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Audio RecordingTerms Glossary

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The Recording Institute of Detroit & Recording Website provide this glossary as a professional courtesy to the music & recording industry. This is an edited verson of the glossary and audio dictionary used by RID students. There is no charge for individuals use this glossary provided that the use is non-commercial. Distribution of printed copies is strictly forbidden. Feel free to bookmark this page for future use.


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary.


- P -

Pad – 1) An attenuator usually used to prevent overload of amplifier that follows. 2) A device with a surface that can be hit by a drum stick; hitting the pad produces an output signal pulse (or MIDI command) that causes a drum machine or synthesizer to sound a drum sound. 

Panpot (Pan Pot) - An electrical device that distributes one audio signal to two (or more) channels or speakers. 

Parallel - 1) A circuit interconnection in that the source feeds several branch circuit components and interruption of current flow in one component does not stop current flow in another. 2) A method of sending data where each digit of a digital word is sent at the same time over separate wires/connections.

Parallel Jacks - Several jacks that are wired so that each connection is wired to the corresponding connection of other jacks. 

Parallel Port - A jack that sends out or receives digital data where several bits are being sent/received at the same time though different pins. 

Parameter - Each adjustment that is possible to change in a device. 

Parametric EQ - An equalizer in which all of the parameters of equalization can be adjusted to any amount including: a) center frequency; b) the amount of boost or cut in gain; and c) the bandwidth. 

Partial - 1) In acoustical instruments, a term with the same meaning as overtone. 2) In synthesizers literally "part of a sound patch;" circuitry in the synthesizer that generates and/or modifies elements of the sound to give timbre to the particular tone. 3) The sound element generated by #2. 

Pass Band - The frequency range of signals that will be passed, not reduced, by a filter. 

Passive Device - A piece of signal processing gear or other device that does not use an amplifier as part of its design.  

Patch - 1) To route or reroute the signal in an audio system (such as a console) by using short cables with plugs inserted into jacks. 2)The routing or rerouting of the signal accomplished by #1.  

Patch Bay - A Series of jacks with connections for most of the inputs and outputs of the console, console sections, tape machines and other pieces of equipment. 

Patch Cord - A cable with two plugs on it to interconnect two patch jacks in the patch bay. 

Patch Editor - A computer program allowing the creation or the changing of parameters of sound patches thereby creating or modifying a specific synthesized sound outside of a synthesizer. 

Patch Field - A series of jacks which has connections for most of the inputs and outputs of the console, console sections, tape machines and other pieces of equipment. 

Patch Librarian - A computer program allowing the storing of sound patches outside of a synthesizer. 

Patch Panel - A series of jacks which has connections for most of the inputs and outputs of the console, console sections, tape machines and other pieces of equipment. 

Patch Point - One jack in a patch bay. 

Path - Short for Signal Path, the way in which current does or may travel in a circuit or through a device. 

Pause - The button or control mode where the tape machine is paused but with the drive mechanism ready for an instant start. 

PCM - An abbreviation for the term Pulse Code Modulation (the use of amplitude pulses in magnetic tape to record the digital information bits of digital audio). 

Peak - 1) The highest point in the audio waveform. 2) Short for Peak Detecting (responding to the peak) or Peak Indicating (showing the peak). 3) Having a frequency response that would draw something similar to a mountain peak on a frequency response graph. 

Peak Detecting - Recognizing and responding to peak values of a waveform rather than average values. 

Peak Indicating Meter - A meter which reads the absolute peak level of the waveform. 

Peak Level - A term with the same meaning as Peak Value (the maximum positive or negative instantaneous value of a waveform). 

Peak Responding - Recognizing and responding to (or indicating) the peak value rather than the average or effective value. 

Peak Response - 1) A term with the same meaning as Peak 2) Raising or lowering of the amplitude of signals at the center frequency more than signals at any other frequency. 

Peak Value - The maximum positive or negative instantaneous value of a waveform. 

Peaking Filter - An EQ circuit which has a peak response (raising or lowering of the amplitude of signals at the center frequency more than signals at any other frequency). 

Peak-to-Peak Value - The difference in amplitude between positive and negative peaks. Equal to twice the peak value for a sine wave. 

Pedal Board - A board with several guitar pedals attached and inter-connected so that a guitar player can conveniently use several effects at the same time or one after another. 

Phantom Powering - A system used to supply condenser microphones with power; to eliminate the need for external power supplies.  

Phase - A measurement (expressed in degrees) of the time difference between two similar waveforms. 

Phase Addition - The energy of one waveform increasing the energy of another waveform because the two waveforms have similar phase relationships. 

Phase Cancellation - The energy of one waveform decreasing the energy of another waveform because of phase relationships at or close to 180 degrees.  Phase cancellation is often caused by acoustic reflections reaching the microphone along with the direct sound.  Phase cancellation will cause a boost in energy at some frequencies and a diminishing of energy in other frequencies.   Diangram

Phase Distortion - A change in the sound because of a phase shift in the signal. 

Phase Distortion Synthesis - A method of altering a wave shape to add harmonics by a phase shift while a cycle is being formed. 

Phase Linear- The quality of not having phase shift. 

Phase Lock - 1) In the control of tape machines, a method of keeping machines synced together by sensing phase differences in the playback of pilot tunes by the two machines and adjustment of speed to eliminate the phase difference. 2) In synthesizers, the control of one tone generator so that it begins its waveform in phase with the signal from another tone generator. 

Phase Reversal - A change in a circuit to get the waveform to shift by 180 degrees. 

Phase Shift - A delay introduced into an audio signal measured in degrees delayed.  

Phase Sync – 1) A term with the same meaning as the term Phase Lock. 2) A method of keeping machines synced together by sensing phase differences in the playback of pilot tones by the two machines and adjustment of speed to eliminate the phase difference. 

Phasing - An effects sound created by variable phase shift of an audio signal mixed with the direct signal. 

Phon – 1) A unit of equal loudness for all audio frequencies. 2) The phon is numerically equal to dBspl at 1000 Hz but varies at other frequencies according to ear sensitivity to frequency. 

Phone Plug (Jack) - A plug (or its mating jack) with a diameter of 1/4 inch and a length of I 1/4 inches used for interconnecting audio. 

Phono Cartridge – 1) The device that changes the mechanical vibrations stored on records into electrical signals. 2) A transducer changing sound stored as mechanical vibrations to sound in the form of electricity. 

Phono Plug – 1) A term with the same meaning as RCA Plug. 2) The common audio connector round on most stereo systems with a center pin as one connection and an outer shell as the second connection. 

Photoelectric Cell - A device that generates a small current when it receives light. 

Pick Up Pattern - The shape of the area that a microphone will evenly pick up from, giving similar but less detailed information than a polar pattern. 

Pickup – 1) A device on an electric guitar (or other instrument) that puts out an audio signal according to the string motion on the instrument. 2) A device that puts out an audio signal according to the vibration of something; this term means the same thing as a contact microphone. 

Pilot Tone – 1) Same as Neo-Pilot Tone. 2) A system of recording a 60 Hz tone, used for syncing on a 1/4 inch tape, developed by Nagra. 

Pin Plug – 1) A term with the same meaning as RCA Plug. 2) The common audio connector found on most stereo systems with a center pin as one connection and an outer shell as the second connection. 

Pinch Roller - A rubber (or plastic) wheel which pinches the tape between it and the capstan, allowing the capstan to pull the tape. 

Ping-Ponging - Playing several recorded tracks with sync playback through a console to mix them together and record them on an open track. 

Pink Noise - Noise which has equal energy per octave or portion of an octave. 

Pitch – 1) The perception of frequency by the ear (a higher or lower quality of music). 2) A control on a tape transport which adjusts the speed slightly up or down, changing the pitch and time of the music. 3) The spacing of the grooves in a phonograph record. 

Pitch Bend – 1) Making, in a synthesizer, the pitch smoothly glide up slightly. 2) Also the wheel controller or MIDI command that will allow this.  

