Audio Recording: Sound Basics For Recording Home Music
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Audio Recording: Sound Basics For Recording Home Music

Sound Basics to Get the Best Audio From Your Home Music Studio Recording Equipment
4.0 (24 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
543 students enrolled
Created by Jim Britton
Last updated 5/2016
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Current price: $10 Original price: $80 Discount: 88% off
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 11 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Understand the principles of sound as they pertain to recording.
  • Understand and identify the Main Characteristics of Sound Waves.
  • Discover the idiosyncrasies of human hearing that can cause recordings to not sound as good as they could.
  • Give you the background knowledge you need to understand how and why sound behaves the way that it does.
  • Make better sounding recordings because you will better understand how to control sound within your recording environment
View Curriculum
  • Willingness to learn. Interest in understanding of how sounds works, especially for Home Recording

If you want to get the best sounding recordings the best place to start is by understanding the principles of sound as they relate to recording. By the end of this course, you will :

  • Understand the Main Characteristics of Sound Waves. 
  • Be aware of the idiosyncrasies of human hearing that can cause recordings to not sound as good as they could. 
  • Understand how and why sound behaves the way that it does. 
  • Make better sounding recordings because you will know how to control sound within your recording environment.

This course is put together with your understanding in mind. There are added experiential stories to help explain concepts. Creative illustrations are effectively used to illuminate points so that through a combination of sight, and sound, you can easily grasp the nuances of each lecture

There is a series of challenging quizzes that are designed to reinforce the most important concepts from each lecture as you go along. The goal is always to emphasize your understanding of each piece of the broader subject, and there are times when foundational concepts are re-visited in order to solidify your learning knowledge. Best of all you can go at your own pace!

This course is designed for YOU, the home recording hobbyist. This is the course that will show YOU how to take your recording to a higher level. Whether you are a beginner who is just learning, or a more experienced individual who wants to know more about the theory of the sound, this is the course that will help you reach your goal of getting the best sound possible. This course is also a great introduction for anyone who wants to get more serious about audio engineering in a broader sense. Completing this course is the most efficient way to gain inside knowledge that you might not ever learn on your own. They don’t teach this stuff in recording software manuals!

Who is the target audience?
  • You want to know the theory of sound so you can better sound recordings.
  • You would like to take your recording knowledge to a higher level.
  • You want to know more about the sounds that you are working with.
  • You might be thinking about getting more serious about audio engineering in a broader sense.
  • You want knowledge that you might not ever learn on your own. They don’t teach this stuff in recording software manuals!
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Curriculum For This Course
22 Lectures
1: Introduction
1 Lecture 03:40

We all have a story. Perhaps yours is not too much different from mine. Feel free to share any of your experiences in terms of how you came to be interested in sound and recording.

Preview 03:40
2: The Definition of Sound
2 Lectures 08:05

Learn what sound is, and what sound waves are so that you can better understand how to manage them. 

Preview 08:05

Graphs are a great way to create a visual representation of how one element changes in relation to another. A first introduction to the characteristics of sound waves.

4: How Graphs Show What We Hear
1 page

Quiz 1 : What is Sound?
3 questions
3: The Main Characteristics of Sound Waves
9 Lectures 49:34

A little more about my background experiences. You probably have a story of your own, feel free to share your experiences too!

5: My Story: Part 2

Amplitude is important to be aware of, as too much or too little sound will affect the quality of the recording you are trying to produce. By the end of this lecture you will have a better understanding of how amplitude affects our ability to effectively capture and reproduce sound.

6: Amplitude=Volume=Loudness

By the end of this lesson you’ll have a better idea of how to assemble all the different pieces of the audio puzzle into a mix that fits together nicely.

7: Frequency: Here's The Pitch!

Velocity: Explains the speed of sound in recording.

8: Velocity: The Speed Of Sound!

You will find as you work with audio recording that there are many opportunities for seeing visual representations of sound waves, so it will be good for you to understand how we can define what a sound wave visually looks like.

9: Wavelength....You Never Let Me Down, No....

Quiz 2: Characteristics of Sounds
5 questions

By the end of this lesson, you will learn why it is important to pay attention to how and where you set your microphones up when you are planning a recording.

10: Phase..... puts you there where things are hollow........

Separation  is important in order to minimize leakage or cross-bleed and is something we definitely want to watch out for. Find out more in this lesson!

11: Using Multiple Microphones To Capture Sound

In this lesson we talk about why it is important to maintain flat frequency response in our system in order to not interfere with the natural sounds that are produced by musical instruments.

12: Harmonics

By learning about a waveforms envelope you will learn why it important to monitor soundwaves so that we know the exact right time to fade them in or out, or even to split or cut them if they need to be edited.  

13:Envelope:..... The envelope please!

This Quiz covers the following characteristics of soundwaves:

* Phase

* Using Multiple Microphones to Capture Sound

* Harmonics

* Envellope

Quiz 3: Characteristics of Sound Part II
5 questions
The Loudness of Sound
2 Lectures 08:15

What is a Decibel? Here's where you find out!

14: Decibels......Can You Hear Me NOW?

By the end of this lesson, you will know more about the common methods of measuring the voltage strength of an electrical signal, and what happens if you don’t pay attention to how it affects your equipment.

15: Electrical Sound Waves

Quiz 4: The Loudness of Sound
4 questions
Controlling Sound With Recording Equipment
3 Lectures 10:33

Probably the single most consideration when making a recording is Setting Recording Levels. Once you have recorded something it is very difficult to affect the level of what you have down on your drive.

