Lesson 6: Connectivity

For a moment, pretend you’re in the studio recording Hendrix, Van Halen, Slash, or Stevie Ray Vaughan as they’re laying down some overdubs. The virtuoso is in the live room and you’re in the control room, sitting at the console and running the session. The single strum of a guitar string and the journey it’s sound takes into the pickup, on to the amp, then the microphone, and into the console happens in mere milliseconds! The guitar’s pickups are transducers that change the string’s sound vibrations into low level electric voltage. That low level voltage is then fed into a guitar amplifier that boosts the current and allows the amplified sound to be heard through its speakers. A microphone placed in front of the speaker will pick up the sound of the guitar coming through the amp and convert it back into low level electrical voltage. The voltage from the microphone is fed to a microphone preamplifier, which will increase the voltage from mic level to line level. The resulting “line level signal” is then fed to the analog to digital converter where the electrical voltage is converted into digital audio. The digital audio signal is then fed into your Pro Tools session and saved to the hard drive. After being recorded, the digital audio signal is sent to your digital to analog converter that converts your binary samples back to analog voltage. Talk about a journey!