Audio-Visual Glossary





AAD:       A code printed on the packaging of CD’s that indicates the CD was produced using an Analogue original recording, Analogue mixing and editing and Digital mastering and replication. (Compare to ADD, DDD.)


AATON COMPUTER:   Made by the Aaton computer company in France, the Aaton is used on the telecine line (film to video duplication machine) in the Gold Film Lab. The Aaton computer does all the mathematical calculations and synchronisation to convert film, when shot at 24 frames per second, to video that has 30 frames per second. (The difference in the amount of frames between film and video also affects how sound is synchronised and data from the Aaton computer helps enable the film to be edited in the digital video Avid editing bays by enabling the sound to stay in perfect synch all the way through to final mixdown.) One of the Aaton’s most important functions is done after a film has been edited on video. It is then when the actual film negatives must be cut to match the video edit and the Aaton computer enables the editors to supply a precise cut list telling the person cutting the film negatives exactly what frames to cut the film negatives on even though the video edit has a different amount of frames per second than the final film edit will have. In this way, the film edit is made to exactly match the approved video edit.


ABSOLUTE PHASE:     1) When hooking up speakers to an amplifier, the speaker wires must be correctly connected with the red terminals (+) of the amplifier to the red terminals of the speakers and the black (-) terminals similarly. The speakers are then “in absolute phase”. If the black terminals of the amp are mistakenly hooked to the red and the red to the black ON BOTH SPEAKERS, the speakers will still make sound, but the quality of sound will suffer. This is “out of absolute phase”. If the amp and speaker terminals are not hooked up properly, the loudspeaker will push out when it is supposed to pull in and vice-versa. The sound will be deadened. 2) A stereo electronic component is said to be “in absolute phase” when both its channels pass a waveform test signal with the wave’s peaks and dips in correct relationship as seen on an oscilloscope. Note: “Out of Absolute Phase” and “Out of Phase” are not the same thing. (See PHASE.)


ABSOLUTE STATUS:   Computerised mixboards have automated faders for controlling the volume of recorded signals. When a Mixer is manually moving the fader, his moves are stored in the computer. The term “absolute status” describes when an automated fader has full control over the volume of the sound and it is not relative to any other fader or previous fader setting. This is compared to “relative status” when the volume set on the fader will be X amount of decibels above or below a previous setting. It is the fader’s volume relative to the other setting.


ABSOLUTE TIME:        A time signal that runs from the beginning of a DAT (Digital Audio Tape) tape (from the first place the RECORD button is engaged to when recording is stopped). Absolute Time is displayed in hours, minutes and seconds. It shows the total time elapsed for a given recording, and can also be used to locate exact points on the tape.


ABSORBER:  Material or items installed in a room or auditorium specifically to absorb sound. Examples: soft cloth and foam absorb sound, some ceiling tiles absorb sound, and even the bodies of the audience absorb sound.


ABSORPTION:     Short for the term “Acoustical Absorption”. It is the quality of a surface or substance to take in (absorb) sound rather than reflect it.


ABSORPTION COEFFICIENT:  The professional acoustical field measures and rates the amount of absorption or ability to reduce noise a given surface, material or substance may have. To do this a basic unit measurement of absorption has been established. Five of these units would earn a given material a rating of “NR5” (NR = Noise Reduction). The original basic unit was established in tests using air as the tested substance. (Air actually has a certain amount of absorption even though it does pass sound. In comparison, water has less absorption than air.) “Coefficient” - a coefficient being a number that is constant for a given substance, body or process under certain specified conditions, serving as a measure of one of its properties. In this case, the “property” being measured is the amount of sound absorption or noise reduction a given material may have, thus the term absorption coefficient.




ACADEMY CURVE:      All professional film theatres have loudspeaker systems that have their sound tailored specifically to reproduce film soundtracks. An equaliser is used to do this. The equaliser is set to prevent some of the higher frequencies (treble) from reaching the speakers. The term “Academy Curve” is the name given to how the speakers’ frequency response is made to curve slightly downwards, starting at about 2 kHz on up. “Academy” refers to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The reason why some of the high frequencies are not allowed to reach the speakers is because many years ago, movie theatre loudspeakers would not produce the highest frequencies of sound. However, Hollywood studios producing the soundtracks had speakers that did produce all the top (high) frequencies. So the film sound mixers would adjust the treble for what sounded good in their studio; and when the film then went out to theatres it would be played on speakers which had poor response to high frequencies. So the movie would sound dull. To compensate, the studios intentionally dulled (removed highs from) their studio loudspeakers so that they would mix the soundtrack brighter (giving it more high frequencies). Eventually theatres had loudspeakers that would reproduce all the frequencies, but the Academy Curve is still in use. It’s such an established and fixed procedure that it stuck. All theatres and the studios that mix the film soundtracks EQ their speaker systems so that the highs are curved down (reduced in volume). Because everyone uses the same curve, everyone pretty much knows how the film will sound in the majority of theatres. Dolby, because its surround sound system is so widely used, specifies this same type curve be used in their system. They call their curve, the “Dolby Curve.” The curve is also known as the “X Curve”. The curve is always about the same. The frequency response is basically flat up to 1.6 kHz (the 2 kHz area). From 1.6 kHz on up, the treble frequencies are curved down. In the Academy Curve specifically, the bass is also curved down at 40 Hz (-7 dB down) and its high frequencies are down -10 dB at 5 kHz and -18 dB at 8 kHz.


ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES: A non-profit organisation founded in 1927. It has members from every profession in the filmmaking industry. Membership is honorary and there is no membership fee. Its purposes include advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures and the recognition of outstanding film achievements through the presentation of annual awards called “Oscars”. This organisation has great influence on the artistic and technical standards of the American film industry.


ACADEMY OF RECORDING ARTS AND SCIENCES:    The organisation that holds the Grammy Awards annually to recognise accomplishment in the music industry.


ACADEMY OF TELEVISION ARTS AND SCIENCES:    A similar organisation to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but specifically for television. They issue Emmy Awards annually. (See EMMY AWARDS.)


ACADEMY THEATRE:  The Samuel Goldwyn Theatre located at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, California. It is considered to be one of the best-sounding theatres in the world. Voting for the Best Sound Oscar actually doesn’t take place as a result of Academy members having seen the nominated films there. This is actually done by videos of the films being sent out to voting members. However, all nominated films are screened at the Goldwyn Theatre during the voting period subsequent to the announcement of that year’s nominations in mid-February.


ACCESS TIME:     The amount of time it takes any computer, audio or video machine to locate a desired part of a program, recording, song, or video. For example, how fast a CD player “cues up” to and starts playing a desired song is its access time.


ACCURACY:  The degree to which the output signal from a component or system (including audio speakers) duplicates the sonic or visual qualities of its input signal.


ACOUSTIC or ACOUSTICAL:    Producing or amplifying a sound or sounds without the use of electronics but instead using natural methods such as the strings of a guitar being vibrated by plucking or strumming, then those vibrations being resonated and amplified by the guitar’s own wooden body and sound hole with no electronic pickup or separate electronic amplifier used.


ACOUSTIC ELECTRIC:       A type of acoustic guitar, which has a pick-up and a thin (not deep) wood body, usually with a sound hole. It is similar to an acoustic guitar but made to be a cross between an electric and acoustic model. Some acoustic electrics have various tone controls and volume controls in addition to the sound pick-up.


ACOUSTICS: 1) The branch of Physics that deals with sound and its phenomena in rooms, halls, open spaces, etc. 2) The qualities or characteristics of a room, auditorium, stadium, etc. which determine the audibility or fidelity of the sounds in it.


ACOUSTIC AMPLIFIER:    1) The part of a musical instrument that amplifies and helps create the tonal quality (timbre) of an instrument's sound. Examples: The body of an acoustical guitar, the inside of a piano, the bell of a horn or the shell of a drum. 2) A brand of guitar and bass guitar amplifier famous in the 1960’s and 70’s and recently reintroduced.


ACOUSTICAL SPACE: 1) Any performing or recording studio, room, or hall. 2) All the spatial and reverberant characteristics of the performing hall or location in which a recording was made.


ACOUSTICIAN:   A specialist in the control of sound, such as with building materials, the design of rooms, etc.


ACOUSTIC SUSPENSION: A speaker box design that uses a sealed airtight enclosure. The air inside the box compresses and expands as the speaker element (driver) moves to create sound. When compressed, the air gives resistance to the driver’s cone as it moves inward. The driver is “suspended” in the air of the box as the interaction between the driver and sealed air helps control the driver itself so it performs optimally with minimal distortion.




ACTIVE, ACTIVE DEVICE: 1) When a device, such as a microphone, has its own built-in amplifier to boost (amplify) the sound or to control or adjust the sound’s quality, it is said to be “active”. One can have an active microphone; one with batteries inside or requiring external electricity to operate. There are active loudspeakers, which have built-in amplifiers that must be plugged into a wall outlet. The reason these devices are called “active” is because they operate on electricity not produced by the device itself. For example, a normal electric guitar pick-up produces a tiny amount of signal just by the action of a vibrating metal guitar string near the pick-up (which is magnetic). Because the small signal flow is created naturally without the pick-up “doing” anything it is considered to be passive (inactive). But when a battery and some electronics are added to the pick-up to further boost its signal, the pick-up is now considered to be active as it is now doing something above and beyond the natural current created by the string and pick-up magnet. 2) In operation or turned on - an electronic device or circuit that is functioning and not “off”.


ACTIVE CROSSOVER:        For most loudspeakers, the audio signal from the amplifier is split up into sets of frequencies (one set each for bass, midrange, and highs) before the signal is received by the individual speakers (drivers) within a speaker cabinet. The electronics that create and route these sets of frequencies is called a “crossover” because each set of frequencies could be said to be “crossed over” to a specific driver. Usually these crossovers are built into the speaker cabinet. Some crossovers are external to the cabinet. Usually the latter are adjustable so they can be used with various different types of speakers, or used by engineers in designing a new speaker system. An external crossover is said to be “active” when it must first be plugged into wall current in order to work. Most crossovers do not need to be plugged into electrical power.


ACTIVE EQUALISER: An equaliser is really just a big set of tone controls as one might find on their home or car stereo. Take the concept of bass and treble tone controls and instead of just two controls, consider a whole lot more with each able to exactly control a very specific portion of the bass or treble frequencies. Equalisers can have up to 32 separate tone controls, each for adjusting the volume of individual frequencies. An equaliser is said to be “active” when it must be plugged into mains power to work. Some equalisers (called passive equalisers) do not require external power.






ADAPTER:     Comes from the word “adapt”, meaning to change or improve for a specific use. It comes from a Latin word meaning “to fit to”. In the fields of audiovisual, an adapter is a special connector that is added to an existing connector to allow hook up to a different type of connector. An adapter changes an existing jack, plug, socket or other receptacle so another type can be used but still retain complete current flow.


A-D:       Analogue to Digital. (See ANALOGUE TO DIGITAL CONVERTER.)






ADAT:    Acronym for Alesis (company name) Digital Audio Tape (recorder). This is a type of digital audio recorder that uses a Super VHS videotape cassette to record upon. The machine can record up to 8 tracks and is similar in concept to the TASCAM (brand) DA 88 and 98 machines, which use Hi-8 tape cassettes.


