2019-03-21 19:37:22

@tmstuff000, I don't have an audio interface. I didn't buy one, because there is already a good one in the montage, but that was when I routed my audio differently, mainly for overdubbing songs on the montage. But I don't see how I would connect my montage to an audio interface, they usually have analog ins, not usb connection? I want to record midi, and then render the midi to sound.

I can select the sound on the montage with the physical buttons. I don't know if you were asking because there is a touch screen, but pretty much anything can be done without using it, there are physical buttons to navigate in the UI, but there is no documentation to my knowledge on that made by bllind users. To select a preset, I press two buttons, then I choose the category with one of 16 category buttons, then I scroll in the sounds to find the one I'm looking for.

Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another. ― Lemony Snicket

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2019-03-22 11:12:05

The Montage has stereo jack connectors to connect it to an audio interface.

Internet access is a human right.

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2019-03-22 11:30:02

I'm kinda confused about the DB thing. Why would going from -30 to -40DB make barely any difference, but -10 to -5 would be allot. And why does having a better recorded sound change this, or maybe I should be asking, what do you mean exactly by (a better recording)?

Is it mostly do to our ear's limitations? or the limitations of the hardware/sound format.

And I just want to be sure; pitch and octave are not mutually exclusive, but are as a smooth ramp is to a set of stairs right? Octaves are just incremental, musical notation based measurements of predefined pitches.

Buy the worlds greatest machine gun. It's about 50 inches in length, It's huge! & it can shoot really far, &, it's cheap!
Lets demonstrate this: stand still Thom...
Okay ma.aaa!
Oh! crap!

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2019-03-22 12:25:33

This is sounds really cool. Looking forward to this. After the live stream, do you setup like an archived version of the tutorial?

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2019-03-22 15:35:50

@28 decibels are a logarithmic scale, so like, I suck at math and don't ask me to elaborate, I can just tell you it isn't linear.

I felt the wind of your passing
        is preferable to
I felt the passing of your wind

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2019-03-22 15:42:16 (edited by stewie 2019-03-22 15:43:30)

The decibel scale is logarithmic. I  don't know how the formula for decibels works specifically, but in  general since it is based on exponents, the change between two numbers for larger numbers on a logarithmic scale increases significantly.

(edit) @ironcross32 I think we  posted nearly simultaneously.(/edit)

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

2019-03-22 15:57:58

This sounds interesting to me as well, though I feel a little out of place because I already know a lot of techy stuff about sound design. I've done alot of editing in a program called Gold Wave. I am also a math and audio nerd, so a lot of relationships I can't explain very well can still come together well in my head. For instance I can navigate the world of frequency and musical notes and things far better than I can talk about it. However using Gold Wave has its downsides if you want to do serious sound design.

I really want to get away from using it for sound design because A, it's not meant for big projects, it's main purpose is to edit voice and music recordings (apply some effects, split tracks, maybe do some mixing, but it's destructive so it's far from a DAW). B, half of its effects are not very good, and its VST support is odd. It works but it works the way it wants to. For instance I don't think standard VST FXP dumps are supportede, they're instead stored as Gold Wave presets (unless I'm missing something). And C, because it's not a DAW, there are no projects or sessions or anything like that. you load and save audio files only. Again, fine for the stuff it's meant for, but not ideal for other things.

With Reaper, I am really pleased with how I can chain and adjust effects with Osara in realtime. I also know how to do basic routing for sidechaining and stuff. Only on the software side, though. I needed help to get there, but now I understand how it works. I used to have all my VSTs in Gold Wave, and when I wanted to apply effects, I'd apply them one-at-a-time. It'd basically be the equivalent of processing each effect offline to a new item in Reaper (I forget the term). However I'm so pleased with Reaper's online realtime way of doing things that I often just save an initial recording with Gold Wave, process it with a Reaper FX chain, tweak parameters and render, and continue editing with Gold Wave. It makes me cringe every time I do it, but it makes me really want to use Reaper full time, or at least, any time I need to do professional things. I need to get that SWS extension because I've heard about a dozen times that it has stuff I would find interesting and useful!

Editing in Reaper is something I struggle with because I have trouble getting the audio feedback I like, and to get the program to respond in a way I can instinctively follow. I can't really explain it because it's hard to describe and I'd almost have to show it. But I'll try to explain one example. .

Let's say I want to delete part of a sound on a track. In Gold Wave I can place my markers with left and right brackets. Then I can press shift J to slow the playback rate down by a huge amount if needed, and a combination of Gold Wave playback and preview features to hear precisely where my selection is, and I can pretty much turn it into a surgical operation to move my markers precisely where I want them before I cut.

