Translation glossary: Acoustics, Sound, Audio Engineering Glossary

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A-Type PlugA domestic and semi-pro form of jack plug, also known as TS or TRS and widely used for electric instruments, headphones and line-level connections on semi-pro equipment. (cf. B-Type Plug) 
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A-WeightingA form of electrical filter which is designed to mimic the relative sensitivity of the human ear to different frequencies at low sound pressure levels (notionally 40 Phons or about 30dBA SPL). Essentially, the filter rolls-off the low frequencies below about 700Hz and the highs above about 10kHz. This filtering is often used when making measurements of low-level sounds, like the noise floor of a device. (See also C-Weighting and K-Weighting) 
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A/D [A-D] ConverterA device which converts an analogue audio signal into a digital representation. 
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ACAlternating Current (cf. DC). Audio signals are represented in the electrical domain as currents flowing alternately forward and back in the circuits as an analogue of the compression and rarefaction of acoustic air pressure. 
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Accent Micsee Close Miking 
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Acoustic FoamA specific type of open-celled expanded polyurethane foam that allows sound waves to enter and flow through the foam, absorbing their energy and preventing them being reflected. The density and depth of the foam affects the frequency range over which it is effective as an absorber. 
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Acoustic TreatmentA generic term embracing a range of products or constructions intended to absorb, diffuse or reflect sound waves in a controlled manner, with the intention of bestowing a room with an acceptable reverberation time and overall sound character. 
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ActiveDescribes a circuit containing transistors, ICs, tubes and other devices that require power to operate, and which are capable of amplification. 
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Active Loudspeaker or MonitorA loudspeaker system in which the input signal is passed to a line-level crossover, the suitably filtered outputs of which feed two (or more) power amplifiers, each connected directly to its own drive unit. The line-level crossover and amplifiers are usually (but not always) built in to the loudspeaker cabinet. 
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Active SensingA system used to verify that a MIDI connection is working. It involves the sending device sending frequent short messages to the receiving device to reassure it that all is well. If these active sensing messages stop for any reason the receiving device will recognise a fault condition and switch off all notes. Not all MIDI devices support active sensing. 
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ADAT LightpipeA widely used eight-channel optical digital audio interface developed by Alesis as a bespoke interface for the company\'s digital eight-track tape machines in the early 1990s (Alesis Digital Audio Tape). The interface transfers up to eight channels of 24-bit digital audio at base sample rates (44.1 or 48kHz) via a single fibre-optic cable. This \'lightpipe\' is physically identical to that used for the TOSlink optical S/PDIF stereo interface foun 
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ADAT LightpipeA widely used eight-channel optical digital audio interface developed by Alesis as a bespoke interface for the company\'s digital eight-track tape machines in the early 1990s (Alesis Digital Audio Tape). The interface transfers up to eight channels of 24-bit digital audio at base sample rates (44.1 or 48kHz) via a single fibre-optic cable. This \'lightpipe\' is physically identical to that used for the TOSlink optical S/PDIF stereo interface foun 
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Additive SynthesisA system for generating audio waveforms or sounds by combining basic waveforms or sampled sounds prior to further processing with filters and envelope shapers. The Hammond tonewheel organ was one of the first additive synthesizers. 
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ADSRWhen creating artificial waveforms in a synthesizer, changes in the signal amplitude over time are controlled by an ‘envelope generator’ which typically has controls to adjust the Attack, Sustain, Decay and Release times, controlled by the pressing and subsequent release of a key on the keyboard. The Attack phase determines the time taken for the signal to grow to its maximum amplitude, triggered by the pressing of a key. The envelope then im 
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ADSRWhen creating artificial waveforms in a synthesizer, changes in the signal amplitude over time are controlled by an ‘envelope generator’ which typically has controls to adjust the Attack, Sustain, Decay and Release times, controlled by the pressing and subsequent release of a key on the keyboard. The Attack phase determines the time taken for the signal to grow to its maximum amplitude, triggered by the pressing of a key. The envelope then im 
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AESAcronym for Audio Engineering Society, one of the industry\'s professional audio associations. (www.aes.org) 
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AES10An AES standard which defines the MADI interface (serial Multichannel Audio Digital Interface). MADi can convey either 56 or 64 channels via single coaxial or optical connections. 
