 ” TS
Mic Cable
balanced XLR
MIDI Cable
5 pin DIN Connector
Speaker Cable
2 conductor “lamp/zip” cord
S/PDIF Cable
digital audio signal over analog video cable with RCA jacks (consumer version) dual channel over single cable
digital audio signal over analog XLR cable (professional version) dual channel over single cable
WAV format
Standard PC format, now widely used for proaudio. PCM (pulse code modulated), usually 16bit, 44-48khz, but supports higher bit depths and sample rates.


AIFF format

Audio Interchange File Format; standard Mac audio file format.  Slowly being phased out.

SDII format
Sound Designer II; Digidesign proprietary format. 16bit, 44-48khz, mono/stereo, lossless. Formerly the primary sound file format for Mac based PT systems, now not widely used.


RAW format
Also a PCM format but with no header information. Rarely used except for dedicated applications where file format is predetermined.


BWF format
Broadcast Wave Format; developed by European Broadcast Union as a successor to WAV. Used primarily for multi-track TV and Film production in Europe. Allows metadata in header.


MP3 format
MPEG Level 1 Layer-3. Variable compression rates, usually 10:1 or higher. Most prevalent internet audio format.


WMA Format
Windows Media Audio. Comparable to MP3 in quality, used for both streaming and download. Includes DRM (Digital Rights Management) functionality and lossless version


RA/RM Format
Real Audio/Real Media. Similar to WMA in quality and function. Once the internet darling, now being eclipsed by AAC/WMA


MPEG-4 Audio Format
Supports different codecs, but AAC most common. Based on Quicktime, adopted by iTunes, high quality and DRM, now one of most widely used formats (MP4/M4A)


AU Format
Standard audio file format used on Unix, Sun and Java applications. Can be uncompressed but usually compressed using u-law, a-law, G729


LPCM Compression Codec
Linear Pulse Code Modulated. Uncompressed, lossless. Sample rates of 48-96kHz, 16-24 bits.
Dolby Digital Compression Codec
AC3. Lossy, multi-channel digital audio. Output bitrate from 64kbps up to 448kbps, typically 5.1. Used on almost all commercial DVD releases.
MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 Compression Codec
Multichannel, lossy compression, bitrate from 32kpbs to 912kbps, 384 kbps typical. Alternative to AC3 for DVD Video.
MP3- CBR/VBR Compression Codec
Constant Bit Rate, Variable Bit Rate. Proprietary, so requires royalty payments!
AAC Compression Codec
Advanced Audio Codec. Part of MPEG2 and MPEG4 spec, generally better quality than MP3. Multichannel support, usually ~320kbps for 5.1. Used in iPod, Sony Playstation, Nintendo Wii, HDTV.
ALAC Compression Codec
Apple Lossless Compression Codec – Stored in MP4 container (much like AAC), usually with file extension .m4a. Typically 2:1 compression. Files can be decoded with no loss of audio integrity.
FLAC Compression Codec
Free Lossless Audio Codec – Similar to ALAC but open source and…free. Similar compression ratios.
OGG Compression Codec
Ogg-Vorbis. Some say better quality than MP3. Open source, license free, often used by indy or personal sites
DTS Compression Codec
Digital Theater System. Optional, multichannel, lossy, compressed format w/ typical data rates of 754kbps up to ~1520kbps for 5.1. Targeted mostly at theater presentations, though compatible with home systems.
ABR (Average Bit Rate)
Type of compression

average amount of data transferred per unit of time

CBR (constant bit rate)
type of compression

the rate at which a codec’s output data should be consumed is constant; not the most efficient; best for streaming!

VBR (variable bit rate)
type of compression

vary the amount of output data per time segment; allows for higher bit rate (more storage space) to be allocated to the more complex segments of media files while less space is allocated to less complex segments

produces better quality to space ratio than CBR

takes more time to encode, and not always compatible with target playback

who knows?
who cares