Kim Lajoie's blog

Masking

by Kim Lajoie on August 17, 2009

Masking is a little-understood concept that is important to composers and mix engineers. Essentially, masking is what happens when one sound makes it difficult to hear another sound. An obvious example of this is two instruments playing the same note, with one instrument sounding much louder than the other. This can happen with notes or […]

Normalising

by Kim Lajoie on July 20, 2009

Normalisation is a process that changes the volume of a piece of audio. It does this by first analysing the audio, looking for the highest peak. Then an amount of gain is applied to the entire section of audio, so that the highest peak is at 0dBfs. Because of the need to analyse the audio […]

Gain Staging

by Kim Lajoie on July 8, 2009

A “gain stage” is any point in the signal path where gain is applied – where volume can be changed. Gain can be positive (makes the sound louder), negative (makes the sound quieter), or unity (doesn’t change the volume – but it’s still a gain stage!). “Gain staging” is the awareness that there are all […]

Sample Rate

by Kim Lajoie on July 1, 2009

As with bit depths, there are several different samplerates used for digital audio. While bit depth determines the accuracy of low level details, samplerate determines the accuracy of high frequency details. Samplerate is actually the rate at which the digital audio is being processed, and where there are multiple files or audio streams being processed […]

Bit Depth

by Kim Lajoie on June 29, 2009

Occasionally there’s a bit of confusion about bit depth, and about what the best bit depth to use in different situations is. In the digital world, there are three bit depths that we might have to deal with – 16 bit, 24 bit and 32 bit. 16 bit Digital audio at 16 bit is most […]

Peak vs RMS

by Kim Lajoie on June 20, 2009

Peak levels are the highest digital values that are in the waveform as it exists in the computer (or other digital equipment). While peak levels aren’t directly related to how we hear the sound, they are crucial for correct gain staging in digital gear. Most critically, peak levels must not reach 0dBfs when recording or […]