Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

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31

'Gain' just means 'amount of amplification'. It can be applied at various stages in the signal chain between musical source and final playback. The topic we're talking about is called 'Gain staging'. It basically means that at EVERY point where amplification takes place we should strive to keep the signal above the noise floor but below the overload level....


17

Since the different instruments are not producing the exact same waveforms perfectly phase aligned, there is not nearly a 6 dB boost when the number of instruments playing the same part is doubled. It’s more complicated than that. The doubling has two effects: first, there is a volume increase, and as some instruments are quieter than others, this can ...


15

In amplification jargon, all volume changes are described by the term "gain", where gain is the ratio of the input and output signals. In a lot of modern amplifier design, there are effectively 2 separate "gain stages" where signal amplification is performed: the input, or "preamp" stage, and the output or "power" stage. The input stage amplifies the ...


14

The only thing that matters is if the sample sounds good. You have to listen to it and decide whether you want to use it. No numbers or waveforms or analysis programs are going to tell you whether the sound is good. But be aware a sample that sounds good by itself might not sound good in a mix, and other sounds that work well in context might sound bad when ...


13

With a USB soundcard. If you don't need a microphone input, there are several pretty solid USB soundcards in quite affordable price range with line-level inputs to be had on the second-hand market. Just make sure that the driver situation with your PC is good. "Class-compliant" cards with USB 2.0 "high speed" connection are the best bet for stuff that is ...


12

This has been a raging debate for the past 30 years or so. There has been a healthy competition between the two platforms in an effort to corner a large segment of the market share. In the beginning, Macs targeted the creative artsy types and the platform had features and benefits specifically geared to favor musicians and photographers and graphic ...


11

In short, as @Some_Guy suggested, making a small time dilation might work. Shazam made music recognition possible by generating "sound fingerprints" of small portions of an audio segment, and compare these fingerprints with those recorded in its database. To get rid of the recognition system, you have to make sure that any audio segment with the same ...


10

Apparently the AES wondered the same at some point and did this study: http://lsbaudio.com/publications/AES_Latency.pdf They had a sample comprising of different instrumentalists give a subjective grade to a monitoring system configured with a certain amount of latency, While the title says "in live sound monitoring" if you read it you'll see that the in-...


8

Electrical engineer here. Gain is the ratio of the output signal magnitude to the input signal magnitude of an amplifier. In idealized circuits, as you turn the gain up, you increase this ratio and the signal's gain increases and it gets louder. Or you reduce the ratio and it gets softer. No distortion occurs. However, in the real world, even well-designed ...


7

One thing that no one has mentioned yet (I think) is the audio driver. On Windows, to get multiple audio drivers you either need to use the windows driver, which in general doesn't work very well with DAWs, has more latency and limited multi-device options, or use ASIO4ALL which allows you to combine the inputs into one device and work with low-latency, at ...


7

In brief, certainly one reason for multiple instruments in unison is to achieve greater total signal (sound) power output. In detail, 1) Two instruments will not add coherently, so the power ratio is additive, i.e. 2 are roughly twice the power (in linear units), three produces 3X the (linear) power. If they were coherent, the peak power would be 2^(...


7

It's as I said in the comment: Gain is referring to the input, volume to the output. Volume is how loud the OUTPUT of the channel or amp is. It controls loudness, not tone. Gain is how loud the INPUT of the channel or amp is. It controls tone, not loudness. https://www.musicianonamission.com/gain-vs-volume/#targetText=Conclusion%3A%20Gain%20Vs%20Volume&...


6

Should I buy an audio interface to support my AT2020USB mic? Is it necessary to buy it... If you keep the existing microphone, than no. The primary purpose of an audio interface is to convert an analog signal into a digital one. Because your microphone is a USB mic (and USB cables carry a digital signal) there is already an analog-to-digital converter ...


6

The best way to record an amp like that would be to put a mic in front of it and connect the mic to the interface. The second best way would be to use a speaker simulator/DI that can be inserted in between the speaker out of the amp and the speakers, and then the XLR out from the speaker sim/DI would be connected to the interface. It does not seem to have ...


6

While the ultimate indicator of quality is what sounds best. If you're looking for the "cleanest" sound, there are a few things you should look for. Typically, you want to find audio files in unaltered formats - though it comes at the cost of dramatically larger filesizes. These are audio formats (both compressed and uncompressed) that store the audio data ...


