• A -C
  • D - F
  • G - I
  • J - L
  • M - P
  • Q - S
  • T - V
  • W - Z

Acetate - A term used to describe a small test pressing run of a vinyl record made from acetate material.

A/D - short for Analog to Digital Conversion. The conversion of analog data or information into digital or binary form (See binary).

ADAT - The registered trademark name of Alesis Corporation's modular digital multitrack recording system.

AES/EBU - The abbreviation for the Audio Engineering Society and the European Broadcast Union. Also refers to recording and broadcast equipment interface standards established by these organizations.

Ambience - The effect room acoustics have in shaping the tonal quality of a concert performance or sound system in producing a fuller, live sound.

Amp - Short for amplifier. An active device used to amplify audio signals for playback.

Amplitude - The height of a waveform above or below its zero baseline. Also referred to as signal volume.

Analog - The ability to quantify or measure continuous changes in volume, speed, mass or other physical properties through empirical data.

Analog Recording - A linear recording of changes and fluctuations in an audio wave based on continuous variations in the electrical output of the audio signal.

Analog To Digital Converter - The device which does the conversion of a signal that has continuous changes (usually of voltage) into numbers that approximate those changes.

Anti-skating - A device that applies lateral force against the tonearm to help counteract the inward force created by the record's outer groove wall during disc tracking. When properly adjusted, helps to keep the stylus centered in the record groove.

Assign - To choose to which place an output is going to be sent.

Attack - The rate the sound begins and increases in volume.

Attenuation - To reduce in signal level.

Automatic Turntable - A turntable which features automated tonearm functions such as automatic return or cueing.

Aux Return - Short for Auxiliary Return. A control, usually found on a mixer, for adjusting the level of "returning" signals from outboard equipment patched into the mixer's Auxiliary buss.

Aux Send - Short for Auxiliary Send. A control for adjusting the level of the signal sent from the console input channel to outboard equipment or an amplifier via the Auxiliary buss.

Auxiliary Equipment - Outboard audio gear such as effects or signal processing equipment which can be patched into from a mixer's effect loop or aux buss.

Axis - A direction, usually expressed in degrees, that defines the operating area of a particular audio device such as a speaker or microphone. The area directly in front of the device would be considered (zero)0 degrees or on axis.


Balance Control - A control on a stereo amplifier or mixer used to adjust the left/right balance of the stereo program.

Balanced - 1) Adjusting the left and right channel program material in a stereo sound system to achieve an equal mix of both channels. 2) A three-wire cabling or interconnection system that uses a separate ground wire and two signal conductors with opposite polarity. Commonly used in professional sound applications for its immunity to induced noise and electromagnetic interference. (See XLR connector).

Bandwidth - The frequency range in which an audio device operates, i.e., amplifiers, equalizers, speakers, etc.

Bass - The lower audio frequency range up to approximately 250 Hz. Those low frequencies normally associated with the kick drum and bass guitar.

Battle - A slang term for DJ mix competition. An event where DJs match their mixing skills for friendly competition or sponsored prizes.

B-boying - A form of hip hop dancing which is popularly known as break dancing. B-boying originated in The Bronx, NY. The term "B-boy" or "B-boying" came from Kool Herc, popular DJ spinning at block parties in Bronx back in the days. B-Boys is short for break boys, a label they received because they danced to the break part of the music.

Beat - A steady, rhythmic pulse in music that establishes the tempo of the song.

Beat Counter - An instrument used to automatically calculate the BMPs of a song.

Beat Juggling - A popular mixing technique which involves mixing two identical programs with a slight offset to create a doubling of the bass line. This technique also includes mixing two different programs in tempo to create a more complex alternating beat structure.

Beat Mixing - A mixing technique where two programs with similar beat structure are mixed together in tempo, creating a seamless transition between the two songs.

Beats Per Minute - The number of steady, rhythmic pulses per minute of time in a music selection which establish the tempo of the song.

Belt Drive - A turntable system that uses a pulley belt to transfer rotational drive from the motor to the disc platter.

Binary - A digital numbering system based on two where data is expressed as combinations of "0"s and "1"s). Bit - A single unit of digital information expressed as a "0" or "1".

Boost - To increase signal gain, especially at specific frequencies as in equalization.

BPM - An abbreviation of Beat Per Minute (the number of steady even pulses in music occurring in one minute and therefore defining the tempo).

Burn - Recording information onto a CD or CD-ROM.

Buss (Bus) - A wire carrying signals to some place, usually fed from several sources.


Capacitance - The ability of two conductors, separated by a nonconductor, to store electrical charges.

Cardioid Pattern - A microphone pickup pattern that provides optimum pick up performance from the front, less from the sides, and the least from the back of the microphone.

Cartridge - Short for Phono Cartridge. The stylus pickup assembly which is mounted on a turntable tonearm that provides disc playback. (See stylus).

CD - The abbreviation for Compact Disc. A small laser optical disk measuring 4.75 inches in diameter encoded with digital audio information.

CD-ROM - The abbreviation for Compact Disc, Read Only Memory. Compact Disc media used for the storage of computer data, such as large programs, graphic files, audio files, etc.

Center Frequency - The primary frequency of the audio signal that receives the most boost or cut adjustment as in an equalizer's frequency band controls.

Channel - An input module or section on a mixer that include input jacks and controls for adjusting the input signal.

Clip (clipping) - Audio waveform distortion caused by signal overload.

Coax - Two-conductor cable consisting of a single conductor surrounded by a wire or metal foil shield.

Compact Disc - A small optical laser disk with digital audio data recorded on it.

Compact Disc Recordable (CD-R) - A blank Compact Disc that can be recorded on or "burned" one time only.

Compression Ratio - The ratio of signal dynamic range (such as 2:1, 4:1 or 8:1) measured at the input and output of a compressor above the set threshold point.

Compressor - A signal processing device that limits the fluctuation in the level of the signal above a certain adjustable or fixed level.

Counterbalance (counterweight) - With reference to turntables, the small adjustable weight mounted at the rear end of a tonearm used to apply tracking force. (See Tracking Force).

