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Synthesis and Sound Design 101

Lesson 7 of 9

The Dimensions of Audio Signal Processing

James Patrick

Synthesis and Sound Design 101

James Patrick

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Lesson Info

7. The Dimensions of Audio Signal Processing

Lesson Info

The Dimensions of Audio Signal Processing

everyone, Welcome back. Kicking off Class three. Lesson one of the intro to sound design Program It Slam Academy For this class, we're gonna be focusing on signal processing audio effects in particular for lesson one here, we're going to be breaking down the nature of sound on ah, real scientific level and then taking a look inside of our live affects wheat, our browser seeing what kind of tools we have to address these main dimensions. So I said, dimensions because sound is essentially three D and on a really low level, you have frequencies which, in a spectral analyzer, are from left to right, meaning bass mids and highs. You have amplitude which are measured in decibels and digital audio measured in negative decibels. Full scale. That's why these numbers go down in negative. This is like, how many decibels mawr of headroom do you have before you hit the ceiling, which is an absolute maximum third and final dimensions? The way I like to teach this on a really low level with sound is ...

duration because you have frequencies and you have amplitude is and then how long are these frequencies and amplitude sustaining for That's really on a super low level. The way sound is broken up as faras signal processing tools are concerned. So frequencies, amplitude and durations. In addition to those three dimensions, there's two other big categories of audio effects. Modulation tools, which are duration effects of with a very small amount of time to evoke phase cancellation and thickening and chorus ing. Those include the chorus phaser Flander, and then the final category is tambor processing tools. Those are classically in the end log, since distortion tools like tape saturation, solid state overdrive and vacuum tube distortion as represented by overdrive, saturate er and dynamic tube. But we also have other different kinds of distortion tools that fall into our tape tambor category. For instance, algorithmic wave shaping, such as the wave shaping mode that the saturate Ercan go into. That's really exciting, being able to bust up your wave mathematically to create new overtones and then, of course, digital distortion. So digital distortion includes the reduction, and also there's a couple other tools in there that consume you late digital distortion, the vocoder. The erosion is they're all tools that fall into that category. So so it takes. It's always a good idea to take a moment to break down these devices into categories. Frequency tools. The most classic of all frequency tool is the e que de que addresses frequencies across the spectrum and turns them up or down amplitude tools. The most common amplitude, attenuation, or dynamic range processing tool is the compressor. So now we have frequency amplitude and for duration. The most common tools the reverb, rive herbs and delays are your classic distortion tools, probably in one of those. And now we can address our frequency content, getting rid of the stuff we don't want our dynamic range meaning, turning up the stuff we do want. And now we can put that stuff into a space. This is a really good start on a nice signal processing rack. So to create Iraq by gluing I'm gonna wanna glue these together. I'm gonna hit command G with them all selected, and that glues them together, creating Iraq, and I'll call this Channel Street nice. So now I've got my subtracted view que my compressor, my river. Now let's move outward and add some thickness and maybe some warmth through adding modulation effects or some distortion. Turn this off and let's go ahead and make a little simple sine wave kind of plucky sound. I'll just throw in a G here something than punch a couple little percussion loops in here. See what I can do this. Thank you. Three. Getting rid of some of that ringing sound in there. Steve. Let's attenuated dynamics now. Slow attack like that. Touch already. A little bit of modulation effect in there with chorus that's adding multiple versions of this, um, thickening it up. Let's go ahead and add the course, though manually. What I'm gonna do is going to put the course before the reverb that we were reverberating thick and the chorus effect will turn the reverb off so we can hear it by itself. So last but not least now we've added our modulation effect was warm it up with some distortion. My favourite distortion effect for smooth kind of subtle distortion just for warming things up is the saturate er, I might put this before or after the reverb. Let's put it at the very end of our chain. This is just essentially like remaking the signal after it's been recorded to some tape. This Tambor effects lean heavily on clipping. So watch the little white line. It's kind of like the line in the sand. That's kind of a warning. Like when we crossed this, we're going to start getting some heavy coloration. And these are all different models. Wave shaping and digital clippings are digital models. The Wave shaper is algorithmic distortion digital clip and actually sign oId full. They're both digital distortion models, and these guys are analog. So start with analog clip. We'll drive it up into that crosshairs experiment, moving a couple of this around the strap it in the compressor down in the end. And I like that a lot more dynamics controlled on the and I'm gonna keep their That's fun idea. So, um so I think, for just driving this home. That's experiment with little parameter control that is rhythmic. There you get a chance to see me combined. Frequencies, amplitude, durations, Tambor's and all of these affect change frequency amplitude, duration, Tambor frequency duration, amplitude by added a little phaser saturated. To this, I'd have all my dimensions addressed. So that's how audio signal processing works, too. Simple clips, but with sensitive attenuation with effects processing, we've ended up with a pretty cool combination of elements that seem to fit pretty nicely. So remember to break things up into those dimensions whenever you're looking at a big suite full of audio effects and to keep things simple. Frequency amplitude, duration Tambor and modulation e que compressor reverb saturation chorus. You've got the baseline designed for every device in your whole effect chain. So keep that in mind when you're building cool combinations and let's see where let's see where we can go into. Our next lesson is looking forward to where they where we end up.

Class Description

This course is SLAM Academy's introductory offer for people who want their music to stand on its own. In Sound Design 101, we'll uncover each of the main elements of what it takes to be a cutting-edge electronic sound designer. After an explanation of analog synthesis, we'll feature demonstrations of techniques and tools for FM, granular, wavetable, physical modeling, multi-sampling, and signal processing. Students can expect personalized technique demonstrations from Ableton Live, Max for Live, U-He Instruments, Applied Acoustics Systems, Glitchmachines, Native Instruments Systems, and Eurorack Modular Synthesizer components.  



This is a great, fast-paced introduction to producing sound using various popular software choices. James Patrick is super knowledgeable and presents the material in a patient (but fast), systematic way. This course is meant to be a high-level preview of a full-blown 6-month course at Slam Academy (taken online or in Minneapolis) so the pace of the material presented here is quite fast. In other words the tone is to show you what you'll learn if you take the full course. James suggests taking this course over 3 weeks to let things sink in. A dedicated student can follow along and review the material and then practice on their own software although it takes some focus! And while much of the course is incredibly well explained, there are also some sections where James works the controls without much narrative but making cool sounds. I ended up hitting pause every 30 seconds or so during some of the key sections so I could watch what he was doing and play around with the same controls. Ultimately the way to learn the software is by getting hands-on, so when I followed along this way, I learned a ton. Great course, be aware that it is a super high level survey of a longer course but this is still absolutely packed with information

a Creativelive Student

love this course, and i like it for my liking.

Jose Freitas MElo jUnior