IMP Homework Episode 4: Dynamic range and the various ways to manipulate it.
Monday, April 1, 2013 at 04:40AM
wesperdue

Summary

This is episode four of my series on music production for my Coursera class Introduction to Music Production. I discuss the dynamic range of audio.

Transcript

To the reviewer

This one was fun. I got to talk more about my podcast, and I was able to focus on how I managed dynamics. I struggled again with time limitations; I had more content than time to cover it, so I limited my discussion to dynamics within my podcast and one creative use of compression in music production. There's so much to explore and so little time.

Key terms

Dynamic range: In a medium (i.e. something that can store or carry an audio signal), the range of amplitude from the noise floor to the maximum level; that is, the full range of representable amplitudes. In a recording, the range of amplitudes from the lowest to the higest sample.

Noise floor: The lowest measurable amplitude in a signal. It defines the lowest detectable sound in an audio signal.

Nominal level: The level a DAW or a system was designed to ideally work with.

Signal-to-noise ratio: The ratio of amplitude of the nominal signal level to the noise floor.

Maximum level: The highest signal amplitude in the system that can be produced without distortion.

Headroom: The distance between the nominal level and the maximum level.

Gain stage: A point in an audio signal path where the gain (level, amplitude) of the signal can be adjusted.

References

Robinson, George. The Ultimate Guide to Compression, First Edition, January 2013. Getthatprosound.com

Noise floor - Wikipedia
"The noise floor limits the smallest measurement that can be taken with certainty since any measured amplitude can on average be no less than the noise floor."

Nominal level - Wikipedia
"Nominal level is the operating level at which an electronic signal processing device is designed to operate."

Signal-to-noise ratio - Wikipedia

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