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

Three or more musical pitches sung or played together.

Common type of effect that makes sounds fuller and thicker.

1) The part of The song that is repeated and has the same music and lyrics each time; the chorus will usually give the point of the song.
2) A musical singing group that has many singers.
3) A delay effect that simulates a vocal chorus by adding several delays with a mild amount of feedback and a medium amount of depth.
4) A similar effect created in some synthesizers by detuning (reducing the pitch of, slightly) and mixing it with the signal that has regular tuning and with a slight delay.

1) A term meaning the same thing as Chorus (Definition 3 or 4).
2) In some delay effects devices, a term used to mean the term Depth (the amount of change in the controlled signal by the control signal).

1) One complete path of electric current.
2) Similar to definition 1, but including all paths and components to accomplish one function in a device.

Describes a distortion free sound with few effects.

Pressing and immediately releasing the switch on a computer's mouse.

The action of deforming a waveform during overload.

Distortion of a signal by its being chopped off. An overload problem caused by pushing an amplifier beyond its capabilities. The flat-topped signal has high levels of harmonic distortion which creates heat in a loudspeaker and is the major cause of loudspeaker component failure.

Clock Signal
The signal put out by a circuit that generates steady even pulses or steady codes used for synchronization.

Close Micing
A technique of placing a microphone close to the sound source (within one foot) in order to pick up mainly the direct sound and to avoid picking up leakage or ambience.

Two-conductor cable consisting of one conductor surrounded by a shield.

Comb Filter
1) The frequency response achieved by mixing a direct signal with a delayed signal of equal strength especially at short delays.
2) Loosely used to also describe effects that can be achieved with comb filtering as part of the processing.

Compact Disc CD
A small optical disk with digital audio recorded on it.

Compact Disc Recordable CDR
A blank Compact Disc that can be recorded on one time.

Compact Disc, Interactive CDI
A Compact Disc, usually containing audio, video, and text, which the user can interact with in that the display or playback changes after the user performs some action.

Outboard sound equipment. Combination of a Compressor and an Expander.

1) A two section device that is used in noise reduction systems. The first section compresses the audio signal, before it is recorded, and the second section, expands the signal after recording.
2) In Yamaha brand digital consoles, a signal processing function that applies both compression and expansion to the same signal.

Compression Driver
The unit that feeds a sound pressure wave into the throat of a horn (in a horn loudspeaker).

Compression Ratio
How many dB the input signal has to rise above the threshold for every one dB more output of a compressor or limiter.

1) Effect used to squash the sound together. Used properly, it can take the edge off or your sound. Used improperly, it can take the life right out of your system and make it sound like an MTV mix.
2) A piece of sound processing equipment that ensures all wanted signals are suitably placed between the noise and distortion levels of the recording medium. It evens out the unwanted changes in volume you get with close-miking, and in doing so, adds punch to the sound mix. A Limiter is used to stop a signal from exceeding a preset limit. Beyond this limit, the signal level will not increase, no matter how loud the input becomes. A Limiter is often used to protect speaker systems (and human ears) by preventing a system from becoming too loud.

A signal processing device that does not allow as much fluctuation in the level of the signal above a certain adjustable or fixed level.

An older term meaning the same thing as Capacitor (an electronic device which is composed of two plates separated by an insulator and can store charge) but sill in common use when referring to a microphone's active element.

Condenser Mic (Capacitor Mic)
A microphone that uses the varying capacitance between two plates with a voltage applied across them to convert sound to electrical pulses. Condenser microphones need a power supply to provide the voltage across the plates, which may be provided by a battery within the case of the microphone, or it may be provided from an external phantom power supply. A condenser mic is more sensitive and has a faster reaction to percussive sounds than a Dynamic mic and produces a more even response. See Electret Mic.

Condenser Microphone
A microphone which converts sound pressure changes into changes of capacitance. The capacitance changes are then converted into electrical voltage variations (an audio signal).

A set of controls and their housing, which control all signals necessary for recording and mixing.

