Mute Button

Mixing-Basics-Strip_1Mute Button The mute button is one of the most basic functions of an audio console. When the mute button is engaged the track is not audible (or muted). If the button is disengaged, the track is on and audible. If you don’t see a ‘mute’ button on your console, you may simply have a track on/off button or switch. When the track is in the ‘on’ position, the channel is essentially unmuted, and when the track is in the ‘off’ position, the channel is essentially muted,

Mute Automation When automation was just a dream, the mute button was first on the wishlist. Mute was the first feature on consoles to be automated. Think about the ability to have tracks automatically turn on and off in synchronization with a project. It’s something that we take for granted now, but was a big deal and a powerful tool not too long ago.

Muting Regions Most DAWs have the option of muting individual audio regions or clips within a track. This lets you keep your regions in place, while being able to mute certain parts to maybe try out a new arrangement or bring elements of a looped project in and out.

Types of Sound Waves

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Complex waveforms are the combination of hundreds of waves. If a voice sounds bright it is usually because it is producing upper harmonics at higher amplitudes. If it is duller sounding, it has less upper harmonic content. The combination of all of these different simple sound waves at different frequencies and different amplitudes (levels) produces complex waveforms. These variations in complexity and harmonic structure are how we can tell the difference between the sound of a guitar and a trumpet, a knock on metal or wood, and a real human voice verses a synthesized one.  There are a handful of basic waves not commonly found in nature, but easily created with electronics. These basic waves are the building blocks of many synthesizers, basic MIDI, and warning systems.
SINE WAVE Sine Wave The most basic and simple waveform, a sine wave has a simple hollow sound. It does not exist in nature, but is the simplest sound to reproduce with electronics, which is why you may recognize it from warning tones and beeps. Listen to it below.  

100Hz Sine Wave

 

500Hz Sine Wave

 

1KHz Sine Wave

  Now let’s look at harmonics.Sine Wave Harmonics Most sounds in nature contain harmonics, meaning that they have the fundamental or main pitch or note, plus they have higher pitches that are voiced above the fundamental. The amount and intensity of these pitches help to define the timbre of a sound. The sine wave is unique because it only contains a fundamental, so just the one note.
SAWTOOTH WAVE Sawtooth Wave

After the sine wave we jump in complexity to the sawtooth wave. The sawtooth produces a lot of harmonic content and therefore a full buzzing sound. Notice how the wave looks like the teeth of a saw, hence the name. Look below to listen to examples of a sawtooth wave.

100 Hz Sawtooth Wave

 

500 Hz Sawtooth Wave

 

1 kHz Sawtooth Wave

  Sawtooth Wave Harmonics The sawtooth wave has a fundamental with all harmonics present. The second harmonic is quite strong being ½ the amplitude of the fundamental, with the third harmonic at 1/3 the amplitude of the fundamental, and the fourth at ¼ the amplitude. This produces a good deal of harmonic content and therefore a full buzzing sound.
SQUARE WAVE Square Wave

Now let’s look at the square wave, which differs a bit from the previous two. Notice how the waves seem to form a square shape. The square wave has only odd harmonics. This harmonic structure gives the square wave a little more bite to the sound. It kind of has a buzzing sound, but is not as intense as the sawtooth. Have a listen below.

100 Hz Square Wave

 

500 Hz Square Wave

 

1 kHz Square Wave

 

Square Wave Harmonics

The square wave has only odd harmonics. The interesting similarity to the sawtooth wave is that each harmonic decreases in the same manner except the third harmonic is ½ the amplitude of the fundamental, with the fifth harmonic at 1/3 the amplitude of the fundamental, and continuing along in that manner.


TRIANGLE WAVE

Triangle WaveFinally we’ll look at the triangle wave, which is very similar to the square wave. The triangle wave has only odd harmonics like the square wave, but their amplitude is far weaker in comparison to the fundamental. This causes the waves to take on a bit more of the shape of a sine wave, while maintaining the sharp edges of a square wave.

100 Hz Triangle Wave

 

500 Hz Triangle Wave

 

1 kHz Triangle Wave

 

Triangle Wave Harmonics

The third harmonic is only 1/9 of the amplitude of the fundamental and progresses in a similar manner from there. The triangle wave sounds more similar to a sine wave, because of its soft harmonic content, but it still shares some characteristics of the square wave having only odd harmonics. Listen here to see what it sounds like.


CONCLUSION

These main four waves can be seen in most synthesizers, DAWs, and testing equipment. There are some variations that include the sawtooth wave going in opposite directions and the lopsided square wave (being larger on the top and smaller on the bottom or vice versa). Depending on the device these waves can be added together to create complex waveforms, can be used to modulate a signal, or can create the pattern for a pulsating filter sweep.