ADD:      A code printed on the packaging of CDs that indicates the CD was produced using an Analogue original recording, Digital mixing and editing and Digital mastering and replication. (Compare AAD, DDD.)


ADDRESS 1A time code number (hours, minutes, seconds, frames) defining a video frame or a location on an audio tape.


ADDRESS 2As regards computers on the Internet, an “address” is similar to one’s street address. An Internet address is what another types on his computer to access yours or another’s site on the Internet.


ADPCM: Stands for Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation. This is a fancy name for just one of several methods of taking digitally recorded music and compressing its large amount of computer data down into a smaller “package” so more information can be stored in less space or to easily send it to another location. For example, ADPCM can compress music so up to 20 hours worth can be put on just one CD - however, the music will be mono, not stereo. (One CD can hold only 74 minutes of uncompressed stereo music.) ADPCM compression is often used for multimedia CD's, which need to compress audio, video, text and graphics very tightly so they’ll fit on one disc. The ADPCM term uses the words “Adaptive” and “Differential” as its process can adapt itself to most efficiently compress music depending upon the different sounds and how much compression is desired. The last three letters of ADPCM, “PCM”, stand for Pulse Code Modulation which a widely used method for recording digital audio. PCM uses a sound’s many increases and decreases in volume to enable a digital recorder to “see” or “track” what a sound is doing moment to moment so as to record it accurately.


ADR:      Abbreviation for Automatic Dialog Replacement. (This is the same thing as post lip synch - PLS.) When dialog for a film needs to be corrected or re-recorded for any reason, the actors are put in a recording studio where they watch a video of the film and try to re-say what they said in the film with the same timing so the words look like they are coming naturally from the actor’s mouth.


ADSR:    Abbreviation for Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release. These terms describe the four functions that a musical synthesiser uses to give the sounds it produces different qualities. If you take just one basic sound that a synthesiser can make, that sound can be further enhanced and changed by a separate section (circuit) within the synthesiser which alters the attack, decay, sustain and release of the sound. This separate section can be adjusted by the keyboardist (synthesist) whereas the original basic sound is whatever the synthesiser was programmed with at the factory.



The rate (how fast) the volume increases to is highest peak once a keyboard key is pressed.



After reaching a peak, the rate at which the volume decreases to its “sustain volume”.            



The volume at which the sound will continue to play as long as the key is held (which is not as loud as the peak volume a key produces when first pressed - see attack above). On some keyboard  instruments, especially real pianos, the pressed keys sustain volume will diminish after a short time. Some electronic keyboards, including organs, have sounds, which will continue to play as long as one holds the key down.            



The rate the volume drops to no sound once the key is released (finger lifted).


These qualities of a given sound (the various volume changes as the sound is started and stopped) are called its “envelope”.


ADVANCED AUDIO CODING:   (Abbreviated AAC.) Developed and released by Dolby Labs in September 2000, this is a method of preventing piracy of audio programmes on the Internet. When music is produced, it is then processed digitally with AAC, and this prevents other digital recording devices from being able to make a digital copy. There are several different methods being used to process and-or protect music on the Internet. AAC is just one way.






ADVANCED RESOLUTION:       Some of the major record companies have agreed to identify DVD-Audio discs with a label reading “Advanced Resolution” to make a point that DVD-Audio has better sound quality than a DVD Video or CD. The terms, “Advanced Resolution Stereo” and “Advanced Resolution Surround Sound” indicate that the DVD-Audio has higher digital recording and playback fidelity than other types of discs.


ADVANCED RESOLUTION DVD-AUDIO:       The major record companies have agreed to identify DVD-AUDIO discs with a label reading “Advanced Resolution” to make a point that DVD-Audio has better audio quality than a conventional DVD. May also be applied to music-only releases put out on DVD-Video discs as well.










ADVANCED TELEVISION TECHNOLOGY:     Abbreviated ATV. This is a general term used in the television industry to include all forms of digital TV broadcasts and broadcasting methods.




ADVANCED VSS: Advanced Virtual Surround Sound. A feature included in some DVD players which takes a stereo system and simulates a surround sound system, though only playing through two speakers.


A-80R:   Also known as the “Studer 4-track”. This is the model number of a 1-inch 4-track professional tape recorder manufactured by Studer.


A-80RC MARK II:       This is the model number of a professional tape recorder manufactured by Studer. ½ inch 2-track and 1 inch 4-track versions of the A-80RC Mark II also exist.


A-807:   This is the model number of Studer used for editing analogue tape. The A-807 is specifically designed to facilitate tape editing.


AES:       Audio Engineering Society. The official association of technical personnel, scientists, engineers and executives in the audio field. The AES meets yearly in Los Angeles where many professional audio and visual companies demonstrate their products and services and lectures and seminars on the latest information in the fields are held.


AES, EBU or AES, EBU Connector: The Audio Engineering Society (AES) and the European Broadcast Union (EBU) together defined and stipulated specifications for digital audio recording and transmission for the professional audio and video industry. On the back of professional audiovisual equipment, as well as on the back of consumer DVD video players and many CD players, will be found a connector labelled “AES/EBU”, in addition to other types of digital connectors that are different from the AES/EBU standard. It is way to hook up digital audiovisual equipment together.

For more technical information, read on… The AES/EBU connection (also known as AES3 - the AES 3-conductor standard) requires an XLR connector and this is one way to recognise and use it. Digital information sent into or from a digital machine using the AES/EBU connector conforms to the AES/EBU standards. There are two different types of AES/EBU connectors and wiring schemes. The first is called “single wire,” which can run two channels of digital audio using just one XLR connector, and the second is called “dual wire”, which runs one channel on one XLR - meaning it takes a pair of XLR connectors to pass a stereo digital AES/EBU signal. The dual wire AES/EBU, if supplied signal through a special computer card, can also be made to pass 8 channels of 24 bit, 96 kilohertz audio.


AES EQUALISATION: “AES” is an abbreviation for Audio Engineering Society, an official association of technical personnel and executives in the audio industry. The term “AES Equalisation” has to do with analogue audio magnetic tape recording. Magnetic tape does not record all frequencies of sound equally, so it needs help in order to record and play back sounds accurately. Equalisation is used to assist the tape recorder in accomplishing this. “Equalisation”, as used here, means the emphasis given to certain frequencies by the electronic circuits inside a tape recorder to help it record and reproduce sound. The AES developed and specified the pre-emphasis and post-emphasis equalisation to be used for tape recorders which operate at the speed of 30 inches per second (ips). This equalisation is built into the electronic circuits of the tape recorders. How much the frequencies are boosted and the specific frequencies affected, are specifications established by the AES. The exact specifications may be found in tape recorder manuals and technical publications in the audio industry.


AES3 - ID:    This is the AES/EBU standard for transmission of 3 conductor AES3 data on co-ax cable with a BNC connector. It is really just for passing the AES data, but using co-ax and BNC connectors, which is what is commonly preferred by video engineers. Normal AES/EBU data uses a 3 pin XLR connector. That’s really the only difference. Note:  Being able to send AES/EBU data on a co-ax cable is important in that co-ax allows longer cable runs and much higher bandwidths of signal than the twisted pair cables used with XLR’s.


AF:  An abbreviation for Audio Frequency. Sound frequencies which are in the range of human hearing, usually considered to be from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.


AFI :       Stands for American Film Institute. This organisation is greatly involved with furthering the artistic use and presentation of movies. It is also involved in setting standards and methods of broadcasting, via Digital TV, films in video format.


A/52:     This is a specifications document (paper) written by the ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) regarding Digital TV.


AFL:        Stands for “After Fader Listen”. As one mixes an audio programme or music using a mixboard, it is often necessary to listen to a single voice or instrument instead of all the sounds playing through a mixboard. To do this, the mixboard has buttons, which when pushed, will allow the original recorded or live sounds to be heard individually. The buttons are called “solo buttons” - they can “solo” a sound or sounds out of the many the Mixer may be working with. However, there are two different ways to hear the solo sounds - and this is where the definition of “AFL” comes in. A “fader” is the sliding volume control on each mixboard channel. Where the fader is set dictates how loud an individual sound is, relative to all the other sounds in the mix. In the mix, the specific sound selected may be louder or lower in volume than when it originally came into the mixboard. Its volume depends upon where the Mixer (person mixing) places the fader. “After Fader Listen” means just that - the sound selected will be heard after its volume has been influenced by the position of the volume fader. There is another feature on a mixboard called “Pre-Fader Listen”. PFL enables one to hear the selected sound before the fader and therefore at the exact volume it entered the mixboard originally. Selecting just one sound to listen to out of the many sounds being mixed is called “soloing a sound”. Note:   More than one sound can be soloed at one time and listened to AFL or PFL.


AFM:       Amplitude Frequency Modulation. A means of recording high quality audio onto an analogue Betacam videotape. This is the method used to record onto the “Hi-Fi tracks” of an analogue Sony Betacam video deck or camcorder. In this method of recording, a carrier wave is influenced (“modulated”) by the volume (“amplitude”) of the incoming audio signal (“frequency”) and the results are then recorded onto the videotape. Not all analogue Betacam recorders have AFM audio. (Digital Betacam records digital audio and AFM does not have to be specified in the case of shooting onto this format.) In any rental or purchase of these units, Hi-Fi has to be specified for VHS recorders and AFM audio for analogue Betacam recorders.




AFTRA:  An abbreviation for American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the professional union for actors in the U.S. television and radio industries. AFTRA negotiates with television and radio producers and broadcasters and establishes the minimum wage for an actor’s work performed. Working conditions are also negotiated and established.


AGC:       Stands for Automatic Gain Control. Gain is another name for “volume”. AGC is an electronic circuit found on some recorders, which attempts to keep the volume of the recorded sound within a certain factory-preset range. For example, if a person speaks softly during the recording, the AGC automatically increases the volume; and if the person speaks loudly, it reduces the volume so the audio won’t distort. Usually the sound quality of the AGC circuit is very poor and degrades the recording. There are also AGC circuits for video that perform the same function on picture recordings.


AGFA:     An abbreviation (German) for Aktien-Gesellshaft für Anilin-Fabrikation, translated to mean corporation for aniline manufacturing. Aniline is a chemical used in making dyes.


AGGREGATED:     Home Digital TV receivers can receive and store TV shows for later viewing. The word “aggregate” means to gather together into a mass or sum and is the marketing word used to describe this feature. Programs of similar types (news, sports, etc.) are grouped together for easy access, they are said to be aggregated.




AIF, AIFF:     AIFF stands for Audio Interchange File Format and was developed by Apple (Macintosh) for storage of sounds in Apple computers. An AIFF file allows audio (music, lecture, etc.) to be “interchanged” into and out of the computer.


