Blackbird Academy Foundation Series Tutorial

Electrical Levels in Audio Production

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8 Videos | Length: 11min 50sec
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    Electrical Levels in Audio Production (0:35)


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    What Is a Decibel? (2:25)


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    Consumer vs. Pro Audio Gear (2:55)


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    Mic Level (1:11)


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    Line Level (1:06)


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    Instrument Level (1:42)


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    Speaker Level (1:10)


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    Electrical Level Recap (0:46)


To achieve great results when recording, processing, and mixing audio, it’s important to know the levels at which various pieces of musical and studio gear operate. This course digs deeper into the operational qualities of studio gear in the signal chain.


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Audios
Submitted 1 year ago

Truly dismal and occasionally wrong, so sayeth an electrical engineer

Sorry, this one's an absolute loser. For instance, the second video is the most confusing mess I've ever seen of an explanation about measuring levels in dB. To start, there's no mention of where the basic dB measure comes from (i.e. ten times the base-10 log of the ratio of two values, whether the values represent voltage, power, or something else), which is essential in understanding all the variants (dBu, dBv, etc.) I can appreciate the producers wanted to avoid math but, sorry, you can't and it's not that difficult to explain the concept. Another problem: There is no explanation of why signal level measurements in dB are increased by ADDing numbers to the measures when the change in level is a multiplicative process. For instance, if you double (x2) a voltage, its dB measure has 6 added to it--so how does that come about? The video should explain these things. And why would you add 3 dB to a measure of power if the level was doubled but 6 to a measure of doubled voltage? You won't find the answer here. Another biggie: impedance is defined in one of the videos as something like the resistance to signal flow. Yes, resistance hampers signal flow but what about the capacitance and inductance effects? You can have lots of capacitive or inductive impedance with essentially zero resistance in capacitors and inductors! The impedance of a wire (or air or speakers or human bodies or anything else) is defined as the combination of these three effects and their differences should be explained, which should be pretty easy to do with animations. I could go on but I think I've made my point. I'm never sure how to rate videos, especially the second pair of stars after the written review--are they meant to apply to Groove3 videos in general or somehow refer to this particular series? I'll assume the former and give 4 and 5 start ratings since, in general, I really like Groove3 videos. Most are very high quality. This one, however, is one of the worst I've seen.

I am a: Hobbyist

Response from Customer Service:

Thank you for your review! We really appreciate it.
I can help explain why certain aspects of electrical engineering were not covered or explained in detail. This course was put together by The Blackbird Academy to give people the most basic understanding of these concepts. They will be well below anyone with an engineering degree or who practices electrical engineering as a craft. They chose not to show the math or graphs for these concepts as it would be above the scope of this introduction.
So anyone interested in the finer details of electrical engineering should find a course that covers those concepts on a more advanced level but those who want the most basic understanding so they can move on with their projects with an entry level of knowledge on the subject will find this course very helpful.
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Kevin Becka has been a recording engineer for over twenty-five years, working with the top names in music including Kenny G., Quincy Jones, Michael Bolton, George Benson, George Lynch, and more. An experienced educator, Kevin is currently the co-director and instructor at the Blackbird Academy in Nashville. He has also taught advanced recording at Belmont University, taught surround recording and lectured at the Danish Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, Denmark, and was director of education and instructor at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences for ten years. Kevin is also an audio journalist who has worked as the editor of Pro Audio Review and Audio Media USA magazines. Since 2003, Kevin has been the technical editor of the industry-leading Mix magazine where he writes features, product reviews, and a monthly column. Kevin is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the Country Music Association (CMA), and is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

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    Electrical Levels in Audio Production

    To achieve great results when recording, processing, and mixing audio, it’s important to know the levels at which various pieces of musical and studio gear operate. This course digs deeper into the operational qualities of studio gear in the signal chain.

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    Managing Gain & Distortion

    Recording engineers and music producers encounter many ways to adjust gain along the recording and mixing signal path. Knowing the best practices for setting levels in your DAW, processors, and other gain stages will allow you to avoid distortion and noise in your productions.

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Electrical Levels in Audio Production is rated 1.5 out of 5 by 1.
Rated 0.5 out of 5 by from Truly dismal and occasionally wrong, so sayeth an electrical engineer Sorry, this one's an absolute loser. For instance, the second video is the most confusing mess I've ever seen of an explanation about measuring levels in dB. To start, there's no mention of where the basic dB measure comes from (i.e. ten times the base-10 log of the ratio of two values, whether the values represent voltage, power, or something else), which is essential in understanding all the variants (dBu, dBv, etc.) I can appreciate the producers wanted to avoid math but, sorry, you can't and it's not that difficult to explain the concept. Another problem: There is no explanation of why signal level measurements in dB are increased by ADDing numbers to the measures when the change in level is a multiplicative process. For instance, if you double (x2) a voltage, its dB measure has 6 added to it--so how does that come about? The video should explain these things. And why would you add 3 dB to a measure of power if the level was doubled but 6 to a measure of doubled voltage? You won't find the answer here. Another biggie: impedance is defined in one of the videos as something like the resistance to signal flow. Yes, resistance hampers signal flow but what about the capacitance and inductance effects? You can have lots of capacitive or inductive impedance with essentially zero resistance in capacitors and inductors! The impedance of a wire (or air or speakers or human bodies or anything else) is defined as the combination of these three effects and their differences should be explained, which should be pretty easy to do with animations. I could go on but I think I've made my point. I'm never sure how to rate videos, especially the second pair of stars after the written review--are they meant to apply to Groove3 videos in general or somehow refer to this particular series? I'll assume the former and give 4 and 5 start ratings since, in general, I really like Groove3 videos. Most are very high quality. This one, however, is one of the worst I've seen.
Date published: 1969-12-31
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