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Audio principles explained
The physics of sound
By Russell Kibbee
(more articles from this author)
2001-01-07
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One of the most recent examples of how the Internet can change our lives can be seen in the area of music. Looking at the current way music is created, distributed, and bought will show how technology has thrown the music industry upside down and empowered the individual like never before. After this series, you will be an expert in this amazing new field of entertainment.

Audio principles explained

Before one can understand the intricacies of online music, it is important to first understand the fundamentals of audio. After you’ve learned the basics, then you can move into digital audio and its subsequent application into the online world.

Step 1: How sound is created
Sound is created by quickly changing air pressure that creates waves. A vibrating object exciting the air around it causes the change in air pressure.

Step 2: Sound traveling through thin air
The next step is the movement of sound. The sound waves move through the air until they are completely dispersed. The level of intensity and frequency will dictate how far the sound travels. Low level sounds, such as foghorns, are heard farther away than higher pitched sounds of the same frequency.

Step 3: No sound until it’s heard
The last step in the sound process is that of hearing. Our ears have a membrane that vibrates according to the frequency and intensity of the sound. Those vibrations are then transmitted to our brain and perceived as sound.

Step 4: How does sound frequency work?
The frequency of sound is the cycles per second of a sound wave. The form of measurement used to indicate the frequency is called a Hertz (Hz) meaning cycles per second. High frequencies are expressed in Kilohertz (kHz), which is a thousand cycles per second.


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