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


Open
Short for the term Open Circuit.

Open Circuit
1) Having a break in a conductor or, for another reason, not having a complete path for electrons to flow.
2) Said of an amplifier, having nothing feeding the input.

Open Track
A track on a multitrack tape which has not yet been recorded on.

Operating Level
The maximum level that should not be exceeded in normal operation.

Operational Amplifier
An amplifying circuit used in most audio devices.

Oscillator
1) A device that puts out test tones at various frequencies to align a tape machine or for other testing purposes.
2) A device generating a tone in a synthesizer

Out Of Phase
1) Being similar to another signal in amplitude, frequency and wave shape but being offset in time by part of a cycle.
2) 180 degrees out of phase or having opposite polarity.

Out Port
A jack which puts out digital data in a computer or digital device.

Outboard Equipment
Equipment that is used with, but is not a part of, a console.

Output
1) The jack or physical location of where a device sends out a signal.
2) The signal put out by a device.

Output Impedance
The opposition to current flow by the output circuits of an amplifier (or other device).

Output Level
The signal level at the output of a device.

Output Selector
The switch on a tape machine which allows the VU meter and audio output of the tape machine electronics to monitor and send out of the machine either the input signal to the rape machine, the playback of what was being recorded or the level of bias current being fed to the record head.

Over Easy
DBX`s trademark for the gradual change of compression ratio around the threshold making it difficult to detect when compression is taking place.

Overdrive
Taking the signal and breaking up the harmonics.

Overdubbing
1) Adding additional musical parts on a track of a multitrack tape.
2) Sending a previously recorded signal through a console and mixing it with the audio from a new sound source, recording onto another tape.

Overload
To put too much signal level into thereby causing distortion

Overload Indicator
An LED on a channel of a console that shows that the input or other part of the circuit is receiving an overload.

Oversampling
A process where the analog audio (or the digital audio for playback) is sampled many times more than the minimum sampling rate.

Overtones
The harmonics of an instrument's sound minus the fundamental frequency.

Pad
1) An attenuator usually used to prevent overload of amplifier that follows.
2) A device with a surface that can be hit by a drum stick; hitting the pad produces an output signal pulse (or MIDI command) that causes a drum machine or synthesizer to sound a drum sound.

Pan (Balance)
Knob on the mixer that adjusts the relative volume between left and right (or A and B) in a stereo setup. Just like the stereo in the living room.

Panpot (Pan Pot)
An electrical device that distributes one audio signal to two (or more) channels or speakers.

Parallel
1) A circuit interconnection in that the source feeds several branch circuit components and interruption of current flow in one component does not stop current flow in another.
2) A method of sending data where each digit of a digital word is sent at the same time over separate wires/connections.

Parallel Jacks
Several jacks that are wired so that each connection is wired to the corresponding connection of other jacks.

Parallel Port
A jack that sends out or receives digital data where several bits are being sent/received at the same time though different pins.

Parameter
Each adjustment that is possible to change in a device.

Parametric EQ
An equalizer in which all of the parameters of equalization can be adjusted to any amount including: a) center frequency; b) the amount of boost or cut in gain; and c) the bandwidth.

Partial
1) In acoustical instruments, a term with the same meaning as overtone.
2) In synthesizers literally 'part of a sound patch;' circuitry in the synthesizer that generates and/or modifies elements of the sound to give timbre to the particular tone.
3) The sound element generated by #2.

Pass Band
The frequency range of signals that will be passed, not reduced, by a filter.

Passive Crossover
Uses no active components (transistors, IC's, tubes) and needs no power supply (AC, DC, battery) to operate. The crossover in a typical loudspeaker is of the passive variety. Passive crossovers consist of capacitors, inductors and resistors.

Passive Device
A piece of signal processing gear or other device that does not use an amplifier as part of its design.

Patch
1) To route or reroute the signal in an audio system (such as a console) by using short cables with plugs inserted into jacks.
2)The routing or rerouting of the signal accomplished by #1.

Patch Bay
A Series of jacks with connections for most of the inputs and outputs of the console, console sections, tape machines and other pieces of equipment.

Patch Cord
A cable with two plugs on it to interconnect two patch jacks in the patch bay.

Patch Cord
A very short high Z instrument cable.

Patch Editor
A computer program allowing the creation or the changing of parameters of sound patches thereby creating or modifying a specific synthesized sound outside of a synthesizer.