In Reaper, I often do it by splitting items and deleting the item I no longer need, while changing the ripple editing setting if I need to change it. Problem is, when I split items, I am sort of blindly splitting them as the file plays. I haven't yet really looked into whether you can move item splits around, nor have I looked into ways to get surgical. This is partially because I am wondering if splitting items is even what I should be doing in the first place. I've played around with time selections but they apply to all tracks to my knowledge. Reaper is such a beast that every time I try something new, I always wonder if this is the right way or most efficient way I could be doing this. And I don't want to teach myself bad habits. Gold Wave has spoiled me a great deal, so I know the transition to Reaper is going to be just as tough as it is rewarding. The best thing I can do is try to learn good practices from the outset.

I'm really hopeful that I will learn a lot about Reaper from this course. Though how much I should participate is something I don't really know, since I think my background is different from a lot of people who will be coming.

I once was looking at a course that taught Gold Wave as a starting point, and then moved on to Reaper. I think it was a 12-week course. I'm not sure. One of my friends sent an archive of it to me, and the first 6 weeks were talking about things which I knew well, with only the occasional piece of information that was new to me, and the other 6 were, I felt, falling on diminishing returns because the instructors were still dealing with how to teach people who were true beginners in sound editing. For instance, they were trying to compare Gold Wave to Reaper, saying that x in Gold Wave was Y in Reaper, and so forth, which is exceedingly helpful for me. But I think the comparisons were lost on a lot of the students, or at least it was just information overload. I imagine most of them were just barely comfortable with Gold Wave basics. Some of them were still struggling to get their audio devices set up.

I think audio stuff like this is hard to teach especially to people who are new to it all. But it's a little weird if you're like me and self taught yourself a lot of stuff. My so-called studies have been guided by interests rather than what is generally accepted as the need-to-know. I've caught some of the need-to-know as I've come along, but I don't think it's enough to get by yet. I know more about the things I don't know than the things I do, if that makes any kind of sense lol

In any case, I'm still really excited for this course, but I'm not sure what to do. I'm appreciative of any insight you have to offer!

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2019-03-22 16:19:06

Hey, this sounds great but I have a few quick questions. Sorry if the answers are obvious somewhere and I haven't found them.

In reading this thread, it sounds like you'll be including tips on sourcing good-quality free or low-cost sounds and improving them. I'm interested in that, along with getting quickly up to speed on being productive with Reaper. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time at the moment, as I'm currently neck-deep building a game, building my website, figuring out a CI solution for cross-platform builds and a delivery infrastructure for same...for better or worse, non-placeholder sounds have to wait for now. Will an archived version be available for later? I understand I'll miss the interactivity and the benefits thereof, but realistically I probably wouldn't have much time for that anyway.

Also, what will be the cost for this, and will it apply to the archived version any differently?

Thanks for doing this, seems like an amazing offer.

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2019-03-22 21:43:47

@Defender and others, I'll clear up the db thing, but don't worry, I will not talk about the math formulas behind that, I'll give you an intuitive understanding as well as maybe clearing up some misconceptions.

First, what does dB measure? Nothing. That's right, dB is not a unit, it measures nothing. If you tell me that something is 4 dB, I'll ask you compared to what. This is because dB is a ratio. It is used in a lot of fields when you need to have close numbers for things that can be magnitudes apart, like earthquakes, power, electricity, sound, etc.

Ok, now that we know that dB are a ratio and are useless on their own, how could we make it so it's convenient to use? By setting a reference point of course. This way, we can have consistent ratios, because it will always be compared to the same reference. So there are multiple dB scales out there. What makes them different is the reference point which can be of a different value and unit. But there is one thing they all have in common, the scaling.

A dB scale will always obey this rule: every +10 means times 10. Why +10 = times 10? Because they are decibels. If we were talking about bels, then it would be +1 = times 10. Actually it was like that before, but the numbers were too small, so we said hey, let's use decibels instead. It's just how we decide to use centimeters to measure smaller stuff.

Ok, let's have some fun. Let's create a dB scale together. It's really easy, you will see, because all we need is a reference, remember, that's the only thing that changes between dB scales. So our scale will measure excitement in a game. We need to name that scale, so let's say it's the dB Origine scale, measured in dB O. Now let's set our reference of 0 dB O to the level of excitement while configuring the speech options in a game.

That's it, we've created a dB scale, the dB Origine scale. Now, let's say someone comes and say "you should try that game, the first level is an overall 10 dB O garanteed". This means that playing the level 1 of that game will give me 10 times more excitement than configuring speech options.

Now I might reply "10 dB O isn't much, you sure I should try this game?". If he says "trust me, the first level is only a tutorial, level 2 and onwards is a 20 dB O minimum!".

