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

0
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

0

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.

The Truth About Apogee Symphony

There seems to have been a lot of confusion about Apogee’s Symphony system. It has been marketed as this great competitor to Digidesign’s Pro Tools HD systems, but it really is not an apples to apples comparison.

THE DECEPTION

  • The Apogee Symphony is far less expensive than a Digidesign HD system capable of the same amount of I/O.
  • You get the same thing with a Symphony system as an HD system for less than half the price.

192-io

PRO TOOLS HD

First, lets look at the strengths of a Digidesign Pro Tools HD system.

  1. Versatility with interfaces and I/O configurations (one or multiple interfaces can be connected to the system for customization)
  2. Low latency operation when recording and mixing (tracks can be monitored through the software with nearly no delay)
  3. DSP based processing (plug-ins run on DSP from the installed cards and not the native processor providing higher resolution processing

The main feature that someone pays for in the large price of an HD system is #3 the DSP processing power. This is why HD systems are used in the big studios. They are very powerful and stable when running off of these DSP cards.

sym_system_macpro

SYMPHONY

Now lets look at the strengths of an Apogee Symphony system.

  1. Versatility with interfaces and I/O configurations (one or multiple interfaces can be connected to the system for customization)
  2. Low latency operation when recording and mixing (tracks can be monitored through the software with nearly no delay)

Notice the difference. The symphony system has no onboard DSP. The system requires that you use a native-based system or other DSP-based systems such as Universal Audio’s UAD2 or TC Electronic’s PowerCore. Apogee’s argument is that native-based systems are getting so powerful that you don’t need any additional DSP processing. This is an argument for another article.

Symph-vs-HD

THE TRUTH

  • Apogee does have a good point in that native-based systems are powerful and by adding I/O versatility and low latency operation you can create a pretty powerful system.
  • Price comparisons between an HD system and a Symphony system are not fair because, as shown above, an HD system is also bringing DSP to the table.
  • The Apogee Symphony is a very stable and versatile system capable of extensive routing options between multiple programs, very low latency operation, and rock solid performance.

CONCLUSION

The Apogee Symphony system is an incredible product with great potential. It has simply been deceptively marketed in an apples to oranges comparison to Digidesign Pro Tools HD systems.