Audio Production

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What is Audio Production?

 

Audio Production is the art of capturing or recording sound to a storage device for later retrieval in order to satisfy certain acoustical and physical characteristics of the human ear.   Resulting in the reception, transmission or reproduction of sound.

Audio Production consists of a number of areas as shown in the Audio Production flow chart below.  The home page has links to each of these areas and explains in detail their function. Feel free to browse around the various pages.    

 

                

 

Hard Disk Drives like those found in Personal Computers are used for Digital Audio Recording and have all but replaced Magnetic Tape used on Reel-to-Reel tape machines.  The process involves ADC and DAC - Analog to Digital Conversion and Digital to Analog Conversion.  Requiring specialized Audio Equipment, a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) or DSW (Digital Studio Workstation).

Once committed to Hard Disk Drive, the stored information (.WAV) is later retrieved and is capable of being transmitted and then detected by the audible listening range of the  human ear  - 20 to 20,000 hertz.  Audio Production can also be thought of as Sound Recording or Sound Production. The end result of this process being the creation and manufacture of products that translate audible information or sound to the listener.  The availability of Audio Products such as CD (Compact Disc) wouldn't be possible without  - Audio Production.  

 

 

 The Audio Engineer

 

The Audio Engineer is the professional person who makes Audio Production possible and is the first step in the Audio Production process. The Audio Engineer has the experience and training in the production and manipulation of sound.  An Audio Engineer is sometimes designated as a Sound Engineer or Recording Engineer. These titles are found listed in the credits of many commercial music recordings. 

The Audio Engineer has the expertise to design an appropriate acoustical environment, is accomplished in the various methods of microphone placement, has the ability to manage the entire audio recording process and offer advice regarding the achievement of a certain sound. 

A typical Audio Engineer knows Audio Equipment intimately and is usually found behind an Audio Desk or Console in a Recording Studio or Project Studio. However, sometimes the Audio Engineer can also take on the role of Producer. This dual role is not uncommon these days as smaller studios are able to achieve professional results without the costs associated with large recording facilities. 

 

    

Live Sound Recording or Studio Recording?

 

LIVE Sound Recording

Live Sound Recording is as the name suggests usually a recording done in a LIVE setting. In Audio terms this usually means a setup and dismantle  situation. All equipment must be brought to the location, setup ready for use and then disassembled and taken away.  

It is important to note that in recording terms a 'LIVE Sound Recording' might include unexpected Audio material i.e. crowd interjection, rumble, hum or unexpected noise,  making some unwanted audio difficult to edit out of a LIVE mix.  'LIVE Sound Recording' doesn't offer the same isolation properties found in a 'Studio Recording' and as such it is difficult to obtain highest quality audio results. However, sometimes the general vibe of a 'LIVE Sound Recording' is a much desired result and can give the listener the sense of being there!  A typical LIVE situation for example might be that of an Outdoor Concert, Battle of the Bands, Public Address, Live Shows, to name a few... 

 

Studio Recording

Unlike Live Sound Recording;  Studio Recording is typically a hardwired facility that has been specially designed to meet the specific demands of the Audio Engineer or Acoustician.  A well designed Recording Studio is the best way to achieve a professional result and should provide not only acoustic isolation but also areas where sound can be controlled to the satisfaction of the Audio Engineer. A well designed studio can record bands and artists, music for television, voiceovers, movies, commercials, and/or even record a full orchestra.

 

The Studio Recording Process (A condensed version)

Audio Production must start with some idea and in this case must involve sound.  This sound can be that of a musical idea or musical instrument, voice, experimental music, industrial sound or those sounds found in nature.  To make things easier let's use a vocal group as an example.  In this instance there are four vocalists, they arrive at the studio eager to lay down some Audio tracks using a DAW or DSW  - The Multi-track recorder!

