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Testing1212 - terms for sound engineers
Category: Electronics and Engineering > Audio
Date & country: 05/11/2007, UK
Words: 1153


A-D
An abbreviation of Analog to Digital Conversion (the conversion of a quantity that has continuous changes into numbers that approximate those changes), or Analog to Digital Converter.

Absorption
Short for the term Acoustical Absorption (quality of a surface or substance to take in, not reflect, a sound wave).

AC
1) Abbreviation for alternating current.
2) An abbreviation of the term Alternating Current (electric current which flows back and forth in a circuit; all studio signals running through audio lines are AC).

Acoustic Amplifier
The portion of the instrument which makes the vibrating source move more air or move air more efficiently; this makes the sound of the instrument louder. Examples of acoustic amplifiers include: 1) The body of an acoustic guitar,
2) The sounding board of a piano,
3) The bell of a horn and
4) The shell of a drum.

Acoustic Echo Chamber
A room designed with very hard, non-parallel surfaces and equipped with a speaker and microphone; dry signals from the console are fed to the speaker and the microphone will have a reverberation of these signals that can be mixed in with the dry signals at the console.

Acoustic-Acoustical
Having to do with sound that can be heard by the ears.

Acoustics
The behaviour of sound and its study. The acoustics of a room depend on its size and shape and the amount and position of sound-absorbing and reflecting material.

Action
In guitar playing, action refers to how far the strings sit off of the guitar neck. When strings are close to the neck, it is referred to as 'Low Action'. When the string sit far above the neck, it is called 'High Action'. Guitars with low action are easier to play, but make sure they are not too close, or it could causing buzzing.

Active Crossover
Uses active devices (transistors, IC's, tubes) and some form of power supply to operate.

Active-Inactive Microphones
Scientific definitions aside, active microphones generally sound better than inactive ones, but they generally cost more. They also require the use of either a battery or phantom power while inactive mics need only be plugged into the mic cord in order to work. In most playing situations, the subtle improvement in sound quality from an active mic isn't worth the extra cost and hassle. One possible exception it the headset mic. Put simply, inactive headset mics just plain suck. Active headset mics put out a much stronger signal and feed back much less.

ADAT
A trademark of Alesis Corporation designating its modular digital multitrack recording system released in early 1993.

ADSR
The letters A, D, S &R are the first letters of: Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release. These are the various elements of volume changes in the sounding of a keyboard instrument.

AES
An abbreviation of Audio Engineering Society.

AES-EBU
Professional Interface A standard for sending and receiving digital audio adopted by the Audio Engineering Society and the European Broadcast Union.

Aliasing
A sampler mis-recognizing a signal sent to it that is at a frequency higher than the Nyquist Frequency. Upon playback, the system will provide a signal at an incorrect frequency (called an alias frequency). Aliasing is a kind of distortion.

Alternating Current
Electric current which flows back and forth in a circuit.

Ambience
The portion of the sound that comes from the surrounding environment rather than directly from the sound source.

Ambient Field
A term with the same meaning as the term Reverberant Field (the area away from the sound source where the reverberation is louder than the direct sound).

Ambient Micing
Placing a microphone in the reverberant field (where the reverberation is louder than the direct sound) so as to do a separate recording of the ambience or to allow the recording engineer to change the mix of direct to reverberant sound in recording.

Amp
1) An abbreviation of the term Amplifier (A device which increases the level of an electrical signal.
2) An abbreviation of Ampere (the unit of current).
3) An abbreviation of amplitude (the height of a waveform above or below the zero line).

Ampere
The unit of current, abbreviated Amp.

Amplification
An increasing of signal strength.

Amplifier
Sound equipment that converts the low voltage, low current signal from a tape deck, mixer etc. into a higher current signal suitable for driving speakers. See Power Amplifier, Crossover.

Amplifier
A device which increases the amplitude (level) of an electrical signal (making it louder).

Amplifier (Power amp, Head)
It's the part of the sound system that actually magnifies or 'amplifies' the sound. In other words, it makes stuff louder.

Amplitude
The height of a waveform above or below the zero line.

Amplitude
The strength of a vibrating wave; in sound, the loudness of the sound.

Amplitude
The extreme range of a signal. Usually measured from the average to the extreme.

Analog (Analogue)
Representative, continuous changes that relate to another quantity that has a continuous change.

Analog Recording
A recording of the continuous changes of an audio waveform.

Analog To Digital Converter
The device which does the conversion of a quantity that has continuous changes (usually of voltage) into numbers that approximate those changes.

Arc
The visible sparks generated by an electrical discharge.

Assign To
choose to which place an output is going to be sent.

Assistant Engineer
A less elevated version of the term Second Engineer. Experienced seconds often place microphones, operate tape machines, break down equipment at the session end and keep the paperwork for the session.

Atom
The smallest particle which makes up a specific substance. It's composed of a center around which electrons revolve.

