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

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