I will still be adding to this guide, however I will not cover so much depth in it and instead release a more in-depth tutorial this way it will help people find what they want.
IF THERE ARE NO IMAGES it's because my image hosting site is crap and is down. Sorry :/
Hello and welcome to my extensive sound guide. In this I hope to cover everything I know about sound engineering and some other useful things as well.
If you want to become a sound engineer, or just need a guide to help you with sound creation, then this is the tutorial for you.
Sound engineering is quite an ambitious job unless you have the right personality, it is described an assertive job occupation; they apparently almost fight over contracts and work, and most of the jobs/contracts they get are from personal contacts/friends.
Why? Sound engineering is relatively easy to do, all it takes is a decent ear, a good knowledge of sound (this may include some form of qualification of physics), and a good knowledge of computers and electronics.
If you are just starting as a sound engineer then don’t expect to be recording sounds and working with computer audio editing equipment straight away…you would start off positioning acoustics. Then, with experience you would work your way up to all the work with computers, and making field recordings.
What sound engineering may involve:
• Plan recording sessions with producers and artists
• Position microphones
• Help to set up the artists’ instruments
• Set and maintain the right sound levels and dynamics
• Operate equipment for recording, mixing, sequencing
• Balance sound and add effects
• Mix tracks to produce a final 'master' track.
The average pay for a sound engineer varies from A brief word on sound engineering £15,000 ($30,000) - £40,000 ($80,000) a year.
List of audio file formats
All digital sound has a ‘sampling rate’ and a ‘bitrate’.
[Refer to appendix]
A Wave file / .Wav is the standard file used to store audio data. It allows audio to be saved with different sampling and bitrates. Wave files are often very large, due to them having little/no compression. If you are rendering music, then you should never choose .wav to save the music as, as the file will be quite large when compared to an .Mp3 file.
An Mpeg layer-3 file / .Mp3 is the second most used audio file type (next to .wav). Mpeg layer-3 just means, Mpeg layer-3 compression (as opposed to .mp2 and .mp1 file formats. This also allows audio to be saved with different sampling and bitrates. .Mp3 files are quite small in comparison to some other file types, and they are perfect for those with restricted disk space or a filesize limit to work within. An Ogg Vorbis compressed / .Ogg is quite like an .Mp3 file except it uses its own compression techniques, also it sounds better than an MP3 file of equal size. This also allows audio data to be saved with different sampling and bitrates. It is still less common than an .Mp3 file despite its obvious advantages.
Equalisation is a god-send, in both digital sound and music, (music even more so).
So what is it? Equalisation is basically the amplification or attenuation of a certain part of a sound. It uses a 'collection of frequency filters' that have the ability to reduce (attenuate) and increase (amplify) the strength of the selected frequency. In sound engineering, Equalisation is used mainly for altering certain frequencies of sounds to make them sound more realistic, although they are used for other deliberate purposes.
For example, you have recorded yourself talking, but you want to sound as if you are talking through a radio - this can be done via EQing the recording. To do this, on the graphic EQer from below you would lower points 1 & 2 to the bottom to attenuate them. You would then lower point 3 about half-way. Then you would want to raise points 4 & 5 about a quarter to half the way to amplify these points. Finally you would raise point 6 by about 1/4 of the way.If you wanted the recording to feel uncomfortable/through a bad radio, you would maybe raise point 7 to about 2/3 of the way up and raise point 6 with it. This would make the recording have a strong high-frequency level.
A Graphic Equaliser from FL Studio 9
An Equaliser from Goldwave
Here is an example of how Equalisation can improve music/a sound.
(This was made by me.)
I have equalised the drumloop, and I have made the eq 'move about'. On the FL Studio Graphic Equaliser above I increased point 4 to the top and made it move right to 5 kHz marker, and then made it move back to it original position, I did this continuosly through-out the example to make the snaredrum, snare, and hats to have that sort of sound which fades in and out effect (I explained this is plain words so people would understand).
Check this chart to see the recommended equalisation frequencies.
Dynamic Range Compression (or just 'Compression') is very important in digital music and sound engineering. The word 'Compression' in general, means an increase in the density of something. This is quite the same meaning for audio as well; basically, what compression does is make the quieter parts of some music / a sound louder
or make the louder parts quieter (which is called 'Uncompression').
Compression is commonly undervalued by most novices to sound, but its importance cannot be stressed enough. Although compression is generally a good thing, recent trends in music companies very often over-compress music. They do this so you don't have to turn up the volume when listening to the quiet parts, although it makes the music lose
lots of its clarity because all instruments are roughly the same volume.
Here is an example of how they are ruining music.
(This video was not made by me).
There are 4 main types of microphone reponse patterns:
Omnidirectional / Non-directional - These pick up sounds evenly from all directions
Cardioid - Most of the sound is recorded from the front direction of the microphone, these don't really record behind the microphone, and they also don't pick up sound at the sides that well (but not as bad as the rear).
Hypercardioid - These are like Cardiods, but they don't pick up much of the side sound, and barely any of the rear sound. They are not the same as shotguns, as in they do pick up some of the sound at the side.
Shotgun - This is essentially, quite like the same as a real shotgun, as in it picks up sound which is directly in front of it very well, and it picks up a tiny amount of sound at the side also.
1- When recording, you should try to avoid as much ambient noise as possible, you should be aiming for a clear, crisp, recording. Remember that you probably won't have the opportunity to record that exact same sound again, and you will not be able to edit ambient sound out easily if at all.