Crash Mix - A mixing technique where one program selection immediately follows another without a gradual transition.

Crossfader - A transitional slide control on a mixer for fading in one input channel while fading out another.

Crossfader Curve Adjustment - A control that allows adjustment of the crossfader's attenuation characteristics. Enables users, for example, to change a crossfader's profile from a fast attack, quick attenuation fader to a slow attack, gradual attenuation fader

Crossover Frequency - In a speaker crossover network, the frequency point that represents the upper or lower range limits of a given speaker driver. In a two-way speaker system, the crossover frequency would be the point where the low frequency driver begins to roll off and the high frequency driver starts to cut in.

Crosstalk - Unwanted leakage of an audio signal from one channel into an adjacent channel or recording track. Cue - 1) A control switch enabling a user to listen to a selected input channel on a mixer with headphones or monitor speakers. 2) To set the tape or disc so that the desired selection will immediately play when the playback device is activated. 3) A control switch on a music playback device that begins playback from a preselected location

Cueing Lever - A control lever located below the turntable tonearm that is used to elevate and lower the arm.

Cue Send - A control for adjusting the amount of signal sent to a cue bus from an input channel for program monitoring.

Cut - 1) A song selection on a CD, record, etc. 2) To mute or turn off. 3) To reduce the gain of a select range of frequencies as with an equalizer. 4) To filter out a specific frequency or frequency range.

Cut Switch - A switch control on a mixer that enables the user to momentarily mute out or cut off an input channel signal while mixing.

Cutting Lathe - A device used to etch recorded music into the grooves of a metal disc master used in record production.

Cycles Per Second - A unit used in the measure of frequency, equivalent to Hertz. Cycles Per Second is an outdated term replaced by Hertz in 1968.


D/A - Abbreviation of the term Digital To Analog Converter. A device that converts binary data into corresponding discrete electrical voltage levels.

Daisy Chain - 1) To connect several devices in parallel so that signals from one device are passed on to another as with speakers or MIDI devices.

DAT - The abbreviation for Digital Audio Tape. An industry standard tape cassette format used for recording digital audio.

DAW - The abbreviation for Digital Audio Workstation. A dedicated digital based workstation or device that is used for recording and mixing digital audio.

dBm - 1) Audio power expressed in decibels referenced to one milliwatt of power in a 600 ohm load.

dBu (dBv) - Decibels of audio power where 0dB is referenced to 0.775 volts of audio voltage in any impedance. The preferred usage is dBu.

Decay - 1) The time interval from when an audio signal's peak level drops down to a sustain level. 2) The fade-out rate of a reverberating sound as in decay time.

Decibel (DB) - A unit of measurement for expressing sound pressure level (SPL), signal level and variation or differences in signal level.

Delay - An audio circuit or device which suspends output of an audio signal and mixes it with the original audio source to create a fuller sound.

D.I. - Short for Direct Injection or Direct Input. An active direct for converting high-level, high-impedance audio signal to a low-impedance, mic-level signal for insertion into a mixer's microphone input. Commonly referred to as a "direct box".

Dial Input Fader - A rotary fader or pot control used for adjusting signal level of an input source or channel. Mixers featuring rotary faders are often referred to as "N.Y. style" fader and are the mixers of choice for most DJs performing House music.

Digital Recording - A recording process that converts analog audio signals into binary data that represent the original audio waveform.

Digital Signal Processing (DSP) - Any signal processing done to an analog audio signal after it has been converted into digital audio.

Digital To Analog Converter - A circuit used to change binary data that make up the digital audio signal into discrete voltage levels that approximate the original analog audio waveform. Abbreviated as D/A converter.

Direct Box - An electronic device utilizing a transformer or amplifier to change the electrical output of an electric instrument (for example, an electric guitar) to the impedance and level usually obtained from a microphone.

Direct Drive - A motor system in which rotational energy is transferred directly to the drive source without the use of a pulley belt or idler wheel.

DnB/Jungle - Heavy Reggae and Hip Hop influenced dance music with strong bass lines and fast drum tracks.

Dolby - Trademarked noise reduction systems and technology by Dolby Laboratories to improve the performance and fidelity of audio recording, playback, and transmission.

Drum Machine - an audio device with sampled or synthesized drums sounds that can be sequenced by an internal or external sequencer to play drum patterns.

Dry - A term loosely used to describe an audio signal without any signal processing. An audio signal lacking in reverberation or ambience.

DSP - An abbreviation for Digital Signal Processing (Any signal processing done after an analog audio signal has been converted into digital audio.

Dub - 1) To make a copy of a recording. 2) To make a recording from one recording source while copying another so that the end result is a combination of the two.

Dynamic Processing (Dynamic Signal Processing) - An signal processing system which automatically changes the gain to maintain a preset level ratio or relationship between the loudest and quietest passages of music.

Dynamic Range - The level difference, expressed in dB, between the loudest level and quietest level of a recording or live audio source.

Dynamics - The amount of level variations or fluctuation of an audio signal or live music.


Earth - British term for Ground.

Editing - Altering the original sequence of a recording by eliminating or inserting musical elements either manually or digitally.

Effects - 1) Electronic filtering or modification of an audio signal to change the sound. 2) Sound elements added to a recording or film score to create a finished product.

Electronica - A general term used to describe a wide range of guitarless, heavy synthesizer, electronic dance music.

Engineer - The technician in charge of a studio recording session. Also commonly called a studio engineer.

Equalization - The process of boosting or cutting audio signals at a specific frequency or range of frequencies

Expansion - To increase the dynamic range of a program signal by a given ratio. Commonly used in recording to help boost the level of soft passages of music to bring them over the noise level.


Fade - A gradual increase or reduction in the level of the audio signal. 2) To slowly change the level of an audio signal from one level setting to another.

Fader - A control used to adjust the gain of an input or output channel on a mixer.

Fat - Having unusually rich signal strength, especially at low frequencies or having more sound than normal as with the use of signal processing.

Feedback - 1) The insertion of a delayed program signal back to the input for use in echo effects. 2) The pickup and re-amplification of an output signal by its input resulting in an unwanted "howling" sound.

