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Acoustic, Analog and Digital Signals Explained

Understand how to set up digital audio via a basic knowledge of the theory of acoustic, analog and digital signals.
4.6 (4 ratings)
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714 students enrolled
Created by Max Porcelli
Last updated 1/2015
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 6 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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Audio Enthusiast: Make Better Music With Sound Card Mastery!

What an analog signal? How does the analog to digital conversion process work? What about digital fundamentals? And what is the digital to analog audio converter? And the quantization? With this course, you will be able to answer all these questions and more!

At the end of this course, you will be able to understand:

  • the differences between acoustic, analog and digital signals;
  • what is an analog signal;
  • the sampling process;
  • the quantization process;
  • bit depth and dithering;
  • the quantization noise;
  • the analog to digital conversion;
  • the digital to analog converter;
  • driver and buffer setup.

To achieve this goal, the course will start from the very beginning: we will talk about what an acoustic signal is and how it can be properly transformed, recorded and played back in a digital system through the analog to digital audio converter. I will also give you some quizzes to do to confirm what you have learned during the various sections of the course. And, if you want to go into more depth in some particular topics, a couple of external resources are also included in the course lectures.

Starting as it does from scratch, this course is intended for everybody. No requirements are needed except your musical passion and curiosity. It aims to introduce all the basic theory to understand the sampling process, the playback or mixdown of digital audio material through your digital audio card.

If you are a producer, a DJ or a musician or if you use a so called DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) like Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools, Fruity Loops or a DJ software like Traktor, Serato or Virtual DJ, this course will explain how and why some setting could or should be applied to your audio card or software configuration. However, if you are already an audio engineer, this course is not for you.

It is the very first module of all the music and DJing courses I teach so it starts from the very beginning and you don’t need to know anything about the topic to start . Basically, it introduces a conscious management of audio signals through digital devices regardless of the brand or software used. Even your smartphone is based on the theory here explained.

Generally speaking, it’s a good thing to know how an audio card works if an audio card is used during the management of digital audio content. Whether you are an audio newbie or an enthusiast or if you want a conscious knowledge of your audio card, this course is for you.

Also remember: Udemy's lifetime free access to the course and full 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. Enrol Now!

Who is the target audience?
  • Producers
  • DJs or Musicians
  • Audio and Video Creators
  • Podcasters & Broadcasters
  • DAW Users (Cubase, Logic, Fruity Loops... )
  • Audio Editor Users (Audacity, Wavelab, SoundForge... )
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
What Will I Learn?
Comprehensive Presentation Lectures
Understand the Differences between Acoustic, Analog and Digital Signals
Analog to Digital Conversion
Recording and Playback in a Digital System
Conversions and Dithering
Audio Driver and Buffer
Audio Card Setup
View Curriculum
  • No requirements are needed except your musical passion and curiosity.
  • A computer, a tablet or Smartphone with Internet
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 25 Lectures Collapse All 25 Lectures 01:15:43
Fundamentals of Acoustics Signals
5 Lectures 10:56

In this lecture we will define:

  • Acoustic Sound Definition
  • Little Note
  • Propagation Media
  • Classic Example
Preview 02:59

In this lecture we will talk about some Basic Parameters:
  • The Cartesian Coordinate System
  • Period and Wavelength
  • Periodic Waveform
  • Peak and Peak-to-Peak Value
  • The Mean Value and RMS
  • Crest Factor
Preview 03:26

In this lecture we will talk about:

  • Frequency with some examples
  • Note about frequency
  • Human Hearing Range
  • Phase
  • Fletcher–Munson curves
Frequency and the Human Hearing Range

In this lecture we will talk about:

  • Simple and Complex Sound
  • Sound Characteristics
  • Pitch
  • Loudness
  • Tone
  • Fletcher–Munson curves

I also include this link ( to a free tutorial on Fletcher–Munson curves.

