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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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Also known as 'Amplification', the ratio between the input voltage and the output voltage, or between the input power and the output power. Gain is usually expressed in decibels.


The thin break in the electromagnet that contacts the tape in a tape recorder head.


To shut down a signal when its volume falls below a given value. Also a short name for 'Noise gate, a processor used to eliminate noise between notes.

General MIDI

A superset of the MIDI standard that describes sound mappings in MIDI instruments. Music written and sequenced for General MIDI should play back with the same instrument sounds on any General MIDI (GM) sound source.


A copy of a tape. An original master recording is referred to as a first generation tape. If you make a copy of the original master tape, you have a second generation tape. Copy the second generation tape and you have a third generation tape. With audio tape, each generation suffers degradation through increased noise and hiss. Digital tape generations created in the digital domain generally experience little or no degradation.

Generation loss

The degradation of signal quality that occurs with each successive generation of audio tape. The generation loss is usually in the form of increased hiss, distortion and noise.


A sound having harmonics in the upper midrange and high frequencies which are not boosted, or may be slightly attenuated or cut. Gentle is similar to mellow.


Sound which is too bright, trebly or edgy.


Sound which is too bright and has an unpleasant high frequency response.


Short for 'go-between', a portable partition used when recording to prevent sound leakage between adjacent microphones.


Sound which suffers from harmonic distortion or has been digitally converted using a low sample rate or inferior A/D converters. It has the overall effect of making music sound like it has been separated into 'grains' of sound, lacking warmth and fluidity.

Graphic equalizer

Also known as graphic EQ, a type of equalizer with a horizontal row of faders; each fader's position indicates the frequency response or frequency correction of the equalizer within a preset frequency range; viewing all faders gives a graphic representation of the desired frequency response. Graphic equalizers can be used as a special effect or to flatten monitor speaker response for the current listening environment.

Groove quantize

A sequencing quantization method that uses a performance template instead of an absolute value to alter the rhythmic characteristics of a sequence. Usually involves preset grooves (i.e. funk, swing, etc.) or uses one rhythmic sequence as a model for quantizing another sequence.


The zero signal reference point for a group or system of audio components. Also, a short term for 'Earth ground'.

Ground buss

A heavy plate (typically copper) used as a common connection point to which audio equipment is grounded.

Ground loop

A loop formed when unbalanced circuits or components are connected together via two ground paths (the connecting cable shield and the power ground), causing unwanted hum in the system.


The act of connecting audio or electrical components to ground. When components are grounded correctly, there is no voltage difference between equipment chassis.


Also known as 'Submix', a smaller mix of tracks or instruments feeding a larger or master mixing board. Typical groups include a vocal group, keyboard group and percussion group.


As applied to the bass guitar, a boost or peak in the frequency response around 600 Hz.


A sound or track with an abundance of harmonic distortion.


An extension to the General MIDI standard that describes tone editing parameters, effects and an enhanced instrument set.

Guard band

The space or extra track between tracks on a multitrack tape machine or tape head, whose purpose is to prevent crosstalk between recorded tracks.

Haas effect

Also known as the precedence effect, this effect describes our ability to perceive the location of a sound source based on the relative level and arrival time of the sound in each ear. This phenomenon was first discovered by Helmut Haas.


An audio tape track recorded on half the width of the recording tape. A half-track recorder records two tracks concurrently in the same direction for stereo recording.


A sound or track which has too much upper midrange (around 3 kHz) combined with a good transient response.

Hard-disk recording

Recording audio digitally to a computer hard drive or to a dedicated hardware device.


An overtone at a frequency that is a whole number multiple of the fundamental frequency.


Sound which has peaks in the upper midrange area (about 2 to 6 kHz) of the frequency response. Harshness can also be caused by too much phase shift from the low-pass filter in a digital recorder.


In a tape recorder, the electromagnet that plays back what has been recorded on tape, records audio onto tape, or erases signals already on the tape.

Head gap

Also known as simply 'Gap', The thin break in the electromagnet that contacts the tape in a tape recorder head.


A transducer, worn on the head, that covers or surrounds both ears which converts electrical audio signals to sound waves, used for monitoring or recreational listening.


A margin of audio safety between the current signal level and the maximum signal level possible without introducing distortion. Headroom is usually measured in decibels. When referring to a tape recorder, headroom is the difference between the standard operating level (0VU on the VU meter) and a level causing 3 percent total harmonic distortion. You can increase high frequency headroom by recording audio tape at higher speeds.


A music track or sound with good low-frequency response below 50 Hz. It suggests an object of great mass or power, such as a jet or thunder.


Vibrations or cycles per second, abbreviated 'Hz', a measurement of the frequency of a vibrating object. If you play the open A string on a concert-tuned guitar, the string's tone is at 110Hz, which is 110 vibrations per second. The human range of frequency perception, on average, is roughly 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

High-pass filter

Also known as a 'Low-cut' filter, a filter that passes frequencies above a given frequency and cuts frequencies below that same frequency.


A sound, recorded track or mix which has too much reverberation or a dip in the midrange frequency response. Also, too much spaciousness or room ambiance.


A track or entire mix which sounds the way your voice does if you cover your mouth with an object. Honkiness can be caused (or achieved) by a peak in the frequency response around 500 to 700 Hz.


Recording signals to tape at a high level, causing a mild distortion or tape saturation to occur, used as an effect. Hot can also refer to the conductor in a mic cable which has a positive voltage on it at the moment sound pressure moves the diaphragm inward. Hot is also used to describe a chassis or circuit that has a potentially harmful voltage on it.


An undesired low-pitched sound (at around 60 Hz and its harmonics) that can be heard along with the audio signal.

Hypercardioid microphone

A directional mic with a polar pattern that has 12dB attenuation at the sides, a 6dB roll-off at the rear, and two points of maximum rejection at 110 degrees off-axis.

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