Feedback Control - An equalization circuit or control used to help eliminate unwanted program feedback or "howling".

Filter - A circuit that removes or acts on certain frequency signals above or below a predetermined point called a cut-off frequency.

Flange - An audio effect produced by combining a delayed signal with the original and continuously varying the delay to create additional overtones.

Flutter - 1) High-frequency pitch variations in program material due to speed fluctuations in a recorder or playback unit. Often expressed as "wow and flutter".

Frequency - The rate or speed at which an audio source generates complete cycles in one second. The number of cycles that occur in one second is call hertz (Hz.).

Frequency Range - The range of frequencies over which an electronic device delivers its best performance or over which a sound source will produce substantial energy. (see also Bandwidth)

Frequency Response - A plot or graph of frequencies that an audio device, such as a mic, amplifier or speaker, can accurately reproduce within stated parameters or conditions.

Frequency Shift Key - FSK for short. An electronic clock signal that can be used to synchronize sequencer playback with an audio tape.


Gain - The amount of increase in audio signal strength commonly expressed in dB.

Gain Control - A control that increases or reduces the output level of an amplifier or audio circuit.

Gain Reduction - To limit or reduce signal gain during high-level passages of music as with the use of a limiter or compressor.

Gain Structure - How signal gain is handled in each different stage or component of a sound system.

Garage - House music born out of 70s disco clubs with the remix style of DJ Larry Levan from the famous Paradise Garage club in NY.

Gate - A transient processing device that turns a channel off or down whenever the program signal falls below a preset level.

Generation - The number of times that an original recording has been copied.

Graphic Equalizer - An audio device with multiple frequency band boost and cut controls used to adjust the tonality of a audio signal.

Groove - With reference to records, the small microscopic indentations etched into a vinyl record that contain audio source information for playback.

Ground - An electrical term used to describe a terminal or connection where electric current drains to earth.

Ground Lift - A switch that disconnects the ground connection in one circuit with one in another circuit. Often used to help eliminate ground loops and "hum".

Ground Lifter - A wall outlet adapter that allows a three prong power cord to be plugged into a two prong outlet. Must be used with caution as this adapter breaks the ground connection and could be very hazardous under certain circumstances.

Ground Loop - A double grounding of a line or electronic device at two different "ground" points with different voltages.

Group - A collection of channels or faders on a mixing console whose output level can be controlled by a single master slider.


Half Step - A pitch difference which is the equivalent of that produced by two adjacent keys on a piano.

Hall Program - A digital delay/reverb effects setting that approximates concert hall ambience by the use of a delay up to 25 milliseconds.

Hamster Switch - A feature offered on DJ mixer that reverses the direction of the crossfader. Used by DJs to perform a variety of complex mix effects.

Hard Disk Recording - A recording process that stores digital audio data on the same rigid magnetic recording media used in computers.

Harmonic Distortion - The occurrence of harmonics in the output signal of a playback device or amplifier which were not present in the original input signal. Harmonics - A tone along with whole-number multiples of the fundamental tone that distinguish the pitch of a particular instrument or sound.

Head - The small magnetic assembly used to record or read magnetic pulses on a recording tape or other magnetic storage media such as a hard disk.

Head Amp - British term for Preamplifier. A low-noise audio amplifier which takes a low-level signal, such as the output of a phono cartridge, and steps it up to normal line level.

Headphones - Small head worn speakers that fit over or into the ears for personal sound monitoring or listening.

Headroom - 1) The difference (expressed in dB) between the normal operating level and clipping level of an amplifier or audio device. 2) In recording, the difference between a normal tape operating level and the level where the distortion reaches 3%.

Headshell - The plug-in assembly located at the front end of the tonearm used to mount the phono cartridge for disc playback.

Hertz (Hz.) - A unit of frequency measurement used to express the number of complete cycles occurring in a one-second interval. Abbreviated as Hz.

High Frequencies - The audio frequencies from 6000 Hz and above.

High Impedance (Hi-Z) - An audio device with an electrical impedance of 5,000 ohms or more.

High-Impedance Mic - A microphone designed to be used with a preamp circuit with an input impedance greater than 20k ohms.

High-Pass Filter - A filter circuit that rejects signals below and passes signals above a certain cut-off frequency.

Highs - Short for High Frequencies. Audio frequencies from 6,000 Hz and above.

Hip Hop - Often referred to as a style of music, it is a musical sub-culture that involves four elements: DJing, Grafitti, MCing and B-Boying.

House - Dance music with R&B influence and 4/4/ beat that grew out of Chicago's famous Warehouse Club.

Hum - Unwanted audible noise components which occur when 60 Hz AC power line current is accidentally introduced into the audio signal.


INC. - Short for Integrated Circuit. A miniature electronic device comprised of many electrical circuits sealed in a protective housing with contact prongs for connection into a circuit board.

ID - Index data on a CD or DAT which provides the start address of recorded music selections.

Intermodulation Distortion (IM Distortion) - A form of audio distortion caused by the modulation of a signal harmonic by another harmonic resulting in the creation of additional harmonics equal to both the sum and the difference of the original frequencies.

Impedance - The measure of total opposition to the flow of electric current, especially in an alternating current circuit.

Impedance Matching - Converting the output impedance of a device to match the input impedance of the device it will feed.

Industrial - A term used to classify a broad range of hard house and alternative house music.

Initialize - The preparation of a digital storage medium, such as a floppy or hard disk, to accept data.

Input - 1) The physical connection, such as a jack or terminal, where a device receives a signal. 2) The incoming signal data received by a device. Input Impedance - The opposition to the flow of electrical current by the initial circuits of the receiving device.

Input Monitor - A switch and mode setting on an audio recording device that permits meter monitoring of the incoming input signal.

Input Overload - A condition that occurs when the input signal level is too high and overloads the first amplifier stage resulting in signal clipping.

Insert - 1) A switch or control on a recording console or recording equipment. that allows punch in of selected audio channels for recording. 2) A TRS jack on a mixing console used to patch in outboard effects or signal processing equipment into an input channel.

Integrated Circuit - See I/C..

Interface - A device that enables one unit to communicate, control or interact with another through a software or direct cable connection.

