What is Signal Flow | Podcasting Basics

What is Signal Flow | Podcasting Basics

Well, hey there amigos. Welcome to the Pod Sound School. I’m Veronica and today we’re going to chat
about audio signal flow. Why do we care about something called signal
flow? Well, not only is signal flow a basic audio
production fundamental, but it also extremely useful when it comes to troubleshooting. For example, have you ever gotten set up to
record and everything goes smoothly and sounds great and then just a day or two later, in
the same environment with the same setup, it sounds like garbage or nothing works? More times than not, strong understanding
of signal flow will solve most of these frustrations. What is signal flow? A short definition is, the flow of an audio
signal along the path from a starting point to a destination. Let’s illustrate this. What if I could take a snapshot of a millisecond
of my voice. Ahhh, this is the waveform of my voice during
that millisecond. It made vibrations through the air and if
you were here with me, your ears would have transformed it for you into audio that you
can comprehend. But if no one was here, it would simply dissipate
into the surrounding air. Instead of letting it dissipate, let us use
the magic of audio production and have some fun with the signal, so that we can deliver
it nice and loud and sounding great, to intended listeners at a distance. To do this, lets send the signal through a
microphone. This microphone is a transducer and it will
transform the vibrations of our waveform, into an electrical signal. Now that the vibrations have been turned into
an electrical signal, it can be ran through a cable. Now, if the end of the cable isn’t plugged
into anything, then this is the end of the road for our signal. Let’s plug the cable into a preamp. This preamp will boost the signal, make it
more powerful and prepare it for its next stop, the DA converter. Here at the DA converter, our signal will
be transformed again. This time from an analog electric signal into
a digital signal, a stream of ones and zeros. Now that are signal is digitized, it can be
ran through a digital cable, like a FireWire or a Thunderbolt cable. Again, if we neglect to plug this digital
cable into anything, our signal will come to an end, never to be shared or heard by
anyone. Let’s plug the digital cable into our computer. Now that it’s plugged into our computer, we’ll
need some software or an application to record it, so that we can make our signal permanent. For this, we’ll use a DAW or a digital audio
workstation. Digital audio workstations contain virtual
versions of the old analog tape machines and mixers. In particular, they contain a main tool that
we use to control our audio called a channel strip or a track. This track will allow us to arm our computer
to record and to direct our signal into the software application and before recording,
we can once more adjust the volume or power of the audio and we can monitor its input
with meters. Let’s quickly press the record button before
our signal vanishes into the air and is never captured. And there it is podskis, our beautiful audio
signal, recorded and preserved for all time. Now we can play it back through the same channel
strip and further manipulate and treat how it sounds. Once we’re happy with it, we can export it
as a stereo file and upload it wherever we plan on sharing. Wow, phew, easy right, even for me. That was a lot of information, right podskis?
[foreign language 00:04:14]. And if you like this video, don’t forget to
subscribe to our channel. Thank you and until then, happy casting.

11 thoughts on “What is Signal Flow | Podcasting Basics

  1. Signal Flow is so fun. Especially when you get more complicated with your recordings and mixes. It can be thrilling to try and keep track of all the directions your signal is flowing, thrilling or frustrating — that's up to you 🙂

  2. Love that you're doing these because people don't realize how important it is to learn about the technical things associated with their passions. These simple tactics can make a huge difference!

  3. Great to learn about the ins and outs of audio production. Learning the fundamentals of audio production can help us identify recording issues and solve them on the spot. 👍🏼👍🏼

  4. Have you ever gotten ready to record, your co-host is there, your guest is waiting to start the interview, and your recording setup won’t work? Understanding when the audio signal begins ( our voice vibrating into a microphone) and when it stops ( the L/R stereo channel) will help us to troubleshoot and detect issues quicker and efficiently. Great info. I hope you all enjoy.

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