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AES11An AES standard that defines the use of a specific form of AES3 signal for clocking purposes. Also known as DARS (Digital Audio Reference Signal). 
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AES3A digital audio interface which passes two digital audio channels, plus embedded clocking data, with up to 24 bits per sample and sample rates up to 384kHz. Developed by the Audio Engineering Society and the European Broadcasting Union, it is often known as the AES-EBU interface. Standard AES3 is connected using 3-pin XLRs with a balanced cable of nominal 110 Ohm impedance and with a signal voltage of up to 7V pk-pk. The related AES3-id format us 
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AES3A digital audio interface which passes two digital audio channels, plus embedded clocking data, with up to 24 bits per sample and sample rates up to 384kHz. Developed by the Audio Engineering Society and the European Broadcasting Union, it is often known as the AES-EBU interface. Standard AES3 is connected using 3-pin XLRs with a balanced cable of nominal 110 Ohm impedance and with a signal voltage of up to 7V pk-pk. The related AES3-id format us 
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AES42An AES standard which defines the connectivity, powering, remote control and audio format of ‘digital microphones.’ The audio information is conveyed as AES3 data, while a bespoke modulated 10V phantom power supply conveys remote control and clocking information. 
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AES59An AES standard which defines the use and pin-outs of 25-pin D-sub connectors for eight-channel balanced analogue audio and bi-directional eight-channel digital interfacing. It conforms fully with the established Tascam interface standard. 
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AFLAfter Fade listen. A system used within mixing consoles to allow specific signals to be monitored at the level set by their fader. Aux sends are generally monitored AFL rather than PFL (see PFL). 
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AftertouchA means of generating a control signal in a synthesizer based on how much pressure is applied to the keys of a MIDI keyboard. Most instruments that support this do not have independent pressure sensing for all keys, but rather detect the overall pressure by means of a sensing strip running beneath the keys. Aftertouch may be used to control such functions as vibrato depth, filter brightness, loudness and so on. 
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AlgorithmA sequence of instructions describing how to perform a specific task. Algorithms are often implemented in a computer language and compiled into a computer program. In the context of effects units, algorithms usually describe a software building block designed to create a specific effect or combination of effects. 
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AliasingWhen an analogue signal is sampled for conversion into a digital data stream, the sampling frequency must be at least twice that of the highest frequency component of the input signal. If this rule is disobeyed the sampling process becomes ambiguous as there are insufficient points to define each cycle of the waveform, resulting in unwanted enharmonic frequencies being added to the audible signal. 
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AmbienceThe result of sound reflections in a confined space being added to the original sound. Ambience may also be created electronically by some digital reverb units. The main difference between ambience and reverberation is that ambience doesn\'t have the characteristic long delay time of reverberation; the reflections mainly give the sound a sense of space. 
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Amp (Ampere)Unit of electrical current (A). 
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Amp/AmplifierAn Amplifier is an electrical device that typically increases the voltage or power of an electrical signal. The amount of amplification can be specified as a multiplication factor (eg. x10) or in decibels (eg. 20dB). 
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AmplitudeThe waveform signal level. It can refer to acoustic sound levels or electrical signal levels. 
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Analogue (cf. Digital)The origin of the term is that the electrical audio signal inside a piece of equipment can be thought of as being ‘analogous’ to the original acoustic signal. Analogue circuitry uses a continually changing voltage or current to represent the audio signal. 
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Analogue SynthesisA system for synthesizing sounds by means of analogue circuitry, usually by filtering simple repeating waveforms. 
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Anti-alias FilterA very steep low-pass filter used to limit the frequency range of an analogue signal prior to A/D conversion so that the maximum frequency does not exceed half the sampling rate. 
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Application (App)Alternative term for computer program. 
