Digital Audio Recording Fundamentals and Basic Tests

8.) dB is the same as dBFS? If not why?

dB is the general term of measuring levels particularly loudness. dBFS is a special dB measurement meant for digital audio.

This stands for dB relative to full scale. It is why 0dBFS is the maximum allowable digital audio signal.

9.) PCI soundcards is OK for professional audio production?

No, only a very few PCI soundcards do that. In most markets they sell gaming soundcards that uses consumer specifications that is not designed for professional audio.

The answer to professional recording is to use external audio interfaces such as USB and Firewire that is designed for serious music production.

10.) All analog to digital converters are created equal; just like it doesn’t matter what type of soundcard or audio interface you are using to record tracks.

False, poor converters do actually exist. Stay away from using analog to digital converters (or vice versa) found in onboard audio chips and PCI soundcards. They are not designed for serious music production.

Great digital recording often comes from high end analog to digital converters find inside your audio interface.

11.) It is OK to record a weak signal because you can always boost/amplify it after recording.

False, the signal to noise ratio is still the same. If you record a weak signal (particularly less than -32dBFS for most of the time); the noise would start to dominate thus contributing to poor SNR. Even amplifying it after recording cannot fix the low SNR ratio because amplifying the signal would also amplify the noise in it.

Separating the noise will also degrade the original recording. You should keep this in mind. Therefore, you cannot do anything to improve a bad recording after tracking.

The best solution is to fix the problem at the source. Remove the sources of noise and make sure you are recording the cleanest signal as possible.

12.) A mixing console can be used to convert analog to digital signals?

No, a mixing console job is to provide pre-amplification, signal routing, EQ, etc and combine all inputs to provide one output. A mixing console can also be used to output each analog signal on a channel separately aside from having one main output. But it is never used to convert analog to digital signals.

This is if you are talking about analog mixing consoles, the one you often see in big studios such as a Neve console. ADC is often done using an audio interface.

13.) An audio interface can be used as a mixer?

True, some audio interface do provide mixing functions. They have internal audio mixing controls. It works similar to real world mixing console but not exactly the same.

Some audio interface can be even function as a standalone mixer if configured first by the software; for example Saffire Pro 40.

Content last updated on August 2, 2012