Ducking is an audio effect commonly used in radio and pop music, especially dance music. In ducking, the level of one audio signal is reduced by the presence of another signal. In radio this can typically be achieved by lowering (ducking) the volume of a secondary audio track when the primary track starts, and lifting the volume again when the primary track is finished. A typical use of this effect in a daily radio production routine is for creating a voice-over: a foreign language original sound is dubbed (and ducked) by a professional speaker reading the translation. Ducking becomes active as soon as the translation starts.
In music, the ducking effect is applied in more sophisticated ways where a signal's volume is delicately lowered by another signal's presence. Ducking here works through the use of a "side chain" gate. In other words, one track is made quieter (the ducked track) whenever another (the ducking track) gets louder. This may be done with a gate with its ducking function engaged or by a dedicated ducker.
A typical application is to achieve an impression similar to the "pumping" effect. The difference between ducking and side-chain pumping is that in ducking the attenuation is by a specific range while side-chain compression creates variable attenuation. 94 Ducking may be used in place of mirrored equalization to combat masking, for example with the bass guitar ducked under the kick drum, resembling subtle side-chain pumping. :96 A ducking system may be created where one track ducks another, which ducks another, and so on. Examples include Portishead's "Biscuit". :97:
Used most often to turn down the music when the DJ speaks, 95-96ducking may be used to combat the muffling and distancing effect of reverb and delay. The ducker is inserted into the reverb and delay line and keyed to a dry track to duck its own reverb and delay so that when the dry track exceeds the ducker's threshold by reaching a certain amplitude the reverb and delay are attenuated. Clear examples include Céline Dion's "The Power Of Love" where the reverb and delay become audible when Dion pauses; and Adele's "Cold Shoulder". :
Audio signal processing is a subfield of signal processing that is concerned with the electronic manipulation of audio signals. Audio signals are electronic representations of sound waves—longitudinal waves which travel through air, consisting of compressions and rarefactions. The energy contained in audio signals is typically measured in decibels. As audio signals may be represented in either digital or analog format, processing may occur in either domain. Analog processors operate directly on the electrical signal, while digital processors operate mathematically on its digital representation.
An effects unit or effectspedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument or other audio source.
A sound effect is an artificially created or enhanced sound, or sound process used to emphasize artistic or other content of films, television shows, live performance, animation, video games, music, or other media. These are normally created with foley. In motion picture and television production, a sound effect is a sound recorded and presented to make a specific storytelling or creative point without the use of dialogue or music. The term often refers to a process applied to a recording, without necessarily referring to the recording itself. In professional motion picture and television production, dialogue, music, and sound effects recordings are treated as separate elements. Dialogue and music recordings are never referred to as sound effects, even though the processes applied to such as reverberation or flanging effects, often are called "sound effects".
Audio feedback is a special kind of positive loop gain which occurs when a sound loop exists between an audio input and an audio output. In this example, a signal received by the microphone is amplified and passed out of the loudspeaker. The sound from the loudspeaker can then be received by the microphone again, amplified further, and then passed out through the loudspeaker again. The frequency of the resulting sound is determined by resonance frequencies in the microphone, amplifier, and loudspeaker, the acoustics of the room, the directional pick-up and emission patterns of the microphone and loudspeaker, and the distance between them. For small PA systems the sound is readily recognized as a loud squeal or screech. The principles of audio feedback were first discovered by Danish scientist Søren Absalon Larsen, hence the name "Larsen Effect".
In sound recording and reproduction, and sound reinforcement systems, a mixing console is an electronic device for combining sounds of many different audio signals. Inputs to the console include microphones being used by singers and for picking up acoustic instruments, signals from electric or electronic instruments, or recorded music. Depending on the type, a mixer is able to control analog or digital signals. The modified signals are summed to produce the combined output signals, which can then be broadcast, amplified through a sound reinforcement system or recorded.
Dynamic range compression (DRC) or simply compression is an audio signal processing operation that reduces the volume of loud sounds or amplifies quiet sounds thus reducing or compressing an audio signal's dynamic range. Compression is commonly used in sound recording and reproduction, broadcasting, live sound reinforcement and in some instrument amplifiers.
An echo chamber is a hollow enclosure used to produce reverberation, usually for recording purposes. For example, the producers of a television or radio program might wish to produce the aural illusion that a conversation is taking place in a large room or a cave; these effects can be accomplished by playing the recording of the conversation inside an echo chamber, with an accompanying microphone to catch the reverberation. Nowadays effects units are more widely used to create such effects, but echo chambers are still used today, such as the famous echo chambers at Capitol Studios.
