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Testing1212 - terms for sound engineers
Category: Electronics and Engineering > Audio
Date & country: 05/11/2007, UK
Words: 1151

IM Distortion
An abbreviation of the term Intermodulation Distortion (Distortion caused by one signal beating with another signal and producing frequencies that are both the sum and the difference of the original frequencies present).

The squaring of the waveform that happens in the conversion of digital audio bits into analog signals.

To make a representation or imitation of the original sonic event.

1) A term for the electrical resistance found in a/c circuits. Affects the ability of a cable to transmit low level (e.g. sound) signals over a long distance. Measured in Ohms. Speakers are rated according to power handling capabilities (Watts, W) and impedance (Ohms).
2) The total opposition offered by an electric circuit to the flow of an alternating current of a single frequency. It is a combination of resistance and reactance and is measured in ohms. Remember that a speaker's impedance changes with frequency, it is not a constant value.
3) The opposition to alternating current.

Impedance Matching
Having or converting the output impedance of a device so that it matches the impedance of the input it will feed.

Short For 'in the circuit,' in other words 'active.'

In Port
A jack on a MIDI device or computer that will accept an incoming data signal.

In-Line Console
A console with modules that have controls for all console sections in one long strip.

The property of an electric circuit by which a varying current in it produces a varying magnetic field that introduces voltages in the same circuit or in a nearby circuit. It is measured in henrys.

A device designed primarily to introduce inductance into an electric circuit. Sometimes called a choke or coil.

Infinite Baffle
A baffle so large that the sounds coming from one side do not reach the other side.

Infinite Repeat
A function on some delay lines that establish enough feedback so that the repeat echo will last forever, but not so much as to cause a howling sound.

Information Bits
The bits in the digital signal that make up actual values or commands being communicated as opposed to bits that are used for checking & correcting data or other purposes.

To prepare a digital storage medium (like a floppy disk) so that it will accept and store digital information bits.

1) The jack or physical location of where a device receives a signal.
2) The signal being received by a device.
3) The action of receiving a signal by a device.

Input Impedance
The opposition to current flow by the first circuits of a device.

Input Monitor
A switch position and operational mode of the electronics of a tape machine where the signal at output of the electronics will be the same as the signal coming into the electronics. In this mode, the tape machine's meter will read the input signal.

Input Overload
Sending too high of a signal level into a device so that the first amplifier of the device overloads.

Input-Output Module
A set of controls, on one housing, for an in-line console that has two channels (one for recording and one for monitoring) and has controls for all console sections.

1) A punch in of the all of the tracks being recorded in a recording session.
2) On Solid State Logic consoles, placing an outboard piece of gear in the channel by patching and activating a switch.

Instrument Amplifier
A device that has a power amplifier and speaker in a case (or in separate cases) to reproduce the signal put out by an electric instrument (such as an electric guitar) and to allow the instrument to be heard.

Instrument Out Direct
Feeding the output of an electric instrument (like an electric guitar) to the recording console or tape recorder without using a microphone.

A substance such as glass, air, plastic, etc., that will (for all practical purposes) not conduct electricity.

Integrated Circuit (IC)
A miniature circuit of many components in a small, sealed housing with prongs to connect it into equipment.

Any device that allows one unit to work, drive or communicate with another unit when they cannot do so by just feeding each other often because the units are manufactured by different companies.

Intermodulation Distortion
Distortion caused by one signal beating with another signal and producing frequencies that are both the sum and the difference of the original frequencies.

Inverse Square Law
Simply stated, the fact that in an un-obstructed area (like an open field) the sound pressure level will drop to half-pressure (-6 dB) every time the distance to the sound source is doubled.

A containing of the sound wave in a certain area so that it will not leak into other areas and/or unintended mics.

Isolation Booth, Isolation Room
A room that prevents loud sounds from other instruments from leaking in: an isolation booth is usually a smaller room that could be used for only one musician.

The control of a dynamics processing device by an external audio signal.

1) Any musical instrument controlled by pressing a key.
2) The part of the computer that has the keys.