2- When It comes to positioning the microphone for recording, all it takes really is a bit of common sense. You would want to position it far away from any form of electrical equipment, because you may end up with a loud fan ambience covering the clarity of the recorded sound.
Also, you should know type of microphone you are using to help you correctly position the mic; If you are using a microphone which uses the 'Shotgun' frequency response pattern then position the front of microphone accurately in front of the sound/area you wish to record.
3- To get that extra realistic recording, you may have to perform some tasks. For example if you wanted to record a drip of water splashing in a corridor, then you might want to actually drip some water into a coke can to give it that echo/reverb which will make it sound that extra realistic. On the other hand, it make do the opposite, the coka can may make the drip sound more 'metalicky' and not as though it was in a corridor. Although, you could also emulate the reverb/echo effect slightly less successfully by adding it in artificially on computer.
4- Removing wind can be easy enough to do, but it does remove/dullen some of the ambience. To remove the wind whilst recording, Put tape tightly around the top at the side of the mic (doesn't matter what tape), then make a sort of cone with some paper or card and place it on your microphone, the bigger end should be facing the sound. This method can also be used to simulate the dynamics an ear would pick up.
As for the actual recording: getting the dynamics right can't really be explained by text, it's just something that you have to learn by experience. An example of badly recorded vocals -
Monster Mach - bad vocal dynamics (606kb).
1 - Opens a drop down menu which allows waveforms to be generated. E.g. white noise.
2 - Opens a drop down menu which allows effects to be generated to the selection. E.g. Bass boost
3 - Allows the input volume of the microphone to be change (whilst recording).
4 - The undo and redo buttons
5 - Allows the playback volume to be changed (in audacity only)
6 - The selection.
7 - Changes the selection into silence.
8 - Removes everything around the selection
9 - The timeline. 1 = 1 Second, 0.5 = 1/2 Second.
10 - The left and right volume heard through the microphone.
11 - The left and right volume heard from the sound being played.
12 - Scrolls you to the end of the sound.
13 - Stops the playing of the sound.
14 - Pauses the playing of the sound.
15 - Records from the input. E.g. the Microphone
16 - Plays the sound. Hold [shift] whilst clicking to continuously play it.
17 - Scrolls you to the beginning of the sound.
18 - The right channel of a stereo sound.
19 - The left channel of a stereo sound.
20 - The name of the sound.
21 - Opens a drop down menu which allows you to perform several functions to the sound. E.g. Change the sound to a 16/24/32 bit sound.
22 - 'Solo' button, which plays only that sound (in audacity).
23 - Changes the volume of the sound. (Not only in audacity)
24 - Changes the panning. E.g. you could make the sound louder to the right side.
25 - Information about the sound, such as whether it's Mono or Stereo, it's sampling rate, and it's bitrate.
26 - Mutes that sound.
27 - When you export/save the sound, it will be this sampling rate.
Digital sound is either going to have been made in three ways; making the sound from nothing on the computer, recording the sound (and probably editing it), and mixing together/editing other sounds/recordings.
In this tutorial I will show you how to make sound from these three methods.
Sound from scratch
I will show you step-by-step how I created a simple heartbeat-like sound
...and after a little clearing the file up we have this:
Sound by recording it
Sound from mixing/editing other sounds
Amplify means to increase/raise the volume of a sound.
Attenuate means to reduce/lower the volume of a sound.
Bitrate is the rate at which bits are transferred from one place to another. E.g. 400 Kbps (kilobits per second) or, 59 bps (bits per second), etc. A higher Bitrate can effect the quality of a sound file. For example, an .Mp3 file that is compressed with 200 Kbps will have a higher fidelity than an .Mp3 file that is compressed with 100 Kbps.
Boost means to increase/raise the volume of a sound.
Clarity means exactly the same as it normally does - It just means how 'clear' the sound is, if there is a lot of interference or loud bass which blocks out other parts, It is not clear. This may be desired with some sounds, however the majority of sounds and recordings you will want to be clear.
Clipping is when a sound/music has been amplified too much and there is a horrible fizzing/clicking sound where the parts which go over the 'edge' of the sound wave area. Here's an example:
Decibel / dB is how strong/loud the sound is. 0 dB is not audible (able to be heard), 65 dB is the average loudness of a conversation, 100 dB is the audacity of a motorcycle. 140 dB or over is quite likely to cause hearing problems, even complete deafness, even with short exposure to it. Check this Decibel comparison chart to get more examples.
Dynamics means the position of the microphone at the time of recording which has altered the recording
Fidelity means the accuracy of the sound file compared to its recorded sound. In other words, how much alike the recorded sound, sounds to the original sound. Think of a photo, the higher the resoloution of the photo, the better quality it is, fidelity basically means the 'resoloution' of the sound.
Field recording means any recording which has been done outside of the studio, usually field recordings are of nature sounds.
Reverb is how 'roomy' the sound sounds. Example: (the first one is without reverb, the second one is with reverb)
Sampling is the conversion of analogue sound (sound that is not computer-generated) to digital sound (sound files on computers and etc). To best describe this, using a microphone to record your voice is sampling it, this means that the microphone is taking millions of ‘snapshots’ of your voice and rendering it on the computer. The sampling rate means the amount of snapshots it takes. The average sampling rate is 44, 200 kHz (44, 200 samples every second.) Vocals means a voice (or voices) which has been recorded for music / media, nothing more to it :)