Pitch Change – 1) A characteristic of human hearing where bass frequencies sound lower in pitch at high sound pressure levels; an error of as much as 10%. 2) A function of a delay effects device where the output signal's pitch is different than the input signal's pitch.  

Pitch Ratio - The percentage change in pitch in a pitch change program of a delay line. 

Pitch To MIDI Converter - A device that will change an audio signal into MIDI information. 

Pitch to Voltage Converter - A Device that will convert the frequency changes of an audio signal into proportional control voltage changes. 

Plate

  1. A type of reverb device where a large metal sheet is suspended on spring clips and driven like a speaker cone.
  2. An electrode in a tube that receives the electrons. 

Plate Program - A setting in a digital delay/reverb effects device that simulates the plate reverberation sound. 

Playback – 1) The reproduction of recorded audio. 2) In motion picture or video production, the reproduction of the music over loudspeakers so that the performers/musicians can perform in time to the music for the camera. 

Playback Equalization - A reduction of the amplitude of signals with high frequencies during playback of a tape to compensate for the Record Equalization. 

Playback Engineer - The audio technician who plays back music over loudspeakers for motion picture/video production so that performers can perform in time with the music for the camera. 

Playback Head - A transducer (energy converter) which converts magnetic flux recorded on tape into an audio signal. 

Playback Level – 1) A term with the same meaning as Reproduce Level. 2) A control that determines the output level of signals played back from the tape by the reproduce head. 

Playback Mode - A connection of the console's monitor mixer inputs to the tape machine outputs for a quick playback of the multitrack master. 

Playback Monitor - A position of the switch on a tape machine which allows the VU meter and sound output of the tape machine electronics to monitor the playback of what is actually recorded on the tape. 

Playlist - A series of computer commands to a disk recording of digital audio where the playback of the digital audio is to play certain portions and not others. 

Plug - A connector, usually on a cable, that mates with a jack. 

Point Source - A design in speaker systems, where separate speakers (reproducing different frequency ranges) are made so that the sound appears to come from one place.  

Polar Pattern – 1) For microphones, a graphic display of the audio output levels caused by sound waves arriving at the mic from different directions. 2) In speakers, a graphic display of the speaker's dispersion. 

Polarity - The direction of current flow or magnetizing force. 

Polarizing Voltage - The voltage applied to the plates of the variable capacitor in the condenser microphone capsule. 

Pole Pieces - Iron or other magnetic material that conducts magnetic force to where it can be used in transducers like record heads, playback heads, microphones, etc. 

Pole Mode - In MIDI, a mode which allows the voices of the controlled synthesizer to be assigned polyphonically by incoming keynote numbers.  

Polyphonic - Able to play more than one pitch at the same time, in synthesizers. 

Ponging - Playing several recorded tracks with sync playback through a console to mix them together and record them on an open track. 

Pop Filter - A device that is placed over a microphone or between the microphone and singer to prevent loud "pop" sounds by the singer. 

Port – 1) An opening in a speaker case or in a microphone case, just behind the diaphragm. 2) A jack accepting or sending digital data. 

Portamento – 1) A pitch change that smoothly glides from one pitch to another. 2) The synthesizer mode or MIDI command that allows or causes this to happen.  

Ported-Case Microphone - A microphone with at least one port (opening behind the diaphragm) in its case. 

Post - 1) A position of a send control (or other control) after the main channel fader. 2) Short for the term Post-Production. 

Post Echo - A position of an echo send control after the main channel fader. 

Post Production - Production done after a film or video is shot including the recording of replacement dialogue, adding sound effects and the mixing of dialogue, effects and music for the production. 

Post Roll - The amount that the tape machine will play past the desired end point. 

Pot - 1) Short for the term Potentiometer. 2) A device that outputs part of the input voltage according to the position of the control's knob. 

Potentiometer - A device that outputs pan of the input voltage according to the position of the control's knob. 

Power- 1) The measurement of the ability of an electrical current to produce light, produce heat or do other work. 2) A similar measurement of another energy form to do work. 3) The name of the switch which turns on a device. 

Power Amplifier - A device that takes a line level signal and amplifies it to be able to drive a speaker. 

Power Supply - An electrical circuit which supplies voltage and current for devices to operate. 

Pre-Amp - A low-noise amplifier designed to take a low-level signal and bring it up to normal line level. 

Pre/Post Switch - A switch on the input module, which determines whether the echo send control comes before or after the main channel fader. 

Pre Delay - Delay circuits at the input of a reverberation device causing a delay before the reverberation is heard. 

Pre Echo - 1) A repeating of the sound before the reverberation is heard used to simulate reflections caused by a stage. 2) In Tape Recording, a low-level leakage of sound coming later caused by print through. 3) In Disc Recording, a similar sound caused by a previous groove deforming a later groove. 4) A placement of an echo send control before the main channel fader. 

Pre Emphasis - A boosting of high frequencies during the recording process to keep the signal above the noise at high frequencies.  

Pre Fader - A placement of a send control (or other control) before the main channel fader. 

Pre Fader Listen - A solo circuit that allows a channel signal to be heard (and often metered) before the channel fader. 

Pre-Mix - 1) Another term for ponging (playing several recorded tacks with sync playback through a console to mix them together and record them on an open track). 2) To mix together the audio of several devices before sending the composite mix to the main console. 3) The composite mix of #1 or #2. 

Precedence Effect - A factor in human hearing where delay has a much bigger effect on the human perception of the location of the sound source than level does. 

Presence - The quality in sound of the instrument (or sound source) being right there next to you. 

Presence Frequencies - The range of audio frequencies between 4 kHz and 6 kHz that often, when boosted, increases the sense of presence, especially on voices. 

Preset - 1) A program of a sound done at the factory by the manufacturer. 2) A set of factory set parameters to give one effect on a signal processing device. 

Pressure-Gradient Microphone - A microphone whose diaphragm is exposed front and back and diaphragm movement is caused by the pressure difference between its front and back.  

Pressure Microphone - A microphone where the diaphragm moves because of the pressure of the sound wave having one side of the diaphragm working against the normal or controlled air pressure inside the microphone case. 

Pressure Operated Microphone - A term meaning the same thing as the term Pressure Microphone. See the preceding entry. 

Pressure Sensitivity - The feature in a synthesizer or Keyboard Controller of After Touch (a control or operational function of a synthesizer where pressing a key after it has been pressed, and before it is released, will activate a control command that can be set by the player). 

Pressure Zone Microphone - The full name for PZM (trademark), Crown's barrier microphone (a microphone with the head attached closely to a plate, designed to be attached to a larger surface, and which has a half-Omni pickup pattern). 

Preview - 1) To play the edit in a digital audio editing system before committing to save it. 2) In a computer assisted punch in, to have the computer play over the area while switching the monitoring so that the effect of the punch in can be heard before it is performed. 3) Short for preview signal (a signal in disc recording that matches and is earlier than the signal being recorded). 

Preview Head - An extra reproduce head on a tape transport used in disc recording that the tape reaches before the regular playback head  

Preview Signal - A signal in disc recording that matches and is earlier than the signal being recorded. 

Print - 1) The action of a Print Through (unwanted transfer of magnetic flux from one layer of tape to another). 2) To record (slang definition). 

Print Through - The unwanted transfer of magnetic flux from one layer of tape to another. 

Processing - 1) A computer performing tasks as programmed. 2) Short for Signal Processing (changing the sound of the instrument or other sound source with equalizers, limiters, compressors and other devices thereby "processing" them to be recorded onto a master). 

Processor - The part of a computer which actually performs task/calculations. 

Producer - The "director' of an audio recording project responsible to get a final product of desired quality within a budget. 

Production - 1) A recording of a tune, collection of tunes, video or film performance. 2) The action of directing an audio recording project to get a final product of desired quality within a budget. 

Production Studio - A recording studio that specializes in the assembly and mixing of commercials and radio programs from pre recorded music and effects with newly recorded dialogue. 

Program - 1) The instructions, the action of instructing, or the action of recording instructions for a computer or computer controlled device to perform certain functions. 2) A Sound Patch, the sequence of tone generators and modifiers in a synthesizer to obtain a particular sound. 3) The settings (especially those set at the factory) that will obtain a certain effect in an effects processor. 4) One selection of recorded music on a CD or DAT. 5) The audio that is recorded in general. 