Soundwaves

Sound_WaveSound Waves Basics:

Sound Waves are vibrations that travel through the air. CharacteristicsWhile they travel in the electronic and digital worlds they are commonly shown on a two-dimensional graph where the y-axis defines the amplitude (or loudness) of a signal and the x-axis defines the frequency (or pitch). The sinewave that is seen here is the most basic waveform in audio. It is a single pitch with no harmonics (or overtones). Harmonics are additional pitches that are sounded within a signal. They are mainly higher pitches and based on fractions or ratios of the original signal. For example a guitar string vibrates as a whole. It also vibrates in halves (one half going one way while the other half goes the opposite). In addition, it vibrates in thirds, fourths, fifths, and so on. Every time the length of the vibrating material or wave is affected the pitch changes. So, when a string vibrates in halves, it produces a pitch half the wavelength and twice the frequency (or one octave higher) of the original. The series of pitches Harmonicsproduced as harmonics may seem familiar to you. They are the basis of western music, producing octaves, fifths, and thirds, etc. The image labeled ‘Harmonics’ shows how different numbered harmonics fall into series with different notes of the scale. If you want to hear these for yourself, there is a simply test that you can do to help your ear notice the different harmonics.

Exercise:

Sit down at an acoustic piano and play a low “C” note. Hold it out and listen for higher pitches in the sound. Stop the note and play one of the harmonics (as listed in the staff such as “G”, “E”, or a higher “C”) immediately afterward. Listen for that harmonic as you play the low “C” note again. Repeat this process for the different harmonics. If you want to make the harmonics sound more apparent, hold down the sustain pedal while playing the fundamental. The harmonics of that note will cause the related note’s strings on the piano to resonate. This is called sympathetic vibration (when a specific item resonates at a specific frequency, other items tuned to the same frequency will begin to resonate as well). Now you should be able to hear many of the harmonics of that low “C” note. See how high in the harmonics series you can hear. You will notice that it gets more difficult as the pitches go higher. Listen to the richness of the sound that is created by having all of those notes sounding as harmonics with the one fundamental note. Finally, try different fundamental pitches and train your ear to listen for harmonics in other instruments as well.

Even-Odd Harmonics

The two above images show the difference between even and odd harmonics. Notice how the even harmonics are more stable ratios such as octaves while odd harmonics are more unstable, like thirds and sevenths. Even and odd harmonics have different characteristics. Even harmonics are commonly referred to as being more stable, smoother, and comforting. Odd harmonics are usually described as more jarring, unstable, and sometimes harsh.

Check out Types of Sound Waves to learn about the sounds that are used and manipulated in synthesizers.

Sine Wave

The sine wave is the most basic and Sine_Harmonicssimple waveform. It doesn’t actually exist naturally, but we talk about it, draw it, and use it all of the time. A sine wave has only a fundamental and no harmonics. You may recognize it from warning tones and beeps. Listen to it here. 100hz Sine Wave   500hz Sine Wave   1000hz Sine Wave  

Other Soundwave Examples:

Sine WaveSquare WaveSawtooth WaveTriangle Wave

These main four waves can be seen in most synthesizers, DAWs, and testing equipment. There are some variations that include the sawtooth wave going in opposite directions and the lopsided square wave (being larger on the top and smaller on the bottom or vice versa). Depending on the device these waves can be added together to create complex waveforms, can be used to modulate a signal, or can create the pattern for a pulsating effect.

Click on the following to learn more about: Sound Waves and Harmonics

Sawtooth Wave

The sawtooth wave has a fundamentalSawtooth_Harmonics with all harmonics present. The second harmonic is quite strong being ½ the amplitude of the fundamental, with the third harmonic at 1/3 the amplitude of the fundamental, and the fourth at ¼ the amplitude. This produces a good deal of harmonic content and therefore a full buzzing sound, which can be heard here. 100hz Sawtooth Wave   500hz Sawtooth Wave   1000hz Sawtooth Wave  

Sine WaveSquare WaveSawtooth WaveTriangle Wave

These main four waves can be seen in most synthesizers, DAWs, and testing equipment. There are some variations that include the sawtooth wave going in opposite directions and the lopsided square wave (being larger on the top and smaller on the bottom or vice versa). Depending on the device these waves can be added together to create complex waveforms, can be used to modulate a signal, or can create the pattern for a pulsating effect.

Click on the following to learn more about: Sound Waves and Harmonics

Triangle Wave

The triangle wave has only odd harmonics like the square wave, but their amplitude is far weaker in comparison to the fundamental. Triangle_HarmonicsThe third harmonic is only 1/9 of the amplitude of the fundamental and progresses in a similar manner from there. The triangle wave sounds more similar to a sine wave, because of its soft harmonic content, but it still shares some characteristics of the square wave having only odd harmonics. Listen here to see what it sounds like. 100hz Triangle Wave   500hz Triangle Wave   1000hz Triangle Wave  

Other Soundwave Examples:

Sine WaveSquare WaveSawtooth WaveTriangle Wave

These main four waves can be seen in most synthesizers, DAWs, and testing equipment. There are some variations that include the sawtooth wave going in opposite directions and the lopsided square wave (being larger on the top and smaller on the bottom or vice versa). Depending on the device these waves can be added together to create complex waveforms, can be used to modulate a signal, or can create the pattern for a pulsating effect.

