Safe to System Exclusive Bulk Dump
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.
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.
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.
The copying of a digitally recorded sample without converting it to analog between different storage units or sound modules thru a MIDI transmission.
The reproduction (in analog signal form) of a recorded sample controlled as to pitch and sustain (by a MIDI signal).
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.
A device that records and plays samples, often with features to edit and store the samples.
The technique of recording a sound digitally (translating the analogue audio waveform into a series of electrical ons and offs that can be manipulated by a computer) for subsequent processing, editing and playback.
Same as Sample Rate (the number samples taken per second).
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.
The point at which the tape is fully magnetized and will accept no more magnetization.
To put onto a permanent storage device (such as a floppy disc) the digital data in the RAM.
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.
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.
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.
The enclosure of a microphone diaphragm so that the back cannot receive sound pressure changes.
Short for Second Engineer (Assistant Recording Engineer) and used to describe the action done by a second engineer.
1) A switch which controls where an input receives its signal from.
2) The action of choosing where an input receives its signal from.
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.
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.
A control and buss to feed signals from the console channels to some outboard device such as a reverberation effects unit.
A control determining the signal level sent to a send buss (see preceding entry).
1) Volume of sound delivered for a given electrical input.
2) In microphones, the output level produced by a standard amount of sound pressure level.
A term used to describe the pick up of a desired signal compared to the pick up of an undesired signal.
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).
Digital data where all of the bits are transmitted one after another over a single wire/connection.
A plug and cable for a computer that sends/receives data one bit after another.
A jack that sends out or receives digital data one bit after another, through a single pin.
Connecting devices (especially circuit elements) so that the electrical signal flows from one thing to the next, to the next, so forth.
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).
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.
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.
A name for the circuit in an equalizer used to obtain the shelf.
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.
Cable that has a shield around an inner conductor or inner conductors.
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.
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.
A technique in recording that routes the signal through the least amount of active (amplified) devices during recording.
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.
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 centre point either, left or right.
Energy from a voice centred around 7 kHz caused by pronouncing “s”, “sh” or “ch” sounds.
The control circuit of a dynamics processing device.
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.
The path that a signal moves through an audio system such as a console.
Same as Audio Oscillator (a device which puts out test tones at various frequencies for testing purposes).
The way in which current does or may travel in a circuit or through a device.
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.
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.
The amount of dB lower the noise is as compared to the signal.
The waveform that would be obtained from a vibrating source that was vibrating at just one frequency (making a pure tone).
A term that is short for Single Port Distance, and describing a microphone where there is one distance between the port and the diaphragm.
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.
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.
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.
Usually found on an EQ of a soundboard. These turn things up or down by a “sliding” movement rather than the rotary movement employed by knobs.
An FSK (Frequency Shift Key) sync signal where the beginning of each measure has an identification message giving the measure number.
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.
In large systems, this long bundle of cords connects the things on the stage (amps, mics…) to the things at the sound booth (mixer, effects, EQs etc).
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
Digital data and commands that tell a computer what functions to do, often stored on a floppy disc called a program disc.
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.
The action of making connections with solder (a soft mixture of metals used to make a bond between two metal surfaces by melting).
In electronics, using transistors and semiconductor devices rather than tubes.
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.
A switch that activates the solo function (allowing just selected channels to be heard or to reach the output).
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.
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.
Same as Acoustical Absorption (the action or quality of a surface or substance to absorb sound rather than reflect it).
A thick blanket that can be put on floors or hung to help prevent sound reflections.
A thorough test of the sound system before a performance. This will include checking each speaker cabinet individually, and each playback device. In the case of a live concert, this is the session when each instrument is played in turn for the sound engineer to check and fine-tune the sound.
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).
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.
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.
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).
A microphone characteristic of how well the diaphragm movement matches the pressure changes of a sound pressure wave reaching it, especially sudden changes.
Amplifying a voice just enough so that it can be heard, without the audience being aware that it is being amplified (ideally!)
Something that vibrates between 20 times a second and 20,000 times a second and therefore makes a sound pressure wave.
A trademark of DigiDesign for a digital audio editing system.
The audio recording, especially the audio recording on film or video tape.
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).
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.
An effect of repeating echoes of a sound.
A far-distant micing technique of placing cardioid microphones a distance apart (usually about 6 inches) pointing away from each other by 90 degrees.
Placing two microphones with omni directional patterns 4 to 8 feet apart where one microphone picks up the left side and one microphone picks up the right side.
Any two microphones spaced to get a stereo pickup especially using the Spaced Omni or Spaced Cardioid techniques.
Shortened from the first letters of Sony/Phillips Digital Interface, a standard for sending and receiving digital audio signals using the common RCA connector.
1) A device that changes electrical signals to sound which can be heard; a transducer changing the electrical audio signal into a sound pressure wave.
2) The part of the system that physically produces the sound.
The box that holds the speakers.
A high power signal leaves the power amp through this jack on it’s way to the speaker.
Speaker Out Direct
Feeding the signal from the speaker output of an instrument amplifier to the recording console without using a microphone.
A type of shielded, locking multipin speaker connector which can safely carry the high currents from an amplifier needed to drive large speaker systems. Available in 4- or 8-way types, and ideal for bi-amplified systems. The cable version of the connector is male, and the panel mount connector is female.
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.
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 (Sound Pressure Level)
1) 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).
2) A measurement of the loudness of a sound.
1) To assemble previously cut pieces of recording tape with special tape on the back side.
2) An edit so done.
A device that holds tape to cut it to make splices.
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.
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.
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).
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.
An abbreviation used by an engineer for noting a Safety Take, indicating a take done after a take of acceptable quality had been recorded.
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.
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.
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.
The fixed part forming the reference for the moving diaphragm in a planar speaker.
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.
A recording or reproduction of at least two channels where positioning of instrument sounds left to right can be perceived.
The perception of the different sound sources being far left, far right or any place in between.
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.
To put away equipment and clean-up after a session.
The needle part of the phonograph cartridge that is in contact with the grooves of the disc.
That part of a speaker system designed to extend the low frequency range of the system.
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.).
A unit smaller than one frame in SMPTE time code.
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.
1) A mix of audio signals that is treated as one channel or two channels (for a stereo image) in a mix.
2) Used on larger mixing boards when selected channels are assigned to specific sub-channels before their signals reach the main slider. For Example, you could assign all the drum channels to one submix (all on one slider) so that you could turn them all up or down at the same time.
The generation of harmonically rich waveforms by various methods and then filtering those waveforms to remove unwanted harmonics to create the sound.
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.
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.
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.
Musical parts that are overdubbed to complete the music of the recording, especially the melodic instruments such as strings and/or horns.
A device that makes and/or breaks electrical connections.
A series of switches, usually arranged in push button rows and columns, which allow any input module to be connected to any output buss.
Microphone A microphone which will have more than one directional pattern depending upon the position of the pattern switch.
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.
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).
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.
The running of two devices (such as two tape decks) in time with one another.
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.
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.