Audio Production Roles
AAC: Advanced Audio Coding, an audio codec that uses lossy compression and is considered to have higher quality than MP3.
AAX: Avid Audio eXtension, a software interface for Pro Tools that allows for the use of virtual instruments and effects in a DAW.
Ableton Live: A digital audio workstation (DAW) software developed by Ableton.
Ableton Push: A MIDI controller developed by Ableton that is designed to work with the Ableton Live DAW.
Acoustic engineering: The application of physics and engineering principles to the study of sound and its behavior in different environments.
ADAT: Alesis Digital Audio Tape,started out as a magnetic tape format for recording eight digital audio tracks onto an S-VHS tape. Yes, videotape like your granpa used to rent at Blockbuster. It was one of the first mass-produced, prosumer level digital recorders. String 3 ADATs together for a budget digital studio. Now, ADAT may refer to an Alesis product that records to hard disk
ADC: An analog-to-digital converter, a device that converts an analog audio signal into a digital signal.
ADR: Automated dialogue replacement, the process of re-recording dialogue in a studio after filming has been completed. Also called 'looping' (no, not that looping).
AES/EBU: A type of audio connector that is commonly used for professional audio equipment and digital audio systems.
AIFF: Audio Interchange File Format, an audio file format that is similar to WAV and is commonly used on MacOS.
Ambience: The environmental sounds that surround a recording or performance, such as crowd noise or background music.
Amplitude: The strength or intensity of a wave, typically measured in decibels (dB). It's good to remember that amplitude is not always volume. Amplitude is level, volume is level in the air. A recorded signal may have a high amplitude on your computer, but may not be loud if you have your speakers turned down.
AU: Audio Units, a similar software interface for MacOS that allows for the use of virtual instruments and effects in a DAW.
Audio codecs: Algorithms designed to compress or decompress audio files. MP3 is an audio codec.
Audio editing: The process of manipulating and adjusting recorded audio, such as cutting, splicing, and adjusting levels.
Audio file formats: A format such as FLAC or WAV, in which audio files are saved and stored.
Audio interface: A device that connects a microphone or instrument to a computer, allowing for the recording and processing of audio signals. Typically, an interface has an ADC, a DAC and some level controls.
Audio mastering: The final step of the audio production process, where the audio mix is polished and optimized for different playback environments and formats.
Audio mixing: The process of adjusting the levels, panning, and effects of multiple audio tracks to create a cohesive final mix.
Audio networking: The use of Ethernet and other networking protocols to transmit and receive audio signals between devices.
Audio plug-ins: Software that adds additional functionality to a DAW or other audio software. Plug-ns can include effects, such as compression, EQ, and reverb, and virtual instruments.
Audio post-production: The process of editing and adjusting audio for film, television, and video game projects after the initial filming or recording has been completed.
Audio production: The overall process of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering audio for music, film, television, and other media.
Audio recording: The process of capturing sound (duh!).
Audio restoration: The process of repairing and improving audio recordings that have been degraded over time, or weren't captured under ideal conditions.
Audio signal processing: The use of software or hardware to manipulate and improve audio signals.
Automation: The process of controlling audio parameters such as volume, panning, and effects using software or hardware.
Bit depth: The number of bits used to represent the amplitude of an audio signal. A higher bit depth allows for a greater dynamic range.
Bitwig Studio: A digital audio workstation (DAW) software developed by Bitwig GmbH.
BNC: A type of audio connector that is commonly used for professional audio equipment and broadcast systems.
Channel: A separate audio signal path, such as a single microphone or instrument in a mix.
Compression: The process of reducing the dynamic range of an audio signal, making the loudest parts quieter and/or the quietest parts louder.
Crossover frequency: The frequency at which an audio signal is divided into different frequency bands in a crossover circuit.
Crossover: An electronic circuit that separates an audio signal into different frequency bands and sends each band to a different speaker or amplifier.
Cubase: A digital audio workstation (DAW) software developed by Steinberg.
DAC: A digital-to-analog converter, a device that converts a digital audio signal into an analog signal.