Intermodulation Distortion - See IM Distortion.

I/O - Short for "Input/Output." A port or in-line control for channeling the flow of signal data to and from a device.


Jack - A panel-mounted or cable-wired connector designed for use with corresponding plug connectors.

Joystick - A flexible shaft-mounted control which can move in four planes (up, down, left and right) for use in performing multiple control operations.


k - The abbreviation for kilo, the prefix for 1000.

Keyboard - 1) Any musical instrument operated by pressing a key. 2) The control unit of a computer that incorporates typewriter-styled alphanumeric keys.

kHz - The Abbreviation for kilohertz (1,000 Hz).

Kilo - A prefix meaning 1000.


Layering - Recording (or playing) a musical part with other several similar sound patches playing simultaneously to add more body or fullness to the recording.

Lead - The musical instrument that plays a song's melody, including the vocal.

LED - See light emitting diode.

Level - The average amplitude or audio peaks that comprise the strength of a signal.

Light Emitting Diode - A small diode device which passes current in one direction and lights whenever a voltage above a certain level is fed to it.

Limiter - An active audio device that reduces signal gain a preset amount when the input signal reaches a certain threshold.

Line - 1) A popular term for line level signal. 2) A cable connection.

Line Input - An input device that accepts a line level signal

Line Level - A signal level referenced at +4 dBm or more.

Line Out (Line Output) - An output jack that sends out a line level signal.

Linear - When changes occurring to the output of a device reflect the same proportional changes occurring at the input. Lo-Z - Short for the Low Impedance. A signal impedance of 500 ohms or less.

Load - 1) The resistance to the flow of an audio signal seen at the input of the receiving device. 2) The lowest ohms value (impedance) a device (such as a speaker) was designed to deliver during operation.

Long Delay - A delay time of 60 milliseconds or more.

Loop - A seamless repeat of an audio sample or musical segment.

Loudness Control - An equalization curve to compensate for the inability of the ear to hear low and extreme high frequencies at low levels.

Low End - A popular term for bass frequencies below 250 Hz.

Low Frequencies - Any audible audio frequencies below 1,000 Hz.

Low Impedance - Any audio device with an impedance of 500 ohms or less.

Low-Pass Filter - A device that passes signals below a given frequency and rejects those above that frequency.


Master - 1) A control used to adjust the main output level of a mixing console. 2) The machine used to provide the clock signals or speed reference when synchronizing multiple devices to run together. 3) An original recording which will be used to make a production master for commercial duplication.

Master Fader - The slider used for controlling the main output(s) of a mixer or mixing console during mixdown.

Measure - A specific number of musical beats located between two consecutive vertical lines on a music staff.

Meg/Mega - 1) The prefix for 1,000,000. 2) Computers: short for megahertz (1,000,000 Hertz) or megabytes (1,000,000 Bytes).

Memory - Also called RAM (random access memory). Temporary electronic storage in a computer device for processing or accessing data.

Meter - A device or gauge that provides a reading of an electrical voltage as in an audio signal.

Mic - Short for microphone.

Mic/Line Switch - A switch which selects the input of a mixer channel for use with a mic or line level source.

Mic Input - The input of a console or other device designed to accept a microphone.

Mic Level - A very low-level audio voltage signal generated by a studio microphone.

Mic Pad - A switch or control used to reduce the level of a mic signal to prevent overloading the mic preamplifier.

Mic Preamp - An amplifier stage used to boost low-level mic signals up to line level.

Microphone - A transducer device which transforms sound pressure waves into electrical audio signals.

Microprocessor - A single high-density INC. chip which performs the processing operations of a computer.

Mid-Range Frequencies - The audio frequency range from 250 Hz to 6,000 Hz.

MIDI - The abbreviation for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A digital communications language and hardware specification enabling compatible electronic instruments, sequencers, computers, etc., to communicate with each other in a network.

MIDI Channel - A collection of MIDI data for the performance of a single instrument, synthesizer, etc., that is separate from any other MIDI device.

MIDI Clock - Time data contained in the MIDI signal that advances one step with each 1/24 of a beat and is used to sync two sequencers together.

MIDI Clock With Song Pointer - A MIDI clock signal that also features a number signal for each music measure to provide location tracking throughout the song.

MIDI Controller - A MIDI device, usually with a keyboard, which can be played by a musician and used to control sound modules and synthesizers.

MIDI Interface - A device that converts a MIDI signal into digital data which can be stored and played back by a computer.

MIDI Patch Bay - A jack panel for routing multiple MIDI inputs to any output.

MIDI Sample Dump - The transmission or copying of sampled digital audio and loop information from one sampling device to another using MIDI SDS (sample dump standard) code.

MIDI Sequencer - A programmable digitally-based device used to record, edit and play back MIDI data to control the performance sequence of MIDI controlled musical instruments or devices.

MIDI Time Code - A method of translating SMPTE time code into MIDI messages for interlocking audio, video and film transport devices for recording and editing.

Milli- - The prefix for 1/1000 as in milliseconds or millimeter.

Minidisc - A small 2.5" compact disc introduced by Sony in 1992 capable of recording up to 74 minutes of CD-quality stereo programming. Mix - 1) To combine several audio channels into a single one. 2) To blend two different music programs by creating a smooth transition from one to the other.

Mixer (Mixing Console) - A device with multiple input channels and controls for creating a composite audio signal from different program sources.

Mixdown (Mix Down) - The process of combining several audio tracks from a multitrack recorder through the use of a mixing console to create a stereo or four-channel master tape.

Modem - A communications device for transmitting digital data from a computer over telephone lines.

Modular Digital Multitrack (MDM ) - A multitrack digital recorder, usually with 8 tracks, that can be slaved with other recorders to obtain additional recording tracks.

Modulation - To change the wave and frequency characteristics of a signal through the use of another signal.

Modulation Noise - Noise components that only appear when an audio signal is present.

Monitor - 1) To carefully listen to and study a recording or mix so as to make adjustments. 2) A speaker used as a listening reference for recording or live mixing. 3) A meter or display device that provides a visual reference of audio signal levels.

