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Page added in August, 1996 [Page: First A-B C-D E-F G-H I-K L-M N-O P-Q R-S T-V W-Z]

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A listening comparison between two distinct audio sources, whose levels have been matched. The comparison is done by rapidly switching from one to another. You can use this technique to reference your mix against that of a commercial CD.

Accent microphone

Also referred to as 'spot microphone', a closely-placed mic that is ultimately mixed with a distantly-placed mic to improve the tonal balance, as a special effect, or to add presence.

Access jacks

Two separate jacks or one tip-ring-sleeve jack on a mixing board that allow the signal to be routed from the input channel, to an effects device or signal processor, and back into the input channel. Inserting a plug into the access jacks breaks the signal flow, and allows the inclusion of a compressor, exciter or other device.

AD/DA converters

AD converters convert analog audio signals to digital; DA converters convert digital audio back to analog.


An acronym for attack, decay, sustain, and release, the four stages of a standard envelope generator.


An acronym for the Audio Engineering Society.


Professional digital audio standard developed jointly by the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and the European Broadcast Union (EBU). The standard describes a format for transmitting stereo digital audio through a stereo cable (such as fiber optic, coaxial, or balanced XLR).


A MIDI message that reports the amount of pressure applied to the keys after they have been pressed.


A mix where the instruments sound as though they are surrounded by a large reflective space full of air, with good high-frequency reflections. Also refers to tracks where true stereo imaging has been captured, as opposed to panned mono tracks.


A method or script for creating an outcome. For synthesizers, an algorithm generally refers to the parameter values that create a specific sound.


The fine-tuning of tape-head azimuth and tape-recorder circuitry to achieve optimum performance from the type of tape being used.

Alignment tape

A pre-recorded tape containing various tones for alignment of a tape recorder.


The acoustics, reverberation and early-reflections in a room. Also the audible sense of a room surrounding a recorded instrument.

Ambiance microphone

A mic placed at a distance from the sound source in order to pickup room ambience.


A device that increases the amplitude of the voltage, power, or current of a source signal, making an audio signal louder.


An audio signal is an electrical representation of, i.e., is analogous to, a sound waveform. The signal's voltage fluctuates in the same pattern as the speaker cone that reproduces it. Analog synths use oscillators, filters, amplifiers and other electrical components to create electrical signals analogous to the audio wave forms they are trying to represent.

Analog-to-Digital Converter

Also known as 'A/D converter', an electrical circuit or chip that converts an analog audio signal into a digital bit stream.


To play the notes of a chord one after another instead of at the same time.


An acronym for the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. ASCAP is one of several performing rights organizations which protect artists' and publishers' performing rights. ASCAP collects, handles and distributes royalties for member composers and publishers whose music has been played or performed publicly.


An acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A standard code for representing text (characters, numbers, special characters, etc.) inside a computer. ASCII is also one of the codes used in the transfer of data or files between computers.


Also known as 'channel assign', to send or route an audio signal to one or more selected mixer channels.


The absence of all tonality in music; the term originally came about to describe the music of Schoenberg.


The beginning of a note. The first portion of a note's envelope in which a note rises from relative silence to its maximum volume.

Attack time

When using a compressor, the time it takes for gain reduction to occur in response to a musical attack.


To reduce the level of a signal.


In a mixing console, an adjustable resistive network that reduces the microphone signal level to prevent overloading of the input transformer and mic preamplifier.

Automated mixing

Using a computer or computer-enhanced mixer to remember mixer settings, mute switchings and fader movements, so that a mix can be duplicated, edited or refined in multiple stages.

Auto punch

The process of automating punch in and punch out on a digital recorder, sequencer or tape recorder. Typically, the exact times (down to the hundredth of a second) of punch in and out may be entered, allowing precise overdubbing.

Auxiliary bus

Also known as 'Effects bus' or 'Aux bus', the bus that feeds signal processors, monitor mixes, or effects devices.

Auxiliary send

Also known as 'Effects send' or 'Aux send', the control on a mixer that determines the level of channel signal sent to a signal processor, such as a reverb or chorus unit.


A type of measurement made through a filter with a specific frequency response. An A-weighted measurement is taken through a filter that simulates the frequency response of the human ear.


In a tape deck, the angular relationship between the head gap and the tape path.

Azimuth alignment

The adjustment of the playback or record head to achieve proper alignment (90 degrees) with the tape path.


A recording technique of cueing up a musical background to a voice track so that the music ends simultaneously with the voice-over.


The relative volume levels of various instruments or tracks.

Balanced line

A cable (such as a three-pin XLR mic cable) with two conductors surrounded by a shield in which each conductor is at equal impedance to the ground. With respect to ground, the conductors are at equal potential but opposite polarity. The balanced line reduces noise because as the two conductors pick up noise, the opposing polarity ensures the noise is canceled when the inverted signal on one conductor is 'added' to the original signal on the second conductor after the signal reaches the destination.