Program Number - The number of the pre-recorded selection in a CD or DAT. 

Program Change- A MIDI message for the receiving device to change presets. 

Program Disc - In a computer, the floppy disc that holds the program (to tell the computer how to process and store digital information). 

Program Equalization - Changing the level of any signal in a certain range of frequencies to accent (or de-emphasize) certain frequency elements of an instrument or sound source and change its tone. 

Program Mode - An operational mode of a monitor section of a console where the monitor inputs are connected to the console outputs feeding the multitrack tape machine (used during the recording session). 

Program Switch - A switch which activates the Program Mode (Record Mode) of the monitor section connecting the monitor inputs to the console outputs feeding the multitrack tape recorder (used during the recording session).

Program Time - In DAT recording, the time indication from the top of one selection. 

Programmable - Able to have the parameters changed by the user, especially in a computer controlled device. 

Prompt - A set of instructions for the user to follow, which appears on a computer screen. 

Proprietary - Describing a function, feature or characteristic owned by one company and available only in units manufactured by that company. 

Protocol - A system of digital data where the positioning of the data, and what each bit in the data stream signifies, is according to a standardized format so all devices can properly interpret the data. 

Pro Tools - A trade name of Digidesign for a hard disk digital audio recording system 

Proximity Effect - In directional microphones, the boost in the microphone's output for bass frequencies as the mic is moved closer to the sound source. 

Psychoacoustics - The study of how things sound to individuals because of mental or emotional factors.  

Puck - Any circular piece of metal, fiber, rubber, etc., which drives something from a rotating power source. 

Pulse - A rise and then fall in amplitude, similar to a square wave but staying up for less time than staying down.  

Pulse Code Modulation - The use of amplitude pulses in magnetic tape to record the digital information bits of digital audio. 

Pulse Wave Modulation - Moving smoothly from a square wave to pulse wave according to a control voltage input (usually from a LFO). 

Pulse Width - The amount of time that a pulse is at maximum voltage. 

Pumping Breathing - The sound of the noise changing volume as the limiter or compressor works. 

Punching In and Out - Putting the recorder in record on a previously-recorded track while the tape is playing in sync playback and the singer or musician is singing or playing along is called Punching In.

Pure Tone - A tone without harmonic frequencies except for the fundamental frequency and with a sine wave shape. 

PZM - A trademark belonging to Crown for their barrier microphones (a microphone with its head attached closely to a plate, designed to be attached to a larger surface, and which has a half-Omni pickup pattern).

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- Q -

 

Q - The sharpness of the peak response in an equalization circuit.

Quad (Quadraphonic) - A system of four channel sound where the channels are designated as left front, left back, right front, and right back. 

Quality Factor - Quality Factor, (the ratio of reactance to resistance in a coil) which affects Q. 

Quantize - The conversion of the values of an analog wave or random occurrence into steps. 

Quantization - A quantizing (see above). 

Quantization Distortion/Quantization Error - A modulation noise (also perceived as a distortion) that occurs in digital processing/recording caused by the sample levels being altered to conform to standard Quantization levels. 

Quantization Levels (Quantizing Levels/increments) - A standard level that can be recognized by a digital recording system. 

Quantization Noise - A modulation noise (also perceived as a distortion) that occurs in digital processing/recording caused by the sample levels being altered to conform to standard Quantization levels. 

Quarter Track - A format in tape recording where each track takes up 1/4 of a quarter inch tape width.

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- R -

 

Rack – 1) The physical setting of a head in the direction toward or away from the tape, therefore affecting how much pressure is applied to the head by the tape. 2) Short for Equipment Rack, a cabinet with rails (or free standing rails) that have holes to accept screws at standard spaces and used to house outboard gear.  

Rack Ears (Rack Flanges) - Mounting brackets that can be attached to equipment to make the equipment able to be housed in a standard equipment rack. 

Rack Mount - To mount in an equipment rack. 

Rack Space - A standardized size of the front mounting plate in outboard gear equal to approximately 1 3/4" tall by 19" wide.  

Rack Toms - Small to medium-size drums (usually 10 - 14 inch diameter) that are mounted to a rack over the foot drum in a drum kit.  

Radiation - The angle and pattern of coverage of a speaker. 

Radiation Pattern - A drawing of the coverage of speaker using a polar graph.  

Radio Frequencies - Frequencies higher than 20,000 Hz (usually above 100 kHz). 

RAM - Shortened from the first letters of Random Access Memory (memory stored in the computer and immediately available for use and updating). 

Ramp Wave - A waveform that is similar to a sawtooth waveform but different in that it starts at zero level and gradually rises to its peak level and then instantly drops back to zero level to form one cycle. 

Random Access Memory - Memory stored in the computer and immediately available for use and updating. 

Random Note Generator - A device that generates unpredictable pitches at a set rate, used in synthesizers.  

Random Phase - The presence of many signals (or reflections) where some of the signals are in phase and some out of phase and overall having the effect of being between in-phase and out-of-phase.  

Rap - To perform a spoken rhythmic part to a music or percussion performance. 

Rarefaction - The air particles being spread apart in the formation of a sound pressure wave.  

Rated Load Impedance - The input impedance (opposition to current flow by an input of a device) that a piece of equipment is designed to feed. 

RCA Plug (jack) - The common audio connector found on most stereo systems.  

R-DAT - Short for the name Rotating Head Digital Audio Tape, a standard format of recording digital audio on a very small tape cassette, using a rotating head.  

Reactance - Opposition to the flow of electrical current which changes with the frequency of the current. 

Read - The retrieval of information bits from a storage device; equivalent to reproduction of digital signals. 

Read Head - The digital audio reproduce head in a digital recorder or a similar device that converts magnetic pulses on a storage medium to voltage pulses. 

Read Only Memory - A memory IC that has digital data on it that cannot be erased/rewritten by the user. 

Ready - A control state of one track of a multitrack tape recorder where the track will go into record when the record function of the tape recorder is activated. 

Recognize - To be able to take in and respond to (incoming digital control data).  

Record Calibration Control - A tape machine electronics' control that matches the signal level monitored in the input position of the output selector switch to that of the signal recorded and played back from the tape. 

Record Equalization - The increase in amplitude of signals, in a tape machine's electronics, at the high frequencies as a tape is recorded to keep high-frequency signals recorded above the tape noise. 

Record Head - A device that changes electrical current to magnetic energy; the changes of the magnetism match the waveshape of the audio signal fed to the head.  

Record Level - A control, which determines the amount of magnetic flux recorded on the tape. 

Record Monitor - On some tape machines, the switch position on the electronics which allows the VU meter and sound output of the tape machine electronics to monitor the input signal to the tape machine.  

Record Ready - A control state of one track of a multitrack tape recorder where the track will go into record when the record function of the tape recorder is activated.  

Recording Buss - A Buss (a wire carrying signals fed from several sources to a destination) that sends mixed signals from the console channels to the multitrack recorder. 

Recording Chain - All of transducers and changes of energy form in a recording and reproducing system, listed in order.

Recording Group - Another term for Recording Buss or the signals present on the buss. 

Recording Session - Any period where music is being recorded, especially the first such period where the rhythm instruments are being recorded.  

Recording Solo - A switch (or function) where the signal of a channel is routed to the monitor system by itself, yet the signals out of the console to the recorder are not interrupted. 

Recordist - A person operating recording equipment as a hobby or non-professionally.  

Reel - 1) The hub and flanges that hold tape and which tape can be spooled onto or off of. 2) The amount of tape that fits on a Reel (definition 1).  

Reel Lock - The device that secures the reel to the turntable in a transport. 

Reel Motor - The motor that turns the platter holding the reel on a tape transport. 

Reference Level - 1) A standard value used to describe how much level is present in dB above or below this reference. 2) A term with the same meaning as the term Operating Level (the maximum average level that should not be exceeded in normal operation).  