Click on the following to learn more about: Sound Waves and Harmonics

Square Wave

The square wave has only odd harmonics. Square_HarmonicThe interesting similarity to the sawtooth wave is that each harmonic decreases in the same manner except the third harmonic is ½ the amplitude of the fundamental, with the fifth harmonic at 1/3 the amplitude of the fundamental, and continuing along in that manner. This harmonic structure gives the square wave a little more bite to the sound, which can be heard here. 100hz Square Wave   500hz Square Wave   1000hz Square Wave  

Other Soundwave Examples:

Sine WaveSquare WaveSawtooth WaveTriangle Wave

These main four waves can be seen in most synthesizers, DAWs, and testing equipment. There are some variations that include the sawtooth wave going in opposite directions and the lopsided square wave (being larger on the top and smaller on the bottom or vice versa). Depending on the device these waves can be added together to create complex waveforms, can be used to modulate a signal, or can create the pattern for a pulsating effect.

Click on the following to learn more about: Sound Waves and Harmonics

Logic Pro X Leak

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The Rumors Logic Pro X has been rumored for some time, especially considering the release of Final Cut Pro X in 2011 and the fact that Logic Pro 9 has been out since 2009. It’s definitely time for a new version, but most people have sworn off the “it’s coming out soon” rumors and have almost given up hope. There is Hope! Apogee recently released a new interface called Quartet. They produced a great video demonstrating the quick production of a song with the interface. Apogee has very close ties with Apple so if any manufacturer had a pre-release version, they would. Apogee made the mistake of using their version of Logic 10 in their new Quartet Interface video. Below is a still of the shot that occurs twice in the video showing the main window in Logic Pro X. Same Old Logic Studio Pro Notice all of the same Logic Pro features; blue audio clips and green MIDI clips, left column view of the selected track and the master fader, and the media bin inset on the right side of the screen. The main visual difference seems to be a black background for the arrange and mix areas, but confirmed rumors tell me that there are under the hood changes to bring Logic Pro back into full competition with Pro Tools, Cubase and Sonar. I’ve even heard that Apple has pursued testers from the other software DAWs to test and consult with Apple to make Logic Pro X better than the rest. Confirmation What Logic X will include is still just a lot of rumor, but this leak provides visual confirmation that Logic Pro 10 is in the works. I also received confirmation from a supposed tester that this is a screen shot of Logic Pro X through his refusing to say whether this was Logic 10 or a tweaked version 9. He upheld his “Non-Disclosure-Agreement” by not saying anything. This is enough confirmation for me to know that Logic 10 will be released…eventually. Below is the video that is the source of the LEAK

Avid Pro Tools 9: An Old Player in a New Game

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Pro Tools has finally entered the world of non-proprietary audio interfaces. Pro Tools 9 introduces a handful of new features, but the biggest bombshell is that you no longer have to have a Pro Tools (or Digidesign or now Avid) interface to run Pro Tools. This is great news, but what about all of the baggage that comes with it?

Buying The Software Pro Tools users have become somewhat spoiled since they never seem to have to pay for the Pro Tools software. Of course there are upgrades, but the software is basically free when you buy the hardware. Not a bad deal when you pay $299 for an Mbox 2 Mini and get the full version of Pro Tools LE with it. But now that users can use whatever hardware they like, the Pro Tools software comes at a price…$599. That makes it the most expensive of the big 5 software DAWs. Check it out.

Pro Tools 9 – $599 Logic Studio 9 – $499 Cubase 5 – $499 Sonar 8.5 Producer – $349 Digital Performer 7 – $495

Interface Support One of the benefits in the past of Pro Tools having proprietary hardware is that the software and hardware always worked well together. There weren’t extensive driver issues and mismatches of features and controls. But now Pro Tools has opened themselves up to a world of potential incompatibilities. The forums are already complaining of interfaces not supporting Pro Tools’ “Low Latency Monitoring” and the lack of disabling track monitoring while recording with an external mixer or direct monitoring. These are all issues that every other software DAW has been dealing with for years. Pro Tools now has to open their eyes to work flows and software functions that they haven’t had to deal with in the past.

All Your Eggs in One Basketeggs-basket Pro Tools has always had a built-in dongle…their hardware. You can’t run Pro Tools without Pro Tools hardware. When M-Powered came along the dongle turned into an iLok authorization, and now all Pro Tools systems requires iLok authorization. That is convenient isn’t it since most users already have iLoks for all of their plug-ins? But what if there are thousands of dollars worth of plug-in authorizations on the iLok? Now you have to carry that small and easy to lose iLok with you when you want to use Pro Tools on your laptop at home. If you lose that, you haven’t just lost your Pro Tools license, but thousands of dollars of plug-ins as well…kind of scary.

Old Player in a New Game Pro Tools hasn’t dealt with some of these issues in the past because they have been playing a different game from everybody else…proprietary hardware. Now this old and seasoned player is jumping into this new game (non-proprietary hardware) and there will inevitably be some adjusting.

I Like Pro Tools I have to add this last bit to not sound like such a downer. I like Pro Tools and I am already using Pro Tools 9. I love the new features like automatic delay compensation, Eucon support, and OMF AAF support. I just think that like any change and progression their will be growing pains and some of the issues mentioned above will either be pains for Pro Tools or pains for us.