 

When we say Multi-track Recorder or Audio Tracks each vocalist is given their own part,  microphone and corresponding Audio Recording Track. For those of us who are musical we are trying to achieve a four part vocal harmony.  Each microphone in this case can be recorded to its own separate audio track - We'll call these Vocal Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4.   Remember:  "Audio Production is the art of capturing or recording sound to a storage device for later retrieval" (See: What is Audio production?). 

Because there are four vocalists with their own parts, recorded through four microphones and on four separate tracks,  we now have a Multi-track recording.  A Multi-track recording can consist of two or more audio tracks and can often exceed 24 tracks.  However, in this case we are only using four tracks.

Now that the four vocalists have been recorded to their own separate Audio Tracks via the Multi-track process and the various effects have been added, it is time to apply mixing techniques to these vocal recording tracks. 

The term 'Mixing' is used here  because we can adjust the Levels, EQ add Effects to each vocalist individually and mix the audio tracks in such a way that the vocal parts are best served.  By definition "Audio Mixing is used for sound recording, audio editing and to balance the relative volume, frequency, and dynamic content of a number of sound sources".

Once Audio Mixing has been achieved the process usually requires that these four tracks and most multi-track recordings for that matter be mixed down to two tracks in preparation for Pre-Mastering. At this point Mixing and Mastering have a close association.  For more on Mastering it would best to go to our Mastering page.  DVD-A or DVD-Audio can use more than two tracks and is the exception to this rule. However, at this point in time DVD-A isn't as popular as the standard Audio CD or MP3.  

 

Three Degrees of Preparation

Before entering into a recording contract or agreement there are a few things that you must understand beforehand. 

 

Preparation:

In order to prepare you will need to at least have some idea of what you want to achieve in the Recording Session.  If you are a band for example,  you need to decide as a group what you all want out of the recording, you may need Song Charts, Lyric Sheets and approximate Song lengths.   Are there Copyright issues that need to be addressed first? Are your instruments serviced and ready? Are you ready?

Recording sessions can take hours and days, make sure everyone is committed,  willing to arrive on time, ready to take on the task,  and above all work hard.   If possible provide a basic recording of the source material to the Audio Engineer.  This doesn't need to be anything special, just a sample of what you plan to record. 

 

Practice:

One thing you do not want to do in a Recording Studio is practice, that will cost you your recording time and recording time has associated costs... 

In fact, before you even think about going into an Audio Recording Studio, you must have rehearsed your work to perfection. Mixing, adding effects and Mastering a song can take a while, so you do not want to waste time by going to the Recording Studio unrehearsed.  Don't expect the Audio Engineer to perform miracles, accept your level of talent. If you meant to play a G and played an A# don't blame your instrument or the Audio Engineer.  

 

Shared Vision:

It should be the vision of all involved in the Audio Production process that the best outcome be achieved. Mutual respect is a key ingredient in any Recording Session.  People get to know each other quite well and may end up forming new industry contacts and create opportunities in the process.  Learn to get along and above all keep a positive attitude.  

Collectively achieve the purpose!

 

 

    Winyard Productions 

 

By now you should have at least a partial overview of what Audio Production involves. Winyard Productions is equipped to offer both LIVE and/or Studio Audio Production. Our Digital Audio facility can cater to some of the most demanding Audio Recording and Audio Production situations.  However, the bad news is that we have a range of established clients and don't usually offer Audio Production facilities to the general public. For this reason our only contact is via Email or Post Office Box. 

You have most likely arrived at this website because you have already had some contact with our Audio Engineer and have already entered into some agreement or contract - We welcome you!  If you've found us by other means please feel free to Email us via our Contact Us page!  This isn't an invitation to advertise via our Email address and attempts to do so are considered highly offensive unless this involves a written request.  Also our logo is a Registered Trademark so please talk to us before using it. 

Now that you've read our Audio Production page may we also suggest that you read our Mastering and CD Production pages as these pages will help you understand the whole Audio Production process! 

 

 

  

Winyard Productions is a Registered Trademark