What Is Sound? Seven Important Characteristics

What is Sound?

Sound is a vibration or a series of vibrations that move through the air.

Anything that creates the vibrations, or waves, is referred to as the source

The source can be a string, a bell, a voice, or anything that generates a

vibration within our hearing range.Imagine dropping a stone in water.

The stone (source) will create a series of ripples in the water.

The ripples (waves) are created by areas of dense molecules that are being

pushed together as sparse molecules expand, thus creating flatter areas.

Sound travels just like this, by compression and rarefaction.

Compression is the area dense molecules are pushed together

and rarefaction is the area where fewer molecules are pulled apart,

or expanded, in the wave.

The compression area is higher in pressure and the rarefaction area is

lower in pressure.This chapter deals with the seven characteristics of a

sound wave, such as amplitude, frequency, phase, velocity, wavelength, harmonics, and envelope.

Understanding these characteristics is essential to make a decent

recording, become a competent mix engineer, and generally increase your

knowledge about audio.

the sine wave is often used to illustrate a sound wave

and its seven characteristics.

Seven Characteristics of Sound

Although a typical sound is more complex than a simple sine wave,

You may already know about amplitude and frequency.

If you have ever adjusted the tone on your amp or stereo, then you have

turned up or down the “amplitude” or a “frequency” or range of frequencies.

It is necessary to understand these two important sound wave

characteristics, as they are important building blocks in audio engineering.

Two other characteristics of sound help humans identify

one sound from another: harmonics and envelope. The remaining three

characteristics of sound are velocity, wavelength, and phase.

These characteristics identify how fast a sound wave travels, the physical

length of a completed cycle, and the phase of the sound wave.


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