Patch Field
A series of jacks which has connections for most of the inputs and outputs of the console, console sections, tape machines and other pieces of equipment.

Patch Librarian
A computer program allowing the storing of sound patches outside of a synthesizer.

Patch Panel
A series of jacks which has connections for most of the inputs and outputs of the console, console sections, tape machines and other pieces of equipment.

Patch Panel
A board consisting of rows of sockets into which plugs can be connected to route sound signals or power for lighting circuits.

Patch Point
One jack in a patch bay.

Path
Short for Signal Path, the way in which current does or may travel in a circuit or through a device.

Pause
The button or control mode where the tape machine is paused but with the drive mechanism ready for an instant start.

PCM
An abbreviation for the term Pulse Code Modulation (the use of amplitude pulses in magnetic tape to record the digital information bits of digital audio).

Peak
1) The highest point in the audio waveform.
2) Short for Peak Detecting (responding to the peak) or Peak Indicating (showing the peak).
3) Having a frequency response that would draw something similar to a mountain peak on a frequency response graph.

Peak Detecting
Recognizing and responding to peak values of a waveform rather than average values.

Peak Indicating Meter
A meter which reads the absolute peak level of the waveform.

Peak Level
A term with the same meaning as Peak Value (the maximum positive or negative instantaneous value of a waveform).

Peak Responding
Recognizing and responding to (or indicating) the peak value rather than the average or effective value.

Peak Response
1) A term with the same meaning as Peak
2) Raising or lowering of the amplitude of signals at the center frequency more than signals at any other frequency.

Peak Value
The maximum positive or negative instantaneous value of a waveform.

Peak-to-Peak Value
The difference in amplitude between positive and negative peaks. Equal to twice the peak value for a sine wave.

Peaking Filter
An EQ circuit which has a peak response (raising or lowering of the amplitude of signals at the center frequency more than signals at any other frequency).

Pedal Board
A board with several guitar pedals attached and inter-connected so that a guitar player can conveniently use several effects at the same time or one after another.

PFL
These buttons allow you to boost or isolate individual channels in the headphones.

Phantom Power
When this is turned on in the soundboard it will power the active microphones in the system. It should be turned off when no active mics are hooked up.

Phantom Power
Some condenser microphones require a power supply in order to operate. If this supply is not from a battery within the microphone body, it is known as a phantom power supply. It is usually 48 Volts DC (can be 9 - 52 volts from most mics), and is supplied either by a separate battery pack, or by the sound desk. The supply is termed 'phantom' because it is 'invisibly' carried down the same microphone cable as the sound signals.

Phantom Powering
A system used to supply condenser microphones with power; to eliminate the need for external power supplies.

Phase
1) The amount by which one sine wave leads or lags a second wave of the same frequency. The difference is described by the term phase angle. Sine waves in phase reinforce each other; those out of phase cancel.
2)A measurement (expressed in degrees) of the time difference between two similar waveforms.

Phase Addition
The energy of one waveform increasing the energy of another waveform because the two waveforms have similar phase relationships.

Phase Cancellation
The energy of one waveform decreasing the energy of another waveform because of phase relationships at or close to 180 degrees.

Phase Distortion
A change in the sound because of a phase shift in the signal.

Phase Distortion Synthesis
A method of altering a wave shape to add harmonics by a phase shift while a cycle is being formed.

Phase Linear
The quality of not having phase shift.

Phase Lock
1) In the control of tape machines, a method of keeping machines synced together by sensing phase differences in the playback of pilot tunes by the two machines and adjustment of speed to eliminate the phase difference.
2) In synthesizers, the control of one tone generator so that it begins its waveform in phase with the signal from another tone generator.

Phase Reversal
A change in a circuit to get the waveform to shift by 180 degrees.

Phase Shift
A delay introduced into an audio signal measured in degrees delayed.

Phase Sync
1) A term with the same meaning as the term Phase Lock.
2) A method of keeping machines synced together by sensing phase differences in the playback of pilot tones by the two machines and adjustment of speed to eliminate the phase difference.

Phasing
An effects sound created by variable phase shift of an audio signal mixed with the direct signal.

Phon
1) A unit of equal loudness for all audio frequencies.
2) The phon is numerically equal to dBspl at 1000 Hz but varies at other frequencies according to ear sensitivity to frequency.

Phone Plug (Jack)
A plug (or its mating jack) with a diameter of 1/4 inch and a length of I 1/4 inches used for interconnecting audio.

