What is Audio Engineering (and importance)

What is Audio?

Audio is the production, recording, manipulation and reproduction of sound waves.  It can be said that sound and audio are of the same father and mother but sound is the junior brother to audio.

To understand audio you must have a grasp of two things:

  1. Sound Waves: – What they are, how they are produced, how they are managed and how we hear them.
  2. Sound Equipment: – What the different components are, what they do, how to choose correct equipment and how to use them properly.

 

Some Field of Audio Work

The field of audio is vast, with many areas of specialty. One can pick a carrier from audio more easily as any other field of work but, one must be knowledgeable in the act or he/she would course a lot of damage to his/her employer or lose all  investment made in sound. All it takes is just a silly mistake and all (equipment) is gone within a split second.

Some common areas of audio work include-

  1. Studio sound engineer
  2. Live sound engineer
  3. Film/TV sound engineer
  4. Field sound engineer
  5. Recording Engineer

 

Amplification

In cases where the original sound is insignificant in comparison with the amount of sound needed, amplification is needful to meet up with the demand. This is achieved using a public address system (P.A.)

Amplify- It is the process of amplification.

Some Aims of a Public Address System

  1. To provide adequate volume (not necessarily loud)
  2. To provide adequate clarity.
  3. To provide proper coverage of the audience area.

The basic purpose of P.A. which is basically known as sound reinforcement system is to deliver sufficient sound level to the audience so that they can hear and enjoy the performance/ministration throughout the listening area. It is important to note that the amount of reinforcement needed depends on the loudness of the instruments or performers themselves and most especially the size and acoustic nature of the venue.

When you have an acoustically stable venue, you would probably need lesser reinforcement compared to an unstable acoustical venue due to its exponential variables.

Please it is important to note that clarity makes the deference not just volume that is why people often complain about not hearing the person speaking when what they actually mean is that they can’t understand what is being said. Sometimes we say the sound is too lauded yet we complain we can’t hear the words. As said initially, we can hear the sound but understanding the words is what we lack. To solve this challenge, you need to reduce the volume smoothly to a level where the clarity of the words can be formed. Sometimes from experience, when you reduce the sound you would create another issue since your listener or user has been exposed to a louder sound pressure level (SPL). What you need to do is not to reduce the sound too much suddenly but go gradually since every slight increase or decrease in sound level is almost double the initial sound.

 

3 basic function of the P.A

  1. Converts acoustical energy into electrical signals
  2. Process electrical signals using mixer and signal processors
  3. Converts electrical signal back into acoustical energy using amplification

Types of Public Address Venue

  1. The free field (open) – This is more of running an event in an outdoor venue. Here the engineer worries less about acoustics especially if there are no barriers at the venue since this is considered to be an ideal situation.
  2. The closed field (indoor) – This is running an event in an indoor venue. Here acoustics is considered as it defines the sound. This is because sound is a wave and like any wave, it has its characteristics.

 

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