AIR:       1) In sound, a non-derogatory term. “That instrument sounds like it has a lot of air around it.” A reproduced instrument sounds as though it has a natural space of its own and dimensionality, just as a live sound in is 3 dimensional. A good way to hear an example of “air” is to listen to a stereo (two microphone) recording of a single instrument and then listen to the same instrument recorded mono (one microphone) but heard in both the left and right speakers. The stereo recording will have a sense of realistic dimensionality and location. The mono recording from the same speakers may appear to sound more “there” (present or forward) than the stereo recording but it will lack a certain reality of position, dimension and naturalness of sound. Both recording techniques are valid depending upon the sound being recorded and how it is intended to be heard in the final mix. 2) To “add some air” means to add (with an EQ boost) the very high 15 to 20 kHz treble frequencies to a sound or the overall mix. Some mixing equipment even has an “air knob” that, by turning, increases these very high frequencies. 3) To “move a lot of air” is a term regarding music reproduction (playback over speakers). It is more commonly heard as regards to large PA type speaker systems used for live shows. When speakers “move a lot of air” one can literally feel the impact and power of bass and drum sounds. 4) “Activates the air in the room”…Some high quality audio systems with full range speakers can give a listener a sense that the air within the listening room is realistically “energised” similar to the space in which the original recording occurred. This is not just a matter of “moving air” (feeling the impact of a bass note or kick drum) but rather the air of the listening room appears energised with sound and even the ambience of the hall or room in which the original performance was performed can be heard.


AIT:        An abbreviation for Advanced Intelligent Tape. A format of digital audio tape and tape recording system which uses a small cartridge cassette similar to a Hi-8 tape to record and store 50 Gigabytes of program. The AIT tape format uses 8 millimetre (wide) tape inside a shell that looks much like a miniature ½ inch videocassette. AIT is a fully error-correcting data medium. It checks all data as it is being recorded (“written”) and re-writes it as necessary. It’s called “advanced intelligent” because there is a computer chip inside each AIT tape cartridge that stores all the admin data for the audio program. The actual audio is recorded onto the tape itself, but the admin data (such as the date of the mix, the line used, etc.) is recorded onto the chip. The admin data is instantly accessible via the chip, making a very fast and manageable filing system for tracking and inventorying each audio program.


ALGORITHM:       In the fields of audiovisual, an algorithm is a set of electronic instructions or processes (computerised) used to do a particular function. For example, in electronic music, an algorithm can provide “instructions” to a synthesiser for altering one of its sounds. Algorithms are also used in changing digitally recorded music so it can be heard in different formats such a CD’s music on the Internet. To convert CD music to Internet music requires a conversion process. Algorithms perform that conversion. The derivation of “algorithm” is simply a variation of “arithmetic” - which means “the art of counting”. The purely mathematical definition of “algorithm” is any special method of solving a certain kind of problem. The word has been adopted in electronics to also mean any special set of instructions or set process to “solve” (do) a task of some sort. DVD players have algorithms which enable them to convert the sounds on a DVD into different playback formats - such as making the normal surround sound (which can have up to 6 channels) convert down to only 2 channels for stereo. Digital mixboards also have certain algorithms which enable them to do similar work - to turn large mixes “automatically” into lesser channel versions.


ALIASING:    1) In video, aliasing is undesirable "vibrating" of images on the screen. Example:        A shot of forward moving covered wagon wheels appear to have their spokes going backwards. When this happens, the video’s digital method of recording is too poor to capture all the detail and action of the image exactly. 2) A common type of aliasing is when a diagonal line or diagonal image appears on a TV screen and, if one looks closely, small “steps” throughout the boarder of the line or image can be seen. The line is not smooth. There are several other types of aliasing and these can be found in technical manuals. 3) In audio, aliasing is a type of distortion that can be added by digital recorders and other digital audio equipment. It occurs when an audio signal being sent contains high treble frequencies which are above what the device can accurately record or process. This has to do with the sampling rate of the equipment. Instead of duplicating the frequency - which it can’t do - it creates a different frequency (an “alias”).


ALPHANUMERIC:        The word is a combination of “alphabet” and “numeric” and is used to describe the many various keys on a typewriter or computer keyboard that, when pressed, will type letters or numbers.     


ALTERNATING CURRENT:       Electricity that flows for only a short while in one direction and then reverses to flow a short while in the opposite direction. It keeps reversing or alternating back and forth at a rapid rate. When you plug into the mains you are getting AC current. You could have AC current reversing slowly, but it is usually thought of as DC current when it is nearly at a standstill.


ALTO:     “Alto” comes from the Latin word meaning “high”.

1) The lowest (in pitch) female voice and-or the highest male voice just above tenor.

2) A musical part written for such a voice.

3) The second highest in a particular family of musical instruments, such as an alto saxophone.

4) Of or belonging to the pitch range of alto.

5) A singer with such a voice.

6) A manufacturer of audio equipment such as mixers, equalisers, etc.


ALTO SAX:    There are four different types of saxophones - baritone, tenor, alto and soprano models. They each cover different ranges of notes - the baritone being the largest of the four and it plays the lowest notes of the four. (The alto plays the second highest range, just under the soprano.)




AMBIANCE:  The feeling or mood evoked by an environment. “That live recording has the ambiance of a small smoke-filled jazz club late at night in Chicago.”


AMBIENCE:  The sound of an entire space, such as the performing hall in which a recording was made. The “ambience” would be everything you hear in the recording or mix - including sounds within the space, its reflections, the murmurs and coughs of the audience, etc. It comes from the word “ambient” meaning “surrounding” or “on all sides”.


AMBIENCE TRACK:    Background sounds added to a video or film mix. It’s the sound of birds chirping, wind in the background, etc. Sometimes called “buzz track”.


AMBIENT:     The word “ambient” means “surrounding” or “on all sides”. It is a word used to describe sounds which are out in the space and area around one or around a city or factory - or anything.


AMBIENT FIELD: The word “ambient” means “surrounding” or “on all sides.”…“The flute’s ambient field.” To describe this term, get the idea of listening to a recording of a flute playing within a room. The flute’s “ambient field” would be the perception of the flute’s sound in that entire space - its sound reaching out into the entire space. One would hear this over loudspeakers as a spaciousness right in the listening room or control room in the studio and have a perception that the very space in which the flute was recorded is replicated and reaches out into the listening room. The term ambient field embraces all the qualities of an individual sound other than the purely direct sound itself.


AMBIOPHONY:    A word from the late 50’s, which named a sort of Auditorium Synthesis System. (See AUDITORIUM SYNTHESIS - the word “ambiophony” is described at the end.)




AME:      Abbreviation for Advanced Metal Evaporated (tape). This is a term Sony uses to describe their videotape manufacturing process, including tape used for digital video work. It is frequently used with another term called “DLC”, which means Diamond-Like Carbon particles - the carbon particles Sony uses as a final coating on their video tapes.


AMERICA ON LINE (AOL):      See AOL.       














AMP:      1) See AMPLIFIER. 2) See AMPERE.


AMPERE:       The standard unit for measuring the amount of electric current available. The number of gallons of water in a reservoir and the amperes available on an electrical line are analogous. The word “ampere” comes from Andre Ampere, a French physicist.


AMPHENOL CONNECTOR:        Amphenol is a company that makes wire connectors. An example of an Amphenol Connector is on the back of a Studer tape recorder. The Studer remote control’s wire is plugged in using an Amphenol connector. The connector is flat and wide, accommodating many wires. It has a metal housing with small clasps on each side to hold the connector in place.


AMP CABINET SIMULATOR:    An electronic device or circuit used by electric guitarists to simulate playing their guitar through different types of speaker cabinets. Different types of cabinets make entirely different types of sound. The simulator usually uses digital circuitry. Some famous styles of cabinets had only one 12 inch speaker, others had two 12 inch speakers, some had four 10 inch speakers, and others had four 12 inch speakers. All had distinctly different sounds and are used for different music styles and sounds.

Usage Note:  An “amp cabinet simulator” and an “amp simulator” are different. A cabinet does not have the amplifier electronics. It is just a wood cabinet with speakers inside. An amp is an “amplifier” - the electronics, the amplification circuits. An amp sends power to the cabinet. Both the amp and the amp cabinet each have different distinctive sound qualities and both, or either, may be simulated by the newer digital electronic simulators to create classic guitar sounds.


AMPLIFIER (amp):   The word “amplify” comes from the Latin word “amplus” meaning large and “facere” to make, thus amplify means to “make ample” (make large or great).


AMPLIFIER CLASSES:       Transistor audio power amplifiers are classified primarily by the design of their final output stage. Amplifiers often have different stages which keep building up the volume of signal more and more as the audio signal passes through each stage. The final output stage of an amp uses devices called transistors. The transistors are often simply called “devices”. They do the final amplification of the sound. Transistors use a small amount of electricity, called “bias current” that activates them (turns them on) making them ready and able to respond to the audio signal they are to amplify. (Note:        The “bias current” used in an amplifier is not the same thing as “bias frequency”, which is used for magnetic tape recorders. See BIAS CURRENT, BIAS FREQUENCY). In some amplifiers, the transistors are not always turned on or not always turned on fully. They may be rapidly switched on and off depending on the signal received and the amp’s design. Classification of an amplifier is usually based on the amount of time the transistors are on or off and-or how long the bias current is applied to the transistors whether there is an audio signal to reproduce or not. Amp classifications run from “Class A to Class J” - and more may be added in the future. Some amplifier classifications are a mixture, such as “Class AB”. Some amplifiers switch between two classes depending on how loudly they are played. Class A or AB amplifiers are commonly used in recording or mixing studios. However, when doing an event, the amplifiers used to power the hall speaker system may be a different class that sometimes require an internal fan to keep them cool. Such amplifiers are usually less expensive than the “audiophile” Class A or Class AB amplifiers but they are quite powerful and can produce very high volume sound. The different classifications do not necessarily mean one amplifier is better than another nor is there a progression of quality implied by their assigned lettering. Each are simply different amplifier designs. However, some amplifier classifications are poorer in quality such as “Class B”, which would only be found amplifying the small speaker in a 2-way radio or other hand-held communications device.


AMPLIFIER OUTPUTS:      The connection points or wires that are to be connected to the amplifier(s) which power loudspeakers in an audio system. These may be found on the back of an audio preamplifier or any audio device intended to be hooked up directly to amplifiers, which supply audio power to the loudspeakers.


AMPLITUDE: The word “amplitude” means greatness in size (from “ample” meaning “large”). Amplitude is the volume of a frequency or group of frequencies. The greater the amplitude, the louder a sound will be when played over speakers or headphones. When viewed on an oscilloscope, it can be seen as the height of the sound’s waveform.




AMPLITUDE MODULATION:     Abbreviated AM, as in “AM Radio”. In amplitude modulation, radio broadcasts are done by using the volume (amplitude) of the audio signal to change up and down (modulate) the basic carrier wave of the radio station. AM differs from FM radio in two respects. First, each uses a different zone (band) of frequencies. AM uses radio waves in the kilohertz band (thousands of Hertz). FM uses radio waves in the megahertz band (millions of Hertz). Secondly, AM uses a single frequency as its carrier wave and the wave’s amplitude is varied to carry the AM station’s programming. FM radio keeps the amplitude always the same (the strength of the signal is never varied) but, instead, the frequency of the wave is varied slightly to carry the FM station’s programming.


AMP SIMULATOR:      An electronic device used by guitarists to enable them to play their guitar simulating the sound of famous guitar amplifiers used throughout the history of the instrument. Different amps had different tonal qualities. For example, a “Fender Twin” model was common in country and western - it creates the guitar sound associated with that type of music. The English band, “The Who” created their well-known sound by using an amplifier made by the “Hi-Watt” company. Led Zeppelin got their sound using Marshall amplifiers. Many other famous amplifiers have existed and an amp simulator seeks, through modern digital technology, to recreate their sounds.


