Audio Solutions

 

So what are audio solutions and what are their key features?

High-quality audio systems are essential to ensure effective analog, digital, tape, disk, and memory recording. These features provide effective audio solutions for users. Most audio systems have all the essential features like the microphone, speaker, and controller to help facilitate all kinds of audio solutions in an event. Audio Solutions takes into account all varying needs of all its users in respect to the above items.

Audio Solutions: Systems

Analogue Audio

When an individual speaks into a microphone, a signal is transferred from his/her mouth in the form of air pressure. This pressure passes into the microphone and is converted into an electrical signal. This is the definition of an analogue signal. The electrical signal travels through the wires and into an audio jack on the mixing console. Generally, an analogue mixing console is used to manipulate and transform these signals into their respective audio. The signal is then transmitted to other devices for further alteration and manipulation. Devices such as amplifiers help boost the sound and allow it to travel through a wire and to the speaker. From the speaker, the electronic signal is converted back into air pressure. Sounds long and complicated right? But this entire process of the signal going into the microphone and coming out as sound from speakers is completed within milliseconds.

Digital Audio

Currently, many companies are manufacturing digital microphones. This includes the same process as the analog microphone where once you speak into the microphone, the voice is converted into an analog signal. Once this analog signal reaches the mixer, it is again converted into a digital signal. This newly converted signal is known as Binary – which is the language used by computers to process and function the data. This new signal is completely different in the interface as opposed to the analog signal – since here you require software to manipulate instead of knobs and faders. Thus, to provide ease and a similar interface, many digital consoles also come with faders and knobs.

However, with the growing advancement, you no longer require faders and knobs to manipulate a digital signal. It can be easily manipulated to whatever output is required which is later reconverted back to analog. This signal will be re-converted either with the help of the amplifier or the mixer before sending it off to the speakers. This is because Human ears can only interpret analog signals, therefore the final output from the speakers is always analogue. One important difference to also note is that while analogue travels without delay, there is an unavoidable amount of latency involved with digital mixers. This latency (delay) is caused by the conversion processes between digital and analogue and can be measured typically in a matter of milliseconds.

Audio Solutions: Speakers

Active Speakers & Studio Speakers

Active speakers, also commonly known as powered speakers come with an inbuilt amplifier. YOu can easily connect them to any audio signal without the need for an external amplifier. The advantage of an active speaker is that it is compact and simple. The disadvantage being its reduced reliability and the need to supply power to each unit individually ( basically 2 cables for 2 speakers.)

Frequency range: 20 Hz–200 kHz

Passive Speakers

They require a separate amplifier. This will split the signal and send each band directly to the speakers. The advantage is that it is more flexible and it allows for upgrades without replacement of the other components. If required, you can also replace the component with a temporary one. The disadvantage is that you will also need to choose speakers and an amplifier that is compatible in terms of their power ratings and impedance. Furthermore, there is a greater potential for signal loss over long distances.

Frequency range: 250–4000Hz

Studio speakers

Studio speakers or monitors are set up in an enclosed and designated area. They are dedicated speakers which recreate the recorded sound without adulterating it. For example, recording studios, filmmaking studios or home studios are those spaces where you can set up your studio speaker. They are engineered in such a way, that they help to project sound over a short distance without distorting its frequency. They commonly benefit recording engineers by providing them accurate music mixing experience without adulterating the sound.

Frequency range: 20 Hz–200 kHz

Subwoofer Speakers

Subwoofers have the special function to enhance the low-frequency sound of the loudspeakers. Initially, in 1960, they were used for adding bass effect to home stereo systems. But gradually with time, they found use in Movie theatres, concerts, and Nightclubs.  Their main purpose is to enhance the low-frequency sounds by mixing them with HIgh-frequency bands.  YOu can find it in both active as well as Passive forms.

Frequency range: 20–200 Hz

Audio Solutions: Controllers

When you work with a control surface, your sequencing experience completely changes. It provides the feeling of a standalone multitrack recorder with access to much more functions.

YOu can even play around with the filters, resonance, and envelopes with the knobs on the control surface. You can even include many tweaks in your song with the help of the controller. Compared to an analogue mixer it would be equivalent to working with 100 hands. These can include not only volume and pan but subtle things like slowly shifting the phase on a phase shifter while your guitar track plays, gradually increasing the reverb on the vocal in a chorus.

Audio System Controllers

Small Control Surface

YOu can easily plug it into any computer near your keyboard and mouse. It is small in size, therefore, it is ideal for personal recordings. This type of control surface consists of a single fader or knob, transport control, selection, pan, solo and mute. Many manufacturers are also looking into the idea of the automated fader and wireless options. These options are available in the market currently but are rarer as compared to the standard.

