Processing sounds means changing the characteristics of an audio signal. Processing sounds can be used to create new sounds, improve audio, fix sound issues, separate audio sources, as well as to compress, store, and transmit audio information. The most common types of audio processing include compression, expansion, limiting, chorus, equalization, reverb, flanging, and phasing.
The main goal of audio processing is to help keep signals flowing freely as they maintain an organic sound. There are several effects that help out with the process. These effects usually originate from overdriving preamps as well as from the saturation of tubes.
Equalization operates by boosting or cutting the gain of specific audio frequencies. It’s essential for the user to choose the accurate equalizer for a particular mix. Modulation involves a wide variety of effects where the source signal is being affected by another signal. Delayed sounds are usually perceived as subtle echoes or repetitions when the delay time reaches a certain point.
Compression is the process of lessening the dynamic range between the loudest and quietest parts of an audio signal by boosting the quieter signals and attenuating the louder ones. Expansion is the process through which the dynamic range of an audio signal is increased. Expanders are capable of making quiet sounds quieter by reducing the level of an audio signal that falls below a set threshold level. Limiting is a process through which the level of an audio signal is limited. Reverb is created when a sound is reflected causing other reflections to build up.
The chorus effect is achieved when two identical signals are combined, while one of them is detuned. The chorus effect offers a sense of motion and depth of sounds. The flanger effect is a delay-based effect that constantly varies the delay time, while the phaser effect passes a sound signal through evenly spaced notch filters.
Pitch shifting is an audio recording technique in which the original pitch of a sound is increased or decreased. Pitch shifting is responsible for adjusting vocals and other melodic lines. Time stretching is the process of changing the speed or length of an audio signal without affecting its pitch. Time stretching has gained popularity when creating commercial spots.