Monitor Channel (Monitor Path) - A separate audio bus on a mixing console used for listening to audio fed to a channel or received from a track of a multitrack recorder.

Monitor Mixer - 1) A section of a mixing console (monitor mixer section) used to perform a rough mix for reference monitoring without effecting the level settings for the multitrack recorder. 2) A mixing console used for adjusting and balancing live program feeds for the stage monitor speakers.

Monitor Selector - 1) A switch on mixing console that enables you to hear the monitor bus or selected input and playback devices over control room monitor speakers. 2) A switch on tape machines that allows you to monitor signals recorded on the tape or the input signals from the program source.

Mono - Short for Monophonic or Monaural. A recording or playback system which uses a single channel as the central sound source.

Moving Coil Cartridge - A phono cartridge that employs the use of two small wire coils to generate the electrical signal for record playback. Unlike the more popular moving magnet designs, the signal output of a moving coil cartridge is so low that it requires a special preamplifier.

Moving Fader Automation - A feature found on automated studio mixing consoles where fader settings can be stored in memory and recalled automatically during multitrack recorder playback, eliminating the need for manual adjustments.

Moving Magnet Cartridge - A phono cartridge design that incorporates the use of two small magnets to generate the electrical signal for record playback. Ms - The abbreviation for milliseconds (1/1000th of a second) Normally not capitalized.

Multitasking - The ability of a computer to run multiple applications at the same time.

Multitimbral - An electronic instrument's ability to send and process multiple voice patches simultaneously.

Multitrack Recording - A process that involves the recording and play back of multiple sound sources on separate record tracks for greater production and editing flexibility.

Multitrack Tape - Magnetic tape used in a multitrack recorder to record separate audio tracks individually and/or simultaneously.

Musical Instrument Digital Interface - (See MIDI) Mute Switch - A switch or control used to turn off or silence an input channel, tape track, etc.


Noise Floor - Expressed in dB, the level of random noise below the program signal.

Noise Gate - An active circuit which passes audio signals above a certain threshold level and mutes the signal output when no signal is present.

Noise Reduction - Any active device to reduce or remove noise in an audio component or system.

Non-Destructive Editing - An editing process in hard disk recording and sampling where only the marked or selected portions of the digital audio is programmed to play, leaving the unmarked selections still intact on the hard drive.


Octave - A difference in pitch produced by doubling or halving a frequency tone.

Off Axis -To be positioned away from the front axis of a microphone or speaker. Measured in degrees from the center axis.

Ohm - A measurement unit for expressing electrical resistance in an electrical circuit. See also Impedance.

Omnidirectional - 1) Microphones designed to pick up sound evenly from all directions. 2) Speakers designed to evenly disperse sound in all directions. On Axis - 1) To be position directly in front of microphone in line with the movement of it diaphragm. 2) To be located directly in front of a speaker in line with the center axis of its high frequency driver components.

Open Circuit - 1) An incomplete signal path in an electrical circuit such as a break in a wire conductor.

Open Track - A free track on a multitrack tape available for recording.

Operating Level - The maximum level for normal operation of a sound system that should not be exceeded.

Oscillator - 1) An audio device used to generate test tones at various frequencies for test and troubleshooting applications. 2) The tone generating device in a synthesizer used to create instrument sounds.

Outboard Equipment - External signal processing and effects gear that is used in conjunction with a mixer or recorder.

Output - 1) The jack or physical connection where a device sends out a signal. 2) The signal put out by a device.

Output Impedance - The electrical resistance to current flow by the output circuits of an amplifier or other electronic device.

Overload - To apply too much signal level into an amplifier circuit resulting in output distortion.

Overload Indicator - An indicator light on a channel of a mixer that comes on when the signal is at overload.

Oversampling - A process where the analog audio signal (or digital audio signal for playback) is sampled many times more than the minimum sampling rate required for normal playback.


Pad - A switch or control on a input channel used to attenuate (reduce) the input signal to prevent overloading the amplifier circuit.

Panpot (Pan Pot) - A rotary channel control used for placing or balancing a single input signal at any point between the left and right channels of the stereo image.

Parallel Connection - To join electrical devices, such as speakers, so that matching terminals are connected in sequence (plus "+" to plus "+" and minus "-" to minus "-") so that current is supplied to each device at the same time.

Parallel Jacks - A method of wiring multiple jacks so that each receives the same input signal.

Parametric EQ - An equalizer with multiple rotary controls for center frequency selection, boost and cut, gain and bandwidth adjustment.

Patch Bay - A series of panel jacks for routing input and output connections for a mixing console and other related outboard equipment.

Patch Cord - A cable used for routing an audio signal between two patch jacks in a patch bay.

Patch Panel - A rack mount panel with jacks for temporary interconnection and patching of audio components.

Peak - The highest point or amplitude of an audio waveform.

Peak Indicating Meter - A meter display which provides a peak level reading of an audio waveform.

Phantom Powering - Power supplied to a condenser microphone directly from the mixing console through the XLR connector. Eliminates the need for an external +48V power supply.

Phone Plug (Jack) - A plug (or the corresponding mating jack) that is 1/4-inch in diameter and 1-1/4-inches in length used for a wide variety of audio connection applications.

Phono Cartridge - A small transducer device that converts mechanical energy transferred from the stylus into electrical signals representing the audio information etched into the record's grooves.

Phono Plug - Commonly called an RCA plug. A popular audio plug found on stereo audio cables featuring a center pin connector and outer shell connector. Mates with panel mounted female jacks like those found on the rear of most home stereo equipment.

Pick Up Pattern - The basic shape of the area that a microphone will provide the best pick up characteristics. Not to be confused with polar pattern.

Pitch - 1) The perception of a musical tone by the frequency of the sound waves producing it. 2) A control found on professional turntables, CD players and tape decks for varying the playback tempo and pitch up and down.

Pitch Bend - 1) A control on a synthesizer or MIDI keyboard for raising or lowering the pitch of a musical tone. 2) A control found professional CD players and some turntables for making incremental changes in pitch. Playlist - 1) A sequential list of soundfiles programmed for playback by a computer. 2) A group of music selections programmed for playback on a CD player or other playback media.