DAW: Digital Audio Workstation, software that is used for recording, editing, and producing audio.
dB SPL: Decibel sound pressure level, a unit of measurement for the loudness of sound.
dBFS: dBFS stands for Decibels Full Scale. It is a unit of measurement for the loudness of an audio signal, with 0 dBFS being the maximum level that can be represented in a digital audio system without distortion. The scale is referenced to the full-scale level, which is the maximum level that a digital system can handle, and is typically expressed as negative values (e.g. -6 dBFS). dBFS is used in digital audio systems as a way to measure and control the level of audio signals to prevent clipping or distortion. It is also used in mastering and broadcasting, where a standard loudness level is needed.
Delay: A time-based audio effect that repeats a sound after a period of time. It can be similar to an echo.
Dialogue: The spoken conversation in a film, television show, or video game.
Distortion: The alteration of an audio signal from its original form, sometimes causing unwanted changes to the sound, sometimes desired changes.
DSP: Digital signal processing, the use of digital algorithms to manipulate audio signals.
Dynamic range compression: It's a process of reducing the difference in level between the loudest and quietest parts of an audio signal. This is commonly used to make audio signals sound louder and more consistent.
Dynamic range: The difference between the loudest and quietest parts of an audio signal.
EQ: Equalization, the process of adjusting the balance between different frequency components of an audio signal.
FL Studio: A digital audio workstation (DAW) software developed by Image-Line.
FLAC: Free Lossless Audio Codec, an audio codec that uses lossless compression and preserves the full audio quality of the original recording.
Foley: The process of creating sound effects that are synchronized with visual elements in film or video.
Frequency: The number of oscillations or cycles of a wave per unit of time, typically measured in Hertz (Hz).
Gain: The amount of amplification applied to an audio signal.
Harmonics: Additional frequencies that are multiples of the fundamental frequency of a sound.
Headroom: The amount of extra dynamic range available in an audio signal before it becomes distorted.
IMD: Intermodulation distortion, a type of distortion caused by the interaction of multiple signals.
Impedance: The electrical resistance of an audio signal, measured in ohms.
Limiter: A device or software that limits the loudness of an audio signal, preventing it from going over a certain level.
Logic Pro: A digital audio workstation (DAW) software developed and owned by Apple Inc.
Loudness: The perceived intensity of sound, often measured in decibels (dB).
LUFS: LUFS stands for Loudness Units relative to Full Scale. It is a unit of measurement for loudness that is similar to dBFS but it is more in line with how human ears perceive loudness. There are several LUFS scales that are commonly used in different contexts:
- Integrated LUFS: It measures the overall loudness of an audio file or program. It's commonly used to measure the loudness of music tracks and podcasts.
- Short-term LUFS: It measures the loudness of an audio signal over a shorter period of time, typically 3 seconds. This is used to measure the loudness of individual segments within an audio file or program.
- Momentary LUFS: It measures the loudness of an audio signal over a very short period of time, typically 400 milliseconds. This scale is used to measure the loudness of individual sounds or audio elements.
- True Peak LUFS: It measures the peak level of an audio signal, including inter-sample peaks. It's commonly used to measure the loudness of a mix or master in a way that takes into account the possibility of inter-sample peaks.
LUFS measurements are commonly used in audio production and broadcasting to ensure that audio levels are consistent and meet industry standards for loudness.
Microphone: A device that converts sound waves into an electrical signal.
MIDI controller: A device that sends MIDI signals to control virtual instruments and other MIDI-compatible devices.
MIDI: Musical Instrument Digital Interface, a protocol that allows electronic musical instruments and computers to communicate with each other.
Mixer: An electronic device that combines multiple audio signals into a single output.
MP3: A popular audio codec that uses lossy compression to reduce the file size of audio files.
Noise reduction: The process of removing unwanted background noise from an audio signal.
Normalization: Normalization, as it applies to audio, is the process of adjusting the level of an audio signal to a certain standard level. This is typically done to ensure that audio signals have consistent loudness across different tracks or different audio files, and to prevent audio distortion or clipping. There are different types of normalization:
- Peak normalization: It's a process of adjusting the highest level of an audio signal to a certain target level. This is commonly used to prevent audio clipping and distortion.