Reference Tones - A term with the same meaning as the term Test Tones (a recording of several single-frequency tones at the beginning of a tape reel at the magnetic reference level that will be used to record the program).  

Reflected Sound - Sound that reaches a microphone or listener after one or more reflections from surrounding surfaces. 

Re-Generation - 1) A term with the same meaning as the term Jam Sync (a generation of a new SMPTE time code signal according to the input SMPTE signal, giving an identical SMPTE signal out as came in). 2) Feedback, especially around a delay line. 

Register - A user modified program (with changed parameters) which is stored in the memory of an effects unit, or sound module. 

Regulated Power Supply - A device to supply power to electronic equipment whose output voltage will not fluctuate when more equipment is turned on, or if there is a change in voltage of the power line. 

Relay - An electric switch, when a control voltage is applied to the device, two terminals are connected (or disconnected). 

Relay Rack - An older term for the term Equipment Rack, a cabinet with rails (or free standing rails) that have holes to accept screws at standard spaces and used to house outboard gear.  

Release - The rate that the volume of a synthesizer drops to no-sound once the key is released.  

Release Time - The time it takes for a dynamics processing device to change gain when the input signal crosses the threshold level while decreasing.  

Reluctance - Opposition to the flow of magnetism. 

Remixer - A mixing engineer who specializes in Re-mixing (the mixdown of other versions of a song, often adding additional parts and/or samples). 

Re-Mixing - 1) A seldom-used alternate term meaning the same thing as the term Mixdown (combining the signals from the tracks of a multitrack tape onto a two track master tape). 2) The mixdown of other versions of a song, often adding additional parts and/or samples. 

Remote - 1) The controls that will control a tape machine with the operator at a distance from the machine. 2) The recording at the sight of a performance rather than in a recording studio. 

Repeat Echo - An echo effect caused by discrete repeats of a program source by using a long delay time and feedback on a delay line. Also called Space Echo. 

Replacement Dialogue - Dialogue recorded for a film after the film is shot to replace poorly recorded dialogue, or to change dialogue text. 

Residual Magnetization - The amount of magnetism left in a magnetic material after the magnetizing force is removed. 

Residual Noise - The noise level left on recording tape after it has been erased.  

Resistance - Opposition to the flow of current in one direction or which does not represent different opposition for signals of different frequencies.  

Resistor - A device which opposes the flow of electrical current and does so evenly at all frequencies. 

Resonance - The prolonging of the sound at a certain frequency and the tendency of something to vibrate at a particular frequency after the source of energy is removed. 

Resonant - 1) Tending to pass signals of a certain frequency or narrow range of frequencies more than signals of other frequencies. 2) Physical properties that tend to reinforce the energy at certain frequencies of vibration. 

Resonant Frequency - The frequency at which a physical item tends to vibrate after the source of energy (causing the vibration) is removed. 

Resonate - 1) To vibrate at the resonant frequency. 2) To linger on, as in reverberation, said of sound in a room or used to describe a room/area that has reverberation with a long reverb time.  

Returns - Short for the term Echo Return or Auxiliary Return (the input of the console which brings back the effects signal from the echo chamber or other reverberation effects device). 

Reverb - A shortening of the term Reverberation (the persistence of a sound after the source stops emitting it). 

Reverb Time - The time it takes for the reverberation or echoes of a sound source to decrease 60 dB, after the direct sound from the source stops. 

Reverb Time Contour - A graph of reverberation time for signals of different audio frequencies.  

Reverberant Field - The area, away from a sound source, where reverberation is louder than the direct sound from the sound source. 

Reverberation - The persistence of a sound after the source stops emitting it, caused by many discrete echoes arriving at the ear so closely spaced in time that the ear cannot separate them. 

Reverberation Chamber - A device built to simulate room reflections. 

Reverberation Envelope - Literally the attack, decay, sustain and release of the reverberation volume; in other words, how fast the reverberation reaches peak level and its rate of decay. 

Reverberation Time - The amount of time it takes for reverberation to die down.  

Rewind - Movement of the tape quickly from the take up reel to the supply reel (the direction opposite of play).  

RF - Abbreviation for the term Radio Frequencies (frequencies higher than 20,000 Hz - usually above 100 kHz).  

RF Interference - The induction (generation of current by magnetic lines of force cutting a conductor) of RF signals (usually broadcast by television and radio stations) into audio lines causing noise, buzz and static. Also see the term TV Interference.  

Rhythm Section - The musical instruments, especially the first instruments recorded in a tune that play rhythmic parts rather than melody parts.  

Rhythm Track (Rhythm Tracks) - The recording of the rhythm instruments in a music production. 

Ribbon Microphone - A microphone with a thin conductive ribbon as both the diaphragm (device that moves because of the sound pressure wave) and the generating element (the device that generates the electricity). 

Riding Faders - Adjusting up the faders for low passages so the signal will be recorded well above the noise and taking the faders back down during loud passages to prevent distortion.  

Riff - A short melody repeatedly played in a tune (sometimes with variation) often between vocal lines.  

"Ring Out A Room" - A testing, often done at the set-up of a sound system for performances, where pink noise is sent through the speakers and the microphones are turned up until feedback occurs. 

Ringing - An undesirable resonance at the cut off frequency of a filter that has a high rate of cut-off. 

Rise Time - How fast an audio waveform makes a sudden increase to a higher level.

Roll-Off - The reduction of signal level as the frequency of the signal moves away from the cut-off frequency, especially when the cut-off rate is mild.  

ROM - Abbreviation for Read Only Memory. 

Room Equalization - An equalizer inserted in the monitor system that attempts to compensate for frequency response changes caused by the acoustics of the room.  

Room Sound - The ambience of a room including the reverberation and background noise. 

Room Tone - The background noise in a room without people speaking or music playing. 

Root Mean Square - The effective average value of an AC waveform, abbreviated: RMS.

Rotary Control - A level or other control in a device that has a circular movement rather than moving in a straight line. 

Rotating Head - A circular head with two (or more) gaps that rotates against the direction of tape motion at a slight angle to the tape travel. 

Round Sound - A pleasingly balanced sound (having a pleasing mixture of high frequency to low-frequency content). 

RMS - The effective average value of an AC waveform.  

RMS detecting - A control circuit that recognizes and responds to the effective average, the RMS level (see preceding entry) rather than to the peak level.  

RT - An abbreviation of Reverb Time (the time it takes for the reverberation or echoes of a sound source to decrease 60 dB, after the direct sound from the source stops). 

Ruggedness - Ability to withstand a lot of use, rough use or abuse.  

Rumble - A low-frequency noise, especially that caused by earth/floor vibration or by uneven surfaces in the drive mechanism of a recorder or playback unit. 

Run - To perform a function or command (said of a computer). 

"Run Down" - Musicians playing the tune before recording so that the engineer can get levels and check the sound quality. 

Run Off - A quick reference mix recorded on cassette (or other format) after a multitrack recording or overdubbing session, so the client can listen to what was recorded.

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Safe - An operational status of a track in a multitrack tape recorder where that track will not go into record when the record button is pushed for the machine. 

Safe/Ready Selector - A two or more position switch, which is usually included on a tape machine and which, determines if each track will be able to go into record. 

Sample - 1) In digital recording, to measure the level of a waveform at a given instant. 2) To record a short segment of audio for the purpose of playback later. 3) The short recording (made per definition 2). 

Sample and Hold - In digital recording, to measure the level of a waveform at a given instant and then convert it to a voltage at that level which will be held until another sample is taken. 

Sample Dump - The copying of a digitally recorded sample without converting it to analog between different storage units or sound modules thru a MIDI transmission. 

Sample Playback - The reproduction (in analog signal form) of a recorded sample controlled as to pitch and sustain (by a MIDI signal).

Sample Rate - In digital recording, the number of times per second that samples are taken.

Sample Rate Conversion - The conversion of digital audio at one sample rate to digital audio at a different sample rate without first converting the signal to analog. 

Sampler - A device that records and plays samples, often with features to edit and store the samples. 

Sampling Frequency - Same as Sample Rate (the number samples taken per second). 