Consumer Format (Consumer DIF)
A standard adopted by IEC for sending and receiving digital audio based on The AES Professional Interface.

Contact Microphone
A device that senses vibrations and puts out an audio signal proportional to the vibrations.

1) In MIDI, a device that generates a MIDI signal to control synthesizers, sound modules or sample playback units.
2) A remote control unit for a multitrack tape machine which controls transport functions as well as monitor selection switching functions and record ready/safe status of each track.
3) Any device generating a control voltage or signal fed to another device's control input.

Cord (Speaker, Mic, Instrument)
Used to connect a sound system together. Each type of cord is made for a specific purpose and should not be used in place of another type of cord, not even if they look alike. Also see 'cable'

Corner Frequency
Same as Cut-Off Frequency (the highest or lowest frequency in the pass band of a filter). (NOUN)

Abbreviation of Central Processing Unit (The main 'brain' chip of a computer or the main housing of a computer that contains the 'brain' chip).

Describes a good clean high midrange sound. It can be good or bad depending on the look on the face of the guy who said it.

Critical Distance
The point a distance away from the sound source where the direct sound and the reverberant sound are equal in volume.

1) A route leading from one side of the stage to the other, out of the audiences view.
2) An electronic filter in a sound system that routes sound of the correct frequency to the correct part of the speaker system. Different speakers handle high frequencies (tweeters) and low frequencies (woofers). Sometimes known as a crossover network. An active crossover splits the signal from the mixing desk into high, mid and low frequencies which are then sent to three separate amplifiers.
3) An electrical circuit that divides a full bandwidth signal into the desired frequency bands for the loudspeaker components.

Crossover (Crossover Network)
A set of filters that 'split' the audio signal into two or more bands (two or more signals, each of which have only some of the frequencies present).

Crossover Frequency
1) The frequency that is the outer limit of one of the bands of a crossover.
2) In the Lexicon 480L delay/reverberation effects unit, the frequency at which the bass frequency reverb time is in effect rather than the mid frequency reverb time.

Crossover, Active
A rack mountable unit used to separate frequencies leaving the soundboard into high's, mids, and lows with different outputs for each.

Crossover, Passive
Used inside of full range speaker cabinets to separate highs, mids, and lows and send them to their respective speakers within the each cabinet. These are not as efficient as active crossovers because they require all frequencies to draw from the same source of amplification.

Leakage of an audio signal into a channel that iris not intended to be in, from an adjacent or nearby channel.

1) The signal fed back to the musicians through headphones.
2) To set the tape or disc so that the intended selection will immediately play when the tape machine or player is started.
3) A location point entered into a computer controlling the playback or recording of a track or tape.
4) In MCI brand tape machines, a term meaning the same thing as Sync Playback (where the record head is used as a playback head for those tracks already recorded).

Cue Send Control
A control that will adjust the amount of signal sent to a cue buss from a console channel.

The amount of electron charge passing a point in a conductor per unit of time.

1) One selection (one song) on a pre4ecorded music format.
2) A term with the same meaning as Mute (to turn off a channel or a signal).
3) To reduce gain of a particular band of frequencies (with an equalizer).
4) To not pass a particular band of frequencies (said of a filter)

Cut-off Rate (Slope)
The number of dB that a filter reduces the signal for each octave its frequency past the filter's cut-off frequency (outside of the pass band).

1) An alternation of a waveform which begins at a point, passes through the zero line, and ends at a point with the same value and moving in the same direction as the starting point.
2) On a Solid State Logic Console, a command to have the console computer control the tape machine to play and replay a certain section of the tape.

Cycles Per Second
A unit used in the measure of frequency, equivalent to Hertz. Cycles Per Second is an outdated term replaced by Hertz in 1948.

Cyclic Redundancy
Checking Code

See Decibel

Abbreviation for direct current.

Decibel (dB)
1) Relative measurement for the volume (loudness) of sound. Also used to measure the difference between two voltages, or two currents. See Zero dB.
2) A numerical expression of the relative loudness of a sound. The difference in decibels between two sounds is ten times the common logarithm of the ratio of their power levels.

