Translation glossary: Acoustics, Sound, Audio Engineering Glossary

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Drive unitA physical device designed to generate an acoustic sound wave in response to an electrical input signal. Drive units can be designed to reproduce almost the full audio spectrum, but most are optimised to reproduce a restricted portion, such as a bass unit (woofer) or high-frequency unit (tweeter). A range of technologies are employed, with most being moving-coil units, but ribbon and electrostatic drive units also exist, each with a different bal 
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Drive unitA physical device designed to generate an acoustic sound wave in response to an electrical input signal. Drive units can be designed to reproduce almost the full audio spectrum, but most are optimised to reproduce a restricted portion, such as a bass unit (woofer) or high-frequency unit (tweeter). A range of technologies are employed, with most being moving-coil units, but ribbon and electrostatic drive units also exist, each with a different bal 
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DriverA piece of software that handles communications between the main program and a hardware peripheral, such as a soundcard, printer or scanner. Also a term used to refer to a physical loudspeaker drive unit 
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DropoutA sudden brief loss of signal level. In analogue recording tape this is often caused by a defect in the oxide layer caused by damage (eg. creasing) or by a temporary clogging of the replay head, and typically affects the high-frequencies most. The effect is less likely and less noticable with wider and faster tape formats. 
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Drum BoothSee Isolation Room 
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Drum PadA synthetic playing surface which produces electronic trigger signals in response to being hit with drum sticks. 
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Dry (cf. Wet)A signal that has had no effects added. 
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DSPDigital Signal Processor. A powerful microchip used to process digital signals. 
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DubbingThe practice of transferring material from one medium to another, or of adding further material to an existing recording (cf. Over-Dub). 
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DuckingA system for controlling the level of one audio signal with another. For example, in a broadcast radio context a music track can be made to \'duck\' or reduce in volume whenever there\'s a voice over. 
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DumpTo transfer digital data from one device to another. A SysEx dump is a means of transmitting information about a particular instrument or module over MIDI, and may be used to store sound patches, parameter settings and so on. 
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Dynamic MicrophoneA type of microphone that works on the electric generator principle, such as moving Coil and ribbon mics. An acoustical sound waves impact the microphone diaphragm which then moves an electrical conductor within a magnetic field to generate a current, the amplitude and polarity of which reflects the acoustic signal. 
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Dynamic RangeThe amplitude range, usually expressed in decibels, between the loudest signal that can be handled by a piece of equipment and the level at which small signals disappear into the noise floor. (See AES17) 
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DynamicsA way of describing the relative levels within a piece of music. 
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E-PROMErasable Programmable Read Only Memory. Similar to ROM, but the information on the chip can be erased and replaced using special equipment. (See ROM) 
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Early ReflectionsThe initial sound reflections from walls, floors and ceilings following a sound created in an acoustically reflective environment. 
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EffectA treatment applied to an audio signal in order to change or enhance it in some creative way. Effects often involve the use of delays, and include such treatments as reverb and echo. 
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Effects LoopAn interface system, usually involving separate send and receive connections, which allows an external signal processor to be connected into the audio chain. (cf. Insert Point) 
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Effects ReturnAn additional dedicated mixer input channel, usually with minimal facilities, designed to accommodate the output from an effects unit. (cf. Aux Return) 
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Electret Microphonesee Back Electret 
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Encode/DecodeA system that modifies a signal prior to recording or transmission, and subsequently restores the signal on playback or reception. 
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Enhancer (cf. Exciter)An audio processor designed to brighten audio material using techniques such as dynamic equalisation, phase shifting and harmonic generation. 
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EnvelopeThe way in which the amplitude of a sound signal varies over time. 
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Envelope generatorAn electronic circuit capable of generating a control signal which represents the envelope of the sound you want to recreate. This may then be used to control the amplitude of an oscillator or other sound source, though envelopes may also be used to control filter or modulation settings. The most common example is the ADSR generator. 
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Equaliser (cf. Filter)A device which allows the user to adjust the tonality of a sound source by boosting or attenuating a specific range of frequencies. Equalisers are available in the form of shelf equalisers, parametric equalisers and graphic equalisers 
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Equivalent Input NoiseA means of describing the intrinsic electronic noise at the output of an amplifier in terms of an equivalent input noise, taking into account the amplifier’s gain. 
