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Sound FX

Book Description

FX introduces today's up and coming musician to the fantastic creative potential of the most popular instrument today- the home studio. Explaining the basic and advanced signal processing techniques used in professional music production (EQ, compression, delay, reverb etc), using real world popular music examples and an emphasis on the perceptual results and musical value of these effects, FX teaches the Recording Musician how to achieve professional production standards and maximise their creative potential.

The accompanying website www.soundfx-companion.com includes audio exaples of FX featured in the book.

Features:

A chapter dedicated to each key effect:
Distortion Equalization
Compression and Limiting Delay
Expansion and Gating Pitch Shift
Reverb Volume
More than 100 line drawings and illustrations.
Accompanying website featuring examples of all FX covered in the book.
Discography of FX at the end of each relevant chapter.


From the Sound FX Intro:

The most important music of our time is recorded music. The recording studio is its principle musical instrument. The recording engineers and music producers who create the music we love know how to use signal processing equipment to capture the work of artists, preserving realism or altering things wildly, as appropriate. While the talented, persistent, self-taught engineer can create sound recordings of artistic merit, more productive use of the studio is achieved through study, experience and collaboration. This book defines the technical basis of the most important signal processing effects used in the modern recording studio, highlights the key drivers of sound quality associated with each, shares common production techniques used by recording engineers with significant experience in the field, references many of the touchstone recordings of our time, and equips the reader with the knowledge needed to comfortably use effects devices correctly, and, more importantly, to apply these tools creatively.

