"Explain Like I'm 5": Impedance July 18, 2013 16:20 10 Comments
When I sent out the newsletter announcing the last "Explain Like I'm 5 Podcast," I asked which audio topics you wanted to hear explained to a 5-year-old. As as result I now have a list of over 25 topics for future shows! But the response I got the most was "impedance."
One reader even taunted me: "Haha, explain impedance like I'm five..good luck with that ;)" Challenge accepted, buddy!
Impedance is one of those audio concepts that comes up at almost every recording session or live sound gig, even if you're not aware of it. Grasping the basics of input and output impedance can make you aware of potential problems before they happen, and help you problem solve more quickly and confidently. And the truth is that the fundamentals of impedance are simple enough that you can learn them from a 15-minute podcast.
In today's ELI5 podcast, I begin with a discussion of acoustics before moving to electronics to show you that you already know more about impedance than you probably think. I go on to cover exactly what input/output impedance specs mean, illustrate the concept of impedance with examples from the studio, and explain what impedance mis-matches can do to your sound.
Download the mp3 or subscribe via iTunes.
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Do you understand impedance now? How easy was the podcast to understand? Is there any other topic you'd like to hear explained as if to a 5-year-old? I welcome your feedback in the comments.
bowleggerooster on March 18, 2015 14:55
Peterson explaining impedance for me clicked when it was told to me using this way!
Imagine you have a truck load of boxes that needs to be shipped to a store in another city.Just make sure the demands for the task are matched on the other size and you should no problems impedance. This was a big help for me! Hope it helps your beginners?
The impedance would be determined by a few things.
1) How far away is the destination the load needs to travel? (length of the cord)
2) How heavy is the load that needs to be moved? (higher the ohms the more energy need)
3) To balance the impedance you need the requirements meet or the task will fail! (wrong size truck or not enough gas to go the longer distance)
Peter on November 12, 2014 18:05
When you do not like to listen – you are wrong in our business!
Kevin on November 12, 2014 18:05
Thanks for the thoughtful exposition, Peterson. I’m loving this series.
Greg on November 12, 2014 18:05
Please transcribe these podcasts… I don’t like listening to people talk
Peterson Goodwyn on November 12, 2014 18:05
Exactly! A tone pot works by using a capacitor to present a frequency-variable impedance to the guitar pickup.
Gregg on November 12, 2014 18:05
This is absolutely fantastic and much needed!
Ralph on November 12, 2014 18:05
Beautiful, Peterson! Love the acoustic analogy. Keep ’em coming!
john on November 12, 2014 18:05
hi are these going to be on itunes? it currently says it cant download the files
Jim Gablick on November 12, 2014 18:05
Well Done! If I’m getting this right, it appears that impedance explains many things. Would it be correct to infer that a tone pot works by adding or removing impedance, there by affecting the frequencies that are or aren’t getting through the signal?
Anyway, thanks much; very helpful.
Daniel on November 12, 2014 18:05
I liked it. I have to listen to it a few more times because it’s still not very intuitive to me. I would recommend to have a couple of graphs to go a long with this. The pod cast is divided into a few different sections, there could easily be a graph for each one of them.
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