Studio Basics:

Home Music Studios come in many shapes and sizes from very simple set ups to elaborate arrangements that rival professional facilities. Fortunately the budding songwriter or producer can start small and grow with time.

Let's start with a conceptual explanation of the devices that are employed:

Tascam US122L is a relatively in-expensice audio interface with dual microphone and high-z inputs.

It includes Cubase LE4 audio and MIDI music sequencing software.

Yamaha MW8CX provides a mixing desk in built pre-amps and also functions as an external USB audio interface.

Avalon Design VT-737SP is a quality microphone preamp with compression and EQ.

These are concepts rather than specific models. Often one piece of equipment fulfills more than one function for example: Audio and MIDI interface with pre-amps; Audio interface and mixer; Microphone with in-built audio to USB interface.

 

 


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For details on computers see the Computers and Music section.

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These can be sequenced as to play a particular melody and rhythm, for example a piano part or a drum groove.

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Including: Equalization, compression, chorus, delay, reberb...

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Termed a music sequencer as it plays in sequence all the various parts these can be looped or repeated as opposed to a linear tape recording.

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They often use specially written drivers (software) that makes them more reliable.

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Also supports higher bit (24) and sample rates. The novice need not dwell on this they just sound BETTER.

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'Flat' means an even reproduction of all frequencies. HI-FI speakers are often coloured giving treble and bass enhancement.

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Closed headphones usually cover the whole ear and don't let sound out to avoid spill or in to impove reproduction.

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Spill is where the sound from the speakers OR headphones is picked up by the microphone.

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The speakers need to be connected to the audio interface or mixer not the computers in built soundcard.

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A DC voltage potential usually 48v that powers the condenser microphone.

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Compression is used to decrease the dynamic range of a sound resulting in a more consistant volume level that can also make it sound thicker.

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EQ or equalization is the process of changing the tone of a sound by cutting or boosting selected frequencies.

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Vacuum tube or valve circuits colour or modify the sound usually in a desibable fashion. They add harmonics that are pleasing to the ear.

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HIGH-Z or high impedence input suitable for an electric guitar or instrument with pick-up attached.

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MIC-PRE an input that is suitable to connect from a microphone. It takes very low level signals and amplifies them.

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A mixing desk may have more than one set of audio outputs, usually selectable for each source or input.

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A mixing desk may have more than one set of audio outputs, usually selectable for each source or input.

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A bus is simply a way to get information (data or sound) from one place to another.

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Firewire: A way computers communicate with external devices, more commonly external hard drives for storage and audio interfaces.

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Universal Serial Bus: A way computers communicate with external devices such as cameras, printers and audio interfaces.

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MIDI: Musical Instrument Digital Interface allows MIDI equipped devices to communicate with each other.