AMS NEVE:   A very famous professional audio equipment company that manufactures high quality digital and analogue audio equipment. They are most well known for their mixboards. “AMS Neve” is actually a merger of two audio equipment manufacturers, “Advanced Music Systems” and “Rupert Neve”. (Rupert Neve is a world famous engineer and designer of audio equipment and mixboards, who founded the original Neve corporation.) “AMS” is well known as a pioneer in the digital audio field.


ANALOGUE what it is and how it works:    The word “analogue” designates a type of electronic audiovisual process and equipment in which the sound and pictures are generated by way of physical changes.

But what is actually meant by “physical changes”? Take, for example, when music is recorded onto magnetic recording tape. There are tiny metal particles on the tape. To make a recording, these particles are physically changed as regards their direction (orientation) on the tape’s surface. The tape recording machine then detects the changes in orientation and translates them into an audio signal. Another example: before digital media, music was commonly played from phonograph records. A small diamond needle would travel inside the record’s grooves and vibrate every time a change in the groove occurred. The needle’s vibrations (its “changes”) would then be converted into a flow of electricity that mimics (is analogous to) the vibrations from the needle. How are physical vibrations (or particle changes in orientation) turned into a cor­res­ponding (analogous) electrical flow? This is very simple to accomplish actually. “Electromagnetic principles” are used. The word “electromagnet” is made up of two words - “electricity” and “magnetism”. Electricity and magnetism are very closely related. Both are comprised of flows of electrons. The basis of electromagnetism is that when a magnet is moved back and forth very near a coil of wire, electricity is automatically generated in the coil of wire. Vice versa, if a coil of wire is moved near a stationary magnet, electricity is also generated in the coil of wire. In the case of a phonograph’s diamond needle, the needle is attached to a coil of wire. When the needle moves, so does the coil of wire. A magnet is positioned closely to the coil so that the coil’s motion will generate a flow of electricity. That signal is then further amplified so it can be heard over loudspeakers (or headphones). Another example:      Tape recorders have a small piece of metal (called a “head”) that touches the recording tape. Inside the head is a coil of wire. There are magnetic particles on the recording tape, and as these pass by the head a tiny electrical signal that corresponds to the particles on the tape is created. Like the process enabling one to hear music from a phonograph record via a needle, the signal from the recording tape is detected by the tape head and eventually one can hear it over loudspeakers. That is the analogue process at work. The derivation of the word “analogue” ultimately comes from a Greek word meaning “resembling.” One can say the vibrations of the diamond needle “resemble” the changes in the phonograph’s grooves. The electrical signal generated in the coil of wire resembles the original music recorded on the record disc itself. The digital process operates in many ways like analogue. However, instead of using electromagnetic principles, the digital process converts the sound into information a computer can process. (A CD player is actually a small computer - it has computer chips inside that do the conversion process and enable you to hear the music.) The difference between analogue and digital is this: digital audio “samples” music it records many thousands of times per second. By “samples” is meant the digital circuitry “looks” at the music and takes a sort of “snapshot picture” many thousands of times per second. Each “snapshot” is called a “sample”. Analogue, on the other hand, is always “looking” at the sound - it is a continuous process. In the digital process, if the sound changes between samples, that change is not recorded. (See DIGITAL, for a description of how digital sound is recorded.)


ANALOGUE CONSOLES, ANALOGUE MIXBOARDS:    This term describes the type of mixboard that does not mix and process the music or sounds digitally, but rather keeps the sounds in the analogue domain. Digital mixboards convert all the sounds they receive to be mixed and processed into digital information.


ANALOGUE DEVICES:        This is the name of a company that designs and manufactures computer chips put into home consumer audio surround sound receivers and processors .



1) A derogatory audio term which describes a sound as being too exact sounding, to the point of excess, and lacking a sense of pleasantness, warmth or reality. Sometimes, if a sound does not have enough lower midrange or bass frequencies it is said to sound “too analytical” or “thin” as its naturalness is lacking.

2) Also a non-derogatory term to describe equipment that very exactly picks up or measures. Excellent audiovisual test equipment is said to be “analytical”. Good quality studio loudspeakers can be said, as a pluspoint, to be “analytical”.


ANAMORPHIC LENS: Regarding actual film (not DVD’s):   Sometimes called “WIDESCREEN” or “CINEMASCOPE”. A cinema lens that produces a wider picture than normal. The lens is on both the camera and projector. The image is “squeezed” onto film by the camera lens and “unsqueezed” by the projector lens. The final picture on-screen has the same height as a normal film, but the picture width can be over twice as wide. Anamorphic means, “forming anew”. In this case, the lens is forming the picture to a size different from normal film.



1) A term used very commonly DVD’s. DVD players have two available screen sizes. One is called “Anamorphic Widescreen” or “Widescreen Anamorphic”. It’s a marketing term put on DVD-Video packaging. (See ANAMORPHIC LENS.)

2) An Anamorphic film at a big screen theatre is one with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is a very common way for Hollywood films to be shown.


ANCHOR:      In audio mixing, the term “anchor” is used in the sense that an “anchor” is any device for holding something stably and firmly. A loudspeaker can be considered an “anchor,” especially when mixing in surround sound. Often sounds, in a surround sound music or film mix, will be sailing around the room without an exact location. But a Mixer can place a sound exactly, precisely and only in one loudspeaker and make that sound very firmly “anchored” as to its position. That loudspeaker is then said to be an “anchor” for the sound. For example, in a surround sound loudspeaker system, the centre channel loudspeaker can be an “anchor” for the lead singer. His or her voice can be assigned to that loudspeaker. In a stereo mix, the singer is assigned to both the left and the right loudspeaker channels so as to create the appearance that the singer is being heard as singing from between the speakers. (See SURROUND MIXING FOR MUSIC, SOUNDSTAGING, IMAGING, SURROUND SOUND SPEAKERS AND THEIR PLACEMENT for more information.)


ANECHOIC CHAMBER:      A room where sound is absorbed and none is reflected. The room’s walls, floor and ceiling are built to totally absorb all sound hitting them and to not reflect any sound back out into the room. Such a room is commonly used for testing and designing microphones and speakers. The word “anechoic” means not producing any echoes - “an” (not) + “echoic” (echo).


ANHYDROSOL:    A type of alcohol that does not contain water. The word “anhydrosol” is a trade name and a short version of the actual substance Anhydrous Alcohol - “an” (not) + “hydrous” (containing water) + “ol” (short for alcohol). This is the only type of alcohol which is okay for cleaning tape recorder heads and parts, as it does not leave residue on the heads. Because it has no water, it won’t rust or corrode metal parts. All other alcohols are to be avoided as they contain water and even oils - e.g. isopropyl alcohol (also called rubbing alcohol).


ANIMATIC:   “Ani” (from animated, as in creating a drawing or cartoon) and “matic” (from automatic - meaning to run or act by itself). The word animatic is a coined term to describe a rough presentation, using drawn or photographed images, to help envision an eventual shot or sequence, or even an entire show or film. In film work, an animatic is any scene achieved through animation or video techniques to estimate the way the actual final filmed scene will later appear. This is especially helpful for planning and for temporarily including planned special effects sequences where the final SFX shots cannot be seen until after much SFX work and expense.


ANODE: The positive (+) terminal (i.e. on a battery). The word terminal, as used in the field of electronics, refers to that physical point in an electronic circuit (on a circuit board, battery, etc.) that either accepts an electrical current flow or the point from which electrons depart. The “anode” is the positive terminal. It accepts a flow of electrons. The derivation of anode comes from a Greek word meaning “the way up”, “way”, or “road”. The other point on a circuit or battery - the one that emits electrons - is called a “cathode”. (The word “cathode” comes from the Greeks too - it meant “the way down”.) The negative terminal is the “cathode” and the positive, the “anode”. In practice, electrons flow from the negative terminal to the positive terminal in electronic circuits. The flow is created between the two terminals simply because one terminal has more electrons and the other terminal has less. And, as one terminal has more electrons and the other terminal has less, there is a natural tendency or potential for the electrons to flow to the terminal that has less. There is a flow created between the two terminals only because each terminal is held apart from the other terminal.


ANODISED, ANODISATION:    Anodisation is the process of coating aluminium parts for protection and often for colourisation. Almost all aluminium parts found on audiovisual equipment are anodised, even if they have the natural colour of aluminium. Before anodisation, most aluminium surfaces are first “grained”, meaning they are put through a machine that creates a perfectly flat surface often with varying depths of very fine scratch marks running all in one direction. The grained aluminium is then dipped into a chemical solution of sulphuric acid. The piece of aluminium is given a positive charge and electrons are run through the solution. The aluminium, being charged positively, draws the electrons to itself. Sulphuric acid has four oxygen atoms in every molecule. As the electrons flow through the sulphuric acid to the aluminium part, the oxygen of the acid is made to interact with the aluminium to create a molecular variation of aluminium called aluminium oxide. An oxide is any element that has oxygen added, thus the word “oxide”. For example, iron oxide is also called rust but unlike rust, aluminium oxide can be built up into a hard smooth surface on top of the aluminium itself. The oxide literally coats the entire surface of the aluminium. Various dyes, for colouring, can also be applied during anodisation. The entire process is called “anodisation” because the piece of aluminium is the “anode” - the electronics name for a positively charged terminal.


ANSI:     Abbreviation for American National Standards Institute. An organisation that recommends standards for the audiovisual and other industries in the U.S.A.


ANSI LUMENS:    See LUMEN. The term “ANSI Lumens” is usually seen in specification sheets and promo or ad’s for video projectors. It means that the lumens rating (brightness of the projector’s image) is given using the ANSI’s specifications for such.


ANSWER PRINT: An unspliced direct copy of the final cut original negatives. The Answer Print is made only AFTER the full, final QC approval of a film’s edit. Only then are the original camera negatives cut and assembled precisely per the approved edit. (The “Answer Print” answers the question, “is the film done yet?”) The Answer Print is that print which is submitted for final okay to run the release copies of the film. It is the print that, when approved fully is “the final Checkprint” and authorises the Film Lab to proceed with production towards making final release prints for orgs. Note:     The running of Answer Prints is strictly controlled as it involves the handling and copying of the irreplaceable original camera negatives.


ANTI-ALIASING: The smoothing and removing of aliasing effects by filtering and other techniques. (See ALIASING.) Some professional video production equipment has anti-aliasing circuitry to help the final video product look as good as it can.


ANYSTREAM:       “Anystream” is a company that produces a method of digital compression called “Agility Enterprise encoding”. Large websites, such as CNN, use the Anystream process as it provides encoding for multiple formats faster than real time. It accepts any input and will provide any output.


AOL TIME WARNER, Time Warner Cable:  AOL stands for America On Line. This is a company that provides Internet connection and services.


AOLTV, AOLTV RECEIVERS:    America On Line Internet services provided via normal TV sets using a special receiver. Home consumers can send and receive e-mail and browse the web over their normal TV, not using a computer.


