Translation glossary: Acoustics, Sound, Audio Engineering Glossary

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FoldbackA system for making one or more separate mixes audible to musicians while performing, recording and overdubbing. Also known as a Cue mix. May be auditioned via headphones, IEMs or wedge monitors. 
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FormantThe frequency components or resonances of an instrument or voice sound that doesn\'t change with the pitch of the note being played or sung. For example, the body resonance of an acoustic guitar remains constant, regardless of the note being played. 
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FormatA procedure required to ready a computer disk or digital tape for use. Formatting organises the medium into a series of ‘electronic pigeon holes’ into which data can be stored. Different computers often use different formatting systems. 
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Fragmentation (cf. defragment)The process by which the available space on a disk drive gets split up into small, sometimes unusable, sections due to the storing and erasing of files. 
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FrequencyThe number of complete cycles of a repetitive waveform that occur in 1 second. A waveform which repeats once per second has a frequency of 1Hz (Hertz). 
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Frequency ResponseThe variation in amplitude relative to the signal frequency. A measurement of the frequency range that can be handled by a specific piece of electrical equipment or loudspeaker. (Also see Bandwidth) 
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FSKFrequency Shift Keying. An obsolete method of recording a synchronisation control signal onto tape by representing it as two alternating tones. (Also see timecode) 
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Fukada TreeA 7-microphone array surround-sound, broadly equivalent to the stereo Decca Tree. Conceived by Akira Fukada when he worked for the Japanese state broadcaster NHK. The front Left, Centre and Right outputs are generated from a trio of mics arranged in a very similar way to a Decca Tree, with the left and right outriggers spaced 2m apart, and the centre mic 1m forward. The Rear Left and Rear Right channels come from mics spaced 2m apart placed and 2 
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Fukada TreeA 7-microphone array surround-sound, broadly equivalent to the stereo Decca Tree. Conceived by Akira Fukada when he worked for the Japanese state broadcaster NHK. The front Left, Centre and Right outputs are generated from a trio of mics arranged in a very similar way to a Decca Tree, with the left and right outriggers spaced 2m apart, and the centre mic 1m forward. The Rear Left and Rear Right channels come from mics spaced 2m apart placed and 2 
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FundamentalThe lowest frequency component in a harmonically complex sound. (Also see harmonic and partial.) 
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FXShorthand term for Effects. 
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GainThe amount by which a circuit amplifies a signal, normally denoted in decibels. 
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Gain StagingThe act of optimising the signal level through each audio device in a signal chain, or through each section of a mixing console, to maintain an appropriate amount of headroom and keep the signal well above the system noise floor. 
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Galvanic IsolationElectrical isolation between two circuits. A transformer provides galvanic isolation because there is no direct electrical connection between the primary and secondary windings; the audio signal is passed via magnetic coupling. An opto-coupler also provides galvanic isolation, as the signal is passed via light modulation. 
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GateAn electronic device (analogue or digital) designed to mute low level signals so as to improve noise performance during pauses in the wanted material. (Also see Expander.) 
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Gate (CV)A synthesiser control signal generated whenever a key is depressed on an electronic keyboard and used to trigger envelope generators and other events that need to be synchronised to key action. 
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General MIDIA universally agreed subset of the MIDI standard, created to enable manufacturers to build synthesizers, synth modules and plug-in instruments that exhibit an agreed minimum degree of compatibility. 
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GlitchDescribes an unwanted short term corruption of a signal, or the unexplained, short term malfunction of a piece of equipment. 
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GM ResetA universal SysEx command which activates the General MIDI mode on a GM instrument. The same command also sets all controllers to their default values and switches off any notes still playing by means of an All Notes Off message. 
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GooseneckA flexible tube often used to support microphones or small lights. Sometimes also known as a \'Swan Neck\'. 
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Graphic EqualiserAn form of equaliser whereby multiple narrow segments of the audio spectrum are controlled by individual cut/boost faders. The name comes about because the fader positions provide a graphic representation of the EQ curve. 
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GroundAn alternative term for the electrical Earth or 0 Volts reference. In mains wiring, the ground cable is often physically connected to the planet’s earth via a long conductive metal spike. 
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Ground Loop / Ground Loop HumA condition created when two or more devices are interconnected in such a way that a loop is created in the ground circuit. This can result in audible hums or buzzes in analogue equipment, or unreliability and audio glitches in digital equipment. Typically, a ground loop is created when two devices are connected together using one or more screened audio cables, and both units are also plugged into the mains supply with safety ground connections v 
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Ground Loop / Ground Loop HumA condition created when two or more devices are interconnected in such a way that a loop is created in the ground circuit. This can result in audible hums or buzzes in analogue equipment, or unreliability and audio glitches in digital equipment. Typically, a ground loop is created when two devices are connected together using one or more screened audio cables, and both units are also plugged into the mains supply with safety ground connections v 
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GroupA mixed collection of signals within a mixer that are combined and routed through a separate fader to provide overall control. In a multitrack mixer several groups are provided to feed the various recorder track inputs. 
