The signal flow is one of an essential notion in the success of recording. Recording studio signal flow has been the most important concept that will help in keeping the session stress-free and well-focused music production. When it comes to an ultimate recording experience, understanding and planning out the signal flow for the recording session would be something a lot rewarding.
Additionally, your strong understanding regarding the signal flow helps speed up troubleshooting process. So when problems do arise between the source and the output of your studio, saving you and your musician’s time must be the first thing to come to mind. This can only be done by considering how the signal flow really works and how it begins its journey. Sometimes, it is not good to rely on to the service-based industry where money always matters.
Wonder what happens to the sound once it enters the microphone or other recording equipment? This article will give an explanation to it.
How the Signal Flow is defined
A signal flow or an audio signal flow is defined as the path an audio signal is being taken from the source to the output. The concept is closely related to the concept of audio gain staging where each component of the signal flow can be thought of as a gain stage. A gain stage is considered a point of an audio signal flow when a music engineer makes alterations to the level of mixing console, fader or DAW.
The signal flow is usually short and simple, when it comes to the typical home stereo systems, as it only comprises of a few components. In recording studios and performance venues such as concert, however, the signal flow is quite complicated. The signal flow engages with a large number of components in which each of them can cause the signal to fail. In this case, it won’t be able to reach its desired output.
Knowing how each of the components work is important to understand how the signal flow is doing its business in the recording studio. Though understanding each component becomes increasingly difficult as the system size and complexity increases, there would always be an explanation that eases the complexity of the situation, something that will blow your mind.
The Flow of the Signal Flow
Before the signal flow begins its journey, it first begins its life at the sound source in which it comes with a transduction stage. The process of converting one energy type into another type is called a transduction. For example, when setting up a microphone, it takes the sound waves from the sound source. What happens then is that it converts the sound waves into an electric current in which the conversion is done through the process of transduction.
So, once the audio signal is being converted into an electric signal, the signal will then be sent to the console preamps. The flow does not remain on the preamps as the preamps are used to change the impedance to strengthen the signal to line level. The line level is also the optimal operation level for most professional paraphernalia. When the signal reaches the console preamps, it will flow to the Analog/Digital Audio Interface or A/D in which the signal flow converts the analog signal to a digital signal in order for the DAW to read and process information.
This is the reason why once you have processed the data within the Digital Audio Workstation, the signal is being converted back to an analog signal. It will be sent back to the faders, not to the preamps and then the signal is sent to the power amps. This is how the speakers, or studio monitors, will then be powered.
The Best Recording Studio Setup
The best recording studio setup does not just depend on how you greatly set all of the pieces of equipment up but of how your neighbor hear the music you produced. Figuring that out is easy. In fact, you can nail this process in one – understanding the signal flow.
The best recording studio setup is all about the signal flow or the signal path. This is how you should be doing it:
- Know the direction of the signal through the recording chain.
- Consider the studio equipment that changes the signal to go with your needs.
- Pay attention to the cables that connect all of the pieces of recording equipment.
Recording in a professional studio room is expecting to be dealing with more complexity over recording in a home studio. As home studios use only a few microphones, basic audio interface and probably have no consoles in sight, the flow of the signal is very much simplified. Although big studios involve in a lot more studio setup convolution, the ups and down in the process of making everything powered up still occur in smaller studios.
A recording studio, whether that is big or small, encounters signal flow failure. Knowing the importance of signal flow is very much significant. It is very much important as well to think of it in the same exact manner to prevent annoying signal flow failure in the future.