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pix Guitar Nine Glossary of Terms [L-M] pix
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pix pix by Dan McAvinchey  

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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Leadering

Describes the process of manually splicing leader tape between program material on an audio tape.

Leader tape

Plastic or paper tape (without the oxide coating) used for spacing or absolute silence between takes or songs.

Leakage

Also known as 'Bleed' or 'Spill', the overlap of an instrument's sound into another instrument's mic.

LEDE

An abbreviation for 'Live End, Dead End', referring to acoustical treatment in the control room, in which the front half of the control room (around the mixing board) is deadened with acoustical tile to prevent early reflections from coloring the sound, while the back section of the room is left 'live', to reflect sound back to the mixing area.

LED Indicator

A recording level indicator using one or several light emitting diodes, or LEDs.

Level

The degree of strength of an audio signal measured as power, voltage, or sound pressure level.

Level setting

Adjusting the amount of signal sent to an input channel of a mixer or to the record head of a tape recorder. The amount of signal is usually monitored visually through the use of an LED meter, VU meter, or other indicator.

Limiter

A signal processor whose output is constant when the input signal exceeds a designated level. You can make a compressor into a limiting device by setting the compression ratio to 10:1 or greater, and by setting the threshold just below the distortion point of the device following the compressor in the signal path. Limiting is most useful for preventing damage to hearing (in-ear monitors), or distortion from signal peaks or transients.

Line level

In semi-pro or home devices (unbalanced), a signal whose level is at -10dBV (0.316 volt). In professional gear (balanced), a signal whose level is at +4dBm (1.23 volts).

Live

Occurring in person, or in real time. Also applies to sound which has reverberation.

Live recording

A recording made at a club, concert hall, stadium, or other venue with an audience. Also refers to a recording made with a band or group playing all together, without the use of overdubbing.

Localization

The ability of the human ear and brain to discern the direction of a real or pseudo sound source.

Loundspeaker

A transducer that changes electrical energy (the signal source) into acoustical energy (sound waves) that you can hear.

Low-pass filter

Less commonly known as a 'High-cut filter', a filter that does not alter frequencies below an established frequency and cuts frequencies above that same frequency.

Lows

Bass sounds or other low frequency sounds.

Magnetic recording tape

A recording medium made of magnetic particles suspended in a binder and coated on a long strip of thin plastic.

Mask

To cover up one sound with another sound. To make it difficult or impossible to hear a sound by playing another sound in the same frequency range at a louder volume.

Master

When syncing two devices together, the controlling device becomes the master and the other device becomes the slave. The slave only responds to commands from the master; it does not also control the master. When syncing a sequencer to tape, the tape deck usually acts as the master and the sequencer becomes the slave.

Master fader

A volume control that adjusts the level of all program busses at the same time.

Master tape

The final mix or completed tape used as the duplication source for CDs and tapes.

MDM

An acronym for Modular Digital Multitrack. Examples include the original Alesis ADAT and Roland DA-88. MDMs typically allow multiple machines to be connected to increase the number of tracks available.

Mellow

a sound or recorded track with reduced high frequencies, not edgy.

Memory

Integrated circuit chips used to temporarily or permanently store digital data, such as computer data or digital audio.

Memory rewind

A function of some tape recorders to automatically rewind the tape to a designated position. The tape recorder stores the tape counter position in memory and will return to that position when the memory rewind button is pressed.

Merge

A unique ability of hard disk recording systems. Similar to audio bouncing, except it is not necessary to have open, available tracks. For example, in a four track system, all four tracks can be mixed to two, thus freeing up two additional tracks.

Meter

A device that indicates signal level strength. Meters are also used to show current, voltage and resistance.

Mic

An abbreviation for microphone. Also, the act of picking up or recording an audio signal with a microphone.

Mic level

The level or voltage of a signal typically produced by a microphone, about 2 millivolts.

Microphone

A device that converts sound into an electrical signal. Common microphones include cardioid, ribbon, stereo, omnidirectional and condenser.

Microphone technique

The choosing and placing of microphones to pick up sound sources in order to achieve the desired sound.

MIDI

An acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A method of communication between computers, mixers, musical instruments and accessories consisting of a set of messages that can represent musical performance, mixing movements, or patch data. If a keyboard is hooked to a computer, using MIDI, a computer sequencing program is capable of recording a musical performance.

MIDI channels

Electronic "highways" for communicating with MIDI instruments. The original MIDI spec called for 16 separate channels. However, multi-port devices now exist that allow for more channels.

MIDI controllers

Performance characteristics within the MIDI standard. Characteristics include volume, modulation, panning, etc. Most sequencers allow recording and editing of controller data.