Plug - A male connector, usually on a cable, designed to mate with a chassis-mounted female jack.

Polar Pattern - 1) A polar graph displaying the pickup sensitivity of a microphone at difference frequencies and at different angles from the on-axis position. 2) A polar graph indicating a speaker's dispersion characteristics relative to its on-axis performance.

Polyphonic - The capability of a electronic musical instrument play multiple notes at the same time.

Pop Filter - A foam or wire screen placed between the microphone and singer to reduce unwanted "pop" sounds produced by wind and breath blasts.

Post - The routing of send bus or other channel control signals after the main channel fader.

Pot - 1) The abbreviation for potentiometer. 2) A slide or rotary gain, pan or other variable signal control.

Power Amplifier - An audio device that increases a line level signal to a voltage sufficient to drive speakers.

Pre-Amp - An amplifier circuit or device that brings a low-level signal up to normal line level.

Pre Fader - The routing of send bus or other channel control signals before the main channel fader.

Pre Fader Listen (PFL) - A monitor circuit that allows an engineer to listen to and/or meter a channel signal without changing or altering the channel fader setting.

Producer - The individual in charge of managing and coordinating all of the production details associated with a recording project, including scheduling, budgeting and product quality.

Program Number - Often referred to as track number. The number of the music or recorded selection on a CD or DAT.

Program Equalization - The process of adjusting the level of select frequency bands on a program equalizer to emphasize or de-emphasis certain tonal properties of a sound system.



Quantization - Part of the digital audio sampling process, the step where the analog to digital converter assigns binary values to the sampled waveform which correspond to the amplitude voltage of the waveform.


Rack Ears (Rack Flanges) - Accessory brackets that can be attached to equipment for mounting in a standard 19-inch rack enclosure.

Rack Mount Design - Equipment designed to meet EIA specifications for 19-inch equipment rack mounting.

Rack Space - The standard front panel measurements for a single rack space unit is 19 inches wide by 1-3/4 inches tall.

Random Access Memory (RAM) - High-speed, read-write, electronic memory used for temporary storage of data for processing and retrieval.

Rap - A spoken word song with elements of rhyme, political and social commentary, scratch and drum machine loops all arranged to create a rhythmic performance.

RCA Plug (jack) - See Phono Plug.

R-DAT - The abbreviation for Rotary-Head Digital Audio Tape. An industry standard digital audio recording format based around a compact tape cassette that's even smaller than a conventional audio cassette. Generally used for stereo mixdown and CD mastering. More commonly known as DAT.

Reactance - Electrical resistance to current flow which changes with the frequency of the current.

Read - The retrieval of digitally encoded data from a storage device such as a hard drive, computer memory or removable record media.

Read Only Memory (ROM) - A memory INC. with data stored on it that cannot be erased or rewritten by the user.

Record Bus - The wire path that carries channel signals from the mixing console to the inputs of a multitrack recorder.

Release - The end portion of a note as it drops from a sustain signal level to silence. The time it takes for a sustained note on a keyboard synthesizer to drop to silence when the key is released.

Release Time - The time it takes for a dynamics processing device (such as a compressor, limiter or expander) to return the processed signal to 63% of its original (unprocessed) level.

Remixer - An individual who specializes in taking originally recorded material and making a dance mix version of it by changing the tempo and adding loops or other sampled parts.

Resistance - Opposition to the flow of DC current in a wire or electrical circuit.

Return - An input jack on a mixing console that receives a processed send signal from outboard gear such as a equalizer, compressor, limiter, etc.

Reverb - The abbreviation for reverberation. 1) The gradual decay of original and reflected sound waves that occur naturally as a result of room acoustics. 2) An echo effect used to recreate the natural effects of room reverberation.

RF - The abbreviation for Radio Frequencies. RF Interference - Unwanted electrical interference that occurs when spurious radio waves are introduced into audio signal cables resulting in noise, hum and static.

Riding Faders - Adjusting channel faders up and down during a live concert or recording session to ensure optimum signal and sound quality. Room Equalization - A separate equalizer used in a sound system to compensate for changes in frequency response due to the effects of room acoustics.

Root Mean Square (RMS) - The measurement of a waveform's average signal level.

Rotary Control - A control device, such as a potentiometer, that is operated by rotating or turning it. Rumble - A low-frequency noise sometimes caused by motor vibration from a turntable's or tape transport's drive system.


Sample Dump - See MIDI Sample Dump.

Sampler - A digital recording device capable of capturing and storing audio signals which can be later manipulated and played back from RAM (random access memory).

Sampling Frequency - The number of digital snapshots or samples taken of an analog audio signal in one second necessary to produce a digital interpretation of the original signal. The industry standard sampling frequency for CD-quality audio is 44.1 kHz. Also referred to as Sample Rate.

Scratch - A turntable mix technique that involves rocking the record back and forth by hand with the phono cartridge in the playing position, creating a variety of rhythmic sound patterns.

Send - An output control and signal bus used to route input channel signals to outboard effects and signal processing gear such as digital delays, equalizers and reverb units.

Sequencer - A digital device which can be programmed to play a collection of musical patterns, samples and tones to a preset tempo at programmed time intervals.

Series Connection - To join electrical devices so that their terminals are connected in sequence (plus "+" to minus "-") to allow a common flow of current to all the devices.

Servo-Controlled - A control system used to regulate motor speed by referencing its revolutions per minute to a timing signal.

Shielded Cable - A cable with braided wire or metallic foil wrapped around the inside wire conductor(s) to "shield" against radio frequency interference (RFI) or other unwanted electrical noise.

Shock Mount - A mounting or suspension system designed to prevent or reduce vibration that can have unwanted effects on a microphone or playback system such as a turntable or CD player.

Short (Short Circuit) - An unwanted or accidental connection made between two points in a circuit.

Short Delay - Delay times under 20 milliseconds.

Shuttle Control - A feature found on video and audio tape editing systems that enable the engineer to unlock the tape transport in order to manipulate the tape reels by hand to locate a desired edit or cue point.