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GSRoland\'s own extension to the General MIDI protocol. 
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GUIGraphical User Interface (pronounced ‘Gooey’). A software program designer’s way of creating an intuitive visual operating environment controlled by a mouse-driven pointer or similar. 
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Hard Disk Drive (cf. Solid-state Drive)The conventional means of computer data storage. One or more metal disks (hard disks) hermetically sealed in an enclosure with integral drive electronics and interfacing. The disks coated in a magnetic material and spun at high speed (typically 7200rpm for audio applications). A series of movable arms carrying miniature magnetic heads are arranged to move closely over the surface of the discs to record (write) and replay (read) data. 
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HarmonicHigh frequency components of a complex waveform, where the harmonic frequency is an integer multiple of the fundamental. 
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Harmonic DistortionThe addition of harmonics that were not present in the original signal caused by non-linearities in an electronic circuit or audio transducer. 
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HeadThe part of a tape machine or disk drive that reads and/or writes information magnetically to and from the storage media. 
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HeadroomThe available ‘safety margin’ in audio equipment required to accommodate unexpected loud audio transient signals. It is defined as the region between the nominal operating level (0VU) and the clipping point. Typically, a high quality analogue audio mixer or processor will have a nominal operating level of +4dBu and a clipping point of +24dBu 
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Hertz (Hz)The standard measurement of frequency. 10Hz means ten complete cycles of a repeating waveform per second. 
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High ResolutionA misnomer, but used to refer to digital formats with long word-lengths and high sample rates, eg. 24/96 or 24/192. Audio resolution is infinite and identical to analogue systems in properly configured digital systems. Word-length defines only the system’s signal-to-noise ratio (equivalent to tape width in analogue systems) , while sample rate defines only the audio bandwidth (equivalent to tape speed in analogue systems). 
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High-Pass Filter (HPF)A filter which passes frequencies above its cut-off frequency, but attenuates lower frequencies. 
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High-range (highs)The upper portion of the audible frequency spectrum, typically denoting frequencies above about 1kHz. 
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HissRandom noise caused by random electrical fluctuations. 
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HubNormally used in the context of the USB computer data interface. A hub is a device used to expand a single USB port into several, enabling the connection of multiple devices. Particularly useful where multiple software program authorisation dongles must be connected to the computer. 
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HumAudio Signal contamination caused by the addition of low frequencies, usually related to the mains power frequency. 
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HysteresisA condition whereby the state of a system is dependent on previous events or, in other words, the system\'s output can lag behind the input. Most commonly found in audio in the behaviour of ferro-magnetic materials such as in transformers and analogue tape heads, or in electronic circuits such a \'switch de-bouncing\'. Another example is the way a drop-down box on a computer menu remains visible for a short while after the mouse is moved. 
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HzThe SI symbol for Hertz, the unit of frequency. 
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I/OThe input/output connections of a system. 
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ICAn abbreviation of Integrated Circuit, a collection of miniaturised transistors and other components on a single silicon wafer, designed to perform a specific function. 
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IEMIn-Ear Monitor. A wirelessly-connected foldback monitoring system, often used by musicians on stage with in-ear earpieces. 
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ImpedanceThe ‘resistance’ or opposition of a medium to a change of state, often encountered in the context of electrical connections (and the way signals of different frequencies are treated), or acoustic treatment (denoting the resistance it presents to air flow). Although measured in Ohms, the impedance of a ‘reactive’ device such as a loudspeaker drive unit will usually vary with signal frequency and will be higher than the resistance when meas 
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ImpedanceThe ‘resistance’ or opposition of a medium to a change of state, often encountered in the context of electrical connections (and the way signals of different frequencies are treated), or acoustic treatment (denoting the resistance it presents to air flow). Although measured in Ohms, the impedance of a ‘reactive’ device such as a loudspeaker drive unit will usually vary with signal frequency and will be higher than the resistance when meas 
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Impulse ResponseAn impulse respsonse is the time-domain equivalent of the much more familiar frequency (and phase) responses in the frequency-domain. A very brief click (technically, a Dirac delta function) which theoretically contains all frequencies at equal amplitude, is passed through the device under test. The resulting output is the \'impulse response\' of that device and uniquely describes its signal processing behaviour. Impulse responses are very conven 
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Impulse ResponseAn impulse respsonse is the time-domain equivalent of the much more familiar frequency (and phase) responses in the frequency-domain. A very brief click (technically, a Dirac delta function) which theoretically contains all frequencies at equal amplitude, is passed through the device under test. The resulting output is the \'impulse response\' of that device and uniquely describes its signal processing behaviour. Impulse responses are very conven 
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InductorA reactive component that presents an increasing impedance with frequency. (Also see Capacitor.) 
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InitialiseResetting a device to its \'start-up\' state. Sometimes used to mean restoring a piece of equipment to its factory default settings. 
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