Keyboard Controller
A device that has the standard music keys of piano but puts out MIDI signals

Keying Input (Key Input)
An input on a dynamics processing device to control the device by an external audio signal.

Keynote Number
A number assigned to each key of a synthesizer or controller keyboard that is transmitted in the MIDI signal.

An Abbreviation of kilo-Hertz.

Kick (Kick Drum)
Another term for Bass Drum.

A prefix meaning 1000.

The recording (or playing) of a musical part with of several similar sound patches playing simultaneous.

The musical instrument that plays the melody of the tune, including the vocal.

Lead Sheet
A written chart showing the melody, lyrics and chords of a tune with full musical notation.

Sounds from other instruments and sources that were not intended to be picked up by the microphone.

A light that allows current to flow in one direction only and emits light whenever a voltage of a certain level or beyond is applied to it.

The amount of signal strength; the amplitude, especially the average amplitude.

Sets output volume of individual PA input channels. Usually positioned as sliders at the bottom of the soundboard.

Low-Frequency Oscillator (an oscillator that puts out an AC signal between .1 Hz and 10Hz used for a control signal).

Librarian Program
A computer program allowing the storage of the parameters of sound patches outside of a synthesizer.

1) To boost gain of audio at a particular band of frequencies with an equalizer.
2) An elevation device in the star trek series of TV programs.

Light Emitting Diode
A light that allows current to flow in one direction only and emits light whenever a voltage of a certain level or beyond is applied to it.

A device which reduces gain when the input voltage exceeds a certain level.

1) Short for line level.
2) A cable.

Line In (Input, return)
Where a signal enters the board or component.

Line Input
An input designed to take a line level signal.

Line Level
An amplified signal level put out by an amplifier and used as the normal level that runs through the interconnecting cables in a control room.

Line Level
A low level signal such as the signal in a guitar cord. Most parts of a PA require a line level signal. Remember, however, that speaker outputs are not line level. Plugging speaker outs into line ins will result in damage to the equipment

Line Out (Line Output)
Any output that sends out a line level signal, such as the output of a console that feeds a recorder.

Line Out (Output, Send)
Where a signal leaves the board or component.

The condition of obtaining a change at the output of the device which is proportional to the change occurring at the input.

The extent to which any signal handling process is accomplished without amplitude distortion.

(Said of compressors and dynamic processing units.) To combine the control input signals of two channels of a compressor (or dynamic processing unit) so that both channels always have the same gain and are triggered to change gain by either channel's signal.

Listen Circuits
A type of solo circuit that allows listening to a channel before the fader or after the fader.

1) Referring to the sound by instruments during a performance to an audience.
2) Having a large portion of reverberant or reflected sound.

Live Recording
1) Recording where all the musicians are playing at once and overdubbing is not done.
2) A recording with a lot of natural reverberation.

Abbreviation for the term Low Impedance (Impedance of 500 ohms or less).

1) The opposition to the audio output signal of a device by the input of the device being fed.
2) A resistor that would have the lowest impedance the device was designed to feed into used during testing of a device.
3) To copy the digital data off a storage medium into the RAM of a computer.
4) To put the tape on a tape machine and activate the computer-controlled constant tension system.

Load Impedance
The opposition to output current flow caused by the input that it feeds.

Local On-Off (Local Mode On-Off)
A switch or function in a synthesizer that connects ('On') or disconnects ('Off') the keyboard control of the synthesizer's sound module.

A tape machine transport controller where the machine will go to a preprogrammed position on the tape.

Long Delay
Delay times above 60 ms.

1) A term meaning the same as Anti-Node (the points of maximum displacement of motion in a vibrating stretched string).
2) A tape (or magnetic film) recording where the ends of the tape are spliced together in such a manner that the tape will continually repeat.
3) A repeating of an audio sample with no gap in between.

Loop (Effects Loop)
A signal path separate from the main signal paths where a line signal is routed out of the mixer through a series of effects units, and then returned back to the mixer. The electronics within the mixer can then be used to individually control the effects on each input channel.