AP:  Abbreviation for Audio Precision. Audio Precision is a company that makes test equipment. It is very common to find, in magazine reviews and information about audio gear, graphs and printouts taken from tests performed utilising Audio Precision equipment.


APHEX (brand) BIG BOTTOM:        This is a mixing device that adds low bass frequencies to any sound passed through it. It has been found especially helpful on foreign lecture recordings - they make the speaker (person) sound more rich, authoritative and pleasant to listen to for long periods. (The word “bottom” in audio means the low frequencies - the bass.)


APHEX (brand name) 720 DOMINATOR II (model) PEAK LIMITER:  A limiter that creates a “brick wall” that no sound can exceed in volume. (A brick wall is a total complete stop or block.) The APHEX is especially useful in broadcast and event situations where too loud a volume might distort satellite broadcasts transmitting the sound. The APHEX keeps the volume of the show’s audio from exceeding into distortion levels. The Dominator can also be used to prevent any sound from exceeding the exact volume limit imposed by digital recordings. There is a very exact point digital recordings distort and the volume must never exceed that amount. One of their uses is to make the audio programme sound louder without changing how high audio meters move that measure the amount of sound volume. It does this by a circuit that boosts and limits the signal in a very controlled, precision way. Radio stations therefore use this feature to make their stations seem louder than other stations so a listener’s attention is drawn to their station while, by meter, the station is still broadcasting within a volume stipulated by the government. (See LIMITER.)


APHEX (brand name) 104 AURAL EXCITER (model):     This piece of Aphex gear was originally developed for radio broadcasts. Stations would send their signal through the Aural Exciter to make the station sound more present and “exciting”. Its process adds some distortion and additional high frequencies to the sound.


API (brand) EQUIPMENT:       API was a highly regarded mixboard manufacturer. Various circuits from their mixboards became famous for their high sound quality and were eventually offered as separate pieces of mixing equipment. Some were even made to replace similar circuits in other manufacturers’ mixboards. Their models included equalisers and limiters.


APERTURE:  An opening through which light passes in a camera or projector. The word “aperture” comes from a Latin term meaning “to open”. The aperture can be found behind the lens in both cameras and projectors.


APERTURE PLATE:     The aperture (light opening) of a film projector is a small plate of metal that has a rectangular hole cut so that the projector’s light, when it hits the screen, shines over the full screen area but no further and no less. Different screen sizes require different size apertures cut into the plate and the plates are removable so the right size can be chosen for the type (size) of film to be played.


APOGEE CONVERTERS:    Apogee is an electronics company specialising in devices that convert analogue audio into digital information and vice versa. They make and supply their converters to many in the professional audiovisual fields.


APOLLO TROUPE:      The music group that was part of the ship’s company of the Sea Org ship “Apollo”. The Apollo Troupe performed at many major ports visited by the Apollo, creating much goodwill and PR area control for the Sea Org. LRH worked extensively with the Apollo Troupe and made known numerous breakthrough discoveries in the fields of music and sound.


APP:       1) Short for application. In the field of computers, an application” is any type of job or problem solving or specific task a computer can do. “Some home computer users don’t offer computer video games or even full word processing, but only an E-mail app.” 2) Short for apparatus. “There are many electronic apps in that studio complex.”


APPLE, APPLE MACINTOSH:   A Macintosh (brand) computer considered ideal for producing computerised graphics, video special effects, and also for musical instrument control and programming.


APPLE iMOVIE:   A Macintosh computer programme that enables home computer users to load home video footage into their computer, edit it together, add music, titles, and then make a copy. (The “i” means “interactive”.)


APPLET: The word “applet” is made up of:      “app”, short for “application” (See APP) and “let” (the suffix) is added to indicate “small” or “smallish”. (A booklet is a small book). An “applet” is a specific type of computer programme that can be used to create improvements and upgrades to a Website. It’s called an “applet” because it is not a full computer programme for creating an entire Website. Rather, it is a small, simple type of computer “application” which is easy to use and will work with virtually any type of computer. In other words, an “applet” is a software feature that allows one to add improvements and upgrades to one’s website. Applets can be downloaded from the Internet and then used to enhance a Website. For example, applets can add interactive features to an existing Website.




ARCHIVE COPY:  A copy of any audiovisual property specifically made so it can be placed in storage for archival purposes. This is not a master used for production, but a perfect copy that could, if ever needed, be used as the master to make more copies. It is a copy in addition to the master or original footage.


ARCHIVED:   A copy of any audiovisual property that has been carefully stored under ideal and safe conditions for its long term preservation.


“ARCHIVES” or ARCHIVES COPY: Digital copies of all LRH lecture mixes and other products are made for their archiving functions. (See DIGITAL COPY LINE.)


ARCHIVES ANALOGUE EDIT MASTER:  An exact ¼ inch stereo analogue tape copy of a mixed and edited LRH lecture for preservation of the tech. These copies are designated “Edit Master” to indicate that they are exact duplicates of the mixed and edited analogue Edit Master tape, and to differentiate them from other masters.


ARCHIVES DIGITAL EDIT MASTER:      An exact digital tape copy of a mixed and edited LRH lecture for preservation of the tech. These copies are designated “Edit Master” to indicate that they are exact duplicates of the mixed and edited analogue Edit Master tape, and to differentiate them from other masters. The Archives Digital Edit Masters are made on the Digital PM Line in the Gold Audio Building, which has digital tape machines for this specific purpose. The type of machine these are recorded on is called a “DAT machine” - digital audio tape, and so this type of master is also referred to as a “DAT Master”.




ARRI CODE: Arri is short for “Arriflex”. Arri is a company that makes very high quality film cameras, such as our Arri 535. The 535 camera has an internal computer, which generates a signal whenever it is filming a shot. This signal, called “Arri Code”, is used to ensure the sound of a shot stays in perfect synch with the pictures throughout all stages of the film’s editing and mixing post production. The Arri Code is recorded on both the film negative and audio tape recording the sound concurrently. The two recorded codes can then be married up later in the film’s production. When the codes are running exactly together as originally recorded, the sound and picture will be in perfect synch. Arri Code is easily translated into the type of code commonly used in post production to synchronise audio and video, called time code. (See TIME CODE.)


ART DIFFUSERS: A diffuser is an architectural device that breaks up (diffuses) sounds in a room as they reflect upon its surface. An Art Diffuser is a model made by the Acoustics First company. They are 1 ft. x 1 ft. tiles, which have many different sized “fingers”. These fingers stick out and break up sound that comes in contact with the tile. They make the room sound larger as they have many small “fingers” which increase the surface area of the tile. Each finger is shaped at an angle so when sound hits it, the sound bounces off in many different directions. This makes the reflected sound seem much bigger and the film soundtracks can be played comfortably loud in a small room by using them.




ARTICULATION: 1) Clarity and intelligibility, usually of voice reproduction. 2) The reproduction of inner detail of an overall recording or overall mix that makes it continually interesting because it is easy to hear and to follow one individual part among many. 3) The clarity and exactness with which a musician plays complex passages or a singer sings syllables but in a way that smoothly flows.


ARTEFACT:   Any additive unwanted audible or visible aspect of an audiovisual product or process. For example, if a copy made of a video presents periodic black spots when played over a TV, the black spots are considered artefacts. In audio, any type of distortion would be an artefact. The word “artefact” comes from a Latin term meaning “something made”. In the fields of audiovisual, an artefact is something made that is unwanted.


ASCAP:  Abbreviation for American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers, founded in 1914. It is a non-profit organisation. ASCAP is retained (hired) by writers and publishers in the music industry to monitor the radio, television, Internet, restaurant, shopping mall and other play of an artist’s music. ASCAP ensures that those who commercially use a musical work pay royalties. (Compare with SECAP, SESAC and BMI.)


ASCII:   Abbreviation for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It is the standard the industry follows when manufacturing a computer keyboard so all the various keys send their own specific electronic signal resulting in the “A” key typing an “A” on your computer screen and every other key typing its own correct symbol too. There is an “ASCII table” containing 127 characters covering all the upper and lower case characters in normal and non-displayed controls such as carriage return, line feed, etc. Variations and extensions of the basic code are used on special applications, such as for the keyboard used for digitally editing videos and films wherein many keys will perform editing functions as well as normal typing text.


ASPECT RATIO:  The word “aspect”, in this sense, means the way something looks or how it is perceived by the eye. The word “ratio” means the relative or comparative proportion of one quantity to another, like the relationship of width to height, amount of flour to sugar when mixing cake batter, number of boys to girls in a school, etc. Ratios are usually expressed using two numbers and a colon between them. For example a ratio of 2 to 1 would be written “2:1”. An “aspect ratio” is a cine term regarding the size (proportions) of a projected image. Therefore, screen size is measured as a ratio of its width compared to its height. Film screens are almost always wider than they are tall. A video or TV screen is also measured in terms of aspect ratio. Aspect ratios are written with the width given first and the height given second, such “1.33:1” wherein “1.33” is the width, “:” means a ratio or “to” and “1” is the height. So “1.33:1” means that for every 1.33 inches or feet a screen is wide, it is 1 inch or foot tall. In speaking about aspect ratios, one would say, ”The screen is 1.33 to 1.” or, “The aspect ratio is 1.33 to 1.” Sometimes (not in all cases) aspect ratios are rounded off and expressed as larger whole numbers. For example, a 1.33:1 aspect ratio would commonly be spoken as “4x3” (“That is a 4 by 3 screen.”). 4x3 is exactly the same as 1.33:1 if you multiply the width (1.33) times 3 and the height (1) times 3. (1.33 x 3 = 4 and 1 x 3 = 3 so therefore the ratio can be said to be “4 x 3”. The more common aspect ratios are





Any technical words used within the definitions below

are fully defined as separate entries in this glossary.


NORMAL TV also called “FULL FRAME” or “FULL SCREEN” or “4x3” or “1.33:1”

For every 1.33 inches or feet wide, the image is 1 inch or 1 foot tall. Also referred to as “4x3”. (See definition above.) This is the size of all normal TVs and the size of       picture that fills the screens of such.


LETTERBOXED - 1.85:1 or 2.35:1

Video picture image for normal 4 x 3 TV, but made to match an original Anamorphic movie film aspect ratio. See below regarding specific information concerning VD and letterboxed picture sizes and also see the glossary entry DVD SCREEN SIZES for vital information.




HDTV screens are 1.78:1, also written as “16x9”.

Note:     See DVD Aspect Ratios below as that information applies to HDTV as well.



Note: There is also important information to know

regarding DVD screen sizes to be found at

DVD SCREEN SIZES in this glossary.


DVD-VIDEO discs can often be played with a selection of aspect ratios. The first is 4x3 for normal TV screen size, also called “FULLFRAME” or “FULL SCREEN.” This fills the screen of a normal TV. However, usually only much older films being newly released on DVD will play with that screen size. Most newer films will be letterboxed when played on a normal TV.


The other screen aspect ratio that DVD’s will show is 16 x 9, also called “Anamorphic Widescreen” or “Enhanced for Widescreen” or “Enhanced for 16x9 Television”. This is so the DVD’s picture will fit on the new wider style TV screens that have a 16x9 aspect ratio. Such TV’s were specifically designed to play High Definition TV programmes, which broadcast in this format.