Sampling Synchronization Signal - Synchronization pulses that are generated by a digital audio tape recorder, are recorded onto the tape and then used as a clock signal to time the sampling of the sampling circuits.

Saturation - The point at which the tape is fully magnetized and will accept no more magnetization. 

Save - To put onto a permanent storage device (such as a floppy disc) the digital data in the RAM. 

Sawtooth Waveform - A waveform that jumps from a zero value to a peak value and then gradually diminishes to a zero value for each cycle. 

Schematic Diagram (Schematic) - A diagram that shows the signal paths and electronic components of a device. 

Scratch - 1) A descriptive term meaning "temporary". 2) A scratch vocal is a vocal done during a basic recording session to help the musicians play their parts. At a later date the final vocal track is overdubbed. 3) The action of a musician or disc jockey quickly moving a record back and forth with a phono cartridge reproducing the stylus motion to create a rhythm pattern of sound. 

Scrub - The action or function of shuttling (moving the sound track) usually of digital audio, either forward or backward when a control is moved off a center point either left or right.  

Sealed Case - The enclosure of a microphone diaphragm so that the back cannot receive sound pressure changes. 

Second - Short for Second Engineer (Assistant Recording Engineer) and used to describe the action done by a second engineer.  

Second Engineer - An assistant recording engineer.  

Select - 1) A switch which controls where an input receives its signal from. 2) The action of choosing where an input receives its signal from.

Semi-Pro - A class of recording equipment where professional or near-professional performance can be obtained but the equipment is not built to withstand the amount of continuous use that professional equipment would be expected to receive and sometimes is missing features needed in a professional installation. 

Semiconductor - 1) A material which conducts more than an insulator but less than a conductor. 2) Any device, such as a transistor, which is mainly made from semiconductor material. 

Send - A control and buss to feed signals from the console channels to some outboard device such as a reverberation effects unit. 

Send Level - A control determining the signal level sent to a send buss (see preceding entry). 

Sensitivity - In microphones, the output level produced by a standard amount of sound pressure level. 

Separation - A term used to describe the pick up of a desired signal compared to the pick up of an undesired signal. 

Sequence - 1) A playing of musical events (such as pitches, sounding of samples, and rests) automatically by some device, in a step by step order. 2) The action of programming a computer to play musical events, automatically, in a stepped order.  

Sequencer - A computer which can be programmed to play a stepped order of musical events (playing of pitches, sounding of samples, and rests).  

Serial Data - Digital data where all of the bits are transmitted one after another over a single wire/connection. 

Serial Interface - A plug and cable for a computer that sends/receives data one bit after another. 

Serial Port - A jack that sends out or receives digital data one bit after another, through a single pin. 

Series Connection - Connecting devices (especially circuit elements) so that the electrical signal flows from one thing to the next, to the next, so forth. 

Servo-Controlled - In motors, using a control circuit where the actual speed of a motor is sensed and compared to a reference (like a pulse timing signal). 

Set Up - 1) To place microphones, instruments and the controls on recorders/consoles, etc. for recording. 2) The way in which the microphones, instruments and the controls on recorders/consoles, etc. are positioned for recording.  

Shelf - A frequency response of an equalization circuit where the boost or cut of frequencies forms a shelf on a frequency response graph. A High-Frequency Shelf control will affect signal levels at the set frequency and all frequencies higher than it; a Low-Frequency Shelf control will affect signal levels at the set frequency and all frequencies lower than it.

Shelf Filter - A name for the circuit in an equalizer used to obtain the shelf.

Shield - 1) The outer conductive wrapping around an inner wire or inner wires in a cable. 2)To protect the inner wire or inner wires in a cable from pick up of energy given off by such things as florescent lights.  

Shielded Cable - Cable that has a shield around an inner conductor or inner conductors.  

Shock Mount - An elastic mount for the microphone that reduces movement of the microphone when the stand moves (because of floor vibrations from footsteps, etc.). 

Short (Short Circuit) - A direct connection between two points in a circuit that (usually) should not be connected.

Short Delay - Delay times under 20 milliseconds. 

Shortest Digital Path - The routing of the digital audio signal so that there is a minimum amount of D/A conversion, A/D conversion or Sample Rate conversion. 

Shortest Path - A technique in recording that routes the signal through the least amount of active (amplified) devices during recording. 

Shotgun Microphone - A microphone with a long line filter (a tube that acoustically cancels sound arriving from the side) to make the microphone pick up much better in one direction than in any other direction.

Shuttle - 1) A technique of stopping the fast winding (either fast-forward or rewind) of tape in older tape machines where the engineer put the tape machine in the opposite fast mode and pressed stop after the machine just started to reverse direction. 2) Moving the reels by hand so that the tape moves past the desired point first in one direction, then in another direction, back and forth. 3) A control, which moves the sound track either forward or backward when the control is moved off a center point either, left or right.  

Sibilance - Energy from a voice centered around 7 kHz caused by pronouncing "s", "sh" or "ch" sounds.  

Sidechain - The control circuit of a dynamics processing device. 

Signal - 1) In audio, an alternating current (or voltage) matching the waveform of, or being originally obtained from a sound pressure wave. 2) Also in audio, an alternating current (or voltage) between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. 3) A digital audio bit stream.  

Signal Flow - The path that a signal moves through an audio system such as a console. 

Signal Generator - Same as Audio Oscillator (a device which puts out test tones at various frequencies for testing purposes).  

Signal Path - The way in which current does or may travel in a circuit or through a device. 

Signal Processing - Changing the sound of the instrument or other sound source with equalizers, limiters, compressors and other devices thereby "processing" them to be recorded onto a master. 

Signal-to-Error Ratio - The level difference between the signal and the noise and distortion caused by converting analog audio signals into digital audio and then back into analog. 

Signal-to-Noise Ratio - The amount of dB lower the noise is as compared to the signal.

Sine Wave - The waveform that would be obtained from a vibrating source that was vibrating at just one frequency (making a pure tone).  

Single-D - A term that is short for Single Port Distance, and describing a microphone where there is one distance between the port and the diaphragm.  

Slap Echo - One distinct repeat added to one or more instrument sounds in the mix which creates a very live sound similar to what you would hear in an arena. 

Slate - 1) The voice recorded onto the beginning of a master tape to identify the tune and take, or the action of making it. 2) The circuit or control which allows you to slate masters. 

Slave - The transport, which adjusts speed to be in time with the master transport when two machines are synced together. 

Slide - A control that has a knob which moves in a straight line and which outputs part of an input voltage according to the position of the knob.

Smart FSK - An FSK (Frequency Shift Key) sync signal where the beginning of each measure has an identification message giving the measure number.  

SMPTE - 1) Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, a professional society. 2) A term loosely used to mean SMPTE Time Code. 

SMPTE Time Code - A standardized timing and sync signal specified by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.  

Snare - 1) Short for Snare Drum, the medium size drum directly in front of a sitting drummer which has metal strands drawn across the bottom head which rattle when the drum is hit. 2) The metal (or animal gut) strands stretched across the bottom head of the snare drum.  

Sock Cymbal - An alternate name for High-Hat (a double cymbal on a stand which can be played with a foot pedal or by the top cymbal being hit with a stick).  

Soft Key - Short for Software Key; another name for a function key, (a key which has a different function depending on the programming of a computer and as shown on a menu screen) especially when it is a button on a device that has an internal computer. 

Soft Knee - Generic name for dbx Corporation's registered trade name of "Over-Easy." (named for the gradual change of compression ratio around the threshold making it difficult to detect when compression is taking place).

Soft Knob - Short for Software Knob; a knob used in computer-controlled devices which has a different function depending on the programming of the computer.

Soft Sound Source - A low-volume instrument such as an acoustic guitar.  

Software - Digital data and commands that tell a computer what functions to do, often stored on a floppy disc called a program disc.  

Solder - A soft mixture of metals used to make a bond between two metal surfaces by melting. In audio work the mixture is usually tin and lead which is used in permanently connecting wires to terminals.  

