Learn the basics with Signal Flow: Audio Fundamentals

(mtebaldi | Posted 2011-07-07)

Learn the basics with Signal Flow: Audio Fundamentals

We live in a great age for music making. Itís never been easier to purchase a decent computer, semi-professional microphones, powerful software, and start calling yourself a music producer. Technology affordability and capabilities has brought to all of us, musicians and music lovers alike, the ability to compose and create from the comfort of our own living rooms, garages, and loft apartments, our very own music productions with such quality that would never have been imagined a few years ago. Now, computers can process data faster than ever. While their speed keeps growing, their prices are relatively shrinking. Software can now also emulate expensive pieces of audio hardware, once only affordable for a minority, with incredible and comparable quality. But, as we all know, great tools donít create great art; great artists do. And as with the art of music, the accessibility of powerful digital audio equipment doesnít guarantee the creation of great and professional sounding music. The tools are more accessible, itís true, but the knowledge and skills required to take any song demo or idea to a higher level of music production is still very much the same.

On a mission to spread this knowledge to all the living rooms, garages, and lofts of America for the sake of quality and continuity of this fantastic art form in the digital age, the San Francisco based Music School, Pyramind, in conjunction with Alfred Music Publishing, are releasing a 9-book series that aims to bring all the nuts and bolts able to fix the knowledge holes of all wanna-be producers out there. This informative series is delivered in a three main-segment format. Signal Flow, which deals with the technical aspect of capturing music; Work Flow, focusing on music composition and arrangement, and Cash Flow; revealing the ins and outs of how to financially succeed in this harsh habitat known as the music industry.

The first installment of the series was recently made available to the public and is titled Signal Flow: Audio Fundamentals. I had the chance to sit down and go through the 200+ pages of the book and experience first hand how the professors at Pyramind Music School of San Francisco manage to reveal the many secrets of how to correctly capture and manipulate sound during the first stages of production. Regardless to whether you already work in a professional environment or if your computer desk shares space with your pullout couch, Audio Fundamentals hails to bring to the surface the basics anyone serious about creating music should know.

Upon first impressions, the book exudes quality with its colorful pictures and clean graphics, giving perfect flow while supporting the content. The book delivers the information to the readers in an easy-to-read fashion, providing crucial information in such an understandable way that even if you wake up one morning and decide to produce music, you could just flip its cover and start learning the entire technical process of capturing music with no problem. Although the book starts by disserting many of the real basics of audio fundamentals, it doesnít necessarily mean that someone that works on a professional studio wouldnít find it worth while to go through these pages. Throughout out the chapters the book slashes open many of the most overlooked concepts and theories of digital audio and music nature. From explaining computer bits and sample rate to monitors positioning and room acoustics. I particularly loved the introduction on MIDI chapter. There, the author takes the reader on a quick journey through how this protocol came to be a universal language inside the digital studio environment.

The book is accompanied by a DVD/ CD-ROM that serves as an extra support for each of the chapters. The CD-ROM sonically shows examples of the various lessons and techniques presented in each lesson. From different micíing amd mic positioning, to different synth waves, to the powerful, Omni-potent use of audio processors, like EQ and compression. Itís also quite enjoyable to read about how each of these amazing audio crafting tools work from the inside out. The DVD comes with three lessons that compliment the chapters of mic introduction, mic placement and audio processing, with everything shown in a very simple and enjoyable way. With a little math here and there, Audio Fundamentals takes the reader on a step-by-step journey inside the universe of correctly capturing and converting sound waves into music.

If Pyramind intended to get people to learn and expand their knowledge of how music is recorded, composed, and sold, while getting them hooked on an enjoyable series, I would have to say that (at least after reading this first installment) it is a job well done. Although Signal Flow: Audio Fundamentals wonít offer all that you will need to succeed in music, it will definitely open the doors to many of the details that are often overlooked or even ignored by many professional and most certainly wanna-be producers. For this musician that writes right now, I must say that Audio Fundamentals has really got me hooked; I canít wait to read the rest of the series. As long as the quality of information keeps in the same realm of the Audio Fundamentals, itís a certainty that this training series will be quite a great investment for whoever wants to succeed in this business. Knowledge is overall the most important and valuable asset people will ever need and can possess in this world, regardless of what situation or obstacle they might encounter, and this training series is promising to deliver just that; the knowledge of music creation and business.

Signal Flow: Audio Fundamental is now available for $39.99. It can be purchased at most local music stores or online at alfred.com/proaudio.

For more information about Pyramind Music School of San Francisco, please visit www.pyramind.com

For more information on Alfred Music Publishing extensive catalogue, please visit www.alfred.com

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