There are a lot of real tecno definitions but basically there are two basic categories that are the most common in our business:
Category 1: input transducers
The first type takes a sound pressure wave and converts it into a variable voltage electric signal. Microphones and some acoustic guitar pickups.
The second type takes a vibrating steel string and by magnetic induction converts it into a variable voltage electric signal. Electric guitar pickups.
Category 2: output transducers:
In this category there are several types but they all take a variable voltage electric signal and convert it into sound pressure waves. Speakers, headphones, in ears etc.
If you think about it the input transducer sends this variable voltage to the mixing console and is amplified by the preamp:
In Analog consoles these signals stay Analog thruout their journey thru the console and are sent out the multiple outputs.
In Digital the signal is converted to a digital representation of the soundwave (more on this in another blog), manipulated by any digital processes your mixer has and is then converted back to a variable voltage signal at the multiple outputs of the mixer- (some larger consoles send this digital signal out where it is converted at the output transducer. This digital signal can travel up to 500 feet without any degradation where an analog signal has to be boosted back to it’s original voltage after 50 to 100 feet. There are digital networks made specifically to carry this digital signal and most larger venues are using these.)
The most important part of the signal chain is the transducer. So the rule of thumb is get the best ones you can afford. Depending on how old( those guys lugging around a pair of 15 year old Behringers) and how good your current transducers are you can greatly improve your sound quality so take a serious look at this. Remember YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOU SOUND!!
As a side note most newer small format mixers (anything over $800.00) have pretty decent preamps(low THD- total harmonic distortion) and a decent signal to noise ratio.
ONWARD THRU THE FOG