Table of Contents

  1. Front Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. Acknowledgements
  8. Introduction
  9. Section 1: Sound — Signals, Systems, and Sensation
  10. Chapter 1: Audio Waveform
    1. 1.1 Medium
    2. 1.2 Amplitude versus Time
      1. 1.2.1 Amplitude Confusions
      2. 1.2.2 Time Implications
    3. 1.3 Amplitude versus Distance
    4. 1.4 Amplitude versus Frequency
    5. 1.5 Complex Waves
      1. 1.5.1 Square Waves
      2. 1.5.2 Sawtooth Waves
      3. 1.5.3 Triangle Waves
    6. 1.6 Decibel
      1. 1.6.1 Logarithm
      2. 1.6.2 Ratios
      3. 1.6.3 References
      4. 1.6.4 Zero Decibels
      5. 1.6.5 Negative Decibels
    7. 1.7 Dynamic Range
    8. 1.8 Sound Misconceptions
      1. 1.8.1 Mistaking the Message for the Medium
      2. 1.8.2 Don’t Picture These Sketches
  11. Chapter 2: Signal Flow
    1. 2.1 Types of Sessions
      1. 2.1.1 Basics
      2. 2.1.2 Overdubs
      3. 2.1.3 Mixdown
      4. 2.1.4 Live to Two
    2. 2.2 Console Signal Flow
      1. 2.2.1 Channel Path
      2. 2.2.2 Monitor Path
      3. 2.2.3 Split Console
      4. 2.2.4 In-Line Console
    3. 2.3 Outboard Signal Flow
      1. 2.3.1 Parallel and Serial Processing
      2. 2.3.2 Effects Send
      3. 2.3.3 Insert
    4. 2.4 FX Decision Making
      1. 2.4.1 FX Procrastination
      2. 2.4.2 FX Assertion
      3. 2.4.3 FX Undo
      4. 2.4.4 FX Innovation
  12. Chapter 3: Perception
    1. 3.1 Preconscious Listening
    2. 3.2 Audible Sound
      1. 3.2.1 Masking
      2. 3.2.2 Masking Reduction
    3. 3.3 Wishful Listening
  13. Section 2: Amplitude Effects
  14. Chapter 4: Distortion
    1. 4.1 Distortion of Amplitude
      1. 4.1.1 Harmonic Distortion
      2. 4.1.2 Intermodulation Distortion
    2. 4.2 Sources of Distortion
    3. 4.3 Motivations for Distortion
    4. 4.4 Distortion Dos and Don′ts
    5. 4.5 Selected Discography
  15. Chapter 5: Equalization
    1. 5.1 Spectral Modification
    2. 5.2 Parameters for Spectral Modification
      1. 5.2.1 Frequency Select
      2. 5.2.2 Cut/Boost
      3. 5.2.3 Q
      4. 5.2.4 Multiband EQ
      5. 5.2.5 Take Away the Q
      6. 5.2.6 Take Away the Frequency
      7. 5.2.7 Take Away the Knobs
      8. 5.2.8 Some Knobs Are Switches
      9. 5.2.9 Shelving EQ
      10. 5.2.10 Filters
    3. 5.3 Applications
      1. 5.3.1 Technique
      2. 5.3.2 Fix
      3. 5.3.3 Feature
      4. 5.3.4 Fit
      5. 5.3.5 Special Effects
      6. 5.3.6 Audio Ear Training
  16. Chapter 6: Compression and Limiting
    1. 6.1 Parameters
      1. 6.1.1 Threshold
      2. 6.1.2 Ratio
      3. 6.1.3 Attack
      4. 6.1.4 Release
      5. 6.1.5 Make-Up Gain
      6. 6.1.6 User Interface
    2. 6.2 Technologies
      1. 6.2.1 Tube Compressors
      2. 6.2.2 Optical Compressors
      3. 6.2.3 VCA Compressors
      4. 6.2.4 Digital Compressors
    3. 6.3 Nominal Application: Dynamic Range Reduction
      1. 6.3.1 Prevent Overload
      2. 6.3.2 Overcome Noise
      3. 6.3.3 Increase Perceived Loudness
      4. 6.3.4 Improve Intelligibility and Articulation
      5. 6.3.5 Smooth Performance
    4. 6.4 Advanced Applications
      1. 6.4.1 Altering Amplitude Envelope
      2. 6.4.2 Ambience and Artifacts
      3. 6.4.3 De-Essing
      4. 6.4.4 Distortion
    5. 6.5 Advanced Studies — Attack and Release
      1. 6.5.1 Definitions
      2. 6.5.2 Visualizing Attack and Release
      3. 6.5.3 Parameter Interdependence
      4. 6.5.4 Program Dependence
      5. 6.5.5 Pumping and Breathing
    6. 6.6 Learning Compression — Some Personal Advice
      1. 6.6.1 Unnaturally Difficult to Hear
      2. 6.6.2 Hype and Hyperbole
      3. 6.6.3 Imitation
      4. 6.6.4 Multiple Personalities
    7. 6.7 Achieving Compression Success
    8. 6.8 Selected Discography
  17. Chapter 7: Expansion and Gating
    1. 7.1 Increasing Dynamic Range
    2. 7.2 Parameters
      1. 7.2.1 Threshold
      2. 7.2.2 Slope
      3. 7.2.3 Attack
      4. 7.2.4 Release, Fade, or Decay
      5. 7.2.5 Hold
      6. 7.2.6 Range
    3. 7.3 Applications
      1. 7.3.1 Expansion
      2. 7.3.2 Noise Gating
