Translation glossary: Acoustics, Sound, Audio Engineering Glossary

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MonophonicOne note at a time. 
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MotherboardThe main circuit board within a computer into which all the other components plug or connect. 
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Moving Coil MicrophoneA dynamic microphone where the diaphragm supports a coil of wire which moves within a magnetic field. When sound causes the diaphragm to vibrate a small electrical current is generated within the coil. The same technology is used in reverse for a moving coil loudspeaker, in which a powerful current is passed through the coil, causing the diaphragm (cone) to move in response. 
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MTCMIDI Time code 
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MultAn abbreviation of \'multiple output\' (also known as a \'parallel-strip\' in BBC parlance). Refers to a line-level signal splitting or distribution facility typically found on patchbays in which three or more sockets are wired together to allow an input signal to be shared with multiple destinations. As an entirely passive facility the operation relies on a very low source impedance and high destination (bridging) impedances to minimise the loss 
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MultAn abbreviation of \'multiple output\' (also known as a \'parallel-strip\' in BBC parlance). Refers to a line-level signal splitting or distribution facility typically found on patchbays in which three or more sockets are wired together to allow an input signal to be shared with multiple destinations. As an entirely passive facility the operation relies on a very low source impedance and high destination (bridging) impedances to minimise the loss 
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Multi-sampleThe creation of several samples, each covering a limited musical range, the idea being to produce a more natural range of sounds across the range of the instrument being sampled. For example, a piano may need to be sampled every two or three semitones in order to sound convincing. 
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Multi-timbralA synthesizer, sampler or module that can play several parts or different sounds at the same time, each under the control of a different MIDI channel. 
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MultitrackA recording device capable of recording several \'parallel\' parts or tracks which may then be mixed or re-recorded independently. 
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Mutual Anglethe physical angle between two microphones, used to specify various microphone array configurations (eg. 90 degrees for a Blumlein pair, or 110 degrees for an ORTF array). 
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Near FieldThe acoustic zone close to a sound source or microphone. Often used to describes a loudspeaker system designed to be used close to the listener – although some people prefer the term \'close field\'. The advantage is that the listener hears more of the direct sound from the speakers and less of the reflected sound from the room. 
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Near-coincidentA means of arranging two or more directional microphone capsules such that they receive sound waves from the directions or interest at slightly different times due to their physical spacing. Information about the directions of sound sources is captured in the form of both level differences between the capsule outputs, generated by aiming directional polar patterns in different directions, and the timing differences caused by their physical spacin 
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Near-coincidentA means of arranging two or more directional microphone capsules such that they receive sound waves from the directions or interest at slightly different times due to their physical spacing. Information about the directions of sound sources is captured in the form of both level differences between the capsule outputs, generated by aiming directional polar patterns in different directions, and the timing differences caused by their physical spacin 
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Noise ReductionA system for reducing analogue tape noise or for reducing the level of hiss present in a recording. (See DBX and Dolby). 
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Noise-shapingA system using spectrally-shaped dither to improve the perceived signal-to-noise performance of a digital audio system. 
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Non-linear RecordingA term which describes digital recording systems that allow any parts of the recording to be played back in any order with no gaps. Conventional tape is referred to as linear, because the material can only play back in the order in which it was recorded. 
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Non-registered parameter NumberAn addition to the basic MIDI spec that allows Controllers 98 and 99 to be used to control non-standard parameters relating to particular models of synthesizer. This is an alternative to using System Exclusive data to achieve the same ends, though NRPNs tend to be used mainly by Yamaha and Roland instruments. 
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NormaliseA socket is said to be normalised when it is wired such that the original signal path is maintained unless a plug is inserted into the socket. The most common examples of normalised connectors are the insert points on a mixing console. 
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NOSA specific form of near-coincident microphone array devised by the Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS), the Dutch national broadcaster. The technique employs a pair of small-diaphragm cardioid microphones mounted with a mutual angle of 90 degrees and spaced apart by 30cm. The theoretical stereo recording angle is 81°. 
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NutA slotted plastic or bone component at the headstock end of a guitar neck used to guide the strings over the fingerboard, and to space the strings above the frets. 
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Nyquist TheorumThe rule which states that a digital sampling system must have a sample rate at least twice as high as that of the highest 
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OctaveWhen a frequency or pitch is transposed up by one octave, its frequency is doubled. 
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Off-lineA process carried out while a recording is not playing. For example, some computer-based processes have to be carried out off-line as the computer isn\'t fast enough to carry out the process in real time. Also used to refer to a remote-controlled machine which is not currently active. 