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ArmingArming a track or channel on a recording device places it in a condition where it is ready to record audio when the system is placed in record mode. Unarmed tracks won’t record audio even if the system is in record mode. When a track is armed the system monitoring usually auditions the input signal throughout the recording, whereas unarmed tracks usually replay any previously recorded audio. 
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ArpeggiatorA device (or software) that allows a MIDI instrument to sequence around any notes currently being played. Most arpeggiators also allows the sound to be sequenced over several octaves, so that holding down a simple chord can result in an impressive repeating sequence of notes. 
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ASCIIAmerican Standard Code for Information Interchange. An internationally recognised code used to represent computer keyboard characters. 
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AttackThe time taken for a sound to achieve its maximum amplitude. Drums have a fast attack, whereas bowed strings have a slow attack. In compressors and gates, the attack time equates to how quickly the processor can reduce the signal level. 
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AttenuateTo reduce the signal amplitude or level. 
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Audio Data ReductionA system used to reduce the amount of data needed to represent some information such as an audio signal. Lossless audio data reduction systems, (eg. FLAC and ALAC) can fully and precisely reconstruct the original audio data with bit-accuracy, but the amount of data reduction is rarely much more than 2:1. Lossy data audio reduction systems (eg. MPeg. AAC, AC3 and others) permanently discard audio information that is deemed to have been \'masked\' 
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Audio Data ReductionA system used to reduce the amount of data needed to represent some information such as an audio signal. Lossless audio data reduction systems, (eg. FLAC and ALAC) can fully and precisely reconstruct the original audio data with bit-accuracy, but the amount of data reduction is rarely much more than 2:1. Lossy data audio reduction systems (eg. MPeg. AAC, AC3 and others) permanently discard audio information that is deemed to have been \'masked\' 
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Audio FrequencySignals in the range of human audio audibility. Nominally 20Hz to 20kHz. 
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Audio InterfaceA device which acts as the physical bridge between the computer’s workstation software and the recording environment. An audio interface may be connected to the computer (via FireWire, USB, Thunderbolt, Dante, AVB or other current communication protocols) to pass audio and MIDI data to and from the computer. Audio Interfaces are available with a wide variety of different facilities including microphone preamps, DI inputs, analogue line inputs, 
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Audio InterfaceA device which acts as the physical bridge between the computer’s workstation software and the recording environment. An audio interface may be connected to the computer (via FireWire, USB, Thunderbolt, Dante, AVB or other current communication protocols) to pass audio and MIDI data to and from the computer. Audio Interfaces are available with a wide variety of different facilities including microphone preamps, DI inputs, analogue line inputs, 
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Audio Random Access (ARA)Developed by Celemony and PreSonus in 2011, ARA relates to a data-exchange extension for DAW plug‑ins like AU, VST and RTAS, to pass information relating to an entire track, rather than just about a specific moment in time 
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AutolocatorA common facility on tape machines or other recording devices that enables specific time points to be stored and recalled. For example, you may store the start of a verse as a locate point so that you can get the tape machine or DAW to automatically relocate the start of the verse after you\'ve recorded an overdub. 
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Aux ReturnDedicated mixer inputs used to add effects to the mix. Aux return channels usually have fewer facilities than normal mixer inputs, such as no EQ and access to fewer aux sends. (cf. Effects Return) 
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Azimuththe alignment of a tape head which references the head gap to the true vertical relative to the tape path. (cf. Wrap and Zenith). 
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B-Type PlugA professional form of jack plug derived from the telecommunications industry and also known as the PO316. Widely used for balanced mic and line-level connections on professional patch bays. (cf. A-Type Plug) 
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Back ElectretA form of electrostatic or capacitor microphone. Instead of creating an electrostatic charge within the capacitor capsule with an external DC voltage, an electret microphone employs a special dielectric material which permanently stores a static-electric charge. A PTFE film is normally used, and where this is attached to the back plate of the capsule the device is called a ‘back electret’. Some very early electret microphones used the dielect 
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