MIDI cue sheet

A list of MIDI events that have to be transmitted at specific times. The MIDI events typically consist of note-ons, controller changes, or program changes. The times as usually specified as SMPTE times that are given in hours, minutes, seconds, frames, and sometimes sub frames (1/80 of a frame).

MIDI merging

When two individual MIDI data streams are brought together and forwarded as a single MIDI event stream. For example, the two data streams might be from two keyboards, or a single keyboard and a foot controller, and you may wish to record the sum of the two into a sequencer.

MIDI patch bay

A patch bay wired with MIDI cables that controls the routing of messages to and from all MIDI devices in a studio.

MIDI time code

Also known as 'MTC', it is the MIDI equivalent to SMPTE. SMPTE timing data can be converted to MIDI time code messages that can be sent to a sequencer for synchronization purposes.

MIDI timing byte message

As set forth in the MIDI standard, one MIDI timing byte is sent 24 times every quarter note. Therefore, if the tempo of a sequenced song speeds up, MIDI timing data is sent at a faster rate. MIDI timing bytes contain no indication as to where in a song they occur; they are similar to the tick of a metronome. With MIDI, location within a song is given by a song pointer message.

Mike

An older, less-used abbreviation for microphone. Also, the act of picking up or recording an audio signal with a microphone.

Milli-

A metric system prefix meaning one thousandth, commonly abbreviated as 'm'. One millisecond is 0.001 of a second.

Mix

To combine two or more audio signals or MIDI data streams into a single audio signal or data stream. A stereo mix combines two or more audio signals into a left-right pair of audio signals. Mix can also refer to the control on an effects processor that controls the amount of effect versus the amount of unprocessed signal sent to the output of the processor.

Mixdown

The process of playing pre-recorded tracks (audio or digital) and/or 'virtual' MIDI tracks through a mixing board combining the signals, and sending the result to another tape deck or digital recorder. A typical mixdown is done in stereo.

Mixer

A device that combines and controls the levels of individual audio signals. A MIDI mixer, combines, merges, or filters the data streams of two or more MIDI cables and sends the resulting MIDI stream down another MIDI cable.

Mixing console

Also called a 'Mixing board', a large mixer with additional functions like EQ, panning, effect sends, soloing, muting, trim, etc.

MMA

An acronym for MIDI Manufacturers Association, a manufacturers trade organization that develops technical standards for MIDI.

MMC

An acronym for MIDI Machine Control, a way for software to remotely control hardware (tape deck transports) via MIDI. Tape decks must support MMC with a MIDI to tape transport control interface.

Modem

A data communications device whose name derives from its function: modulator/demodulator. The modem converts digital signals from a computer to analog signals (modulation) for transmission over telephone lines, and vice versa (demodulation).

Monaural

Listening or monitoring with one ear.

Monitor

A pair of stereo loudspeakers in a control room or a set of headphones, used to assess sound quality and balance. On stage, a floor mounted loudspeaker with a mix appropriate to the musician in front of the speaker. For example, if a singer wishes to have a monitor mix which is bass-heavy, their monitor can deliver a mono mix which includes boosted bass frequencies.

Monitoring

Listening to an audio signal with a monitor.

Mono

An abbreviation for monophonic.

Monophonic

Refers to a single channel of audio.

Mono-compatible

A stereo program which can be safely combined into a single channel of audio without experiencing phase cancellation, or altering the tonal balance or frequency response.

Moving-coil microphone

A type of dynamic microphone in which the conductor is a coil of wire moving in a fixed magnetic field. The coil is attached to a diaphragm which vibrates when sung or shouted into.

Muddy

Sound which lacks clarity, exhibits a smeared time response, or has weak harmonics. Also used to describe a mix where the individual instruments are overlapping each other's frequency range.

Muffled

A track or mix which sounds as if the loudspeakers were covered with a blanket. Characterized by a weak upper midrange or weak high frequency response.

Multiple-D microphone

A type of directional microphone having minimal proximity effect due to multiple sound path lengths between its front and rear sound entry points.

Multiprocessor

A signal processor or type of computer capable of performing several different processing functions. In the case of the computer, the functions are done simultaneously; in the case of the signal processor, the functions are performed in series, yet appears to a musician as if all functions or effects are happening at the same time.

Multi-timbral

Capable of producing different sounds (timbres) at the same time.

Multitrack

A tape recorder or digital recorder having more than two tape tracks.

Mute

To silence an input signal on a mixing board (usually by pressing a mute switch) by severing the connection between the input module's output from the direct out and the master out. Muting is used to help create quieter final mixes by eliminating noise from temporarily or permanently unused tracks.


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