UW05-the chain


A better understanding into the hardware of recording

  1. The Good Rule

  2. amplifiers (analog dynamic range)

  3. digital audio (how the process works)

  4. the signal chain (interface & console/mixer)

  5. inserts vs sends

  6. the art of mixing

The Good Rule (this comes from an understanding of many disciplines = time = experience)

amplifiers (analog dynamic range)

noise vs saturation (distortion)

digital audio (how the process works)

  • . The “word”

    • letters vs alpha binary “bits”, words

    • bits, digital words, analog equivalent (cat)

  • Digital Basics (two components)

  • Quantization (amplitude and accuracy)

    • 24 questions

      • 8 bit = 256 steps

      • 16 bit = 65,536 steps

      • 24 bit = 16,777,216 steps

      • signal-to-error

      • basically it's about distortion or how accurate you can make the guess to be as true to the signal as possible

    • sample rate

      • basically, this is about how much information can be captured into the data stream

      • Nyquist Theorem

  • Need for Quality Conversion Techniques

    • discussion

    • interface

    • need for a stable clock (external clock?)

    • Jitter

  • File formats and rates

    • AIFF

    • WAV (most common)

    • FLAC

    • 44.1/48/96?

      • My grammy thoughts on this

    • 16bit/24bit

      • personal thoughts on this (more dynamic range)

        • Morton

  • Backup schemes (At least 3 places)

    • main drive

    • backup drive (physical)

    • off-site

      • parent's or friend's house

      • bank vault

      • cloud

  • Helpful routines

    • can be placed into the session directory

    • pictures

      • mic placement

      • equipment

    • screenshots

    • Naming schemes

      • It's important to give the soundfile a descriptive name, so that you can find it at a later time.

      • i.e. “dmh_haida_raven_20_2496_01_scotchbroom17”

    • color coding

    • mixbak directory (my word for it)

    • Documentation (Doc directories)

    • grouping and effects layout (with color)

the signal chain (interface & console/mixer)

  • The Preamp

    • raises the mic signal to a line-level signal (+30 to +60dBm)

    • allows you to adjust line-level input

    • Do you need an external mic pre?

  • the strip (either within the DAW or on the console/mixer)

    • Direct insert (pre-or post EQ)

      • tends to be amplitude-based in nature (dynamics, EQ)

      • be aware of your gain staging within the direct devices/plugins

    • EQ (a frequency-selective amplifier)

      • watch your gain levels

    • Aux sends (p 466 mrt9)

      • tends to to time-based in nature (delay, reverb)

      • insert vs. send

        • horizontal vs vertical concept

        • insert (one effect per channel)

        • send (multiple mixed channels into a single effect)

    • monitoring

      • studio monitor

        • multiple feeds/mixes to headphones

        • multiple monitor channel feeds to a remote mix box

      • CR monitor

    • main output bus

      • what is a bus?

      • watch your main gain levels

      • grouping (p 475 mrt9)

      • my thoughts on this

  • metering

    • obviously, watch your meters

      • VU vs digital

    • be careful of hidden plugins (gain staging)


  • physical

    • presonus

  • software


Here's where you can download multitrack sessions for mixing: https://behindthespeakers.com/multitrack-mixing-challenge/

Here's a session that I'd like for you all to download and mix ... Share your mixes and have fun!


the art of mixing

  • It takes time

  • Everyone is different

  • Did I say ... It takes time!

  • Automation

    • Personally, I don't use it much (except on strings)

My personal experiences

  • Much better, now that I can use my room

  • Having to take breaks

  • reading a book (interesting)

  • I am totally guilty of overthinking and overdoing my mixes (Bandcamp makes this very possible)

  • Nothing's perfect, but 4 Grammy nominations have come out of this room

  • Headphones and speakers

  • I'm always creeping up in level ... something to watch out for.

  • I like to monitor loud ... something to watch out for.

  • Al Schmitt and Bill Schnee's approach

  • Eliot's approach