6

The audio buffer ("ASIO buffer", if you happen to use ASIO) is a memory block, which is filled by the audio software and handed over to the driver software for outputting. It's like a factory that produces things in batches of different sizes. In this factory, there's fixed amount of work that has to be performed for each batch (buffer), regardless of the ...


5

Yes, in a way it would indeed be "easier", as long as there is a line output on the amp. The reason for using a microphone when recording an amplified electric guitar is that the speaker is a significant part of the sound, not to mention the room (although to a lesser extent). Even the microphone is part of the sound! (Of course you don't have to use a ...


5

Their documentation at http://www.lilypond.org/doc/v2.18/Documentation/learning/accidentals-and-key-signatures (in the section Warning: key signatures and pitches) states key signature only affects the printed accidentals, not the note’s pitch! It seems that Lilypond equates a note name with a particular pitch - you have to add the relevant suffix ('es'...


5

I have previously referred to this as "The holy grail of the misinformed". It cannot be done. You cannot un-bake a cake. You may have some small success at removing/isolating anything in the centre by phase-reversing the two sides... but then, of course, you have the sides out of phase, which is to say the least, uncomfortable to listen to. See Sound ...


5

I can see two solutions. 1) not using the inbuilt speakers. Add monitor speakers instead (speakers aimed at the musicians, with a mix helping with the performance). It is not unusual to want to monitor as example the singer as well, same monitor speakers can be used. 2) get a knowledgeable person to resolder one of the headphone outputs so that it does not ...


5

While everyone is rightfully emphasizing that the sound is, at the end of the day, the only important metric, there are still a few basic technical things to look out for: Lossy vs. lossless: given the choice, you always want lossless WAV, FLAC, AIFF, etc. (See @Flying Soda's answer for more details.) Stereo vs. mono: Some things, like kicks, snares, or ...


4

I'm not sure if I know the sound you're talking about, but I can say one thing right off the bat: Your mix is extremely loud. I think what you're hearing is distortion caused by some combination of over-compression and actual clipping of the waveform at the top. If you're using some kind of mastering plug-in, back that off and leave some crest factor and ...


4

I would like to share my thoughts as they relate to your question about iOS touch to sound latency and "(virtual or MIDI) musical (instrument) practice or performance?" I must assume that your primary interest is - latency as it relates to iOS musical instruments and devices or other "virtual and digitally produced musical sounds (MIDI) during "practice or ...


4

I find that using an electronic drum kit to add live drums in a home studio recording a great way to go. First of all, a live drummer will give your recording a more organic flavor and feel - and sound "real" and less processed than strictly using a drum track or digitized samples. And although an acoustic kit properly mic'd can sound even more ...


4

Among the many cases I had to deal with something mic-related failing (most often cables or stands, but also microphones themselves, including the sturdy SM58), I can't recall ever having problems with a worn out mic clip. Some mic clips are rubbish and have been right from the start; these would likely have failed if I'd used them for longer, but a good ...


4

You might even get a signal through with just a single-core cable, no screen, where a cable connects two items of mains-powered equipment (and are in a country civilised enough to provide an earth connection on all power outlets.) Like a telegraph system - there was only one wire, the return was the Earth. But we often use single-core plus shield. The ...


4

I think this is a case where the terms 'note' versus 'tone' are important, and scientific pitch notation can help make things clear. When the term 'note' is used we really should be talking about notation, something written on paper or its equivalent. A 'tone' is a more abstract idea, basically it's just a pitch, a frequency. The tone C4 is 261 Hz. If two ...


4

I was reading something that mentioned playing the same octave of two notes on different instruments but having them at different frequencies. Is that possible? There are a couple of senses in which this statement could be true: As per Michael Curtis' answer, there are transposing instruments where the notated note is a number of semitones different to the ...


4

There are no real indicators like that. Of course, in general you could say for example, that .wav files are higher quality than .mp3 or that during the production phase 24 bit may be better than 16 bit etc., but who actually tells you, that this is the original file? If someone downloaded a 240p youtube video and converted the terrible audio file into ....


4

Other answers have given some information about the technical considerations of the audio format, and pointed out that one primary consideration is of course "is this the sound I want?". There are also some other considerations that affect how easy it will be to get a good quality result: Loopability of the whole file: If the sample represents a sound like ...


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