The DVD wants to be compatible with this, of course, as it is considered to be the latest and greatest. Video projectors can also project in the 16 x 9 format. (It is similar to the aspect ratio of a movie shown in a commercial theatre with a 1.85:1 screen, as 16 x 9 = 1.78:1). Most new film DVD’s will have letterboxed pictures - either 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 when played on a normal 4x3 TV. Note: A 2.35:1 letterboxed DVD, when played on a 35 inch TV screen, will shrink severely. Vertical picture height will go down to only 13 inches tall when normally the screen shows a 21 inch tall picture - 38% less picture area. See DVD SCREEN SIZES, IN THIS GLOSSARY FOR VITAL INFORMATION ON ACHIEVING PROPER SCREEN IMAGES FROM A DVD PLAYER, TV AND PROJECTOR.


Note:     Various new projection TV’s, projectors and High Definition TV’s have various aspect ratio settings with which to stretch a normal 4x3 “full frame” picture so as to better fit into the new wider screen size of High Definition TV’s. These various aspect ratio adjustments change the normal 4x3 in various ways. They may have different names depending upon the manufacturer but they are as follows:    


“Natural Wide”

      Keeps the centre of the picture proportional, but stretches the images along the left and right of the screen outwards.


“Cinema Wide”

Proportionally “zooms” the picture wider, some 128 percent.


“Zoom Proportional”

The zoom is stronger than on “Natural Wide”, but it does cut off some of the outside edges of the picture and some of the top and bottom as well. Is recommended for viewing Letterboxed movies without seeing any black bars top and bottom.



Another term for “Anamorphic”. Keeps height the same as 4x3 but stretches the sides and is used for Anamorphically recorded DVD’s and HDTV. Will lock onto 480p and 1080i sources.




Org Film Rooms - 16mm Eiki = 1.33:1(4x3), 35mm = 1.67:1.


Gold Public Films for public distribution on DVD - 1.78:1 also written as “16x9” and compatible with High Definition (HD) TV’s.


Commercial films shown in USA Called “Theatrical Releases” - 1.85:1 also called “Flat Screen”.


Anamorphic Films - (Also called Widescreen or Cinemascope) - 2.35:1 (see ANAMORPHIC)


ASPERITY NOISE:      “Asperity” means roughness or harshness and comes from a Latin word meaning rough. “Asperity Noise” is a derogatory audio term. It is unwanted noise: an interference type sound found on some analogue tape recorders that one hears as a fuzzy roughness; a sort of dull sound like small stones being shaken up in a wooden box that intermingles with the actual sound one wishes to record. It seems to surround the actual signal and is lower in volume than the actual sound. It is most easily heard when one records a pure test tone on a tape and is more noticeable at slower tape speeds. A technician should be called if asperity noise is audible on a recording as internal adjustments and calibrations can reduce it.


ASPI:     Advanced SCSI Programming Interface. The term “SCSI” stands for Small Computer Systems Interface and is really a type of wire, type of connectors and type of computer language programming that allows different types of computer equipment to “talk” one to another. SCSI allows up to seven different pieces of computer equipment to receive a signal from one source computer. It also can handle a lot of digital information, up to 16 bits worth (the rate required for making a CD) so, for example, 7 CD recorders could be hooked up to one computer that sends audio to each at the same time. ASPI is computer software that assists a computer to better send and receive data using SCSI. ASPI is the interface. An interface, in this case, is the software that a user uses and employs to get the computer to perform a specific action. The word “interface”, as a noun, is the controls and interconnections, which bring a user and his computer together and enable the user to communicate and interact with the computer. ASPI is the software a used to programme and activate a SCSI data flow between different computer equipment.


ASSEMBLED NEGS:     The CLEANED, then cut negatives which are spliced together, in sequence, exactly per the final QC approved edit of the film. The assembled negs match the approved Work Print.


ASSEMBLE EDITING: Before a video editor begins an edit at a computerised editing station, the possible footage he has to choose from has been “assembled”, in rough form, by the Video Assembly Unit, so that the editor can preview all possible footage, make decisions as to its use, and then do his edit. Any shot actually used in the edit will be taken from the original camera master footage but the assembly edit function will continue for so long as footage is being shot and coming in with which to complete it. This service to the Editor allows him to rapidly see what shots are available. In the early days of video or when a very simple home video was put together, this method of just adding shot after shot to a blank videotape was done. However, it does not produce a polished product and often the shots would tend to jump and not smoothly transition. The more professional methods are “insert editing”, or the edits are done entirely digitally, not using tape.




ATA:       An abbreviation for Advanced Technology Attachment. This is ANSI’s (American National Standards Institute) official name for the computer disc drive commonly known as IDE (Integrated Device Electronics).


ATA ADAPTER:    Advanced Technology Attachment. This is a type of connection used to load music onto a recordable CD using a personal computer or computerised device. The adapter allows one to hook up a computer to load things like music into it without having to buy and install more expensive interface electronics.


ATAPI-IDE:  Stands for Advanced Technology Attachment PC Interface to Integrated Device Electronics. This is a connection to and from a personal computer or recordable CD device for recording one’s own CDs. The ATA adapter is used because it allows one’s PC to interface with IDE electronics and it costs less than buying and installing a whole separate package of interface electronics. (See IDE.)


ATEF:     Acronym for Advanced Television Enhanced Forum. Superseded by ATVF (Advanced Television Forum.) (See ATVF.)


A to D CONVERTER:  Sometimes abbreviated ADC. Short for Analogue to Digital converter - an electronic digital audiovisual device used to convert analogue signals (sound and-or video) into computer (digital) information. Example: When making a recording of a trumpet, the trumpet's sound is in the form of an analogue signal as it comes from the microphone. In order to record the trumpet’s sound digitally, the sound itself must be “converted to digital” by an A to D Converter. A to D Converters may be built into equipment, such as inside a digital video recorder, or the A to D converter may be an external box. The latter is commonly referred to as an external A to D Converter, as it is a not inside any other piece of equipment but sits “external” in its own housing. Converters have different levels of digital capability and different types of digital formats (CD, DVD, etc.) require different rates of conversion.


ATR:       This is an abbreviation for Audio Tape Recorder. It is commonly used in video editing bays and in broadcast trucks, often with a number (“ATR1”, “ATR2”) to designate specific machines to be used or played.


ATRAC:  An acronym for Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding. This is a fancy name for the process used to transfer the music from a CD to a MiniDisc. The MiniDisc does not have the storage capability of a CD so the CD’s digital music must be “compressed” (made into a smaller “package”) in order to fit on the MiniDisc. ATRAC compresses the audio data to approximately 1/5th its original size. There are newer types of MiniDisc recorders which are actually multi-track machines. ATRAC allows such MiniDisc machines to hold four tracks of music, 37 minutes in length. ATRAC works to take advantage of the fact that when one listens to two similar sounds, one’s attention tends to go to the louder of the two. So ATRAC, attempts to not record what it “thinks” the listener will not notice (the lower in volume, similar sound). Also, listeners are more sensitive (can more keenly hear) to some frequencies than others. This is especially observable when two different, but very similar sounds play at the same volume. The human ear mechanism is simply more sensitive to certain frequencies than others and these are well known in the field of psychoacoustics (the study of sound perception). ATRAC attempts to take advantage of this by not recording those sounds which the ear is less keen to and that are at a similar volume to the sounds the ear is keen to. In other words, the designers of ATRAC hope no one will notice the missing music not recorded. The process is “Adaptive” as it can adapt itself to choose which one of the above processes is best used to compress a given musical signal. And, the ATRAC processes “TRansform Acoustically” the music in ways it is hoped a listener may not notice. “Coding” is a general term referring to the final digital (computer) language, which contains the MiniDisc’s musical content after processing by ATRAC.


ATSC:     Abbreviation for Advanced Television Systems Committee. An American organisation of broadcast professionals that sets standards for Digital Television (DTV) broadcasting and receiving. ATSC names the standards for both audio and video as well as what additional information can be broadcast along with the televised programme such as copyright info and playback instructions for a home consumer’s receiver that “tell” it how to reproduce a soundtrack.


ATTACK:        1) The manner in which the sound begins and increases in volume; how fast or slow, intensely or weakly a sound begins and increases to its full volume. 2) Limiters and compressors have adjustable controls that can be set by the Recordist or Mixer. One of these settings adjusts the limiter or compressor’s “attack” - how rapidly it will react to a peak volume of incoming sound. For example, one would set the attack time differently if one were recording a snare drum than if a violin were being recorded. 3) Regarding synthesisers and keyboards:       The rate (how fast) the volume increases to its highest peak once a keyboard key is pressed. 4) The fast, dynamic initial impact of a sound which is strummed, blown, struck, plucked, hit, etc. Also called “transient attack” - (“transient” in this case meaning “what only remains a short time”). It is the initial energy pulse of a percussive sound. Examples:      The “attack” of a drum hit or plucked acoustic guitar string. 5) As regards audio loudspeakers and related electronic equipment:       the ability to reproduce the transient attacks in musical sound. Poor “attack” makes a system sound slow and lifeless.


ATTACK TIME:     The amount of time it takes for a sound to go from no volume (inaudible) to full volume (as loud as that particular sound is going to get). For example, a gunshot takes almost no time to reach its full volume. It is nearly instantaneous. Compare this to a cow’s “moo”, which takes much longer. The term “Attack Time” is usually found in manuals for compressors and limiters, which have “attack” controls which can be adjusted to respond very fast or slowly to compress or limit an incoming audio signal.


ATTENUATION:   To “attenuate” means to lessen or decrease the force or intensity of. Attenuation is simply the action of turning down the volume of the sound or brightness of light or image. One can attenuate the amount of anything, which has an adjustable value, such as the amount of red in a video picture or how much echo is being added to a sound in a mix.


ATTENUATION PAD:  See ATTENUATION. The word “pad” means a device that has the capability of reducing the amount of something or reducing its force or power. In the field of audio one can place a pad on an audio signal and reduce its strength of signal flow. In other words, the pad attenuates (turns down) the volume of the signal. An attenuation pad is usually in the shape of an XLR connector and can simply be plugged into a length of audio wire. The pad accomplishes attenuation by using resistors to block or inhibit the signal flow. (A resistor “resists” the flow of current.) Different values of resistors attenuate different amounts. Attenuation pads are often used, for example, on live microphones or live musical instruments where their volume is too loud for electronic components to handle without distortion.


ATTENUATOR:     Any control or electronic device, which attenuates (turns down) the volume of an audio or video signal.


ATV:       Abbreviation for Advanced Television Technology. (See ADVANCED TELEVISION, HDTV.)


ATVF:     Abbreviation for Advanced Television Forum. This is an American organisation of broadcast professionals that sets and coordinates the standards for interactive television (iTV). There are several different brands of interactive TV currently on the market and the ATVF sets standards which each of these manufacturers are required to meet in order to label their product “interactive TV”. Intel’s eTV (“enhanced TV”) is included in the ATVF’s regulations.


AUDIENCE MIC’S:      Placing additional microphones out in a room or hall in order to record the sounds made by the audience at a live event or live performance. The audience sounds, such as applause, cheers, laughter, etc. are used in mixing. For example, the production truck Mixer uses the audience mic’s to add the presence and excitement of the live audience to the event audio that he is sending to the satellite broadcast. In post-production, the audience mic’s are used for the same purpose - for the eventual video release of an event or performance.