Outboard sound equipment that can momentarily stores a signal being sent to part of a P.A. system so that delayed reinforced sound reaches the audience at the same time as live sound from the stage.

Delay (Digital, Analogue)
1) Effect used to create echo...echo...echo...echo...echo...
2) In more advanced systems used in very large venues, delay can be used to time the arrival of the signal to the speakers in the back of the room so that people in the back hear the sound coming from those speakers at the same time that the sound coming from the speakers in the front of the room arrives.

A thin flexible membrane or cone that vibrates in response to electrical signals to produce sound waves. Distortion is usually referred to in terms of total harmonic distortion (THD) which is the percentage of unwanted harmonics of the drive signal present with the wanted signal. Generally used to mean any unwanted change introduced by the device under question.

The breaking up of a sound wave caused by some type of mechanical interference such as a cabinet edge, grill frame, or other similar object.

Digital Recording
1) ADAM : (Akai Digital Audio Multitrack). 12 track recording onto Video 8 tape. 16 bit, 44.1 or 48 kHz sampling rate.
2) DAT (Digital Audio Tape) Cassette-like system which has much higher quality than standard audio cassettes. Widely used in gathering sound effects, for news gathering, and for playback of music.
3) DCC (Digital Compact Cassette) Rival to DAT which also plays standard audio cassettes.
4) MiniDisc : Uses computer disk technology, rather than tape. A laser heats an area of magnetic disk which is then written to by a magnetic head. When cooled, the magnetic information is read from the disk by laser. Tracks can be named, and are instant start. Very theatre-friendly system.
5) Direct to Disk : Uses the hard disk present in most PCs as the recording medium.

Direct box
Used in line to convert a high impedance signal into a low impedance signal.

The way your PA sounds just before it blows up. Fuzzy and scratchy. If you hear this, it either means you have something hooked up wrong, or something in the system is going bad. It could be anything from your super expensive soundboard to a five dollar patch cord.

Usually undesirable result of overloading sound equipment. Reducing the levels can remedy the situation.

Trade name for a series of noise reduction systems that have become standard on many tape playback machines. Many film soundtracks are produced using this process. Different varieties are found from Dolby B on most personal cassette players, to Dolby SR and Digital, the current state of the art for cinema.

See transducer. Dynamic Range - The range between the quietest and the loudest sounds a device can handle (often quoted in dB).

Describes a sound coming from the PA with no effects on it.

Dynamic Mic
Robust type of microphone which picks up the sound on a diaphragm connected to a coil of wire which moves within a magnet. An alternating current is induced into the wire which provides the electrical output. Most dynamic mics have low output impedance of 200 Ohms. See Condenser Mic.

Early Reflections
The first echoes in a room, caused by the sound from the sound source reflecting off one surface before reaching the listener.

The British version of the term Ground (In electronics, a place that has zero volts).

1) One distinct repeat of a sound because of the sound reflecting off a surface.
2) Loosely, used to mean reverberation (the continuing of a sound after the source stops emitting it, caused by many discrete echoes closely spaced in time).

Echo Chamber
1) A room designed with very hard, non-parallel surfaces and equipped with a speaker and microphone.
2) Any artificial or electronic device that simulates the reverberation created in a room.

Echo Return
An input of the console, which brings back the echo (reverberation) signal from the echo chamber or other echo effects device.

Echo Send
The output of a console used to send a signal to an echo chamber or delay effects device.

Echo Send Control
A control to send the signal from the input module to the echo chamber or effects device via the echo buss.

A switch that does different things depending on the operational mode that the machine is in: 1) If a computer-controlled transport is in 'Stop,' pushing the 'Edit' switch deactivates the computer-controlled tension system and allows the reels to be moved by hand to find the exact spot desired on the tape.
2) If the machine is in 'Play', the 'Edit' switch makes the take-up reel cease taking up the tape and it falls to the floor.
3) If the machine is in a fast-wind mode, the tape lifters are defeated so the tape is in contact with the reproduce head and the engineer can hear where the selections begin and end.