Preview 02:09

Complete Acoustics Session Script Pdf
5 pages

Acoustics Signals Quiz
9 questions
Fundamentals of Analog Signals
3 Lectures 05:06

In this lecture we will talk about:

  • What is an analog signal?
  • Transduction and examples:
  • Microphone and Speakers
  • Turntable
  • Tape

Introduction to Analog Signals

In this lecture we will talk about:

  • Noise
  • Signal to Noise Ratio
  • Dynamic range
  • Distortion
Analog Basic Parameters

Complete Analog Session Script Pdf
2 pages

Analog Signals Quiz
8 questions
Fundamentals of Digital Signals - Sampling
6 Lectures 12:52

In this lecture we will talk about:

  • Digital Representation
  • Pros and Cons of Digitizing.
Introduction to Digital Signals

In this lecture we will talk about:

  • Sampling and Quantization
  • Recording and Playback in a Digital System
Recording and Playback in a Digital System

In this lecture we will talk about the Sample and Hold (time dicretization).

I also include this YouTube link ( to Wikipedia Sample and Hold description.

The Sample & Hold Circuit

In this lecture we will talk about the Nyquist/Shannon theorem (or sampling) that is the base of digitizing.

The Nyquist/Shannon Theorem

In this lecture we will talk about:

  • Antialiasing Filter
  • Aliasing

I also include this Wikipedia link ( to Moiré pattern

Aliasing and Antialiasing Filter

Complete Digital Session A - Sampling Script Pdf
6 pages
Fundamentals of Digital Signals - Quantization
6 Lectures 12:07

In this lecture we will talk about Quantization where the amplitude of the original signal is discretized into discrete numeric values (amplitude discretization).


There are many different types of quantization but for this course we will deal with linear quantization.

Linear Quantization

During the quantization process, a great deal of information is lost due to the Quantization Error.

Quantization Error

When the analogue signal is sampled, it may sometimes happen that the signal itself is unable to cross regions. A dither generator is used to mitigate problems.


Let’s have an overall look at everything we have dealt with during this section.

Topics Summary

Complete Digital Session B - Quantization Script Pdf
4 pages

Digital Signals Quiz
15 questions
Driver and Buffer
5 Lectures 11:42

In this lecture we will talk about:

  • What is a Driver
  • Latency
  • Audio Driver Types
  • A.s.i.o. Driver

I also include this external stie link ( to Asio 4 All page.

Preview 04:41

In this lecture we will talk about:

  • The Buffer
  • Buffer Size
  • Transfer Rate
  • USB vs Firewire
Buffer and Buffer Size

let’s have an overall look at everything we have dealt with during this course

General Summary and Final Conclusions

Just a little additional lecture to talk a little more about audio and digital processing.

I also include this external stie link ( to Universal Audio Plugins.

Audio Chain Plugins
2 pages

Complete Driver and Buffer Session Script Pdf
4 pages
About the Instructor
4.5 Average rating
82 Reviews
1,523 Students
4 Courses
Steinberg Certified Trainer - 989 Records A&R - HGD Resident

Max Porcelli is a Steinberg Certified Trainer, DJ, Producer and Remixer with a degree in multimedia and technological sciences. Since 2007 he's been running the Educational Division of 989Records, an independent electronic record label producing a variety of electronic music genres and working with many artists from around the globe. The aim of the division is to develop electronic music culture and all its related technologies.

Having followed more than 200 students during his educational activities, Max has become a point of reference for many musicians, DJs, producers and enthusiasts in the north east of Italy. 989Records head honcho, he started his musical career in 1989 and is currently one of the most active and chameleonic producers of the Italian electronic scene, with almost 70 singles, EP, albums and remixes already produced and published. Over the years, he has worked with Pacha Records and several important Italian labels such Rise, Absolutely, Airplane, Molto Rec, remixing artists like Inaya Day, Angie Brown (Incognito), Jocelyn Brown, Cheryl Porter, Oliver Cheatham (Room 5) and many others.

Since December 2016, Max is one of the HeavensGate Deep Radio Show Resident DJs, Showcasing everything from Deep House, Tech & Techno - Syndicated Worldwide.

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