Soldering - The action of making connections with solder (a soft mixture of metals used to make a bond between two metal surfaces by melting).  

Solid State - In electronics, using transistors and semiconductor devices rather than tubes. 

Solo - 1) A circuit in a console that allows just one channel (or several selected channels) to be heard or to reach the output. 2) In music, the instrument or segment where an instrument is the featured instrument for a short period, often playing a melody. 2) An original Copy Code (protective digital signal recorded with the digital audio bits) which was developed by Phillips to prevent making a digital copy of a copy made from a CD thereby helping prevent illegal bootlegging.  

Solo Switch - A switch that activates the solo function (allowing just selected channels to be heard or to reach the output).  

Song Pointer - Short for MIDI Clock With Song Pointer (time data in the MIDI signal that advances one step each 1/24 of a beat - used to sync two sequencers together and which also has a number signal for each measure indicating the number of measures into the tune). 

Song Position Pointer - The full name for Song Pointer. 

Sound - 1) Moving pressure variations in air caused by something vibrating between 20 times a second and 20,000 times a second or similar variations in other substances like water. 2) Loosely, any audio signal regardless of its energy form.  

Sound Absorption - Same as Acoustical Absorption (the action or quality of a surface or substance to absorb sound rather than reflect it). 

Sound Blanket - A thick blanket that can be put on floors or hung to help prevent sound reflections. 

Sound Effects - Sounds like door closings, wind, etc. added to film or video shots; sounds other than dialogue, narration or music. 

Sound File (Soundfile) - A digital audio recording that can be stored in a computer or on a digital storage medium (such as a hard disc). 

Sound Level - A shortening of the term Sound Pressure Level (a measure of the sound pressure created by a sound). 

Sound Level Meter - A device that measures the sound pressure levels. 

Sound Module - The signal-generator portion of a synthesizer or a sample playback unit that sends out an audio signal according to incoming MIDI messages and does not have keys to play it. 

Sound Patch - Full name of the term Patch

Sound Pressure Level (SPL) - A measure of the sound pressure present; dB above the Threshold of Hearing (.0002 Microbars).

Sound Pressure Wave - Alternate compressions (compacting together) and rarefactions (spreading apart) of air particles moving away from something that is vibrating between 20 and 20,000 times a second or a similar occurrence in another substance (such as water).  

Sound Quality - A microphone characteristic of how well the diaphragm movement matches the pressure changes of a sound pressure wave reaching it, especially sudden changes.  

Sound Source - Something that vibrates between 20 times a second and 20,000 times a second and therefore makes a sound pressure wave. 

Sound Tools - A trademark of DigiDesign for a digital audio editing system. 

Sound Track - The audio recording, especially the audio recording on film or video tape.  

Sound Wave - Short for Sound Pressure Wave (a wave of pressure changes moving away from something that is vibrating between 20 times a second and 20,000 times a second).  

Source - Input mode on a tape machine where the meters and the output of the machine's electronics will be the signal arriving at the input connector. 

Space Echo - An effect of repeating echoes of a sound. 

Spaced Cardioid - A far-distant micing technique of placing cardioid microphones a distance apart (usually about 6 inches) pointing away from each other by 90 degrees. 

Spaced Omni - Placing two microphones with omnidirectional patterns 4 to 8 feet apart where one microphone picks up the left side and one microphone picks up the right side.  

Spaced Pair - Any two microphones spaced to get a stereo pickup especially using the Spaced Omni or Spaced Cardioid techniques. 

SPDIF - Shortened from the first letters of Sony/Phillips Digital Interface, a standard for sending and receiving digital audio signals using the common RCA connector.  

Speaker - A device that changes electrical signals to sound which can be heard; a transducer changing the electrical audio signal into a sound pressure wave. 

Speaker Out Direct - Feeding the signal from the speaker output of an instrument amplifier to the recording console without using a microphone. 

Speed of Sound - The wave velocity (the time it takes for one point of the waveform to travel a certain distance) of a sound pressure wave, 1130 feet per second at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Spin Control - A British term for Feedback Control (a control that determines the amount of delayed signal sent back to the input of a delay line, used in repeat echo effects).  

SPL - An abbreviation of Sound Pressure Level, referring to a pressure of .0002 microbar, considered to be the Threshold of Hearing (lowest level where people begin hearing sound). 

Splice - 1) To assemble previously cut pieces of recording tape with special tape on the back side. 2) An edit so done. 

Splicing Block - A device that holds tape to cut it to make splices. 

Split Keyboard - A set up where some of the keys of a synthesizer (or keyboard controller) will play one sound and others will play a second sound. 

Spot Erase - The action or function of erasing a very small segment of one track (or several tracks) of a multitrack recording by disengaging the normal tape drive system while the machine is in record; the engineer moves the tape by hand or by using a shuttle control. 

Spring Reverb - A device that simulates reverberation by driving a spring (driving it like a loudspeaker cone) and picking up the spring's vibrations with a contact microphone (device that changes physical vibrations into audio signals).

Square Wave - A wave shape where the voltage rises instantly to one level, stays at that level, instantly falls to another level and stays at that level, and finally instantly rises to its original level to form each cycle.  

ST - An abbreviation used by an engineer for noting a Safety Take, indicating a take done after a take of acceptable quality had been recorded.  

Stage - 1) In Reverberation Effects Devices, an echo added before the reverberation to simulate echoes that would come from a concert stage. 2) In amplifiers, one section of components that has a particular function. 3) The partially enclosed or raised area where live musicians perform. 

Stage Monitor - The speaker, on stage, for the performers to hear themselves and to hear what the other musicians are playing on stage - the equivalent of a cue system for performers. 

Standard Operating Level - An Operating Level (the maximum average level that should not be exceeded in normal operation) which is widely used or widely referred to.  

Standing Wave - An acoustic signal between two reflective surfaces with a distance that is an even multiple of one-half of the wavelength of the signal's frequency.   With standing waves, different areas of the room will tend to accent lower frequencies while other areas tend to reduce bass energy.  

Step Program (Step Mode/Step Time) - To program a sequencer one note (or event) at a time with the rhythm that the time value of one step is set to.  

Stereo - A recording or reproduction of at least two channels where positioning of instrument sounds left to right can be perceived.  

Stereo Image - The perception of the different sound sources being far left, far right or any place in between.  

Stereo Micing - Placement of two (or more) mics so that their outputs give a stereo image. 

Stretched String Instruments - Instruments that use stretched strings to generate the tones such as guitars, violins and pianos. 

Strike - To put away equipment and clean-up after a session. 

Stylus - The needle part of the phonograph cartridge that is in contact with the grooves of the disc. 

Subcode - Control information bits that are recorded along with digital audio and can be used for control of the playback deck (functions as program number, start ID's, skip ID's etc.). 

Subframe - A unit smaller than one frame in SMPTE time code. 

Submaster (Sub-Master) - The fader which controls the level of sound from several channels (but not usually all channels) during mix down or recording. 

Submaster Assignment (Sub-Master Assignment) - The choosing of what buss (and therefore what sub-master) the console channel will feed to; usually accomplished by pressing a button in the Switch Matrix.  

Submix - A mix of audio signals that is treated as one channel or two channels (for a stereo image) in a mix. 

Subtractive Synthesis - The generation of harmonically rich waveforms by various methods and then filtering those waveforms to remove unwanted harmonics to create the sound. 

Sum - A signal that is the mix of the two stereo channels at equal level and in phase.

Sum and Difference Signals - When the two stereo channels are mixed at equal levels and in phase, the sum signal is created. 

Super-Cardioid Pattern - A microphone pattern with maximum sensitivity on axis and least sensitivity approximately 150 degrees off axis. 

Surround Sound - A technique of recording and playback of sound used in film where the sound has a front to back quality as well as side to side perspective. 

Sustain - 1) A holding out of the sounding of a pitch by an instrument. 2) The level that a sound will continue to play at when a synthesizer key is held down. 

Sweetening - Musical parts that are overdubbed to complete the music of the recording, especially the melodic instruments such as strings and/or horns. 