A sound reinforcement system is the combination of microphones, signal processors, amplifiers, and loudspeakers in enclosures all controlled by a mixing console that makes live or pre-recorded sounds louder and may also distribute those sounds to a larger or more distant audience. In many situations, a sound reinforcement system is also used to enhance or alter the sound of the sources on the stage, typically by using electronic effects, such as reverb, as opposed to simply amplifying the sources unaltered.
A noise gate or gate is an electronic device or software that is used to control the volume of an audio signal. Comparable to a compressor, which attenuates signals above a threshold, such as loud attacks from the start of musical notes, noise gates attenuate signals that register below the threshold. However, noise gates attenuate signals by a fixed amount, known as the range. In its simplest form, a noise gate allows a main signal to pass through only when it is above a set threshold: the gate is "open". If the signal falls below the threshold, no signal is allowed to pass : the gate is "closed". A noise gate is used when the level of the "signal" is above the level of the unwanted "noise". The threshold is set above the level of the "noise", and so when there is no main "signal", the gate is closed.
Low-frequency oscillation (LFO) is an electronic frequency which is usually below 20 Hz and creates a rhythmic pulse or sweep. This pulse or sweep is often used to modulate synthesizers, delay lines and other audio equipment in order to create effects used in the production of electronic music. Audio effects such as vibrato, tremolo and phasing are examples. The abbreviation LFO is also very often used to refer to low-frequency oscillators themselves.
Reverse echo or reverse reverb, also known as backwards echo and reverse regeneration, is a sound effect created as the result of recording an echo or delayed signal of an audio recording played backwards. The original recording is then played forwards accompanied by the recording of the echo or delayed signal which now precedes the original signal.
Delay is an audio effect and an effects unit which records an input signal to an audio storage medium, and then plays it back after a period of time. The delayed signal may either be played back multiple times, or played back into the recording again, to create the sound of a repeating, decaying echo.
Gated reverb or gated ambience is an audio processing technique that combines strong reverb and a noise gate. The effect is often associated with the sound of 1980s popular music. It was developed in 1979 by engineer Hugh Padgham and producer Steve Lillywhite while working with the artists XTC, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins at Townhouse Studios, and is most famously demonstrated in Collins' 1981 single "In the Air Tonight".
Panning is the distribution of a sound signal into a new stereo or multi-channel sound field determined by a pan control setting. A typical physical recording console has a pan control for each incoming source channel. A pan control or pan pot is an analog control with a position indicator which can range continuously from the 7 o'clock when fully left to the 5 o'clock position fully right. Audio mixing software replaces pan pots with on-screen virtual knobs or sliders which function like their physical counterparts.
Re-amping is a process often used in multitrack recording in which a recorded signal is routed back out of the editing environment and run through external processing using effects units and then into a guitar amplifier and a guitar speaker cabinet or a reverb chamber. Originally, the technique was used mostly for electric guitars: it facilitates a separation of guitar playing from guitar amplifier processing—a previously recorded audio program is played back and re-recorded at a later time for the purpose of adding effects, ambiance such as reverb or echo, and the tone shaping imbued by certain amps and cabinets. The technique has since evolved over the 2000s to include many other applications. Re-amping can also be applied to other instruments and program, such as recorded drums, synthesizers, and virtual instruments.
In sound recording and reproduction, audio mixing is the process of combining multitrack recordings into a final mono, stereo or surround sound product. In the process of combining the separate tracks, their relative levels are adjusted and balanced and various processes such as equalization and compression are commonly applied to individual tracks, groups of tracks, and the overall mix. In stereo and surround sound mixing, the placement of the tracks within the stereo field are adjusted and balanced. Audio mixing techniques and approaches vary widely and have a significant influence on the final product.
Record is a music software program developed by Swedish software developers Propellerhead Software. Designed for recording, arrangement and mixing, it emulates a recording studio, with a mixing desk, a rack of virtual instruments and effects and an audio and MIDI sequencer. Record can be used either as a complete virtual recording studio in itself, or together with Propellerhead Software's Reason.
A mixing engineer is responsible for combining ("mixing") different sonic elements of an auditory piece into a complete rendition, whether in music, film, or any other content of auditory nature. The finished piece, recorded or live, must achieve a good balance of properties, such as volume, pan positioning, and other effects, while resolving any arising frequency conflicts from various sound sources. These sound sources can comprise the different musical instruments or vocals in a band or orchestra, dialogue or foley in a film, and more.
Send tape echo echo delay is a technique used in magnetic tape sound recording to apply a delay effect using tape loops and echo chambers.
In audio, recording, and music, pumping or gain pumping is a creative misuse of compression, the "audible unnatural level changes associated primarily with the release of a compressor". There is no 'correct' way to produce pumping, and according to Alex Case, the effect may result from selecting "too slow or too fast...or too, um, medium" attack and release settings.