AUDIENCE PERSPECTIVE:       From where the audience is sitting and listening - it is their perspective, as opposed to that of the actors or musicians on stage… “What does it look like from the audience perspective?”


AUDIENCE REACTION CAMERA:    A camera aimed at the audience so one can see their faces and their reactions. This camera is additionally used by those persons producing a live event or show so one knows when to start and stop cycles of action throughout the presentation in such a way that audience response is not cut short or allowed to continue too long.


AUDIO:  Audio comes from the Latin word “audire”, meaning, “to hear”.

1) Sounds that are within the range of human hearing.

2) The scientific field, technical subject or art form regarding sound, especially its recording, mixing, copying, transmitting, transferring, converting, receiving or playing back.

3) Designating a type of electronic equipment used for the purpose of audio.

4) The sound portion of an audiovisual programme (such as a live show, film, video, TV show, etc.) that one hears as opposed to the visual content.

5) Generally, any audio programme or sound being produced or reproduced.

6) The electronic circuits within a piece of audio or audiovisual equipment that function specifically as regards to sound (i.e. recording it, playing it back, sending it to another location, etc.).


AUDIO CD-R (RECORDABLE): This type of CD is specifically meant to record audio and can only be recorded onto once. CD-R’s will play on all computers with a CD or DVD drive. Some studios use CD-R for final copies. Some CD duplication plants will accept a CD-R master providing it is made to their specifications.


AUDIO DA:   Audio Distribution Amplifier ([Added by Myk] ADA). In setting up an audio production line or facility, especially at live events, it is often necessary to send signals to several distant locations at the same time. The reason why this requires an audio DA is made clear by this example: with a single water faucet trying to split up its water to several hoses, the power of the water diminishes with each hose added. The same principle applies when one audio signal is split up and sent to too many locations, especially long distances away. A distribution amplifier is used when such splits are required. It enables all locations to receive the signal with no loss in strength and minimal loss in quality. It “distributes” the signal.


AUDIO DVD-R (RECORDABLE):     Recordable DVD discs. Note that several types of DVD recorders exist on the market presently. This is the type of disc used in Pioneer DVD recorders. They will not play back on normal DVD players but only on a computer DVD type driver or the recorder that made the disc. (See DVD TYPES OF for a full listing of current names and-or types of DVD’s and what they are.)


AUDIO DYNAMIC RANGE CONTROL:    Also called “Night Mode” and “Dialog Enhancer”. Many DVD players have this feature. Films are usually mixed in such a way that the sounds on the soundtrack go very loud, but at the same time the dialog of the actors is sometimes very low in volume. This can be a problem when listening at home, especially late at night - as in order to hear what the actors are saying, the audio volume has to be such that everyone in the house is kept awake. The Audio Dynamic Range Control allows the volume of the dialog to be kept loud enough but also all the loud sounds and music in the film are brought down in volume. The “dynamics” of the DVD’s soundtrack are controlled in this way.




AUDIO history of sound reproduction:        The first practical phonograph was invented in 1877 by the U.S. inventor Thomas Edison. Edison’s device could record sound on a small metal cylinder wrapped in tin foil, and then play the sound back. The cylinder rotated on an axle. A needle attached to a diaphragm (vibrating disc) was placed against the cylinder. As someone spoke into a mouthpiece, the sound made the diaphragm and needle vibrate. These vibrations caused the needle to make dents in the foil on the rotating cylinder. As the cylinder was rotated, the dents in the foil made the needle and diaphragm vibrate. These vibrations created sounds roughly like the original sound. In 1885, the US scientists Chinchester Bell and Charles S. Tainter improved upon Edison’s invention by recording onto cardboard cylinders coated with wax. This new recording material produced better sound. In 1897, Emile Berliner, a German immigrant to the U.S., invented the “Gramophone” - a phonograph that used shellac discs instead of cylinders. These discs had better sound, were more durable and could be mass-produced easier than cylinders. The first recorded phonograph records appeared in 1925. The use of magnetism in recording was also being developed starting during this time period. John Logie Baird, an inventor who had previously come up with medicated socks and once attempted to create a diamond out of coal dust (blacking out a city in the process!), achieved the first recognisable video image of a human face in 1925. Oberlin Smith filed a patent on a magnetic recording process in 1878. And, before the end of the 1800s, Valdemar Poulsen, a Danish engineer, began selling what could be construed as the first telephone answering machines - magnetic recorders using metal wire to record upon. Editing involved snipping the wire and tying it together again. Wire led to flattened steel ribbons, which, in turn, led to Joseph O’Neill applying for a U.S. patent in 1926 for “a strip of paper or other cheap material on which is deposited…magnetic material, such as metal particles, dust or fine shavings, held together by a suitable conductive binder”. Thus, magnetic tape for recording sound was born, at least in concept. As for phonograph records, after their initial release in 1925, manufacturers began producing phonograph players with electric motors and audio electronic amplifiers, which greatly improved the quality of recorded sound. (Prior to that, the players were cranked by hand in order to turn the record round and round. And sound from the record was made through the use of a large funnel-shaped horn that acoustically amplified the record’s sound.) Up until 1948, all commercial phonograph records were made from a mixture of clay and shellac and were played at 78 rpm (revolutions per minute). In that year (1948), the plastic 33 1/3 rpm LP (“Long Playing” record) appeared on the market. It turned at less than half the speed of the earlier 78 records, so would “play longer”. The LP had been developed at the Colombia Broadcasting System Laboratories (CBS) under the direction of Peter Goldmark, a U.S. electrical engineer. The LP held much more recorded sound and was more durable than the 78 rpm disc. The next year, in 1949, the faster speed 45 rpm record was introduced by RCA (Radio Corporation of America), to compete with Columbia’s LP. Growing interest in high fidelity recorded sound led to the appearance of stereophonic phonographs and stereo records in 1958. Previously, records and phonographs were only monaural. High grade, flexible pure vinyl eventually replaced the use of hard plastic. Mono records and record players reproduced sounds from only one channel. By the late 1960s, almost all new phonographs and records were stereophonic. In the 1970s, Thomas C Stockham, a U.S. electrical engineer, developed digital recording. Compact discs and compact disc players became broadly used on the U.S. market in 1983, through the research by both the Sony and Philips corporations. CD and digital audio technology have evolved to include the DVD, recordable computer chip and other audio formats.






AUDIO LEVELLER:      (Abbreviated AL) Audio Leveller is the brand name of a limiter manufactured by United Recording Electronics Industries (UREI) in the United States. The term “audio leveller” has since become generic. The exact model is the UREI LA-3A.


AUDIOPHILE:      The word comes from “Audio” from Latin “audire” meaning “to hear”, and “phile”, which comes from the Greek word “philos” meaning “dear” or “beloved.” An “audiophile” is therefore “one who loves sound or loves to hear.” While anyone who enjoys listening to music could be broadly classed as an audiophile, the word specifically refers to someone who has seriously involved themselves in the field of audio for personal enjoyment either as a major hobby or as a business.


AUDIOPHILE GRADE, AUDIOPHILE-GRADE:      Any consumer audio equipment or music release that is considered able to meet the quality standards of audiophiles. (See AUDIOPHILE.)


AUDIOPHILE RELEASE:    Any music put out on CD, DVD or phonograph record that is expressly intended to appeal to those consumers who want the best fidelity and will buy the product for that main reason. An audiophile release is recorded and produced with great care, then released in small quantities, and usually costs more than most commercially released CDs and DVD’s. (See AUDIOPHILE.)


AUDIO PRODUCTION MASTER:     Abbreviated PM. The “Production Master” is the final copy of the programme turned over to Manufacturing for mass duplication. It is a direct copy of the final mixed and edited master, specially prepared with its contents exactly formatted and at correct volume levels for the intended release format (CD, tape cassette, etc.) It has been fully quality control checked and is a perfect duplicate of the original master to be reproduced. It can be in analogue or digital format. For example, the CD ROMs provided to the High Speed Cassette Copy Line for the making of all cassette products is a “Production Master” also called a “PM”. (See MASTERS, TYPES OF for a full list of all masters used at Gold.)


AUDIO RENAISSANCE FOR AUDIO (ARA): An organisation established to develop a new standard for audio digital disc recording. Their work has greatly influenced the creation of the new DVD-Audio disc. Its chairman developed the Meridian Lossless Packing system of compressing music information to get it onto the DVD-Audio disc without losing any of the music’s digital information in the process. (See MERIDIAN LOSSLESS PACKING.)


AUDIO SPECTRUM ANALYSER:      The word “spectrum” comes from a Latin word meaning “to look at”. A spectrum analyser shows, with a display of lights, the relative volume of the different audio frequencies


AUDIO TAPER:    The word “taper” means to reduce gradually or to make gradiently smaller or less. The term Audio Taper refers to a common type of volume control (knob). Many volume controls, especially on professional (studio) audio equipment, actually do nothing more than turn down the volume of sound gradually. They do not boost (add an increase to) the volume. The volume of the audio signal as it enters the piece of equipment is the loudest the sound will go and the “loudest” (highest) position on this type of knob is simply that loudest possible volume. As one turns down the knob, the volume is attenuated (tapered). We are so used to “turning up” a volume knob that it seems we are boosting the volume. In reality, we are bringing the volume closer to the signal’s original, actual volume - which is often extremely loud requiring considerable attenuation for a proper listening volume.


AUDIOTEK:   Brand name of a cassette duplicating machine. These were faster than real time copiers that used tape in pancake form, similar to the Gauss High Speed Cassette Duplication Line. It is nowhere near the speed and quality of the Gauss Line.


AUDIO-VIDEO, AUDIOVISUAL:      A combined word from “audio” and “visual” or “video”. It is said in reference to any type of electronic equipment, production procedures, media formats, displays, showings, etc. which are involved with the creation, distribution, sales and usage of products which have sound and visual content. Is sometimes extended to include film (movies) due to their close relationship to, and eventual release on video or DVD.






AUDITORIUM SYNTHESIS (“Aud Synth”):  1) This is a term that describes the simulating (synthesis) of the sound of various indoor environments, such as an auditorium, in which an audio programme is to be played, so a Mixer can hear his mix as it will sound when eventually presented to the public in that environment (e.g. for an event). Auditorium Synthesis is actually a complete electronic audio equipment system installed in each A.V. mixing studio at Gold. It is unique to Gold and is capable of creating the sound as one would hear inside any type of room or hall. When a mix is played in the studio control room, the Auditorium Synthesis System will make the control room sound just like any chosen hall, by using loudspeakers and echo chambers to simulate the sound of the mix striking and reflecting off the hall’s walls. The system goes further in that it can recreate the sound of any listening environment - even a living room - so a Mixer can hear what his mix will sound like even in a consumer’s home. 2) An Auditorium Synthesis system can also be installed, not in a studio, but in an actual hall or auditorium itself. With such a system, the acoustical properties of the hall or auditorium can be adjusted so the room sounds like a much bigger hall. Commercial versions have been produced, not including, of course, the echo chambers as part of the system. One is called LARES (Lexicon Acoustic Reinforcement and Enhancement System) and the other is called SIAP (System for Improved Acoustic Performance.) A late 1950’s word, “ambiophony”, named a system of placing loudspeakers around a hall in which each were delayed in time, relative to each other, so as to give the hall a larger sound. As many as 60 loudspeakers were used around the room in the walls and ceiling. Ambiophony is a word created from “ambience” and “phon” meaning sound.