In this lesson, we’ll be talking about the most important considerations that you will want to make when making a recording of any sound.

16: Setting Recording Levels

A convenient indication of signal strength is represented on meters which are called a Volume Unit~ abbreviated as VU. In this lesson you will learn about sound meters that measure sound strength measured not in decibels, but in volume units.  

17: About VU Meters

In this lesson, you will learn about the Peak Program meter. Although it looks the same as a VU meter, it is able to indicate sudden instantaneous program peaks, whereas a VU meter does not.  

18: Peak Program Meters

Quiz 5
5 questions
How We Hear Sound
4 Lectures 20:46

In this lesson, we’re going to talk about how we hear Sound. Our goal here is to understand how the human ear perceives certain frequencies as being louder than others, even though in reality that may not be the case at all. It is important to know this when you are recording and mixing sounds together, so you can understand why certain frequencies are sometimes emphasized more than others when it comes to the mix down.

19: Sound...Perception is Not Always Reality...

In this lesson, you will learn about “The Fletcher-Munson Curves” which help explain some of the quirks that are unique to sound which will help you in preparing your recordings for mixdown.

20: The Fletcher-Munson Curves

In this lesson you will learn what is meant by the term “Flat frequency Response .”

21: Flat Frequency Response

In this section we’ll break the frequency spectrum down into distinct parts. That will help you be able to isolate specific frequencies that have their own unique characteristics. It will also make it easier for you to communicate with others about which part of the frequency spectrum you are working with, or trying to fine tune.

22: The Frequency Spectrum
Sewing It All Up: The Recording Chain
1 Lecture 08:51

In this lesson we wrap things up with a discussion of how sound passes through the entire recording chain.  In this lesson you will get a great overall picture of how sound passes though the recording chain!

23: The Recording Chain

This quiz covers topics from the entire course. Let's see how well you remember all the topics!

The Final Test
7 questions
About the Instructor
Jim Britton
4.6 Average rating
46 Reviews
4,060 Students
3 Courses
Honor Graduate Audio Institute of America: Audio Engineer

A little about myself and my background:

I own a home studio which I named “Music In Your Life Studios” in a small town in New Hampshire. While I never really aimed to make it to the “big time” I do have extensive experience working with music and sound production and sound recording.

Right after College, I spent several years in a couple of different a bands that played in clubs in and around Boston. (Don’t worry you’ve never heard of either one of them.) The city clubs had their own sound systems and sound engineers, so all we had to do was set up and play. While in Boston, I got my first taste of studio recording as our band also made demo recordings in two different area studios.

While we did get some minor notoriety and some sparse airplay on the radio, the real take away was that I was really fascinated by the recording process and making recordings. Ultimately, after a few years of learning how competitive the music business was, I decided I wanted to move back closer to our family’s home in New Hampshire. I changed my goal to play in bands only for fun, and to have my own home studio. I took a course in Audio Recording, and graduated as an honor student.

At the same time, I found a way to make a living combining my interests in music with my interests in sound production. I had been a DJ at my College radio station all 4 years of College, and so plagued the local commercial radio station until they hired me. Over the next few years I began to assemble the first vestiges of a home studio beginning with first a four track cassette recorder, and then graduating to 8 track reel to reel. I then moved on to 16 track Digital, and finally to the unlimited tracks that can now be had through modern recording software. (I started with Pro Tools LE, and now use Cakewalks’ Sonar.) I also gained a ton of insight in to the mechanics of sound and recording, both working at the radio station, and in my home studio.

Meanwhile I was still hacking around playing in a couple of garage bands-one big difference- was when we were playing gigs around rural New Hampshire and Vermont we had to do our own audio. SO naturally I became the sound engineer for the band, working sound at the same time as playing, which as anyone who has done it knows, can be quite a trick.

One of the opportunities our band had at the time was to play in a local Battle of the Bands competition. But, in to participate, we had to have a CD in order to enter. At that time, I was in no position to be able to pull off a professional grade recording, so off we trekked to a local recording studio that had done extensive work for professional broadcast. Once again, I got to spend a fair amount of time in a pro studio learning and watching how everything from laying down tracks to editing to mix down all worked. I continued to be fascinated…..

Ultimately the late night schlepping of equipment, low pay, cigarette inhalation, and personal dynamics of working with people who had changing priorities, put more focus on recording things at home. I did spend a couple of years playing solo gigs and doing open mikes, but that wasn’t as much fun as making my own recordings. I also made one more foray into a pro studio recording and released a single of an original song called “Miss New Hampshire” just for fun. That recording was released through CD Baby (a service some of you may already be familiar with), I later partnered with them to become a ****Certified Home Studio Partner*****

There is still one more twist to this story, and then I swear…I’ll wrap it up……! After running a successful on-line business selling music instruction materials, I eventually got into to giving music lessons to students on guitar and drums. The on-line business was soon cannibalized by former customers who became imitators, and then the big dog ....Amazon .com moved in-I had to make another shift. I moved into the world of education, and taught music at a local elementary school as a supplement to giving lessons. I also worked as a part-time recruiter at the local Community College, which eventually parlayed itself into a full time gig in the College’s Continuing Education Department. While working in Continuing Education, I developed and taught a number of music and recording related course. I also taught business classes on line for College Credit as well as providing independent studies for a couple of students-as the College did not have a music program.

All of this combined experience is what has brought me here today. Now that you know my story, it is my proud honor to share some of the knowledge that I have gained over time with you-so that you can reach for your dreams, expand your hobby, or just plain have fun learning about something you love! Let’s move on and begin to learn more about sound….