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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 notation system for stringed instruments based on fingering numbers rather than standard musical symbols.

Tails out

A term describing a reel of tape wound with the end of the audio toward the outside of the reel. Tape stored in this manner is less likely to have audible print-through, since the tape must be rewound before playback. Any print-through that does happen to occur will sound after the original sound (instead of before), which is less problematic.


An intercom in the mixer for the producer and/or engineer and producer to talk from the control room and give feedback to the musicians in the studio room.


A recorded performance of a song, solo, or part. Many times, several takes are done of the same musical performance and the best one becomes the final product. At times, the best parts of several takes are brought together (digitally, or with tape splicing) to form a composite take.

Take sheet

A paper or computer notepad listing each take by number for each song, along with any notes on effects, performance, etc.

Take up reel

The reel on the right side of a reel-to-reel tape recorder that winds up the tape as is playing or recording.


Originally a short name for magnetic recording tape, a recording medium made of magnetic particles (usually ferric oxide) suspended in a binder and coated on a long strip of thin plastic, usually Mylar.

Tape editing

The splicing and rejoining of magnetic tape (not digital tape) to insert leader tape, to reorder recorded takes into a new sequence, or to delete entire musical passages.

Tape loop

An endless loop of tape made by splicing a length of tape end to end, used for continuous repetition of several seconds of audio.

Tape recorder

A device that converts an electrical audio signal into a magnetic audio signal on magnetic tape, and upon playback, converts the magnetic signal back to an electrical audio signal. Tape recorder parts include electronics, heads, and a transport to move the tape.


A tearsheet is an entire page from an actual print publication that has carried an advertisement, not just a clip of the ad. Tearsheets clearly show how the ad was produced in the publication, exactly how prominently it was placed on the page in relation to other ads and news, and whether or not competing ads were run on the same page.


A musical term meaning the range, from high to low, of a specific voice or instrument.


A sound or track where the fundamental frequencies are weak, relative to the harmonics. If the fundamental frequencies of an instrument are high, around 300 to 800 Hz for example, and the monitor system has a dip in the 400 Hz area, the instrument may sound thin, even though the monitor system is stronger in the lower range (below 200 Hz) of the frequency spectrum.

Three-pin connector

Also known as an XLR-connector, a professional audio connector for balanced audio signals. Pin 1 is connected to the cable shield, pin 2 connects to the signal hot lead and the third pin is connected to the signal return lead. Sometimes equipment is manufactured with pin 2 and 3 reversed, which causes problems when going from a balanced line to an unbalanced line.

3:1 rule

A microphone placement rule that recommends that when mixing multiple microphones to the same channel, the distance between microphones should be at least three times the distance from each microphone to the source of the sound. This prevents audible phase interference from changing the sound.


In a compressor or limiter, the input level above which compression or limiting takes place. Therefore the level of the audio must be above the threshold setting, or no effect is heard. In an expander or gate, the input level below which expansion or gating occurs.


A track or sound sample with audible low-pitched thumps, which can be caused by miking an acoustic guitar too closely, or by a guitar with excessive lows around 50 to 80 Hz.


A sound with an extremely deep bass, almost rumbling quality, with extended low-frequency response below 60 Hz.


A track or mix demonstrating good low-frequency transient response and detail. Tight is also used to describe the sound of a damped kick drum. It can also mean the absence of leakage between microphones.


The property of having tone color, or the distinctness of the sound of an instrument from any other.


The impression of a sound based upon its harmonic spectrum and envelope, i.e.. the distinctness of a sound that allows a person to differentiate it from other sounds. For example, when you hear a guitar, cymbal, or violin, each has a unique set of harmonics (therefore, tonal quality) that identifies it as a particular instrument.

Time code

A signal used to synchronize two or more tape transports, or a computer to a tape transport. As it applies to video, the signal describes the location on the tape in terms of hours, minutes, seconds and frames. Types of time code include SMPTE and MIDI.


A sound with a telephone-like tone having weak lows and a boosted mid-range, with a very narrow frequency range. The sound seems almost as if it is coming from the inside of a tin can.

Tonal balance

The balance or volume relationships between different regions of the frequency spectrum, including bass, lower midrange, midrange, upper midrange and highs.

Tone color

The sound or property of an instrument, as distinct from any other.


Refers to both high frequencies (i.e. "the top end") and the beginning of a song ("let's take it from the top").


Separate locations for recordings, usually containing a single channel of audio or MIDI data. Organizes recordings in a multi-track environment.


A device that converts energy from one form to another, such as a microphone or speaker.


An electronic component containing two magnetically coupled coils of wire. The input signal is transferred magnetically to the output, without a direct connection between input and output.


A relatively high amplitude, rapidly decaying, peak signal level. Untreated transients can cause audible distortion if levels are high enough.

Transient response

The ability of an audio component, such as a speaker or microphone, to accurately follow a transient.


A track or mix which is clear, detailed, not muddy, and which has a wide, flat frequency response. Also a mix exhibiting very low noise and distortion.


The mechanical system in a tape recorder that moves tape past the heads. The transport controls tape motion during recording, playback, fast forward and rewind.


A sound with weak lows and boosted mid-range, with a very narrow frequency range, as if it was heard on a telephone or from the inside of a metal trash can.


A control on a mixer for precise adjustment of level. Also, a control that adjusts the gain of a mic preamp to compensate for various signal levels of different strengths.


A sound having low-frequency resonances, almost as if the sound were coming from inside a bathtub.


A high frequency cone on a speaker.

Unbalanced line

An audio cable having one conductor surrounded by a shield that carries the return signal. The main disadvantage of an unbalanced line as compared to a balanced line is the potential for ground loops and hum, which balanced lines avoid.

Unidirectional microphone

A microphone that is most sensitive from sounds arriving in one (uni-) direction. Some examples of unidirectional mics include hypercardioid, supercardioid and cardioid


A continuously repeated musical phrase.


An acronym for Voltage-Controlled Oscillator. The VCO is the tone generator or sound source in an analog synth. The pitch that a VCO produces is a direct result of how much voltage it receives.


A track or sound sample with a slight amount of noise or and/or distortion, as if the speakers were covered with a silk veil. Veiled also describes a sound with slightly weak high frequencies. Opposite of transparent.


How loudly a note is struck.

Virtual tracking

When a MIDI sequencer is locked via a sync box to a tape deck, the sequencer tracks become virtual additions or extensions to those on tape, since it is not necessary to record the sequencer tracks to tape.


The careful equalization of a speaker/amplifier system (as in a recording studio monitor or sound reinforcement system) to achieve a particular sound or effect.

VU meter

A voltmeter with a specific transient response, calibrated in VUs (volume units). A VU meter is used to display the relative volume of various audio signals, and to set the optimum recording level.

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