Search
  • Lance Csarmasz Kuyper

Principle of Sound - Part 1


Headphones and a Microphone
Principles of Sound

It is critical that we understand the principles of sound in order to accurately capture sound, whether it be speech, music, or sound effects. The sound source helps define the tools we should use to record sound. Any time you are recording an acoustic instrument, listen to the instrument first. Stand beside the musician and hear what he or she hears. Listen to the sound of the instrument, or voice and how the environment/room impacts the sound. Stand close and then try moving farther away. Asses the sonic differences in the acoustic space. If you really want to capture the true qualities of the sound, you will need to make some critical decisions about where the instrument is placed in the room, what microphone you will use, and where you plan to place the microphone in relation to the instrument. However, the first step in recording great sound is to understand the scientific principles of sound.

There are a number of properties that help to create sound and influence a sound wave. Speed/Cycle, Frequency/Pitch. Wavelength, Amplitude/Loudness all play a part in the creation of a sound.


Sound is energy that travels through air thus the air molecules move in relation to the sound. The source vibrates, like a drum, string, vocal etc… affecting the air around it. Then the air responds to the vibration by pushing and pulling molecules thus creating what is called (compression) and (rarefaction) as the vibrating material completes its cycle of vibration these vibrations cause continuous variations in the existing air pressure. When these vibrations in air pressure reach our ear drum they are then interpreted and sent on to our brain.

In my next blog I will explore some of the other aspects of sound.