Switch - A device that makes and/or breaks electrical connections. 

Switch Matrix - A series of switches, usually arranged in push button rows and columns, which allow any input module to be connected to any output buss. 

Switchable Pattern Microphone - A microphone which will have more than one directional pattern depending upon the position of the pattern switch. 

Sync - 1) The circuits in a multitrack tape recorder which allow the record head to be used as a playback head for those tracks already recorded. 2) The running of two devices (such as two tape decks) in time with one another. 

Sync Box - A slang name for Sync Conversion Unit.

Sync Conversion Unit - A device which takes several different kinds of sync signals and puts out several kinds of sync signals, allowing a device (like a sequencer) to be driven by a sync signal it doesn't recognize. 

Sync Level (Sync Gain) - A control on a multitrack tape recorder to adjust the reproduce level when the machine is in the sync playback mode (using the record head as a reproduce head for tracks already recorded). 

Sync Pulse - A pulse (a rise and then fall in amplitude) that is used for synchronizing two tapes or film and audio tape, especially those recorded by the sync head of a Nagra tape recorder. 

Sync Word Bits - A series of bits in the SMPTE time code to identify the end of a frame. 

Synchronization - The running of two devices (such as two tape decks) in time with one another. 

Synthesizer - A musical instrument that artificially (using oscillators) generates signals to simulate the sounds of real instruments or to create other sounds not possible with real instruments.  

System Exclusive - A number of bits in a MIDI transmission allowing data to be transmitted that will only be recognized by a unit of a particular manufacturer. 

System Exclusive Bulk Dump- A System Exclusive Bulk Dump is the transmission of internal synthesizer settings as a manufacturer specified system exclusive file from a synth to a sequencer or from a sequencer to a synth.  

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Tach - Abbreviation of the term Tachometer (a device that puts out pulses as the tape moves in a tape deck).  

Tach Roller - An idler (rotating tape guide) that drives the Tach mechanism. 

Tach Signal - The pulses from the tach, caused by the tape moving on the tape deck. 

Tachometer - A device that puts out pulses as the tape moves in a tape deck.  

Tails Out - A way of winding tape so that the end of the last recorded selection is at the outside of the reel. 

Take - The recording that is done between one start and the following stop of a tape recorder. 

Take Notation - Writing down the takes of the tune being recorded on a take sheet or on the track log with comments. 

Take Sheet - A sheet used to note how many takes were made on each tune with comments. 

Take-Up Motor - A motor, which drives the take-up turntable fast during the fast modes and slowly during the play mode, to take-up, the tape driven by the capstan. 

Take-Up Reel - The reel that the tape is wound onto in the play mode. 

Take-Up Tension - The force applied by the take-up reel motor of a tape machine during the play mode so that the tape is evenly wound on to the take-up reel.  

Take-Up Turntable - The round disc platter which holds the take-up reel and reel lock and which is driven by the take up motor.  

Talk Box - A guitar effects unit that allows a voice to modulate (control) a guitar signal by a vocalist talking with a tube in his/her mouth. 

Talkback - The system which allows the engineer to talk into a microphone in the control room and have his voice come over the studio monitors and/or headphones so he can talk to the musicians. 

Tangency - The centering of the gap in the angle formed by the tape as it bends around the head. 

Tap - A connection in a coil of a transformer. 

Tape - Short for the term Magnetic Tape (recording tape consisting of a plastic strip to which magnetic materials, usually iron oxide particles, are adhered so that the magnetic impulses put out by the record head are stored). 

Tape Cartridge - A loop of recording tape wound onto a hub and enclosed in a plastic shell often used in broadcasting to record short segments of audio (like commercials). 

Tape Delay - A delay signal that is obtained by the time difference between the record and reproduce head in a tape machine.  

Tape Guide - Any stationary or rotating device, which directs the tape past the heads or from one reel to the other on a tape machine. 

Tape Hiss - The noise of recorded tape. 

Tape Loop - A length of tape with the ends spliced together so that the recording will continuously play.  

Tape Machine - A machine for the recording and/or playback of tape. 

Tape Operator - A Second (Assistant) engineer who loads, unloads tape on the machines, operates the tape machines and keeps track of the paperwork showing what is recorded on what reel. 

Tape Recorder - A machine for the recording and playback of tape. 

Tape Switch - A switch which activates the Playback Mode of a console's monitor section; this connects the monitor inputs to the tape-machine outputs, allowing a quick playback of the multitrack master. 

Tapeless Studio - A digital recording system/workstation that includes console-type controls (faders, equalizer controls, signal processing controls) and records onto a digital storage medium such as hard disc or optical disc. 

Telephone Filter - A filter used to simulate the sound in telephones by removing signals at frequencies below 300 Hz and above 3500 Hz. 

Telephone Jack - The full and more formal name for the term Phone Jack (a jack taking a plug with a diameter of 1/4 inch and a length of 1 1/4 inches; used for interconnecting audio). 

Tempo - The rate at which the music moves measured in Beats Per Minute (how many steady even pulses there are in the music per minute). 

Tempo Mapping - Programming a sequencer to follow the tempo variations of a recorded performance. 

Tension - The force applied by the reel motors of a tape machine during play mode so that the tape is evenly wound on to the take up reel (take up tension) and so that the tape is held against the heads (hold back tension from the supply reel).

Tension Switch - A switch that reduces torque to the reel motors for small reels and allows full torque for larger reels. 

Terminal – 1) A point of connection between two wires including a device on the end of a wire or cable that allows attachment and the accepting point on a case of the equipment. 2) A computer keyboard and monitor that allows access and entry of information into or from a computer. 

Terminate - To have an amplifier feed a resistance (usually a resistor) that matches the output impedance of the amplifier. 

Test Lacquer - A term with the same meaning as the term Reference Lacquer (a recording disc that is an aluminum disc coated with a lacquer coating where grooves moving according to the audio waveforms have been cut into it by a disc recording machine and that can be played and inspected before the final lacquer master is cut). 

Test Oscillator - A device that generates audio waveforms at various frequencies for testing purposes. 

Test Pressing - One of a few initial phonograph record copies pressed from the first stamper made, which is listened to and visually inspected to approve the quality before production copies are made in volume. 

Test Tape – 1) A less formal name for Alignment Calibration Tape (a test tape with tones of various frequencies all precisely recorded at a specified magnetic recording level used for tape machine alignment). 2) One of a few initial tapes made with high-speed duplication, and is listened to for approving the quality before production copies are made in volume. 

Test Tones - A recording of several single-frequency tones at the beginning of a tape reel at the magnetic reference level that will be used to record the program.  

THD - An abbreviation for Total Harmonic Distortion. 

Thin Sound - A quality of sound of not having all frequencies present especially a deficiency in low frequencies. 

Three Track - A multitrack tape machine that had three tracks (usually on half-inch wide tape).  

Three Track Stereo - A stereo recording or reproduction where there are three separate tracks (left, center and right) and designed to be reproduced with three speakers.  

Three To One Rule - The rule states that the distance between microphones must be at least three times the distance that either microphone is to its sound source. 

Three Way Speaker - A speaker system that has separate speakers to reproduce the bass, mid-range and treble frequencies. 

Threshold - The level at which a dynamics processing unit will begin to change gain. 

Threshold Control - A control on a dynamics processing device that adjusts the threshold level (the level at which a dynamics processing unit will begin to change gain). 

Threshold of Feeling - The sound pressure level at which people feel discomfort 50 percent of the time. 

Threshold of Hearing - The sound pressure level at which people can hear only 50 percent of the time. 

Threshold of Pain - The sound pressure level at which people feel actual pain 50 percent of the time. 

Throat - The small opening in a horn or in a driver through which the sound pressure wave passes from the driver to the horn. 

Throw - In speakers and in microphones, the amount of movement that the diaphragm can make (without restriction) to produce or pickup the sound wave. 

Thru Box - A unit with one MIDI In Port and several MIDI Out Ports; each MIDI Out Port has the same signal as the MIDI In Port but with a delay of the signal (usually about 4 ms). 