Sibilance - An undesirable vocalization that occurs when sounds such as "s", "sh" or "ch" are over accentuated resulting in high-frequency distortion.

Sidechain - An insert jack found on compressor/limiters which enable the use of an outboard equalizer for frequency dependent signal processing.

Signal Processing - Any active processing performed on an audio signal designed to alter or enhance its sonic characteristics.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio - A measure of how quiet an audio device is when no signal is present. Also referred to as Hum and Noise or Residual Noise.

Sine Wave - The waveform produced by a signal source at a specific frequency.

Slide - A control device, such as a potentiometer, which is operated by moving it in a straight line.

Slip Cue - A record cue technique that involves rocking the record back and forth by hand to locate the desired start position. Once located, the DJ holds the record in position by hand and then releases it on cue to achieve near instant start up.

Slipmat - A circular piece of felt-type material used by DJs in place of the rubber mat to provide slippage for slip cueing and scratching techniques.

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

Solo Switch - A monitor switch enabling an engineer to listen to selected mix channels via the studio monitors or headphones without effecting the mixdown product.

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

Sound Level Meter - A device used to measure sound and music loudness as expressed in decibels. See also sound pressure level.

Sound Module - The signal-generator used in a synthesizer or MIDI sampler unit that generates audio tones from incoming MIDI signals. Sound Pressure Level (SPL) - The measure of sound level or loudness expressed in decibels (dB).

Source - Usually refers to the audio device, microphone, CD player, turntable or tape machine, connected to the input channel of a mixing console or recorder. Also commonly called sound source.

S/PDIF - Stands for Sony/Phillips Digital Interface. A data protocol developed by Sony and Phillips for sending and receiving digital audio signals using a standard RCA connector.

Spin (Spinning) - Slang terms for DJ mixing. Square Wave - A waveform where voltage instantly rises to a level, holds there, instantly drops to another level and holds there and instantly rises to its original level to complete one cycle. This waveform pattern is characteristic of a severely clipped sine wave.

Stage Monitor -Speakers placed on stage so that each performer can hear themselves and hear what the other musicians are playing.

Stanton - World leading manufacturer of magnetic phono cartridges and headphones for professional DJs.

Step Program (Step Mode/Step Time) - Programming a sequencer one note or sequence at a time.

Stereo Image - A listener's perception of the left, right and center placement of sound sources in a stereo recording. Stylus - The small needle-like part of the phonograph cartridge that comes in contact with the record's grooves.

Subcode - Playback control information that is recorded along with the digital audio data and can be used for controlling the playback deck and information display.

Submix - A mix of audio signals that can be adjusted through a single (mono) or dual set (stereo) of level controls.

Sum - An audio signal that is the combination (mix) of two stereo channels at equal levels and in phase.

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

Surround Sound - Recording and playback systems used in theatres to add a directional quality to sound so that the listener is able to perceive the direction or movement of the sound source.

Sustain - To hold or prolong the sound of a note played by an instrument.

Sweetening - Musical parts mixed into a recording, such as effects, strings and horns, to create a richer more melodic sound.

Synchronization (Sync) - To run two or more recording or playback devices so that all transport operations on each machine function at the same time and in perfect unison.

Synthesizer - An electronic musical instrument that uses multiple tone generators (oscillators) to create a wide range of instrument sounds and sonic effects.


Talkback - A feature that enables the engineer to use a console microphone in the control room to talk to vocalists and musicians over studio monitors or headphones.

Talkover - A control switch, usually on a mixer, which lowers program volume for use during vocal announcements.

Tape - A popular term for magnetic recording tape. A narrow, thin plastic tape with a fine coating of magnetically active particles capable of holding a magnetic charge for recording audio and digital data.

Tape Hiss - Unwanted high-frequency noise associated with analog magnetic tape recording.

Tape Loop - An endless loop of recording tape used to provide continuous recording or playback.

Tapeless Recording - See Hard Disk Recording.

Techno - A dance music style with early roots in Europe and black dance clubs in Detroit. It typically has higher BPMs than house, loads of synthesized sounds and barely any vocals.

Tempo - See Beats Per Minute Terminal - 1) A metal post or screw used for wire connection of two electrical devices such as speakers and amplifiers. 2) A keyboard control and video display used to enter and access data from a computer.

THD - The abbreviation for Total Harmonic Distortion. See also Harmonic Distortion Three Way Speaker - A speaker system design which features three separate drivers to reproduce the bass, midrange and high frequencies.

Threshold Control - The control on a signal processing device that adjusts the signal level at which signal processing takes place.

Threshold of Pain - The sound pressure level at which a listener feels pain 50% of the time. This corresponds to a sound pressure level of 140 dB in a frequency range from 200 Hz to 10 kHz. Trip-Hop - A hybrid combination of Hip Hop and Techno with heavy electronic sounds and hard bass line.

Throat - The small opening at the base of a horn through which sound waves from the driver element pass on to the horn.

Throw - A term used to describe the amount of excursion or movement that a speaker or microphone diaphragm can travel to create or recreate a sound.

Thru Port - A jack on an instrument or device which outputs the same MIDI signal received at the MIDI input.

Timbre - The tonal characteristics of an instrument that give it its own distinct sound which distinguishes it from other instruments.

Time Code - Short for SMPTE Time Code. An industry standard timing and sync signal specification established by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. See also MIDI time code.

Tiny Telephone Jack/Plug - (See TT) Tone - 1) An audible sound at a fixed frequency. 2) The sound characteristics of an musical instrument or recording as it relates to pitch and sonic quality.

Tone Arm - The pivoting support arm located at the rear of the turntable base used to hold the cartridge and stylus during record playback.

Tone Generator - 1) An electronic device capable of generating test tones at various frequencies for testing and trouble shooting applications. 2) An oscillator circuit in a synthesizer used to generate audio signals and tones similar in sound to various instruments.

Touch Sensitive - 1) A switch or control which can be activated by touch. 2) An electronic instrument capable of generating velocity MIDI signals. (See velocity sensitive).

Track - 1) A single portion of a multitrack tape used to record a one mixdown channel. 2) The information recorded from a single mixdown channel on one portion of multitrack tape. 3) A portion of a CD used to record a musical selection.