      3. 7.3.3 Gating Through Waveform Editing
      4. 7.3.4 Gating
      5. 7.3.5 Keyed Gating
      6. 7.3.6 Ducking
      7. 7.3.7 Envelope Following
      8. 7.3.8 Tremolo
    4. 7.4 Selected Discography
  18. Chapter 8: Volume
    1. 8.1 Volume Controls
      1. 8.1.1 Faders
      2. 8.1.2 Pan Pots
      3. 8.1.3 Mute Switches
    2. 8.2 Volume Applications
      1. 8.2.1 Balance
      2. 8.2.2 Ideal Level
      3. 8.2.3 Ideal Faders
      4. 8.2.4 Automation
      5. 8.2.5 Cross Fades
      6. 8.2.6 Fade Out
    3. 8.3 Selected Discography
  19. Section 3: Time Effects
  20. Chapter 9: Delay
    1. 9.1 Source of Delay
    2. 9.2 Signal Flow
      1. 9.2.1 Basic Features
      2. 9.2.2 Modulation
    3. 9.3 Long Delay
      1. 9.3.1 Calculated Delay
      2. 9.3.2 Echo
      3. 9.3.3 Support
      4. 9.3.4 Slap
      5. 9.3.5 Emphasis
      6. 9.3.6 Groove
    4. 9.4 Short Delay
      1. 9.4.1 Constructive and Destructive Interference
      2. 9.4.2 Comb Filter
      3. 9.4.3 Early Reflections
      4. 9.4.4 Inevitable Combinations
      5. 9.4.5 Flanger
    5. 9.5 Medium Delay
      1. 9.5.1 Double Tracking
      2. 9.5.2 Chorus
    6. 9.6 Experimental Sessions
      1. 9.6.1 Experimental #1
      2. 9.6.2 Experimental #2
    7. 9.7 Summary
    8. 9.8 Selected Discography
  21. Chapter 10: Pitch Shift
    1. 10.1 Theory
      1. 10.1.1 Pitch Recalculation
      2. 10.1.2 Fixed Delay
      3. 10.1.3 Accelerating Delay
    2. 10.2 Applications
      1. 10.2.1 Side Effects
      2. 10.2.2 Special Effects
      3. 10.2.3 Surgical Effects
      4. 10.2.4 Obvious Effects
    3. 10.3 Selected Discography
  22. Chapter 11: Reverb
    1. 11.1 Reverberation
      1. 11.1.1 Key Parameters
      2. 11.1.2 Reference Values
    2. 11.2 The Need for Reverb Devices
      1. 11.2.1 Multitrack Production
      2. 11.2.2 Isolation
      3. 11.2.3 Creative Microphone Technique
    3. 11.3 Sources of Reverb
      1. 11.3.1 Room Tracks
      2. 11.3.2 Acoustic Reverberation Chambers
      3. 11.3.3 Spring Reverb
      4. 11.3.4 Plate Reverb
      5. 11.3.5 Digital Reverb
    4. 11.4 Reverb Techniques
      1. 11.4.1 Sound of a Space
      2. 11.4.2 Non-Spatial Applications
    5. 11.5 Selected Discography
  23. Section 4: Applied Effects
  24. Chapter 12: Basic Mix Approach
    1. 12.1 Mix Challenge
    2. 12.2 Global Effects
    3. 12.3 Special Effects
    4. 12.4 Kick Start
    5. 12.5 Back Beat
    6. 12.6 Get Down
    7. 12.7 Chug On
    8. 12.8 Key In
    9. 12.9 Speak Up
    10. 12.10 Go Solo
    11. 12.11 Do It All
  25. Chapter 13: Snare Drum FX
    1. 13.1 Sound
      1. 13.1.1 Possibilities
      2. 13.1.2 Goals
    2. 13.2 Recording
      1. 13.2.1 Close Microphones
      2. 13.2.2 Overhead Microphones
      3. 13.2.3 Room Microphones
    3. 13.3 Signal Processing
      1. 13.3.1 Equalization
      2. 13.3.2 Envelope
      3. 13.3.3 Image
      4. 13.3.4 All of the Above
    4. 13.4 Summary
    5. 13.5 Selected Discography
  26. Chapter 14: Piano
    1. 14.1 Mother Instrument
    2. 14.2 Defining the Piano
    3. 14.3 Effects
      1. 14.3.1 Spectrum
      2. 14.3.2 Image
      3. 14.3.3 Envelope
    4. 14.4 Outside the Box Behavior
      1. 14.4.1 “Acoustic” Piano
      2. 14.4.2 Digital Piano
    5. 14.5 Summary
  27. Chapter 15: Automated Mix
    1. 15.1 Unautomated Mixing
    2. 15.2 Automated Mixing
      1. 15.2.1 Faders and Cuts Automation
      2. 15.2.2 Everything Automation
      3. 15.2.3 Snapshot Automation
    3. 15.3 Mix Modes
      1. 15.3.1 Write or Read
      2. 15.3.2 Write: Absolute or Relative
    4. 15.4 Automation Strategies: Organizing the Infinite Options
      1. 15.4.1 Phase I: Balance
      2. 15.4.2 Phase II: Signal Processing
      3. 15.4.3 Phase III: Cuts
      4. 15.4.4 Phase IV: Rides
      5. 15.4.5 Phase V: Tweaks and Special Effects
    5. 15.5 Playing the Instrument
      1. 15.5.1 Practice
      2. 15.5.2 User Interface
    6. 15.6 Caveats
      1. 15.6.1 Master the Gear Before It Masters You
      2. 15.6.2 Resist Temptation
      3. 15.6.3 Save Often
    7. 15.7 Summary
  28. Bibliography
  29. Index