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Adam Wiersma

Physics
Audio Project Notes
Making The Connection

1. Basic Principles of Sound


– sound is a wave of vibrating molecules that only travels through matter.
– one cycle of a sound wave = moving forward with a compression and backward with a rarefaction
– cycles per second = frequency = hertz = Hz
– higher frequency = higher pitch
– period = seconds per cycle = 1/frequency
– wavelength = distance traveled by one cycle
– wavelength = speed of sound/frequency
– speed of sound ≈ 1130 ft/s
– amplitude = height and depth of a sound wave
– higher amplitude = louder
– Sound Waves
– phase = position of one sound wave to another; measured in degrees
– harmonics = sound waves with related frequencies by whole numbers
– fundamental = the wave that is heard = loudest
– harmonics = sound waves with frequencies that have multiples of the fundamental
– Humans: hearing range = 20Hz – 20,000Hz; speaking range = 100Hz – 6,000Hz
– Properties of Electricity
– Voltage = electrical pressure
– the force which causes current to flow through an electrical circuit
– measured in volts
– Current = when electrons jump from one atom to another
– insulators' electrons are bound tighter the current isn't passed to easily
– rated in amps
– direct current = electrons flow in one direction – neg. to pos. (batteries)
– alternating current = switches direction several times a second
– Power – voltage*current (Watts)
– Resistance
– slows it down. measured in ohms
– Ohms Law
– Amps = Volts/Resistance I=E/R
– Power = E*I
– Decibels
– audio calculation to describe the electrical and acoustical values
– SPL – Sound Pressure Level
– treated the same as voltage in Ohm's Law
Terms and Equipment...
– Acoustic Dynamic Range
– noise floor-peaks = total dB
– Electrical Dynamic Range
– peak level-noise floor = dynamic range
– Headroom = the difference between the nominal and the peak levels
– speed of sound affected by... temperature, humidity, wind
– The absorption coefficient = rating from 0-1 of how much the material absorbs
– Reflection Reverberation - -the intensity of the reflected sound is equal all over the room
– Critical distance - maximize it to enhance the direct sound and not the reverberated sound
– Transducers, Input Transducers, Output Transducers, Signal Processors, Air Pressure and Velocity
Mics, Contact Pickups, Phono Pickups, Laser Pickups, Optical Pickups, Mixers, Mixing Board,
Consoles, and Power Amplifiers