Signal flow is a concept that establishes a guideline for inputting, processing, and monitoring audio signals. To be a proficient audio engineer in any audio career field, one must understand the route or path the audio signal takes from conception, through modification, and conclusion.
Every piece of equipment is built around this principle. Compressors, noise gates, limitors, eq, and everything else dynamic are built to be placed in the signal flow via inserts or paths that change the parent audio signal in place. Time-based affects such as reverbs, and delays are meant for auxiliary outputs, which take a copy of the signal, reinterpret the signal, and then add the copy back in at the monitor path. Recording consoles even have an established practice of where audio is received, where it’s routed, and its final output.
With all of this to remember, along with the normal process of plugin and outboard gear, a typical studio to the amateur enthusiast can be daunting. A glimps into a studio that has the look and feel of a laboratory can easily detour anyone unfamiliar with common studio practices.
I’m here today to solve your fear of sensory overload.
The Recording Signal Flow Chart is a generalized look of how signal travels in the studio. Regardless of which console exists, patchbay or no patchbay, cue system, etc., you can be 100% certain that any signal processed in any studio you currently reside in flows by this concept. Not only is this chart a great way of applying a visual to the destined path of your signals, it’s also a great map when troubleshooting just incased you missed something.
There’s simply way to much to explain in this post over the flow of this chart so expect multiple follow-ups with detailed information over each segment. Also look forward to new additions currently in the process to be added to the signal flow section. For now, download and study hard!