Signal flow is key for anyone who wants to start a home music studio. When inspiration hits and you get your ideas through all the phases of your recording understanding signal flow is important. Understanding signal flow and how all your equipment are tied together will put you in great control over your home music studio. This also applies to troubleshooting in your home music studio making it easy to improve your studios efficiency and making it easier to record when inspiration hits.
Using a simple set up with a computer, audio interface, speakers and microphone I can show you how to understand a home music studio signal flow. the truth is it is about inputs an outputs, that simple. Knowing how inputs and outputs work together in your recording chain will give you the freedom to add and multiply equipment in your home music studio and keep you in control of the creative process
Music starts with an idea, that idea comes OUT in the form of analogue sound waves and IN a microphone, tiny electrons then move along the microphone cable OUT the end of the cable and IN the audio interface. So in this case you will take a microphone and connect the cable to the input of an audio interface or even microphone preamp. Now that the signal has made it IN the audio interface they need to come OUT your speakers, now your speakers will be connected to the output of the audio interface. Remember that most home recording equipment have both inputs and outputs and an audio interface is a good example because an audio interface has inputs for recording and outputs for playback.
The first thing an audio interface does is convert analogue sound waves into a digital format so computers can understand. The second function of an audio interface is to again flip the digital audio into analogue so that speakers can playback audio from your computer. The reason why I say to go the audio interface route is because of the sample rates they use to convert analogue to digital and digital to analogue. This sample rate makes a big difference for quality recordings.
So in this case there is an output on an audio interface for the speakers to connect too as well as either USB or firewire that serves as an input connection to the computer, so signal can reach your home recording software.
I realize this is a very simplistic example but if you learn to move around your studio thinking about the IN and OUT concept you can add to your home music studio, set up and experiment connecting the inputs and outputs of all types of gear together and putting you in control
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