Phono Cartridge
1) The device that changes the mechanical vibrations stored on records into electrical signals.
2) A transducer changing sound stored as mechanical vibrations to sound in the form of electricity.

Phono Plug
An unbalanced audio connector used for connecting line-level equipment together (e.g. CD player, tape recorder). Unsuitable for professional use due to lack of durability.

Phono Plug
1) A term with the same meaning as RCA Plug.
2) The common audio connector round on most stereo systems with a center pin as one connection and an outer shell as the second connection.

Photoelectric Cell
A device that generates a small current when it receives light.

Pick
Usually a small piece of plastic, which is held usually within the thumb and index finger to strike a string or strings on the guitar to produce a sound.

Pick Guard
Usually a piece of plastic that sit on the face of the guitar to protect the face of the guitar from scratches caused by picking.

Pick Up Pattern
The shape of the area that a microphone will evenly pick up from, giving similar but less detailed information than a polar pattern.

Pick-Up
1) Device which, when attached to an acoustic musical instrument, converts sound vibrations into an electrical signal.
2) A way of describing the directional sensitivity of a microphone. An Omni directional microphone has equal pick-up from all around, a Cardioid microphone is more sensitive from the front, a Hypercardioid has very strong directionality from the front. A figure-of eight microphone picks up front and rear, but rejects sound from the sides.

Pickup
1) A device on an electric guitar (or other instrument) that puts out an audio signal according to the string motion on the instrument.
2) A device that puts out an audio signal according to the vibration of something; this term means the same thing as a contact microphone.

Pickup
A Pickup is a magnet wrapped in wires which sits on the face of an electric guitar, underneath the strings. When the strings move, it interferes with the magnetic field of the pickup and that impulse is sent to the amplifier. The impulse is then modified at the amplifier.

Pilot Tone
1) Same as Neo-Pilot Tone.
2) A system of recording a 60 Hz tone, used for syncing on a 1/4 inch tape, developed by Nagra.

Pin Plug
1) A term with the same meaning as RCA Plug.
2) The common audio connector found on most stereo systems with a center pin as one connection and an outer shell as the second connection.

Pinch Roller
A rubber (or plastic) wheel which pinches the tape between it and the capstan, allowing the capstan to pull the tape.

Ping-Ponging
Playing several recorded tracks with sync playback through a console to mix them together and record them on an open track.

Pink Noise
Noise which has equal energy per octave or portion of an octave.

Pink Noise
A random noise used in measurements, as it has the same amount of energy in each octave.

Pitch
1) The perception of frequency by the ear (a higher or lower quality of music).
2) A control on a tape transport which adjusts the speed slightly up or down, changing the pitch and time of the music.
3) The spacing of the grooves in a phonograph record.

Pitch Bend
1) Making, in a synthesizer, the pitch smoothly glide up slightly.
2) Also the wheel controller or MIDI command that will allow this.

Pitch Change
1) A characteristic of human hearing where bass frequencies sound lower in pitch at high sound pressure levels; an error of as much as 10%.
2) A function of a delay effects device where the output signal's pitch is different than the input signal's pitch.

Pitch Control
Facility on some sound playback devices for changing the speed of playback, and thus the pitch or frequency of the sound, to match an existing sound, or to fit a particular timeslot. Some Professional CD players have tempo controls which speed up the playback, and then compensate for the resulting increase in frequency using a pitch change. This results in the ability to match the beat of a CD in a disco situation, without the 'Pinky and Perky' effect.

Pitch Ratio
The percentage change in pitch in a pitch change program of a delay line.

Pitch to MIDI Converter
A device that will change an audio signal into MIDI information.

Pitch to Voltage Converter
A Device that will convert the frequency changes of an audio signal into proportional control voltage changes.

Plate
1) A type of reverb device where a large metal sheet is suspended on spring clips and driven like a speaker cone.
2) An electrode in a tube that receives the electrons.

Plate Program
A setting in a digital delay/reverb effects device that simulates the plate reverberation sound.

Playback
1) The reproduction of recorded audio.
2) In motion picture or video production, the reproduction of the music over loudspeakers so that the performers/musicians can perform in time to the music for the camera.

Playback Engineer
The audio technician who plays back music over loudspeakers for motion picture/video production so that performers can perform in time with the music for the camera.

Playback Equalization
A reduction of the amplitude of signals with high frequencies during playback of a tape to compensate for the Record Equalization.