Attack
The rate the sound begins and increases in volume.

Attenuation
A making smaller: reduction of electrical or acoustic signal strength.

Attenuator (Pot)
The electronic dohickey under the knobs that increases or reduces the strength of the signal running through it. When these get old and dirty, they can make popping noises or rumbles in your PA (As in 'my pots are dirty').

Audio
Most often referring to electrical signals resulting from the sound pressure wave being converted into electrical energy.

Automation
In consoles, a feature that lets the engineer program control changes (such as fader level) so that upon playback of the multitrack recording these changes happen automatically.

Aux Send
Short for the term Auxiliary Send (a control to adjust the level of the signal sent from the console input channel to the auxiliary equipment through the aux buss.

Auxiliary Equipment
Effects devices separate from but working with the recording console.

Auxiliary Input or Return
A route back into the sound desk for a signal sent to a piece of outboard equipment via an auxiliary send.

Auxiliary Output or Send
An additional output from a sound desk that can be used for foldback or monitoring without tying up the main outputs. Each input channel will have a path to the Aux buss. Also used for feeding a signal to an effects processor. See Auxiliary Return.

Axis
A line around which a device operates. Example: In a microphone, this would be an imaginary line coming out from the front of the microphone in the direction of motion of the diaphragm.

Baffles
Sound absorbing panels used to prevent sound waves from entering or leaving a certain space

Balance
1) The relative level of two or more instruments in a mix, or the relative level of audio signals in the channels of a stereo recording.
2) To make the relative levels of audio signals in the channels of a stereo recording even.

Balance Control
A control on a stereo amplifier that when moved clockwise will make the right channel louder (and the left channel softer) and will do the reverse when moved counter-clockwise.

Balanced
1) Having a pleasing amount of low frequencies compared to mid-range frequencies and high frequencies.
2) Having a pleasing mixture of the various instrument levels in an audio recording.
3) Having a fairly equal level in each of the stereo channels.
4) A method of interconnecting electronic gear using three-conductor cables.

Balanced input-output
A 'balanced' connection is one that has three wires to move the signal. One is a ground, and the other two (called conductors) carry signals of equal value. This is why they are called balanced. Low Z cables and connections are the most common example.

Balls
1) The depth and thickness of a sound, usually on the bottom end of the EQ (as in 'needs more balls').
2) The strength of the voice on the mic (as in 'check it like you have some balls').

Band Track
1) A mixdown of a song without the lead vocal or without the lead and background vocals.
2) A term with the same meaning as the term Rhythm Track.
3) The recording of the rhythm instruments in a music production.

Bandwidth
1) The range of frequencies over which a tape recorder, amplifier or other audio device is useful.
2) The range of frequencies affected by an equalization setting.

Bank
1) A collection of sound patches (data as to the sequence and operating parameters of the synthesizer generators and modifiers) in memory.
2) A group of sound modules as a unit.

Bar
A term meaning the same thing as the term Measure (the grouping of a number of beats in music, most-often four beats).

Barrier Micing
A method of placing the head of a microphone as close as possible to a reflective surface, preventing phase cancellation.

Basic Session
The First session in recording an audio production to record the Basic Tracks.

Bass
1) The lower range of audio frequencies up to approximately 250 Hz.
2) Short for Bass Guitar.
3) Lower end of the musical scale. In acoustics, the range (below about 200 Hz) in which there are difficulties, principally in the reproduction of sound, due to the large wavelengths involved.
4) The lower frequencies.
5) On the soundboard this should refer to the bass guitar channel, not the bass drum.
6) The lowest frequencies of sound. Bi-Amplification uses an electronic crossover or line-level amplifiers for the high and low frequency loudspeaker drivers.

Bass Roll Off
An electrical network built into some microphones to reduce the amount of output at bass frequencies when close-micing.

Beat
1) The steady even pulse in music.
2) The action of two sounds or audio signals mixing together and causing regular rises &.falls in volume.

Beats Per Minute BPM
The number of steady even pulses in music occurring in one minute and there fore defining the tempo of the song.

Bi
A prefix meaning two.

Bi-Amplification
1) A way of optimizing the efficiency of a speaker system by separately amplifying the High Frequency (HF) and Low Frequency (LF) portions of the sound signal and sending them down two pairs of cables to the speaker. Multipin Speakon connectors have been developed to do this.
2)The process of having of having low-frequency speakers and high-frequency speakers driven by separate amplifiers.

Bi-Directional Pattern
A microphone pick up pattern which has maximum pick up directly in front and directly in back of the diaphragm and least pick up at the sides.

Binary
A numbering system based on two. In binary there are two symbols used ('l' and '0').

Bit
The smallest unit of digital information representing a single '0' or 1.

Blending
1) A condition where two signals mix together to form one sound or to give the sound of one sound source or one performance.
2) Mixing the left and right signal together slightly which makes the instruments sound closer to the center of the performance stage.
3) A method of panning during mixing where instruments are not panned extremely left or right.

