In this essay I will be introducing the concept of sound and the different forms that sound comes in. With accompanying examples, I will go into detail about how indoor, outdoor and simulated acoustics work and what they are.
Acoustics is the science of sound, and how the ear will receive it based on the environment. The quality of sound will be different based on the factors of the environment, and this affect the sound waves. For example, your voice will sound sharper in a bathroom rather than the living room because the different surfaces, such as tiling and carpet, will pick up and feed back sound differently.
The variations of pressure in the air are what defines sound waves. Different objects will give out different vibrations which will travel through the air to the eardrum, and the brain picks this up as sound. This is known as frequency. For example, a violin will cause different levels of vibrations in comparison to a guitar.
Studio acoustics – these acoustics are created in a building that is designed specifically to produce the highest quality sound. This can range from small recording studios to orchestra halls. Small recording studios can be built from home with the right sound theory and treatment and can produce audio ideal for small numbers of people, and orchestra hall is ideal for a larger scale of audio so that there is the perfect room for the sound waves. They are two different ends of the studio spectrum. The materials and positioning of the materials are placed specifically to accommodate for the different vibrations.
Live rooms and dead rooms/surface types and properties – live rooms are rooms that are designed to allow for sound waves to reflect off surfaces with sharper, clearer tones, and the use of different materials within them can have different effects. For example, to create a live room, you would include materials such as glass, stone and metal as they reflect sound waves clearly. Dead rooms are designed with materials that absorb extra sound that may be unwanted so there will be less reflection of the sound waves. A room can be deadened with panels and foam that absorb energy, bass traps which absorb unwanted bass, and drum booths which allow for quieter instruments to be heard. The shape of the room also affects if a room is dead or live – a room with an odd shape means that the sound waves are not as parallel resulting in a different sound to a room with a basic rectangular structure.
In situ recording – this is
Reverberation – this is the continuing effect that a sound wave creates after the initial sound has been produced. Reverberation depends on the frequency of the vibrations, and the environment. In a smaller room, there will be less reverberation as the sound will hit the wall and either be absorbed or reflected based on materials. In a larger room, reverberation is stronger due to the fact that there is space for all elements of the sound to be heard without cancellation.
Soundproofing/screening – this is when we use different materials in order to block out unwanted noise. These noises can come from many materials such as walls, glass, doors outside, etc. so to block these out you may invest in materials that cancel this out. Some examples of these materials are panels, noise isolating foam, sound screens and vinyl. They absorb the sound waves so little or no extra sound can be heard.
Actuality/sound bites – actuality is a term in relation to news and broadcasting. They are audio clips that span from 10-20 seconds long and are often unedited, original material such as interview questions. They are produced often with equipment such as shotgun microphone and boom. When these clips are used outside of radio, they are called sound bites.
Background atmosphere – this is also known as ambience. It refers to sound that is already present in an environment without alteration. It can be natural, industrial, human, and comes in many forms such as birds, trees in the wind, machine noises, speech from a distance, etc.
Unwanted noise/ambience – this refers to a static humming during the recording of audio. It is heard in the quieter moments of filming and can be described as a hissing sound. This can happen due to equipment, ambience or an instrument. Unwanted ambience refers to other causes of noise such as bars or motorways. You can remove unwanted noise through software, such as audacity.
Wind noise – wind noise occurs when wind brushes past a microphone, causing the membranes of the microphone to fluctuate and vibrate. It is unpleasant especially to hearing aid users, and it results in bass like, whooshing sound which interrupts the clarity of the rest of the audio. There are many ways to reduce this such as software, dead cats, and windsocks.
Effects units –
Compression and limiting –
Computer based software –
Surround sound –
Multi channel –
Time delay –
Indirect recording –