- Loudness normalization: It's a process of adjusting the overall loudness of an audio signal to a certain target level. This is commonly used to ensure that audio signals have consistent loudness across different tracks or different audio files. This is often measured in LUFS,
Nyquist Frequency: The Nyquist Frequency is the highest frequency that can be correctly represented by a sampled signal. It's half the sample rate.
Nyquist Theorem: The Nyquist Theorem states that in order to correctly reproduce a signal in a digital system, the sampling rate must be at least twice the highest frequency component of the signal. The theorem is named after Harry Nyquist, who first formulated it in 1928. It is an important concept in digital signal processing and audio engineering, as it determines the minimum sampling rate required to accurately capture an analog signal in a digital format without introducing distortion or aliasing.
Panning: The process of controlling the position of an audio signal in a stereo or surround sound field.
Phase: The position of a wave in time, measured in degrees or radians. Or, the time relationship between two soundwaves, or sound sources.
Preamp: An electronic device that increases the amplitude of an audio signal before it is processed or recorded.
Pro Tools: A digital audio workstation (DAW) software developed and owned by Avid Technology.
Psychoacoustics: The study of how the human auditory system processes and perceives sound.
RCA: A type of audio connector that is commonly used for consumer audio equipment and home theater systems.
Reaper: A digital audio workstation (DAW) software developed by Cockos.
Reason: A digital audio workstation (DAW) software developed by Propellerhead Software.
Reverb: Short for reverberation, the persistence of sound after the original sound has stopped. Reverb can be natural or artificially created. With reverb, you typically can't discern individual repetitions, or echoes of the sound. It's random, blended reflections.
RTAS: Real-Time AudioSuite, a software interface for Pro Tools that allows for the use of virtual instruments and effects in a DAW.
S/N ratio: Signal-to-noise ratio, a measure of the amount of audio signal compared to the amount of background noise.
Sample rate: The number of times per second that an audio signal is sampled, measured in hertz (Hz).
Sound design: The creation and manipulation of sound effects and audio elements for use in film, television, video games, and other media.
Sound effects: Recorded or artificially created sounds that are used to enhance the realism of a scene or performance.
Sound engineering: The technical aspect of capturing, recording, and reproducing sound, including the use of equipment and techniques.
SPDIF: Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format, a type of audio connector that is commonly used for consumer audio equipment and digital audio systems.
Speaker: A device that converts an electrical audio signal into sound waves.
Studio One: A digital audio workstation (DAW) software developed by PreSonus.
Subwoofer: A speaker designed to reproduce low frequency audio signals.
THD: Total harmonic distortion, a measure of how much an audio signal is distorted when it is amplified or processed.
Transducer: A device that converts one form of energy into another, such as a microphone that converts sound waves into an electrical signal.
TRS: Tip, ring, sleeve -- A type of audio connector that is commonly used for consumer audio equipment.
Voiceover: A recorded narration or commentary that is played over video or animation.
VST: Virtual Studio Technology, a software interface that allows for the use of virtual instruments and effects in a digital audio workstation (DAW).
VU meters: VU meters, or Volume Unit meters, are devices that measure the level of an audio signal and display it visually. They are typically represented as a moving needle or a series of LEDs on a scale, and are used to monitor and adjust the level of audio signals in a recording studio, broadcasting facility, or other audio production.
VU meters measure the average level of an audio signal over a period of time, typically around 300 milliseconds, and are intended to provide a more accurate representation of how loud an audio signal sounds to the human ear. Unlike peak meters, which measure the highest level of an audio signal and are intended to detect clipping or distortion,
VU meters are designed to provide a more consistent and steady reading of an audio signal's level.
VU meters are commonly used in conjunction with other audio measurement tools, such as peak meters, to provide a complete picture of an audio signal's level and quality. They are also used in conjunction with audio processors such as compressors, limiters, and equalizers, to ensure that audio signals are properly adjusted and balanced.
WAV: A popular audio file format that uses lossless compression and is commonly used for high-quality audio recordings.
Wavelength: The distance between the peaks of two consecutive waves, typically measured in meters or feet.
XLR: A type of audio connector that is commonly used for professional audio equipment, especialy microhones.