Track Log (Track Sheet) - An index sheet kept with a multitrack track that identifies the recorded contents of each track.

Tracking - 1) The ability of a stylus to faithfully trace the grooves of a record. 2) The pressure applied to the stylus by the counterweight of the tonearm.

Tracking Error - The measure of a phonograph stylus' ability to accurately retrace the grooves on a record. The lower the tracking error, the more accurate the stylus.

Transducer - A device which converts input energy of one form into another.

Trance (Ambient/Trance) - A term that loosely describes a hybrid flavor of techno-styled music with long playing repetitive loops and breaks reminiscent of trance-inducing ambient music of the Far East.

Transformer - An electrical component consisting of two or more coils of wire used to transfer electric current from one AC circuit to another through magnetic coupling.

Transient - The sudden energy rise occurring at the start of a waveform such as those generated by a drum hit, string pluck or cymbal strike.

Transient Response - How quickly a microphone diaphragm, speaker or other vibrating mass reacts to an input waveform.

Transmit - To send data or a signal from one device to another.

Transpose - To rewrite a musical composition in an alternate key

Transport - The drive section of a tape machine that moves the recording tape past the heads from the supply to the take-up reels.

Transport Controls - The controls used to perform all start, stop, play, and rewind functions, etc., of a recording or playback device.

Treble Frequencies - Audio signals that occupy the upper end of the audio frequency spectrum.

Tremolo - A musical effect produced by the steady, rapid alternation of two different tones.

Triangular Wave - A waveform with a steep rise and decay time resembling the shape of a triangle.

Trigger - To signal the start of an event, such as a recording, by activating a control signal or switch.

Trim Control - An input channel control for making signal level adjustments over a certain range.

Troubleshooting - To locate the source of a system malfunction through a logical series of test procedures.

TRS - Short for tip, ring and sleeve. A term commonly used to refer to a stereo 1/4-inch phone plug.

Truncation - An editing method, usually with sampled material, which involves moving the start or end point of the sample so that only the desired portion is played.

TT - The trademark of Switchcraft for its Tiny Telephone Jack/Plug. A smaller version of the standard 1/4-inch phone jack/plug.

Tuned - Refers to a circuit or device which is most sensitive to a specific frequency.

Turntable - A more popular term for phonograph player. Also "tables" is the popular slang term for turntables.

Turnover Frequency - The same as Cut-Off Frequency. The point or frequency limit in a filtering circuit at which signals are allowed to pass.

TV Interference - TVI for short. Unwanted RF (radio frequency) interference from television stations that can introduce "hum" and "buzz" into audio lines.

Tweak - A slang term for critical fine tuning or calibration of a system to achieve optimum performance.

Tweeter - A speaker driver designed to reproduce only the upper frequency range.


u - The English variant of the Greek letter "mu" which is the symbol for one millionth.

Unbalanced - An audio connection method that uses two-conductor cable.

Unidirectional - Refers to thepick-up pattern of a microphone that is more sensitive to sound arriving from one direction than from any other.

Unity Gain - When the signal level at the output of an amplifier or device is equal to the original input signal strength.

Upper Midrange - Audio frequencies between 2 kHz and 6 kHz.


VCA - (See Voltage Controlled Amplifier)

Velocity Message - A MIDI message produced by a MIDI synthesizer or that provides data on how hard the key was struck.

Velocity Sensitive - Also the same as Touch Sensitive. The ability of a MIDI instrument, such as a synthesizer keyboard, to generate a MIDI velocity message, providing information on how hard the key was struck.

Virtual Tracking - A feature that enables a MIDI sequencer to operate in sync with a multitrack tape recorder.

Voice - A term used to describe a synthesizer pitch or sound that can be played simultaneously with other pitches or sounds

Volatile Memory - Temporary computer memory that is purged or lost when the computer is turned off.

Volt Meter - A device used to measure voltage levels and electrical current.

Voltage - The flow of electrons through a conductor to obtain electrical current.

Voltage Controlled - A device that is controlled by voltage changes received from a control current.

Voltage Controlled Amplifier - An audio device that uses changes in a control voltage sent to it to adjust audio signal levels.

Voltage Controlled Fader - A fader which incorporates a VCA so that fader movement adjusts the control voltage used to change the audio level.

Volume - 1) A popular term which loosely refers to the sound pressure level produced by a sound system at any given time. 2) The output gain setting of an amplifier.

Volume Control - A control used for the adjusting the output gain of an amplifier.

Volume Unit (VU) - A numerical value used to represent perceived changes in loudness of an audio source.

VU Meter - A device that provides a continuous reading of changes in audio voltage levels as they pass in or out of a piece of audio equipment.


Watt - A unit of electrical power. To calculate wattage consumption, multiply the line voltage by the number of amps that the device consumes (110 volts times 2.5 amps equals 275 watts).

Wave - The oscillation of an energy source in amplitude from one point to another or for a given period of time.

Waveform - The shape of an audio wave, with all of its fluctuations, over a given period of time.

Wavelength - The length of a complete audio cycle in feet, inches, etc.

Wet - Refers to a recording that is rich in reverberation or ambience.

White Noise - A random noise component which increases in level with frequency.

Wide Band Noise - Noise components that are present over a wide range of frequencies.

Windscreen - A device used with microphones to prevent the unwanted pick up of wind noise and breath blasts.

Wireless Microphone - A microphone system that uses a mic transmitter to provide cordless audio transmission to a separate receiver unit.

Woofer - A speaker designed to reproduce only low frequency sound waves.

Wow - Low pitch changes in a recorded program due to slow and gradual changes in the speed of the record or playback device.

Write Mode - Similar to record mode. The operating mode in which a data recording device is ready to "write" or store information onto a floppy disc or hard drive.

Write Protect - A tab on a floppy disc or a function in a unit which protects recorded or stored data from being damaged or erased by writing over it.


XLR Connector - 1) A 3-conductor microphone connector used for balanced audio connections. 2) A standard 3-pin microphone cable.


Y-Cord - A "Y" shaped cable with three connectors so that two input sources may be fed the same output signal.