Now what does it mean? Does it mean that level 2 is twice as exciting as level 1? No! It's 10 times! This means that playing level 2 will give me at least 100 times more excitement than configuring speech options. Just to make sure it's clear, here are some key points in the dB O scale:

Minus 30 dB O: staring at a computer screen, doing nothing. This is 1000 times less exciting than configuring speech options.
Minus 20 dB O: dieing for the 50th time at the exact same place in a level. This is 100 times less exciting than configuring speech options.
0 dB O: Configuring speech options.
60 dB O: Beating a game for the first time, unlocking a new character, ending up first on the online leaderboard and receiving an e-mail congratulations from the developer. This is a million times more exciting than configuring speech options.

Now let's get back to sound. There are two main dB scales for sound. First one is dB SPL and the other one is dB FS which stands for full scale.

dB SPL is perhaps the most known one. The reference point is 0 dB SPL = the quietest sound we can possibly hear. It is measured in sound pressure which have watts equivalents, but let's not care about that. Here are some key points on the dB SPL scale:

0 dB SPL: the quietest we can hear
30 dB SPL: your bedroom at night
40 dB SPL: inside a library
60 dB SPL: Conversation 1m distance
120 dB SPL: treshold of discomfort
130 dB SPL: treshold of pain
140 dB SPL: a jet engine, 15m away

The dB SPL scale measures acoustic power. This is different than loudness because of how our brain treats the sound. While + 10 = 10 times acoustic power, it is generally said that +10 = twice the perceived loudness. This means that a library will seem twice as loud as our bedroom at night.

Say there is one person shouting 10m away from you. Let's say it's 70 dB. How many people does it take for you to hear them shouting twice as loud? While you might think it would take 2 people, it actually takes 10. This is because 10 people will produce 10 times more acoustic power which will be perceived as twice as loud: It would take 100 people to hear it four times as loud. It's quite fortunate it works like that if you think about it or else we would never go in a concert or go see a sports game.

Ok, we're almost done here. The other scale for sound is dB FS or dB Full-Scale. The reference point is 0 dB = the maximum a sound can be without distortion.

This is the scale you see in Reaper, in any DAW, in any recording instrument. Over 0 dBFS, there will be clipping, the sound will saturate. Now reaper can normalize the sound when rendering it to avoid clipping, it can make sure that 0 dBFS is the maximum amplitude in the sound it renders. However, if you hit 0 dBFS while recording an instrument, you're fucked. It clipped and there's nothing you can do about it. This is why you must set the gain correctly.

The idea is that you want to put it as high as you can without clipping. It is generally good to leave you some room, you can aim for -10 dBFS while recording, you can always boost it later. But you might be thinking, why don't I record  at -30 dBFS or -60 dBFS, I can just boost it later? Short answer: the recorded sound will have a much lower quality. This is because of two things:

1) Amplitude Resolution also called bit depth.
2) Noise: this can be electrical noise, ambient noise, etc.

The bit depth determines the resolution of the amplitude of your signal. If you have 24 bit depth, it means every point will be encoded over 24 bits. This sets a limit to the quietest sound that can be encoded, which is only the lowest bit set to 1. You should play much above that limit.

Then there will be noise, there is always noise. There is electrical noise because of our cellphones, lights, laptops, lightning, cellphone towers, etc. This noise gets caught into the wire you record with because it is like an antenna. No matter what you do, there will always be noise, you can reduce it, you can filter it sometimes, sometimes you make it so low that it doesn't bother you, but there is always noise.

So if when recording the noise is at -40 dBFS and you also record at -40 dBFS, then you record yourr instrument as loud as the noise, which will give a terrible audio recording. If you record at -30 dBFS, it's much better, because the noise is now 10 times less present in your recording compared to your instrument. If you record at -10 dBFS, then it's 1000 times lower. If you record at 10 dBFS, trick question, the audio clips at 0 dBFS, so you will only hear distortion.

We don't hear a difference between -40 dBFS and -30 dBFS, because twice as loud of something that isn't loud much is still isn't much. You probably wouldn't have guessed that a library is twice as loud as a bedroom, because both are quiet, but you can notice the difference between someone talking and screaming, because talking is a memedium loudness and screaming is 2-4 times louder, so it gets loud. If you eat 1% of a cake, it's not much. If you eat 2%, although it's twice as much, still not much. Now if you eat 25% of the cake, that's a reasonable amount, but if you eat 50%, although twice as much, it's quite a lot more cake you've eaten.