1) Changing the sequence of a recording by cutting the recording tape and putting the pieces together in the new sequence with splicing tape.
2) Punching in and then punching out on one or more tracks of a multitrack tape recorder to replace previously recorded performances.
3) Changing the sequence of a digital recording's playback by computer program.

Electronic boxes (usually rack mounted) added to a PA system to subtly change and enhance the signals going through it. Examples include; Reverb, Delay, Compressor, Chorus.

1) Various ways an audio signal can be modified by adding something to the signal to change the sound.
2) Short for the term Sound Effects (sounds other than dialogue, narration or music like door closings, wind, etc. added to film or video shots).

Effects Track
1) In film production audio, a recording of the mixdown of all the sound effects for the film ready to be mixed with the dialogue and music.
2) In music recording, one track with a recording of effects to be added to another track of a multitrack recording.

The acoustic power delivered for a given electrical input. Often expressed as decibels/watt/meter (dB/w/m). ESL - Abbreviation for electrostatic loudspeaker.

Electret Condenser
A condenser microphone that has a permanently polarized (charged) variable capacitor as its sound pressure level sensor.

Electret Mic
A condenser microphone where the capacitor plates are given a charge during manufacture which they retain, therefore requiring no external power supply.

Electric Current
A more formal term meaning the same as the term Current (the amount of electron charge passing a point in a conductor per unit of time).

Electric Instrument
Any musical instrument that puts out an electrical signal rather than an acoustic sound.

Electrical current (the amount of electron charge passing a point in a conductor per unit of time) or voltage (the force pushing electrons to obtain electrical current).

Electromagnetic Field
Magnetic energy put out because of current travelling through a conductor.

Electromagnetic Theory
A statement of the principles behind electromagnetic induction: When a conductor cuts magnetic lines of force, current is induced in that conductor.

1) On a tape machine, the housing for and the channel circuitry which processes the signal to be fed to the heads, provide bias, and playback.
2) The branch of science dealing with the behaviour of electrons/charges in vacuums, gases, semiconductors and special conductors.

Negatively charged particles, which revolve around the centre of atoms. The movement of such electrons down a conductor causes electrical current.

Electrostatic Charge
The excess or deficiency of electrons in a given area.

1) A technician in charge of a recording session; Also called Recording Engineer.
2) A person with an engineering degree.
3) A person with sufficient experience in the field to be equivalent to the education one would receive earning an engineering degree.

1) How a sound or audio signal varies in intensity over a time span.
2) How a control voltage varies in level over time controlling a parameter of something other than gain or audio level.

Equal Loudness Contours
A drawing of several curves showing how loud the tones of different frequencies would have to be played for a person to say they were of equal loudness.

The process of adjusting the tonal quality of a sound. A graphic equalizer provides adjustment for a wide range of frequency bands, and is normally inserted in the signal path after the mixing desk, before the amplifier. See Feedback.

Any time the amplitude of audio signals at specific set of frequencies are increased or decreased more than the signals at other audio frequencies.

Equalizer (Parametric, Graphic)
This is used to filter out and adjust specific frequencies in the PA. This is the part of the PA where you have the most control over the band's overall sound. It is also the number one weapon against feedback.

Equipment Rack
A cabinet with rails (or free standing rails) that have holes to accept screws at standard spaces and used to house outboard gear.

Error Concealment
Putting replacement information bits into a digital audio signal to replace lost bits when the digital recording or processing system cannot verify whether the lost bits were l's or 0's but can make a good guess by comparing the known bits that were close in position to the lost bits.

Error Correct
Exact replacement of lost information bits in digital audio.

Error Detection
The process of discovery that sonic information bits have been lost in digital audio.

Error Message
A prompt on a computer screen telling the operator that an error has occurred.

A device that causes expansion of the audio signal.

The opposite of compression; for example, an expander may allow the signal to increase 2 dB every time the signal input increased by 1 dB.

The front or body of the guitar.