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EraseTo remove recorded material from an analogue tape, or to remove digital data from any form of storage media. 
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eSATAsee SATA 
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EuConA control protocol developed by Euphonix which operates at high-speed over an Ethernet connection. It is used between control surfaces and DAW computers to convey information about the positions of faders, knobs, and buttons and to carry display information. 
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EurorackA modular synthesizer format developed by Doepfer in the mid-1990s for its A‑100 system, but which has since become a standard format embraced by most modular synth manufacturers. It uses 3U high panels to accommodate standard Eurocard-sizes electronics, with 3.5mm plugs for patching and a +/-12V dual-rail power supply (sometimes with a separate 5V rail) connected via a ribbon cable. 
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EventIn MIDI terms, an event is a single unit of MIDI data, such as a note being turned on or off, a piece of controller information, a program change, and so on. 
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Exciter (cf. Enhancer)An audio processor that works by synthesizing new high frequency harmonics. 
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ExpanderA device designed to increase the dynamic range, typically by reducing the volume of low level signals (below a set threshold), or to increase the volume of high level signals (above a threshold). (See Compressor.) 
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Expander ModuleA synthesizer with no keyboard, often rack mountable or in some other compact format. 
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FaderA sliding potentiometer control used in mixers and other processors. 
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FerricA type of magnetic tape coating that uses iron oxide. 
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FETField Effect Transistor. A solid-state semiconductor device in which the current flowing between source and drain terminals is controlled by the voltage on the gate terminal. The FET is a very high impedance device, which makes it highly suited for use in impedance converter stages in capacitor and electret microphones. 
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FET-CompressorA form of audio compressor in which an FET is used to provide variable signal attenuation. FET compressors are fast-acting in comparison to opto-compressors. 
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FidelityThe accuracy or precision of a reproduced acoustic sound wave when compared to the electrical input signal. 
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Figure of EightDescribes the polar response of a microphone or loudspeaker that is equally sensitive both front and rear, yet rejects sounds coming from the sides. Also called Bipolar. 
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FileA container for stored digital data that usually has a meaningful name. For example, a Standard MIDI File is a specific type of file designed to allow sequence information to be interchanged between different types of sequencer. 
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Filter (cf. Equaliser)An electronic circuit designed to attenuate a specific range of frequencies. (See low-pass, high-pass and band-pass.) 
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Filter FrequencyThe ‘turnover’ or ‘corner’ frequency of a high- or low-pass filter. Technically, the frequency at which the signal amplitude has been attenuated by 3dB. 
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FireWireA computer interface format based upon the IEEE 1394 standard and named FireWire by Apple computers (Sony’s i.Link format is also the same interface). FireWire is a serial interface used for high speed isochronous data transfer, including audio and video. FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394-1995 and IEEE 1394a-2000) or S400 interface transfers data at up to 400Mb/s and can operate over cables up to 4.5metres in length. The standard ‘alpha’ connector is 
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FireWireA computer interface format based upon the IEEE 1394 standard and named FireWire by Apple computers (Sony’s i.Link format is also the same interface). FireWire is a serial interface used for high speed isochronous data transfer, including audio and video. FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394-1995 and IEEE 1394a-2000) or S400 interface transfers data at up to 400Mb/s and can operate over cables up to 4.5metres in length. The standard ‘alpha’ connector is 
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FlangingAn effect which combines a modulated delay with the original signal, using feedback to create a dramatic, sweeping sound. 
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Flash Drive (see \'solid-state drive\')A large capacity solid-state memory configured to work like a conventional hard drive. Used in digital cameras and audio recorders in formats such as SD and CF2 cards, as well as in ‘pen drives’ or ‘USB memory sticks’. Some computers are now available with solid state flash drives instead of normal internal hard drives. 
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Floppy DiskAn obsolete computer disk format using a flexible magnetic medium encased in a protective plastic sleeve. 
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FlutterA high-speed variation in replay speed causing rapid \'fluttering\' pitch variations. See Wow and Flutter or Scrape Flutter 
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Flutter EchoesShort time-span sound echoes which can be created when sound waves bounce between opposite walls in a small or moderately sized room. A shorter version of the ‘slapback’ echo whch can be experienced in a larger hall when sound from a stage is reflected strongly from the rear wall. 
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