IMP Homework Episode 3: Categories of plug-in insert effects in Digital Audio Workstations
Monday, March 25, 2013 at 02:01AM
wesperdue

Summary

This is episode three of my series on music production for my Coursera class Introduction to Music Production.

Transcript

To the reviewer

This week's assignment brought to me the challenge of brevity. I'm rather familiar with each of the three categories of effects, so I quickly brushed up on my definitions of each term and started writing. When done with the first draft, I had written almost 1200 words–much too long for a five-minute podcast. It was challenging to decide what to remove. thankfully, I have the key terms section of the show notes. I moved a number of topics there to shorten the podcast transcript.

Key terms

Dynamic effects are a category of insert sound effects that control the amplitude of a sound.

Compressor: reduces the dynamic range of a sound.

Limiter: enforce an upper limit on dynamic range by reducing or clipping the amplitude of any sound that goes over the threshold.

Expander: expands dynamic range of a sound.

Noise gate: reduces to zero the amplitude of sounds below a specified threshold. Gates can be used for other things too, like ducking one sound when another is heard.

Tremolo: In sound design, tremolo is the modulation of the amplitude of a sound, usually by an oscillator. If the frequency of this modulation goes up to audio rate, it becomes complex AM, which is a form of sound synthesis.

Delay effects are a category of insert sound effects that control the appearance of sound propagation by manipulating when a sound is heard.

Reverb: simulates a space, like a small room or a large cathedral.

Delay: simulates an echo.

Chorus: simulates multiple voices from one voice.

Phaser: mixes a a signal with a phase-shifted copy to create a special effect.

Flanger: mixes a signal with a slightly delayed copy to create a special effect.

Filter effects are a category of insert sound effects that affect a sound's timbre by manipulating its frequency spectrum.

High pass and low pass filter: cuts frequencies above or below a specified cutoff frequency.

Band pass filter: a combination of a high pass and a low pass filter, it cuts frequencies outside a single narrow band (i.e., both above and below) a specified frequency.

Notch filter: cuts a single narrow band around a specified frequency.

Parametric equalizer: raises or lowers levels of frequencies at a number of bands. It has a variable bandwidth of effect for each band, often referred to as the Q parameter. The shape of the filter at each band is often configurable.

Graphic equalizer: Similar to a parametric equalizer, it raises or lowers levels of frequencies at a number of bands. However, the bandwidth of the filter is not adjustable, and the shape of the filter is not configurable.

Article originally appeared on Wes Perdue's Journal of Geekery (http://wesperdue.net/).
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