Recording Consoles

More buttons than in an airliners cockpit.

In sound recording and reproduction, and sound reinforcement systems, a mixing console is an electronic device for combining sounds of many different audio signals. Inputs to the console include microphones being used by singers and for picking up acoustic instruments, signals from electric or electronic instruments, or recorded music. Depending on the type, a mixer is able to control analog or digital signals. The modified signals are summed to produce the combined output signals, which can then be broadcast, amplified through a sound reinforcement system or recorded.

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Mixing consoles are used in many applications, including recording studios, public address systems, sound reinforcement systems, nightclubs, broadcasting, television, and film post-production. A typical, simple application combines signals from microphones on stage into an amplifier that drives one set of loudspeakers for the audience. A DJ mixer may have only two channels, for mixing two record players. A coffeehouse’s tiny stage might only have a six channel mixer, enough for two singer-guitarists and a percussionist. A nightclub stage’s mixer for rock music shows may have 24 channels for mixing the signals from a rhythm section, lead guitar and several vocalists. A mixing console in a professional recording studio may have as many as 96 channels.

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In practice, mixers do more than simply mix signals. They can provide phantom power for condenser microphones; pan control, which changes a sound’s apparent position in the stereo soundfield; filtering and equalization, which enables sound engineers to boost or cut selected frequencies to improve the sound; dynamic range compression, which allows engineers to increase the overall gain of the system or channel without exceeding the dynamic limits of the system; routing facilities, to send the signal from the mixer to another device, such as a sound recording system or a control room; and monitoring facilities, whereby one of a number of sources can be routed to loudspeakers or headphones for listening, often without affecting the mixer’s main output. Some mixers have onboard electronic effects, such as reverb. Some mixers intended for small venue live performance applications may include an integrated power amplifier.

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The console used to record Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.

console5 stairway to heaven

That Skunk Shoulda looked Left and Shoulda Looked Right

1972 song by folk singer Loudon Wainwright III.

Crossin’ the highway late last night
He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right
He didn’t see the station wagon car
The skunk got squashed and there you are

You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin’ to high Heaven

Take a whiff on me, that ain’t no rose
Roll up yer window and hold yer nose
You don’t have to look and you don’t have to see
‘Cause you can feel it in your olfactory

You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin’ to high Heaven

Yeah you got yer dead cat and you got yer dead dog
On a moonlight night you got yer dead toad frog
Got yer dead rabbit and yer dead raccoon
The blood and the guts they’re gonna make you swoon
You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin’ to high Heaven

C’mon stink

You got it
It’s dead, it’s in the middle
Dead skunk in the middle
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin’ to high heaven
All over the road, technicolor man
Oh, you got pollution
It’s dead, it’s in the middle
And it’s stinkin’ to high, high Heaven

 

The Log Driver’s Waltz

If you should ask any girl from the parish around
What pleases her most from her head to her toes
She’ll say, I’m not sure that it’s business of yours
But I do like to waltz with a log driver

For he goes birling down and down the white water
That’s where the log driver learns to step lightly
It’s birling down and down white water
A log driver’s waltz pleases girls completely

When the drives nearly over I like to go down
To see all the lads while they work on the river
I know that come evening they’ll be in the town
And we all like to waltz with a log driver

For he goes birling down and down the white water
That’s where the log driver learns to step lightly
It’s birling down and down white water
A log driver’s waltz pleases girls completely

To please both my parents I’ve had to give way
And dance with the doctors and merchants and lawyers
Their manners are fine but their feet are of clay
For there’s none with the style of my log driver

For he goes birling down and down the white water
That’s where the log driver learns to step lightly
It’s birling down and down white water
A log driver’s waltz pleases girls completely

I’ve had my chances with all sorts of men
But none is so fine as my lad on the river
So when the drive’s over if he asks me again
I think I will marry my log driver

For he goes birling down a-down the white water
That’s where the log driver learns to step lightly
It’s birling down and down white water
A log driver’s waltz pleases girls completely
It’s birling down and down white water
A log driver’s waltz pleases girls completely

Beatboxers have invented whole new ways of making sounds, scientists say

In an MRI study of five beatboxers, researchers found unprecedented patterns of movement

Researchers using MRI to study five beatboxers have found that when making their characteristic percussive sounds, the volunteers were doing things with their vocal tracts not seen in any human languages. Essentially, they were inventing new ways to produce sound.

“There are sounds in beatboxing you won’t find anywhere,” said Reed Blaylock, a PhD candidate in Linguistics at the University of Southern California who was part of the research team.

[Beatboxers] are pretty much using all the moving parts of their vocal tracts and coordinating them in these extra fast ways and in a much more finessed way than usually found in language.– Reed Blaylock

Using real-time MRI, researchers were able to track the movements inside beatboxers’ vocal tracts while they performed, to better understand how the different parts work together to produce the unique sounds.

According to Blaylock, they use the same speech articulators — tongue and lips — to make sounds. But while some of the sounds they make are found in language, others are completely new.

Brand new sounds
The spit snare and inward click roll – lip roll are two sounds observed in the study that the researchers believe are unique.

The spit snare mimics the short, crisp sound of a hand clap. It’s created by raising the tongue to the palate, puffing out the cheeks, and swiftly pressing the air out between the tongue and cheeks.

The inward click roll – lip roll, on the other hand, is much harder to create. It requires the beatboxer to make the lip trill, and the rolling ‘r’ simultaneously, and inhale instead of exhale throughout.

“[Beatboxers] are pretty much using all the moving parts of their vocal tracts and coordinating them in these extra fast ways and in a much more finessed way than usually found in language,” explained Blaylock.

Linguists call it a “bilabial ejective” in speech, and it’s created by closing the lips and the vocal folds, and pumping the larynx upward to pop air out through the lips.

“Beatboxing tells us what the human vocal tract is capable of,” said Blaylock. “When we look at it through the lens of beatboxing, you can see all the possibilities that we never use in speech. It also helps us figure out which parts of speech are special to speech and which parts are part of a broader cognitive system that we as humans have.

The beatboxing sounds were collected at the Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory by Dr. Shri Narayanan and his team.

Beatboxing and language
One sound in beatboxing that does overlap with language is the kick drum sound. It’s found in most beatboxers’ repertoire, and can also be heard in languages like Georgian and Armenian.

 

Hard Headed Woman

Well a hard headed woman a soft hearted man
Been the cause of trouble ever since the world began
Oh yeah ever since the world began ah oh oh oh oh
A hard headed woman is a thorn in the side of man

Now Adam said to Eve listen here to me
Don’t you let me catch you messin’ round that apple tree
Oh yeah ever since the world began…

Now Samson told Delilah loud and clear
Keep your cotton pickin’ fingers out of my curly hair
Oh yeah ever since the world began…

Well I heard about a king who’s doing swell
Till he started playin’ with that evil Jezabel
Oh yeah ever since the world began…