AUDITORY MASKING:       This is an important term to understand as it directly relates to surround sound for films as heard in theatres and in homes. Auditory Masking is the process of taking a huge film soundtrack and making it fit into the limited space on a DVD or other medium by not recording sounds which are masked by other sounds. (For example, an outdoor scene with birds singing... a truck drives by and its sound tends to mask the sound of the birds, so the birds are not recorded - just the sound of the truck.) All DVD-VIDEO discs are produced using auditory masking as well as the audio for all digital TV and video broadcasts - and all Internet music and other computer audio is processed using auditory masking. All the surround sound audio you hear at a general cinema theatre is produced with auditory masking. MP3 and all other types of MPEG compression use auditory masking. One method of compression that does not use auditory masking is called MERIDIAN LOSSLESS PACKING (defined separately). The principles and techniques regarding auditory masking are described at the following glossary entries: COMPRESSION3, PERCEPTUAL CODING and CRITICAL BAND.




AURAL:  Aural comes from the Latin word meaning “ear”. It refers to anything that is heard.


AURAL SPACIOUSNESS:   Sound appearing to have great size, depth and dimension.


AURATONE SPEAKERS:     Auratone is a company that makes inexpensive loudspeakers specifically for studio production. They are used to check what a mix sounds like on small cheap speakers, similar to what consumers may have in their homes.


AUTHORING, DVD AUTHORING:    This term applies to the preparation of any DVD. There are a tremendous number of different data sources which, combined, make up a DVD’s contents. To “author” means to write something, like a book. It’s meaning is similar as regards a DVD’s creation. The DVD must literally be “authored” and special computer software exists to do so. The DVD’s author (person) collects up everything to be included on the DVD into a computer. This includes the film’s pictures (which may be available in different sizes to fit different size screens or to accommodate different viewing preferences), all foreign language soundtracks and subtitles, any other footage that runs concurrent with the film such as the Director of the film speaking about the film’s various shots as the film goes along, the artwork one sees when the DVD is first played, etc. There are many such items and they all need to be put together so they work and are in synch throughout the DVD. Some DVD’s are “interactive” (meaning the viewer can, at any time, press a button and do some function or go to some special part of the DVD). This too is authored into the DVD. DVD authoring is the process of writing and compiling all such information and features together. The end product is a final master which can then go to a DVD manufacturing plant that makes all the DVD’s for release.

Note: The authoring process is done for video DVD’s of all types as well as DVD-Audio discs.


AUTHORITY, AUTHORITATIVE:     1) In music and audio mixing, if a sound has “authority”, it commands one’s attention. For example, the sound of a massive drum hit at the start of a song would have ”authority”. 2) To play a musical instrument or to sing with a positiveness (Tone 40 intention), yet in a way that is appropriate for the music and its message. 3) Said of an audio reproducing system, especially loudspeakers which present sound in a big, powerful, full range manner.


AUTO CONFORM:       Short for Automated Conforming. A computerised editing term. “Conforming” is the action of making a final edit according to a prepared plan. Automated conforming is the process of taking the elements of an edit and using an editing computer system to automatically conform (arrange) all of the elements in sequence and length exactly per the edit plan, which is fed into the computer.






AUTOMATIC PICTURE CONTROLS:       This is a feature on many consumer TVs. When TV is watched, each different broadcast and station looks different. Newer TVs have automatic, computerised picture controls, which seek to keep the pictures looking consistent. The brightness, colour and other parameters are adjusted automatically. It’s a great feature for TV broadcasts, but when one plays a DVD video disc, one wants to make certain this feature on the TV (or projector, if it has such a feature) is defeated. The DVD will be a very good looking picture and one does not want the TV changing it to try and make it match up to a TV broadcast. Defeat this feature when watching a DVD and, if picture adjustments are needed to watch the DVD, then make them manually. When DVD’s are issued, instructions should be given public to ensure their TVs have this automatic picture control defeated or the DVD will not look its best. (See DVD PLAYER for more information on DVD video playback.)


AUTOMATION:    1) Any computerised assistance given to an operator that automatically does a sequence of actions or duties which would normally be done manually. 2) In an audio studio, top quality mixboards have varying degrees of automation. Some are nearly entirely automated while others only offer automation on the volume faders. Every time a Mixer touches and moves a fader, his moves are precisely stored in the mixboard’s computer system and, each time the mix is then played, the stored moves occur exactly at the right time just as the Mixer intended. In the “old days” (before automation), the faders would just be set at one position and few changes could be made manually as the mix was runoff (recorded). Sometimes many persons gathered around the mixboard, each having faders they were responsible for moving. Some studios used sticks with fingers to move more than one fader at a time. Unfortunately, there was no way to duplicate these manual moves every time so the mix would always sound a little different and the final runoff would be anyone’s guess. Modern mixboards automate the faders and a large number of very exact moves can be stored and repeated perfectly each time a mix is played or recorded giving much more creative latitude to the Mixer and speeding production considerably.


AUTOMIX MEMORY:  A coined term from the words “automation” and “mixing”. A mixboard with “Automix Memory” has the ability to store and recall all settings and mixing adjustments done anywhere on the mixboard, not just the volume faders. The term “Automix Memory” was originated by the Yamaha Corporation for their mixboards but is descriptive for modern computerised mixboards having such capability.


AUTO MUTE: A function some mixboards have that allows more than one channel to mute (go completely silent) by only touching one master mute button. One or many channels can be assigned (programmed) to mute with the touch of the one button.


AUXILIARY: The word “auxiliary” means serving to support, aid or facilitate. An example of this is mixing equipment additional to the mixboard in a studio is referred to as “auxiliary equipment”. All the equipment seen around the mixroom, other than the large mixboard itself, can be considered “auxiliary equipment” as it all “aids” in getting mixes done and the product out the door.


AUXILIARY BUSS:      In the field of audio, the word “buss” (European spelling is “bus”) means a path on which an audio signal can be routed. It comes from the term “buss bar”, which is a thick metal bar through which considerable current can flow to supply many different circuits. Big electrical boxes commonly have buss bars inside. Like a bus (vehicle) which can carry many people at once, an electrical buss can carry lots of electricity at once, or in the case of an audio mixboard, a buss can carry and route many different audio signals. A mixboard has a main (primary) buss, upon which its basic channels combine their different recorded music signals into a mix. However, most mixboards have one or more “auxiliary” busses and these can further route the music signals to other locations, such as to a piece of mixing gear or to a tape recorder. Such auxiliary busses “serve” or “aid” in getting the instrument sounds routed to and from the mixboard. There are many uses for auxiliary buss routings and they all help to get the music processed.


AUXILIARY EQUIPMENT: Mixing equipment additional to the mixboard in a studio is referred to as “auxiliary equipment”. The word “auxiliary” means serving to support, aid or facilitate. All the equipment seen around a mixing control room, other than the large mixboard itself, can be considered “auxiliary equipment” as it all “aids” in getting mixes done and the product out the door. Also called “outboard equipment”.


AUX RETURN (S):      “Aux” is short for “auxiliary”. The word “auxiliary” in this case means serving to support, aid or facilitate. An Aux Return is an input on a mixboard for bringing back in (returning) an audio signal after it has been sent to some auxiliary equipment such as a reverb unit. It uses the Auxiliary Buss inside the mixboard.


AUX SEND:   “Aux” is short for “auxiliary”. The word “auxiliary” in this case means serving to support, aid or facilitate. An Aux Send is an output on a mixboard for sending out an audio signal to auxiliary equipment such as a reverb unit. It uses the Auxiliary Buss inside the mixboard.






AVID:     Avid is a company that makes computerised editing stations used by many professional post production studios. ProTools is a division of Avid.


AVID BAYS:  The word “bay” means any compartment or space that is sectioned off for its own purpose or function. It comes from the French word meaning “an opening in a wall”. The AVID bays are where film and video editing are done and are located in Cine Editing.


AVID EDIT, AVID FILM EDIT: As a film is being shot, its daily shooting footage is transferred to video and loaded into an AVID computer video editing system in Cine Editing. The film is then edited, on video, concurrently with the film being shot, following an earlier approved edit plan. The Avid Edit is submitted to final QC for approval.


AVID PRO NET:   An abbreviation for Avid Professional Internet connection software. This is a brand of computer software exclusively made by Avid for its non-linear editing computer so footage can be received via the Internet and immediately edited by the Avid computer system. This software is designed for connecting up an Avid editing computer to the Internet and thus to any other Avid computer having Pro Net software and an Internet access. With it, one can send an edit, or any video program, from one Avid computer to another Avid computer at a distant location via the Internet. For example, an Editor on location with a film crew could send his in-progress edit to a main studio in Hollywood for review or additional editing.


AVR:       An abbreviation for Audio Video Receiver. A home consumer central processing and control unit that includes all audio functions and the ability to switch and route video as well. It includes amplifier power for the loudspeakers. It includes Dolby and DTS surround formats as well as many other features. The abbreviation is commonly used on manufacturer model numbers, such as Denon’s AVR-5800.


A-V PROCESSOR:       Similar to an Audio Video Receiver (AVR), but with very distinct differences. The A-V Processor has no amplification for loudspeakers, it has no ability to switch or route video signals, and it is strictly for processing sound into various surround sound formats. The A-V Processor has limited inputs and outputs as it is strictly meant to be hooked up to a separate preamp.


A-V STORAGE BUILDING:        The AV Storage Building at Gold was carefully designed and built to protect original recordings and master tapes of all audiovisual products produced here. It houses a complete collection of every recorded LRH lecture. All film negatives and film footage as well as still photography negatives are kept in the storage building in special refrigeration units. All videotape masters are kept there as well as every music recording, in addition to lecture mix products. The building is an ultra-safe, earthquake-proof vault. It has an instantaneous building-wide fire extinguishing system. The building is also fully temperature and humidity controlled.




AWG:     Abbreviation for American Wire Gauge. This term designates the size (thickness) of a wire and is how wire is categorised and labelled in the electronics and electrical fields. An arbitrary number is used and assigned every type of wire indicating its diameter. In the AWG system of labelling, as the numbers get smaller, the wire gets bigger (larger diameter). This system of labelling does not tell one the type of wire or its intended use, only size. For example, the cord on a desk lamp is usually AWG 18 and the thicker wires found in an electrical panel box are usually AWG 10 or AWG 8.


AXIS:     Comes from the Latin word meaning, “the axle”. The word “axis” is primarily used in regards to positioning a microphone to pick up the sound of a person, instrument, etc. The line (imaginary or drawn on paper) between the front of the microphone and the subject being mic’ed describes the angle of axis. When the microphone is positioned “on-axis” it generally will pick up and reproduce sound with the greatest accuracy. An “off-axis microphone will tend to sound a bit more dull or muffled. The further off-axis the mic is placed, the less high frequencies it will pick up. The same principle applies to loudspeaker placement as well.