Understanding Acoustics

acoustics

With every turn of the knob on a mixer or mastering tool is also a certain application of acoustics with the recording. If you can grasp the acoustics of recording and how it works with the development of your particular sound, you will also have more capabilities in recording and how you are able to portray the audio sounds that you are creating.

Acoustics begins with the vibration of air, or in some instances, an electronic device. With natural acoustics, the air moves through a certain compartment, such as an instrument or the voice. The more the vibration of the air moves, the more sound it is able to create for the instrument. This is what leads to the sound waves, which are more re-creations of the vibration of air that is moving through the space that it is in.

The vibration of air is what causes various acoustics to respond in a given space. It is also the simple concept of air vibration that leads to specific ideals about how to set a recording studio in order to take in the right sounds to record. Understanding how to control acoustics becomes the basis for setting up a recording studio as well as the main concept in controlling sounds as they are recorded.

When a sound is made through an instrument, it has a variety of levels of air that it hits and causes to vibrate.

When a sound is made through an instrument, it has a variety of levels of air that it hits and causes to vibrate. At one level, we hear this as a note that is played through the sound. However, the acoustics can take on different capacities in producing different sounds that are not heard.

The first sound that is produced comes from the environment in which the sound is played. If the room is larger, has further ceilings and is spacious, the sound will bounce against the walls. This will cause the sound to move faster, become louder and to resonate throughout the area. For recording, this is why the walls are deadened and smaller spaces are created. If there is the echo effect in the song, it can begin to sound like the beats are off.

Another way in which acoustics change the sound is through resonance. This is when the vibration of the sound is heard, even when the note is no longer being sung or played. This resonance can continue to move as long as the vibration of air continues to hit the particular area. Most of the time, resonance will be a filtering off of the initial sound as the vibration of air continues to slow down. In recording, this resonance is also muffled through the sound proof rooms in order to create a clearer sound.

The last part of acoustic sounds is the concept of overtones. Even though we only hear one note that is being played or sung, this is not the only note that is in the air. Acoustics create a vibration of sound waves that continue to resonate and vibrate at different levels. These will be pitches that are created above the original pitch, with specific spacings in the pitch. While they are not heard, they still create an effect on the ear with the sound vibration that moves through the air. This also makes a difference in recording, as the overtones can create a different effect and can be recorded as a wave file. This may cause differences in peaks as well as basic sounds that are heard in the piece.

With the understanding of these acoustic ideas is also the ability to control it within the recording studio. Each of these areas are ‘sound proofed’ at certain levels. This is to allow the audio to move into the recording area as a pure wave file, which will then stop the acoustic sounds from muffling, echoing or changing the sound that is intended to be heard in the recording.

When defining acoustics and recording, there are a variety of perspectives to consider that relate to sound waves and how they work. By understanding these perspectives, you can create a recording area that is more conducive to muffle certain acoustics and to let others resonate through the air.

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6 Replies to Understanding Acoustics

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