A track or mix with emphasized low frequencies, at about 200-250 kHz. Also, an acoustic or electric guitar with a good low-midrange frequency response.

Bandpass filter

In a crossover network, a filter that passes a band or range of frequencies but sharply attenuates or rejects frequencies outside the band.

Basic tracks

Recorded tracks of rhythm instruments (bass, rhythm guitar, drums, keyboards).

Bass trap

An assembly whose function is to absorb low-frequency sound waves.


A track or mix with emphasized low frequencies, at about 200-250 kHz.

Baud rate

The symbol frequency being used to transmit data over a communications line or a MIDI cable. Baud rate is often used interchangeably with bps (bits per second), although incorrectly. For example, both CCITT V.22bis (2400 bps) and CCITT V.22 (1200 bps) transmit data at 600 baud, but V.22bis modems use 4 bits per symbol while V.22 modems use 2 bits per symbol.


An acronym for Bulletin Board Systems. An electronic form of a bulletin board, containing graphics, sounds and text files that may be downloaded from the BBS to a personal computer. A BBS can be established on computers of all sizes, and can be accessed by PCs all over the world.


Also known as 'Bi-amping', driving a woofer and tweeter with different power amplifiers. A crossover is typically connected ahead of these power amplifiers.


In tape-recorder electronics, an ultrasonic signal that drives the erase head, and also is mixed with the audio signal applied to the record head to reduce distortion.

Bi-directional communications

The ability of a keyboard, sound module or drum machine to send and receive MIDI messages simultaneously from a computer or other device.

Bi-directional microphone

Also called a 'cosine microphone' or 'figure-eight microphone' due to the shape of its polar pattern, a microphone whose pickup pattern is sensitive to sound arriving at the front and behind the microphone. It rejects sounds approaching either side of the mic.

Binaural recording

A two-channel recording made with an omnidirectional microphone in each ear of a human or a simulated head for playback over headphones. The object is to represent sound as closely as possible at all frequencies.


Short for binary digit, the smallest unit of information in a binary number system. A bit may take on one of two values; either a 0 (off) or 1 (on).

Bits per second

Also known as 'bps', it indicates the maximum number of bits of data transferred per second, through a phone line, communication line, or MIDI cable.


A track or mix with weak highs; muffled as though a blanket was covering the loud speakers.


A sound with emphasized or excessive mid-bass around 250 kHz.


A sound or track with excellent reproduction of dynamics and reverberation, and a good low-frequency response. Also referred to as 'Spacious'.

Blumlein array

A stereo miking technique where two coincident bi-directional mics are angled 90 degrees apart (45 degrees to the left and right of center).


An unfocused sound with vague or poor stereo imaging. A sound or track with poor transient response.


An acronym for Broadcast Music International. BMI is one of several performing rights organizations which protect artists' and publishers' performing rights. BMI collects, handles and distributes royalties for member and publishers whose music has been played or performed publicly.


Also known as 'mixing console', a large unit having additional functions such as tone control, equalization, pan pots, channel assigns, monitoring sends, and control of signals sent to external signal processors.


A sound or mix with excessive bass response around 125 Hz.


Another term for low frequencies, usually below 125 Hz.

Bouncing tracks

When two or more separate tracks are mixed onto an empty track. The submixed tracks can then be erased, freeing them up for new music.

Boundary microphone

A mic designed to be used on a hard, reflective surface. The mic is mounted as close to the surface as possible so that direct and reflected sounds arrive at the microphone diaphragm in phase at all frequencies.


Also known as 'pumping', the undesired audible rise and fall of background noise that may occur with a compressor.

Boundary microphone

A mic designed to be used on a hard, reflective surface. The mic is mounted as close to the surface as possible so that direct and reflected sounds arrive at the microphone diaphragm in phase at all frequencies.


A mix having resonances as if the music were played from the inside of a box, perhaps due to a boost at 250 to 50o Hz.


Flute, clarinet, or sax recordings with audible breath sounds. Also, sounds with a good response the upper midrange and high frequencies.


A tonal balance with emphasized high frequencies or upper harmonics. Sounds having harmonics which are strong relative to fundamentals.


A sound or mix with high-frequency peaks or weak fundamentals; lacking roundness and fullness.


A storage or 'holding' area for data in the computer's memory until it can be processed.

Bulk tape eraser

A large electromagnet used to erase a whole reel of recording tape or an entire cassette at once.


Can mean the output of a mixer or submixer, or a channel that feeds a tape track, digital recorder, signal processor, or power amp.

Bus master

Located in the output section of a mixing console, a fader or knob that controls the output level of a bus.

Bus trim

Located in the output section of a mixing console, a control that provides variable gain of a bus, used in conjunction with the bus master for fine adjustment.


An unwanted edgy tone than can be present in an audio signal, containing harmonics of 60Hz.


A group of eight adjacent bits recognized as a single unit. A byte can represent characters, numbers, punctuation or any special codes. Bytes are to computers what words are to humans.

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