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Off/On-axisDirectional microphones are inherently more sensitive to sound from one direction, and the direction of greatest sensitivity is referred to as the principle axis. Sound sources placed on this axis are said to be ‘on-axis’, while sound sources elsewhere are said to be ‘off-axis’ 
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OhmThe unit of electrical resistance. 
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OmnidirectionalA microphone or loudspeaker polar pattern with equal sensitivity in all directions (often abbreviated to Omni). Also the MIDI mode where data on all channels is recognised. 
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Open CircuitA break in an electrical circuit that prevents current from flowing. (see Short Circuit) 
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Open ReelA tape machine where the tape is wound on spools rather than housed within a cassette. 
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Open Sound ControlA high-resolution networked communication protocol for computers, synthesizers and other audio devices. 
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Operating SystemThe basic software that enables a computer to load and run other programs. 
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Optimisation (of computer)The concept of configuring a computer in such as way as to maximise its performance for certain tasks. In the context of a machine being used as a DAW, optimisation might involve disabling sub-programs that access the internet regularly or intermittently, such as email hosts, automatic program update checkers and so on. It might also include the structure of the hard drive, or the separation of program data to a system drive and audio data to a s 
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Optimisation (of computer)The concept of configuring a computer in such as way as to maximise its performance for certain tasks. In the context of a machine being used as a DAW, optimisation might involve disabling sub-programs that access the internet regularly or intermittently, such as email hosts, automatic program update checkers and so on. It might also include the structure of the hard drive, or the separation of program data to a system drive and audio data to a s 
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ORTFA specific form of near-coincident microphone array devised by the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française (ORTF) at Radio France, the French national broadcaster. The technique employs a pair of small-diaphragm cardioid microphones mounted with a mutual angle of 110 degrees and spaced apart by 17cm. The theoretical stereo recording angle is 96 degrees. 
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OSCAn abbreviation for \'oscillator\' or \'Open Sound Control\'. 
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OscillatorA circuit designed to generate a periodic electrical waveform. 
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Out-of-Phasesee Polarity 
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Output ImpedanceThe effective internal impedance (resistance which many change with signal frequency) of an electronic device. In modern audio equipment the output impedance is normally very low. Microphones are normally specified with an output impedance of 150 or 200 ohms, although some vintage designs might be as low as 30 Ohms. 
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Output SensitivityThe nominal output voltage generated by a microphone for a known reference acoustic sound pressure level. Output sensitivity is normally specified for a sound pressure level of one Pascal (94dB SPL), and may range from about 0.5mV/Pa for a ribbon microphone, to 1.5mV/Pa for a moving coil, and up to 20 or 30mV/Pa for a capacitor microphone. 
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OverdriveThe intentional use of overloaded analogue circuitry as a musical effect. 
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OverdubbingRecording new material to separate tracks while auditioning and playing in synchronism with previously recorded material. 
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OverloadTo exceed the maximum acceptable signal amplitude of an electronic or electrical circuit. Overloading a device results in a noticeable increase in distortion but this may be deemed musically beneficial and desirable, or completely unacceptable and inappropriate, depending on context and intent. Overloading an analogue device typically results in the waveform peaks becoming flattened (so tending towards a square wave) and a consequent rapid increa 
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OverloadTo exceed the maximum acceptable signal amplitude of an electronic or electrical circuit. Overloading a device results in a noticeable increase in distortion but this may be deemed musically beneficial and desirable, or completely unacceptable and inappropriate, depending on context and intent. Overloading an analogue device typically results in the waveform peaks becoming flattened (so tending towards a square wave) and a consequent rapid increa 
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Overtonea component of a complex sound which has a higher frequency than the fundamental frequency, but which is not necessarily related by a simple integer multiple (cf. harmonics) 
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PadA resistive circuit for reducing signal level. 
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Pan-potA control found on mixers to move the signal to any point in the stereo soundstage by varying the relative levels fed to the left and right stereo outputs. 
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ParallelA means of connecting two or more circuits together so that their inputs are connected together, and their outputs are all connected together. 
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ParameterA variable value that affects some aspect of a device\'s performance. 
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Parameteric EQAn equaliser with separate controls for frequency, bandwidth and cut/boost. 
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ParaphonicOften used to descibe a multi-oscillator mono-synth which can be configured to allow the oscillators to be controlled independently from the keyboard, allowing two or more notes to be played simultaneously. 
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PartialsThe combination of fundamental and overtones together are called particals. (cf. harmonic) 
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