Dynamics is amplitude processing.

Dynamics changes the volume of music. It allows you to write and play loud passages of music and contrast them with quiet passages. Dynamics applies at the macro level, to the volume of an entire piece of music, and at the micro level, to the volume of a single sound.

Dynamics is the first effect in the effects chain because it is largely reversible. Loud passages can be made quiet, then reverted back to loud again, and vice versa.

The dynamics techniques covered in this section do the following:

  • Normalisation is a safety feature to ensure that sound does not distort.
  • An envelope is a dual-purpose effect. It acts as a safety feature to protect speakers, headphones and hearing, and as a technique for creating loud and quiet passages in a piece of music.
  • Crossfade uses two envelopes to create the auditory effect of a smooth transition between two sounds with different amplitudes.
  • Compression reduces the difference between the loudest and the quietest sound in a piece of music.
  • Tremolo is a rapid change in amplitude.