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Chapter 2. Preparing Yourself > Audio Optimization

Audio Optimization

Since the sound quality of streaming audio is so often defined by its limitations it’s helpful to do a little modifying to the overall tone and shape of your source audio. Don’t worry, the process is pretty straightforward and, once you’ve tried it the first time, you’ll realize it’s actually kind of fun. You’re changing the way your source audio sounds and you’ll find you can do some odd things. Maybe you won’t actually end up saving your source audio in those odd and interesting ways, but it’s nice to know you can do it, just the same. Below are a couple of tools and techniques to get you started.

The Gain Chain

From the first time a sound source is recorded, and with each succeeding generation, the overall quality of your audio is defined by the gain setting. The gain is simply the volume at which the sound source is recorded onto the recording medium (tape, minidisc, DAT, and so on). Too high a gain setting creates unwanted distortion. Too low a gain setting requires the listener to turn up the volume so high that the inherent distortion of that recording medium (usually below the threshold of hearing at normal volume levels) becomes plainly audible. Both scenarios are bad juju. The key is to set the volume level as high as it will go within any given recording medium without distorting. Trust your ears here. If it sounds good, it usually is.


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