Thru Port - A connector that puts out a MIDI signal that is the same as the Input MIDI signal.  

Tie Lines - Cables with connectors at both ends, usually run through walls or floors, so that a signal can be sent or picked up from some remote location. 

Tight Sound ("Hyped" Sound) - The sound obtained by close-micing, well isolated instruments. 

Timbre - The timbre of the instrument is what makes an instrument sound like that instrument and not another, even though the other instrument may be playing the same pitch. 

Time Base - The number of pulses/advances per beat in a simple clock signal.  

Time Code - Short for SMPTE Time Code (a standardized timing and sync signal specified by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers). 

Time Code Generator - A unit that generates SMPTE time code signals. 

Time Compression/Expansion - The speeding up or slowing down of an audio recording without pitch change. 

Time Constant - In a circuit that has reactance, the time it takes for the current or voltage to substantially stabilize in the circuit when the voltage or current is changing. 

Timing Clock – 1) An even pulse signal used for sync. 2) Same as MIDI Clock (time data in the MIDI signal that advances one step each 1/24 of a beat and can be used to sync two sequencers together).  

Timing Tape - Plastic leader tape with marks every 7.5 inches used to edit silence between selections. 

Tiny Telephone Jack/Plug - A smaller version of the phone jack/plug (.173 inch diameter instead of .250 inch), used in many patch bays.  

Toms - The small drums (as little as 10 inch diameter) that mount on racks above the foot drum and the large drums (as big as 20 inch diameter) that sit on metal feet on the floor to the right of the (right-handed) drummer. 

Tone – 1) One of several single-frequency signals at the beginning of a tape reel at the magnetic reference level that will be used to record the program. 2) Any single-frequency signal or sound. 3) The sound quality of an instrument's sound relative to the amount of energy present at different frequencies. 4) In some synthesizers, a term meaning the audio signal that will be put out by the unit which would be similar to the sound of an instrument.  

Tone Arm - The pivoting arm mounted to the base of a turntable to hold the phono cartridge and allow it to advance across the phonograph record during playback.  

Tone Generator – 1) A device, which puts out test tones at various frequencies to align a tape machine or for other testing purposes. 2) The circuits in a synthesizer that make the audio signal that is put out by the unit and which would be similar to the sound of an instrument.  

Tonguing - Controlling the start of a note in a brass or woodwind instrument with the tongue.  

Torque-Limit Switch - A switch that reduces torque (rotational force) to the reel motors for small reels and allows full torque for larger reels. 

Touch Sensitive - Capability of a synthesizer keyboard to generate a velocity MIDI signal. Not all synthesizer keyboards are touch sensitive. 

Track – 1) One audio recording made on a portion of the width of a multitrack tape. 2) One set of control commands in a sequencer recorded in a similar manner to an audio track and often controlling one synthesizer over one MIDI channel. 3) A term with the same meaning as the term Band Track (the part of a song without the lead vocal or without the lead and background vocals). 4) A section of the magnetic surface of a disc consisting of a circular band at a fixed distance from the center. 

Track Log (Track Assignment Sheet) - A sheet of paper kept with a multitrack tape which tells which instrument was recorded on each track. 

Track Signal - The signal sent to or coming back from one track of a multitrack tape recorder.  

Tracking - Recording the individual tracks of a multitrack recording. 

Tracking Error - The difference in movement of a playback stylus across the face of a phonograph record compared with the cutting stylus on the disc recording machine.  

Trailing Edge - The edge of the gap last contacted by the tape, which is the place on the record head where the recording actually takes place. 

Transcription - A disc recording (usually on a 16 inch lacquer) of a radio program. 

Transducer - A device which converts energy from one medium to another.  

Transfer Curve - A graph of the energy supplied verses the energy stored by a storage medium (often magnetic tape). 

Transformer - An electrical device that has two coils that are magnetically coupled. 

Transformer Matrix - A device which uses transformers to take two audio channel inputs and change them to a sum signal (a mix of the signals on the two channels) and a difference signal (the mixture of the two signals with one channel phase reversed so that any signal exactly the same in both channels will be cancelled). 

Transient - The initial high-energy peak at the beginning of a waveform, such as one caused by the percussive action of a pick or hammer hitting the string, etc.  

Transient Response - Response to signals whose amplitudes rise very quickly, such as drum beats and waveforms from percussive instruments. 

Transmit - In MIDI, to send a MIDI command to another device. 

Transpose - The act of changing the musical key of an entire piece of music by an interval. 

Trap - A filter designed to reject audio signals at certain frequencies.  

Trash Can - A place in a computer program where digital information can temporarily be stored before it is discarded.  

Transport - The portion of a tape machine, which moves the tape from the supply reel, past the heads, to the take-up reel. 

Transport Controls - The tape machine controls to activate or stop tape movements. 

Edit - A switch that does different things depending on the operational mode that the machine is in: 1) If a computer-controlled transport is in "Stop," pushing the "Edit" switch deactivates the computer-controlled tension system and allows the reels to be moved by hand to find the exact spot desired on the tape. 2) If the machine is in "Play", the "Edit" switch makes the take-up reel cease taking up the tape and it falls to the floor. 3) If the machine is in a fast-wind mode, the tape lifters are defeated so the tape is in contact with the reproduce head and the engineer can hear where the selections begin and end. 

Wind - On some tape machines, the wind control moves the tape to the take-up reel faster than the play mode but slow enough to give the tape a smooth packing onto the reel. 

Record - The switch, which activates the electronics of the tape, machine to record.

Treble Frequencies - The higher audio frequencies. 

Tremolo - An even, repeated change in volume of a musical tone.  

Triangular Wave - A waveform that looks triangular.  

Trigger – 1) The signal or the action of sending a signal to control the start of an event. 2) A device, which puts out a signal to control the start of an event, including a device that puts out such a signal when struck. 

Trim – 1) Same as "Trim Control" (see below). 2) To make a small adjustment to any control. 

Trim Control - A device that reduces the signal strength in an amplifier, often over a restricted range.  

Trim Status - Solid State Logic's console-automation mode that operates as follows: When a slide is at its trim point, the gain variations (fader movements) last programmed in the computer will be in effect. When the slide is moved from the trim point, gain or loss is added to or subtracted from the program. 

Troubleshooting - In audio equipment servicing, the act of locating the source of the trouble in a malfunctioning device or system.  

Truncation - The editing of a sample playback so that just the desired portion of the sample is played by moving the start and end point of the sample playback.  

TT - A trademark of Switchcraft and meaning Tiny Telephone Jack/Plug (A smaller version of the phone jack/plug).  

Tube - A shortening of the term Vacuum Tube (an amplifying device that has elements to send and control current through a vacuum in a glass or metal tube). 

Tuned - Regarding a circuit or device, which is most sensitive to a certain frequency. 

Tuned Cavity - A cavity that, because of its physical dimensions, will resonate at a particular frequency (tend to reinforce the energy at certain frequencies of vibration). 

Tuned Pipe Instrument - An instrument that uses a pipe of certain dimensions as a sound generator.  

Tuning Fork - A metal fork with two prongs that tend to vibrate and put out a fairly pure tone of one frequency. 

Turntable - 1) A device to support and rotate a phonograph record during playback. 2) One of the round disc platters that holds a reel and reel lock and is driven by a reel motor. 

Turnover Frequency - A term with the same meaning as Cut-Off Frequency (the highest or lowest frequency in the pass band of a filter). 

TV Interference - The induction (generation of current by magnetic lines of force cutting a conductor) of RF signals broadcast by television stations into audio lines causing hum and buzz.  

Tweak - A slang term for calibration (a setting of all operating controls and adjustments for optimum performance of a device) especially very precise calibration. 

Tweeter - A speaker designed to reproduce the higher frequencies only. 

Two Way Speaker - A speaker system with separate speakers to reproduce the lower frequencies (woofer) and to reproduce the higher frequencies (tweeter).  

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Revised: May 24, 2005.
Copyright 1998, 1999 by Recording Institute Of Detroit - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - USE OF THIS GLOSSARY SUBJECT TO USER AGREEMENT
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