Board
1) Another, less formal, term for Console.
2) A set of controls and their housing which control all signals necessary for recording and for mixing.
3) A slang shortening of the term Keyboard Instrument.

Boom
1) A hand-held, telescoping pole used to hold the microphone in recording dialogue in film production.
2) A telescoping support arm that is attached to a microphone stand and which holds the microphone.
3) Loosely, a boomstand.

Boom Stand
A microphone stand equipped with a telescoping support arm to hold the microphone.

Boost
To increase gain, especially to increase gain at specific frequencies with an equalizer.

Bottom
The bass frequencies (as in 'needs more bottom end').

Bouncing
Alternate name for Ping-Ponging (playing several tacks with sync playback through a console to mix them together and record them on an open track).

Boundary Mic
A microphone mounted on a flat plate that acts as a reflective surface directing sound into the mic capsule. Used for general pick-up over a large area. See PCC, PZM.

BPM
An abbreviation of Beat Per Minute (the number of steady even pulses in music occurring in one minute and therefore defining the tempo).

Bridge
The bridge assembly, or just 'bridge' is an area on the face of the guitar where the string meet or are connected to the face.

Bulk Dump
Short for System Exclusive Bulk Dump (a method of transmitting data, such as the internal parameters of a MIDI device to another MIDI device).

Buss (Bus)
A wire carrying signals to some place, usually fed from several sources.

Byte
A grouping of eight information bits.

Cable, 1-4 inch
An unbalanced cable most often used for instruments and patch cords. Commonly referred to as 'guitar cords'.

Cable, TRS
A less common balanced cable that has 3 different contacts on its 1/4 inch connectors. Most headphone jacks are a good example of a TRS (Tip-Ring-Sleeve) connector. These are sometimes used instead of the more common XLR connection.

Cable, XLR
A balanced cable used for low impedance microphones and sometimes for connections between some parts of the PA. Commonly referred to as a 'mic cord'.

Cancellation
A shortening of the term Phase Cancellation (the energy of one waveform significantly decreasing the energy of another waveform because of phase relationships at or close to 180 degrees).

Capacitance
That property of a capacitor which determines how much charge can be stored in it for a given potential difference between its terminals, measured in farads, by the ratio of the charge stored to the potential difference.

Capacitance
The property of being able to oppose a change in voltage or store an electrical charge.

Capacitor
1) A device consisting of two or more conducting plates separated from one another by an insulating material and used for storing an electrical charge. Sometimes called a condenser.
2) An electronic device that is composed of two plates separated by an insulator.

Capo
A clamp-like device that is placed vertically across the guitar neck. It is used to change the pitch of the guitar, acting as a moveable nut.

Capsule
1) The variable capacitor section of a condenser microphone.
2) In other types of microphones, the part of the microphone that includes the diaphragm and the active element.

Cardioid Pattern
A microphone pick up pattern, which has maximum pick up from the front, less pick up from the sides, and least pick up from the back of the diaphragm.

Cascade
To set and interconnect two mixers so that the stereo mixing buss(es) of the first mixer feeds the stereo buss(es) of a second mixer.

CD
An abbreviation of the term Compact Disc (a small optical disk with digital audio recorded on it).

CD-ROM
An abbreviation of the term Compact Disc, Read Only Memory (A Compact Disc used to store digital data, such as large programs, that can be read by a computer).

Central Processing Unit
1) The main 'brain' chip of a computer that performs the calculations and execution of instructions.
2) The main housing of a computer that contains the 'brain' chip as opposed to other pieces of the computer system such as keyboards, monitors, etc.

Centre Frequency
The frequency of the audio signal that is boosted or attenuated most by an equalizer with a peak equalization curve.

Chamber
1) An Echo Chamber (a room designed with very hard, non-parallel surfaces equipped with a speaker and microphone so that when dry signals from the console are fed to the speaker, the microphone will have a reverberation of these signals that can be mixed in with the dry signals at the console).
2) A program in a delay/reverb effects device that simulates the sound of an Echo Chamber.

Channel
1) In multitrack tape machines, this term means the same thing as the term Track (one audio recording made on a portion of the width of a multitrack tape).
2) A single path that an audio signal travels or can travel through a device from an input to an output.

Channels
These are divided into two separate categories. Input channels are those channels coming into the soundboard such as microphones and direct lines. Output channels are those leaving the board such as monitor and main outputs.

Charge
The electrical energy of electrons. The energy is in the form of a force that is considered negative and repels other like forces (other electrons) and attracts opposite (positive) forces.

Chase
The automatic adjusting of the speed of a recorder (or sequencer) to be time with another recorder.

Chip
1) A slang term with the same meaning as the term IC (a miniature circuit of many components that is in small, sealed housing with prongs to connect it into equipment).
2) The thread cut away from the master lacquer to make the groove, while disc recording.