Typical Recording Signal Flow in Home Recording

Hello, my name is Cosima Ybarra and I live in Southern California.  I’ve written this post to fulfill the first assignment for the Introduction To Music Production class I’m taking online at Coursera.org.  This assignment will cover what a simple recording signal flow looks like in my “home studio” which really is a little workstation in my office at home.  My hope is that I could share this information is such a way that someone could gain a bit of understanding regarding using signal flow in a low cost but effective home recording studio.

As a voice teacher I generally record my students semester project song for their semester final.  In most cases I just run an Apogee cardioid condenser microphone into my iPad with a USB cable, use the Garageband application and then run a cable out to some commercial home theater speakers.  This simple setup works fine for my needs but it’s certainly not very professional.

Apogee microphone

Apogee microphone

iPad with Garageband

iPad with Garageband

Logitech Home Theater Speakers

Logitech Home Theater Speakers

In this assignment I hope to explain signal flow in a bit more depth.  Thanks for reading my post.  I appreciate constructive input so please share your thoughts with me… Thank you.

Introduction to Music Production – week 1

According to Wikipedia “Audio signal flow is the path an audio signal takes from source to output, including all the processing involved in generating audible sound from electronic impulses or recorded media.”

The gear from source to output in my demonstration includes:

  1. A digital Reference DR-VX1 Dynamic Cardioid Vocal Microphone
  2. A standard XLR microphone cable
  3. The M-Audio DUO (2×2 audio interface) Pro USB Mic Preamp with S/PDIF
  4. A USB cable with a device end
  5. A MacBook Pro Computer
  6. A set of Bose noise canceling headphones

The source of an audio signal in my studio generally is a voice.  The sound affects the air and creates longitudinal pressure variations that are picked up by the microphone which converts those variations into voltage variations.  The dynamic cardioid mic is designed to respond to that sound and convert it at a low amplitude but I need to use the preamp to boost that up to line level once the variations move through the balanced XLR cable and into the audio interface.  Then adjust the gain, making sure the indicator light doesn’t go into the read zone.

IMG_2204

IMG_2205

Once that’s set the signal can continue to flow through the audio interface where it is converted into a digital signal.  This stream of ones and zeros is sent to my computer via a USB cable with a device end to be processed in the Digital Audio Workstation, which in my case is Garageband.  I’ve not explored the limits of Garageband but the digital audio workstation we can make adjustments to the timbre and dynamics, mix and edit.  Once that’s completed the signal almost is ready for listening either through my computer’s audio output to my headphones or I can send the signal back to my audio interface. In either case the signal is processed through a digital converter from the stream of one’s and zeros to digital, then to my out to my headphones for my enjoyment!

 

Thanks again for taking the time to read through my assignment.

Cosima

 

 

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Filed under Gear, iPad, Tech Tips

Life happens! That means Summer Specials are on!

Hey singers! Would you like to save up to $100?

Summer is in full swing at “The Voice Box Vocal Studio.”  There’s things to do, places to go and people to see and calendars and schedules are a-changin’.  Music students are taking time off and they have been canceling and rescheduling lessons all over the place!

That means my appointment book has openings, so I’ve decided it’s time you get a great deal!  I’m running a special for the remainder of the summer for 2013 prices until September 22, 2014!

Between now and September 22 you could get as many as 10 lessons for $225 ..  That’s a $100 savings!   Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of this offer.  Spaces are limited so book your lessons before Fall begins and save your spot in my appointment book for the future.

Contact me to find out more and get this deal before it’s gone.

Mention SUMMER SINGER SPECIAL at registration to receive your discount.

Special applies to new and returning students.  Certain specials may apply to currently enrolled students.

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Filed under Music Education, Singing, The Voice Box, Vocal Lessons

“…those that ‘can’ and those that have to work at it…”

Good Thursday Vocalists!

Have you ever thought about how people who like to sing fall into two categories,.. those who can sing and those who have to work at it?  The truth is, even those who can sing need guidance.  Singing / vocal lessons are for anyone who wants to sing well.

