Audio Recording Basics: The Ins and Outs of Signal Flow

Audio Recording Basics: The Ins and Outs of Signal Flow

Rick Brunetto
rbrunett@capital.edu
Capital University

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Music Production

Level:

High School

Class:

Music Technology

Equipment:

Basic analog recording mixer, or PA mixer or software based recording such as Pro Tools, Digital Performer, Garage Band, Cakewalk, Logic, microphone and speakers.

Duration:

60 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

For software based instruction students should have basic knowledge of computer skills. For hardware based instruction no prior requirements.

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
MENC 7: Evaluating music and music performances.

Materials:

Right click to download the PowerPoint presentation

computer, projector and screen, blackboard, recording or PA mixer

Objectives:

Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of signal flow in the audio mixing process. By understanding how a signal routes from a source (microphone) through various stages of amplification to a recording device and back to a monitoring system, these basic steps can be applied to any mixer. These techniques can be used both in the live PA and recording process.

Procedures:

Use powerpoint to show diagram of signal flow.

(20 min. ) Identify the main components of signal flow on a basic mixer including:
1. mic/line input switch
2. preamp
3. EQ
4. input fader
5. bus and pan assignment
6. output fader
7. monitor volume
8. aux sends

(10 min) Connect microphone and establish signal through above components. Demontrate 5 step process for students to remember with the acronym AIOPM

A- Assign an input to an output path
I- Input fader raised to 0
O- Output fader raised to 0
P- Preamp adjusted to optimum signal on record device or inut meter
M- Monitor volume raised to desired listening level

In a software based environment some of these steps may not be necessary. Explain how routing in software is similar to analog but monitoring process is different as software is always in mix monitor mode.

Evaluation:

Have students one at a time follow the AIOPM process and establish a signal on a recording device. After students are comfortable with process have them tested by creating a signal in a predetermined time length, 5-7 minutes.
Deduct points when students are stuck or need instructor input.

Follow Up:

Demonstrate aux sends for headphone and effects

Items to Purchase:

It is highly recommended that a basic analog mixer be available for this demonstration. Most schools have a PA mixer that can be used for this purpose.

When budget should be submitted:

 

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