Basic Sound Design and Signal Flow

This mini-course covers sound design for musicals and straight plays. I give a brief overview of how a sound design fits a particular environment in which our events take place. We then discuss the signal path of sound. Starting with the actor’s voice, through different microphones and traveling through mixers and amplifiers, and ultimately coming out of powered or passive speakers.
Scroll down for more info and an outline of what I plan to include in future training sessions.

I am contemplating a new course covering sound design and the gear that goes with it. This free introductory video runs about 30 minutes and is a mile-high overview of sound design for theater and the signal path from microphone to speakers. Here’s a link to sign up for viewing.
If enough people express interest, I’ll put together a full-fledged course that branches out from each topic area touched upon in this preliminary video. 

Sessions will contain content from various sources including guest speakers, assignments to watch specifically curated videos which will subsequently be unpacked via further discussion, and my own webinars & presentations.

Topics will likely include:

  • Sound design basics for both musicals and straight plays.
  • Audio signal flow from microphones to speakers.
  • Feedback, what is it, why do we get it, and how do we avoid it?
  • Equalization techniques. Per-channel/singer versus equalizing everything.
  • Limiters, expanders, compressors… These all sound like they belong under the hood of your car.
  • Decibels, a.k.a. dB and logarithmic math. Why closer and louder is not what you want.
  • Microphones, polar patterns, choir mics, shotgun mics, boundary mics, wireless mics, phantom power, cardioid, super-cardioid, unidirectional, omnidirectional, and several other terms that often mean the same thing.
  • Comb filtering. A.k.a. why can’t I hear anything when I stand over here?
  • Running the show and the age-old question: why do we never hear the first words of everybody’s lines?
  • Justifying condoms and toupee clips to the accounting office. Or, finding alternatives.
  • 10:4, good buddy. Avoid radio frequency interference with your wireless mic systems.
  • The basics of room acoustics and possible remedies for yours.