Finally, I used dB O, dB SPL, dBFS in this post so it's clear, but depending on what you are doing, people find it too long to use the full name, so they only say dB. If you mix, record audio, work in a DAW, assume dB = dBFS, if you are talking about sound power of common things like concerts, machinery or in every day life, assume it's dB SPL. And if you are talking about excitement in games, assume it's dB O tongue

Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another. ― Lemony Snicket

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2019-03-22 23:56:44

@23 and @29, it won't be a livestream, and that's for your benefit. I'm going to stumble, navigating only with the keyboard and NVDA. It's really going to take me some time to get moving at as quick a speed as I am with my native DAW Cubase which is completely inaccessible.

I'm going to record videos, edit out all the parts that are me figuring things out, and post them to YouTube. They'll stay there forever so you don't have to stress about catching the course during the time it runs.

@27 @30 @31 @34
This is exactly what I want this course to be, thank you. I want everyone helping each other understand, and I really appreciate you guys answering a question while I'm in an inactive period. (I have the PAX East convention coming up and I'm stressing out preparing two games and a talk on blind accessibility in gaming)

Thank you guys for helping everyone out, keep it up, you are among the best parts of this community.

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2019-03-23 02:04:52

Thanks so much Origine!
That was very helpful and extremely detailed, awesome write up.
I am confused about amplitude and bit depth still but, I think that may come later in the course  anyway.

Buy the worlds greatest machine gun. It's about 50 inches in length, It's huge! & it can shoot really far, &, it's cheap!
Lets demonstrate this: stand still Thom...
Okay ma.aaa!
Oh! crap!

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2019-03-23 03:33:26

Yeah bit depth and resolution thing was just gravy, I hated when my teachers simplified things for me to find out later that it wasn't exactly true, so I have difficulties when it comes down to simplification myself. If you didn't understand that part, it's because I deliberately went fast over it just so you know it exists and that you can search on it later if you're interested. I could've been writing for hours, signal processing is one of the things I'm really good at and understand well. Glad that helped.

What I'm not good at though is sound design and I'm really excited for this course! I'm also not pro with reaper yet, though I'm currently making my first project to get the hang of it.

Reading is one form of escape. Running for your life is another. ― Lemony Snicket

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2019-03-23 03:52:22

35, thank you so much for answering my question. I probably gonna join the course for sure!

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2019-03-23 06:47:28

I'm really looking forward to this course. @37, I completely get where you're coming from. I have degrees in Electrical Engineering and blah blah, but I've never really had the courage to dive into practical sound design myself. This is really going to give me the motivation I need. Thanks to OP for doing something like this.

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2019-03-23 23:22:19

Signal processing, yeah I got that on lock, brain wants a cocktail, signals body, body goes and makes one, and drinks it down, brain is happy.

I felt the wind of your passing
        is preferable to
I felt the passing of your wind

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2019-03-24 06:42:16

If you want good free sound resources, their is a stickied post at the top of the dev room that's being expanded as we speak, but already has allot of good stuff.

Buy the worlds greatest machine gun. It's about 50 inches in length, It's huge! & it can shoot really far, &, it's cheap!
Lets demonstrate this: stand still Thom...
Okay ma.aaa!
Oh! crap!

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2019-04-02 02:50:47

Can I ask opinions - is Discord accessible? I'm wondering about the best platform we can use to talk during the course which I'm going to start working on tomorrow, possibly start recording as well.

Would everyone prefer all the action be in this thread? Would you prefer we use something more chat based, like Discord?

Holler your suggestions at me because it would be difficult to change platforms once we've started.

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2019-04-02 06:31:23

this thread might be better so as to keep a record of questions answers people can view later on for any questions they may have
but to answer your question, yes, discord is accessible

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2019-04-02 09:17:14

Discord is not accessible, though it is usable with some patience. You can't call an app accessible if it has unlabeled graphics and buttons all over the UI. I don't like it much, but would be down to use it. Also, I'm super hype for this.

I felt the wind of your passing
        is preferable to
I felt the passing of your wind

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2019-04-02 10:15:29

We could use zoom, it is accessible. Download it from:

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2019-04-02 14:13:04

hi, is zoom free software?

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2019-04-02 14:26:58

I would suggest teamtalk it has accessible most blind people are able to use quite easily

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2019-04-02 14:56:23

i suggest skype for texting and teamtalk for talking.

it's challenge not chalange

2019-04-02 17:04:58

I think there wouldn't be much talking, probably text though. That's why Discord is so good though, because it lets you set up a server the way you want and keeps things under control. You can't keep Skype groups under control. You just have the access issues to contend with, but it is doable with some frustration, but doable.

I felt the wind of your passing
        is preferable to
I felt the passing of your wind

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2019-04-02 17:06:50

well aparantly most of the blind community hate discord, because it is, **hard to use**

it's challenge not chalange