Desktop Control Surface

A large control surface provides greater control and more features than a small control surface. Therefore, you will be able to have multiple tracks at once and can also specify each fader to control individual tracks. It facilitates greater editing, control and manipulation of your audio tracks. Typically, it will come with controls to navigate your software interface and switchable mode of operation. The set-up is rather simple and straightforward. Advanced controllers enable you to work with your own programmed templates. This will help you create more enhanced and better-customized work.

Audio Solution: Features of Audio Systems

Track faders

You can adjust the volumes with the help of track faders. These are the key element required for achieving a well-executed mix.

Mute and Solo buttons

These buttons help with mixing and get tracks to blend well together to achieve your desired audio. Mute buttons help turn off the sound of particular audio while the solo button helps zero in on one particular audio. These buttons and features are key to ensure you achieve your desired outcome.

Record-enable buttons

Record enable buttons are rather self-explanatory. They allow recording of certain audio both new and existing.

Track rotaries

Each channel may have a rotary, or rotaries, that are assigned different roles depending on your software’s current operation mode. A reverb is applied to the track to adjust and control the effect. Rotaries are some of the most powerful, yet hardest-to-use features of a control surface. Generally, a mixing console would dedicate a rotary for each control. Rotaries are shared across many functions, and sometimes across tracks. This is one of the areas where many control surfaces compromise.

LCD display

LCD Displays generally perform several roles and resides above the channels depending upon the software used. At times it is also used as an alert box on a computer screen to provide a message or feedback to the user. Other times it shows the names of settings assigned to things like rotaries and their current values.

Transport controls

Most control surfaces feature a dedicated set of buttons to control recording and playback. The play button starts playback. Pressing it again either pauses or stops playback, depending on the software application. Fast Forward and Rewind move the playback position rapidly through the song.

Audio Solutions: Systems Available in Market

Mackie AXIS system

http://mackie.com/products/mackie-axis

Tascam TEAC system

http://tascam.com/

Audio Microphone

Wired Microphone

They are used to transmit a signal to perform communication functions usually via a cable. The advantages of a wired microphone are that it is generally cheaper and more reliable. Thus the individual does not have to worry about frequency or battery-related issues. The disadvantage is the inconvenience of the cable being attached. Should the individual be required to move about, the cable may hinder or restrict their movement.

Wireless Microphone

They use Wifi or Infrared technology to communicate among microphones. The advantage of a wireless microphone is the freedom of movement and the avoidance of cable problems. For example, if the cable becomes faulty due to stress, changing the entire cable may be a lengthy process. The disadvantages are that there may be certain specifications regarding the range of the microphone and the control unit. Usage life of the microphone is also subject to the constraint of the battery life. There may also be possible interference from other radio equipment/microphones. Models with many frequency-synthesized switch-selectable channels are now quickly becoming more popular and cost-effective.

Lapel Microphone

A lavalier microphone or lavalier, also known as a lapel microphone is a small microphone used for television, theatre, and public speaking applications in order to allow for hands-free operation.

Wireless lapel microphones are less conspicuous and will help your subject feel more comfortable. They can be clipped onto the user’s clothing and still be able to receive crisp and clear sound without the need to hire a crew to follow the user. It comes in two pieces, a transmitter, and a receiver. The optimal place to put the microphone is in between the chest and throat. However, other areas can also be used depending on the type of microphone used and its specification. Too low and you may have to turn up the levels in your audio recorder which will pick up more room noise. It’s a good idea to start with the microphone about 8 inches below the user’s chin and then adjust it as necessary.

The receiver plugs into your audio recording device and makes sure it’s turned on.

The transmitter and receiver should have matching frequencies since they talk to each other wirelessly. The frequencies should be landing between -12 to -6 decibels.

Audio Systems Available in Market

Shure: SM93

To minimize wind noise in SM93, it is supplied with – A Sew-on mounting bracket along with a mounting block with an attached tie bar and an acoustic windscreen is supplied.

The SM93 is supplied with a sew-on mounting bracket, a mounting block with an attached tie bar, and an acoustic windscreen to minimize wind noise in outdoor applications. It is also supplied with a dual mounting block with an attached tie bar.

  • Subminiature lavalier design; ideal size for theatre, television broadcasting, video, film, and sound reinforcement
  • Small, inconspicuous mounting hardware
  • Full, clear sound comparable to larger microphones
  • Smooth extended frequency response with presence rise specially tailored for chest-worn microphone operation
  • Controlled low-frequency rolloff reduces low-frequency clothing and room noise
  • Low distortion, wide dynamic range
  • Versatile mounting accessories allow a variety of low-visibility applications
  • YOu can pocket, strap or clip the Preamplifier assembly to your belt or waistband.
  • Omnidirectional condenser
  • Frequency response: 80 to 20,000 Hz

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