|Studio D Digital Audio Terminology|
AES/EBU - A digital audio signal standard, used for transmitting digital audio between devices. (developed jointly by the Audio Engineering Society and European Broadcasting Union)
AIFF - Common sound file format (Audio Interchange File Format)
Analogue - A continuously varying audio signal (in the form of an electrical voltage), as opposed to a digital signal.
Analogue to Digital Converter - Electronic device that converts continuously varying signals to a stream of numbers.
Attack Transients - Short-lived high frequencies that occur at the onset of many types of sounds.
Audio Input - A socket or connector on a computer or piece of audio equipment which accepts a sound signal.
BIT - 'binary digits': the ones and zeroes computers use to store numbers.
BIT Width - The number of bits, or binary digits, used to store each individual sound sample.
Break-out Box - A box that connects to a computer's audio hardware to give a more rugged set of connections than those found on the hardware itself.
Capture - Another term for recording
CD-ROM - Compact disk read-only-memory - CDs used to store data that cannot be overwritten. Writable CD-ROMs can be overwritten several times.
Compression - Can mean either: data compression, where some existing data (such as a sound file) is reduced in size (such as in mpeg3 files); or audio compression, where the dynamic range of a sound signal is reduced.
Copyright - The right of a creator of a work to control its copying and dissemination.
Cylinder - Phonograph cylinders - the earliest form of audio recording, where the cylinder surface is indented by a vibrating needle.
DAT - Digital Audio Tape - a common digital recording medium.
DBX - A type of noise reduction used by some analogue magnetic tape machines.
Decibels - A ratio of the power of sound signals; a power ratio of 2:1 is equivalent to 3 decibels (3dB). The decibel can also be used to measure 'sound pressure level': the loudness of sounds.
Decoding - Playing back a magnetic tape recording through a noise reduction system. The recording needs to have been encoded with noise reduction first.
Digital to Analogue - The process of converting a stream of numbers into a continuously varying signal.
Digitization - The process of converting analogue information into digital form.
Distortion - Clicks, buzzing or other noise that results from a sound being recorded at too high a signal level.
Dolby - Dolby Laboratories: the company that developed Dolby Noise Reduction for magnetic audio media.
Download - Copying a data file from the internet onto a local computer.
Encoding - Recording a sound onto magnetic tape through a noise reduction system, so as to reduce background hiss on playback.
EP - 'Extended Play': the 7-inch 45 rpm vinyl record format introduced by RCA Victor in 1949.
Extraction - The process of digitally transferring audio tracks from a CD direct to a computer's hard disk.
Gramophone - The first lateral disk-based system for recording sound, developed by Emile Berliner in 1887.
Hard Disk - Device inside a computer used for long term mass storage of data.
Hertz - Cycles per second, the measure of frequency.
Infringement - Illegal copying of material in which resides copyright.
Input Monitor - A setting in audio hardware allowing signals which are being recorded to be monitored at the same time.
Internet - The global computer network, allowing email to be sent anywhere in the world, and which hosts the 'world wide web'.
Intranet - A local or private computer network.
Line Output - The connection on audio equipment from which an analogue sound signal comes.
LP - 'Long Play': the 12-inch 33 rpm vinyl record format introduced by Columbia in 1948.
Magnetic Tape - Plastic tape coated with magnetic material used for sound recording.
Megabyte - One million 'bytes', the measurement of computer data storage.
MIDI - A simple data transfer system that allows computers to communicate with synthesisers, music keyboards to communicate with computers etc.
mini-jacks - A type of small audio connector, common on low to mid range PC soundcards.
Mix - A 'mix' of sounds; for instance, a film soundtrack is usually a mix of dialogue, background sounds and music.
Mixing Console - A device used for mixing and balancing audio signals, found in music studios.
Modem - A device allowing a computer to connect to the internet via telephone lines.
Monitoring - Listening; usually the term is used when recording a sound.
Motherboard - The main circuit board of a computer.
mp3 - 'Mpeg3', a type of compressed audio file. Actually a sound file which uses MPEG 1 Layer III encoding.
MPEG - Motion Picture Experts Group.
Multitrack - Recording formats which allow several independent sound signals to be recorded onto the same medium simultaneously.
Noise Reduction - Systems for reducing background hiss in magnetic tape recording.
Open Reel - Common magnetic tape recording format, where tape is wound onto spools or reels.
Operating System - The main programme of a computer that deals with its basic housekeeping tasks.
Phonograph - The first sound recording device, using tin foil-coated, then wax, then shellac cylinders. Invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison.
Processor - Either: a device for changing a sound in some way (as in 'effects processor'), or the calculating device at the heart of a computer (Central Processing Unit).
RAM - Random Access Memory: temporary storage space inside a computer
RCA Phono - A type of audio connector, common in hi-fi and some studio equipment.
Records - Vinyl disks developed in the late 1940s for commercial dissemination of recorded music.
Resolution - The accuracy at which sound is sampled or digitised.
Sample Resolution - The number of bits, or binary digits, used to store each individual sound sample.
Sample Width - The number of bits, or binary digits, used to store each individual sound sample.
Sampling - The process of converting a sound signal into numbers or 'samples'.
Sampling Rate - The rate at which a sound is converted into numbers, in Hertz.
Server - A computer on a network which serves out information to other computers.
Signal-to-Noise Ratio - A measurement indicating the quality of audio electronic circuits: a high signal-to-noise ratio is good. Measured in decibels.
Sound Editor - A programme used for editing sound once digitised.
Sound Card - The audio hardware inside a computer.
Sound File - A computer file containing sound data: the same as an audio file.
S/PDIF - The Sony/Philips Digital Interface, used for transmitting digital sound signals between equipment.
Streaming - The process of sending and receiving audio or video over the internet in 'real-time'.
WAV - Microsoft sound file format.
XLR - A type of audio connector, common in studios and professional audio equipment.