1) How loud something sounds to the ear.
2) Causing equal volume changes at all frequency ranges including frequency response changes at lower operating levels to compensate for the Fletcher Munson effect.

Loudness Control
A knob that changes the level and adjusts the frequency response of the circuit controlling the speakers to compensate for the inability of the ear to hear low frequencies and extreme high frequencies at low volumes.

Device for converting the electrical signal from an amplifier back into sound waves, most commonly by vibrating a paper cone. Most speaker systems are composed of a number of sources - each designed to handle a specific range of frequencies. See Tweeters and Woofers, Bi-Amplification.

Low End
A slang term for bass-frequency signals (below 250 Hz).

Low Frequencies
1) Any audio or audible frequency below 1kHz.
2) The range of bass frequencies below approximately 250 Hz.

Low Impedance
Impedance of 500 ohms or less.

Low Impedance Cord (Low Z)
A big word for mic cable. These cords lose very little signal over distance, and can thus be made very long. PA snakes are constructed mostly of Low Z cords because of their need to be lengthy.

Low-Pass Filter
A device that rejects signal above a certain frequency and passes signals that are lower in frequency.

Lower Toms
The large toms (up to approximately 20' diameter heads) mounted on metal feet to sit on the floor.

Machine Head
The pegs located at the headstock which are used to tune the guitar. the Machine Heads have gears, which when turned, can tighten or loosen the string.

1) Putting out magnetic energy.
2) Able to be magnetized.

Magnetic Lines of Force
The magnetic field that exists between poles of a magnet.

Magnetic Tape
Recording tape consisting of a plastic strip to which magnetic materials, usually in form of finely ground iron oxide (rust) particles, are adhered.

A natural attractive energy of iron based-materials for other iron-based materials.

The speakers facing the audience along with the system of amps equalizers and effects attached to them.

The amount of dB between the highest peak level of the program and the overload point.

The characteristic of hearing by which loud sounds prevent the ear from hearing softer sounds of similar frequency.

1) A control to set the level going out of the console, especially the stereo output to the two track machine in mixdown.
2) A term with the same meaning as Sub Master (a control that adjusts the level of a signal mixed together and being sent out to one track of a multitrack recorder).
3) A term with the same meaning as VCA Master (one slide that controls the control voltage sent to several VCA faders).
4) The machine that will be used as a speed reference when synchronizing two or more machines to run together; if the master tape transport changes speed, the other machines synced to it will change speed.
5) The original recording, used for making copies.
6) To make an original recording which will be used to make commercial copies, especially making a master lacquer (for record manufacturing) or a master compact disc.

Master Fader
1) The fader which controls the main output(s) of the console during mixdown.
2) In some consoles, faders which control the outputs to the multitrack tape recorder during recording.
3) Occasionally used to mean a VCA master (one slide that controls the control voltage sent to several VCA faders).

Matrix Output
Set of outputs on a mixing desk which allows the user to preset a number of output configurations. e.g. on a 8 x 8 matrix, each of the 8 group outputs from the channels can be routed to any or all of the matrix outputs.

Short for Modular Digital Multitrack: A multitrack digital recorder with (usually) 8 tracks than can be run in synchronization with other machines (of the same type) to attain more tracks. ADAT brand recorders are an example.

The grouping of a number of beats in music.

Medium Delay
Delay times of 20 ms. - 60 ms.

1) A prefix for 1,000,000.
2) An slang abbreviation for megahertz (1,000,000 Hertz) or megabytes (1,000,000 Bytes).

The components in a computer (or a device that can be connected to a computer) that store digital data.

A device which measures or compares the electrical signal/signals; often used to read the voltage level of audio signals.

A device which makes a clicking noise in adjustable intervals. Used in guitar practice to improve timing.

An abbreviation for microphone.

Mic Gain Control
A level control on a microphone preamplifier that sets gain and is used to prevent overload of that preamplifier.

Mic Input
The input of a console or other device that a microphone can be plugged into.