Even the most gifted singers take lessons. Take Michael Jackson for instance.  He worked as hard at improving and maintaing his voice as he did at making great quality productions.  He had a super talent even as a child.  If you listen to his earliest childhood recordings you can identify some great singing but also some technique that needed improving and he did just that and took his voice to the highest level he was capable of.  He improved his range to about 4 octaves and sang effortlessly from F1 to C6.

I’ve often referred to the following “rare audio. In a hotel room in ’94.”  The recording was taken during a vocal session by phone with renowned Speech Level Singing creator, Seth Riggs.  Yes, even Michael Jackson appreciated the benefits of vocal lessons.

So remember, if you want to sing as good as your favorite singer, they took lessons to get that great voice.

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Filed under Singing, Speech Level Singing, Videos, Vocal Lessons, Vocal Tips

Vocal Tip: Blending Backup Vocals

Photo: Musicademy

Photo: Musicademy

“Coordination of the vocal cords takes a sense of awareness of how your voice works, vocal mechanics, and an ability to identify, isolate and control vocal function. Most singers have no idea what their voices are doing apart from training and would benefit from a few good lessons to help them on their way.

Blending in with other vocalists is a balance of lyric, tonal quality, timing, dynamic and sensitivity. Not only does a vocalist need to be flexible vocally but they must be flexible when it comes to following and mimicking genre and stylistics. Each group or band has their own style that is developed through the preferences and style of the leader or type of group such as a classical choir, barbershop singers or rock band as well as all that the individuals bring to the group as a whole. Learning to sing in a number of styles makes the backup vocalist a valuable part of the team. Any backup vocalist should know it’s important to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and be willing to devote themselves to always be improving their talent so they can be the best fit in any situation. Good luck, God bless and Sing On!”

(reposted by Cosima on an earlier post)

Visit Musicademy for more on BGV

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Filed under Lead Worship, Singing, Speech Level Singing, Vocal Lessons, Vocal Tips

When Is Enough, Enough?

How do you handle interruptions like ringing cellphones or chatty people at a gig or concert? And, when is a good time to let your audience know you care about delivering the best “show” possible? How about this…?
“At a concert in Gothenburg Concert Hall October 23, 2013, Christian Zacharias stopped playing in the middle of Haydn’s Piano Concerto, interrupted by a cell phone ringing for the second time the same concert. He also shares his views on disturbed concerts.”

The whole concert will be published at http://www.gsoplay.com in November 2013.

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December 12, 2013 · 12:46 PM

Taking singing lessons isn’t just about recitals and karaoke….

So proud to sing along side these two beautiful voices this morning. This was their first opportunity to sing together and they did great! Their blend is a bit uncanny and I can see some good stuff happening with the three of us.

I’ve enjoyed teaching Mary (center) and Suzette (far left) and being part of their vocal journey.  It brings great pleasure to watch your students grow their gifts and use them for others.

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 7.16.04 PM
There are some real opportunities to use your singing talent in more ways than recitals and karaoke!… And if you aren’t the “put on a show” type and you are part of a church perhaps singing as a worship vocalist is where your voice belongs.  The value of this kind of singing may far exceed your expectations! And, if you aren’t sure your voice is “ready” then there’s not better time than now to begin your own vocal journey.  Who knows where your talent will take you.   Sing On!

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Filed under worshipone.org/blog

Today’s Vocal Tip!

Singing Tip

Singing Tip

Good Monday, Singers! It’s good to be back after a road trip to northern cali, a funeral and a wedding I’m ready to dig in and get some singing on with all you great singers. Here’s today’s singing tip to get things started:

 

Not only is your voice your instrument but you are a vocal athlete too. Every athlete follows a training regime to strengthen, grow and perfect their technique.  Training includes not only the muscles but the whole body and mind through exercises and other factors such as diet, hydration and rest.

It’s important to consider what goes into your body uninvited. Smoke, fumes, smog and allergens all can have an negative effect on your instrument.

Having a healthy lifestyle and using wisdom and caution regarding your environment can be helpful in the improvement and safety of your voice. It’s all a matter of being a conscious singer. Be conscious of your surroundings, your diet, sleep patterns, and other good health factors and you’ll improve your options to Sing On! for years to come.

Cosima

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Filed under Singing, Vocal Lessons, Vocal Tips