Audio-Visual Glossary

B

 

 

BABY GRAND:     See GRAND PIANO.

 

BACK COMPATIBILITY:    The ability of newer types and styles of digital media to be played on older equipment. For example, some new digital discs intended for playback on new types of disc players can also be played on older CD players. The disc is therefore called “back compatible” as it will play on older (“back”) model equipment.

 

BACKGROUND NOISE:      1) Distracting, unwanted sound that is not part of the desired sound to be recorded or already recorded. For example, an air conditioner running in a room in which a recording of someone speaking is made. 2) Additional, unwanted sound that is being interjected into a recording by the recording equipment or process itself. For example, static or tape hiss. 3) Any distracting unwanted sound that takes one’s attention off of a pre-recorded program or audio presentation either within the recording itself, over the speaker system being heard, or within the room or hall.

 

BACKHAUL:  A term used in the broadcast industry. “Backhaul” means sending the video signal for a live TV show or audio program from the site of its performance to the location or TV station where it will be recorded further routed to other areas and broadcast to consumers. Television broadcast stations will usually backhaul over a fibre optic line running from the live performance site because it is more failsafe than other methods. The word ”backhaul” is used because the live program is being sent (“hauled”) from the event site back to the broadcast company (TV or radio station) where it can be recorded, edited and broadcast to consumers.

 

BACKLIGHT: In photography, video and film shooting: A light placed behind objects, which outlines the object and creates a sense of depth by setting off that object from the rest of the objects also in the scene.

 

BACKSTAGE: Loosely, that area of an auditorium’s facilities behind the stage. It is any area the audience cannot see - behind or to the sides of the stage area the audience does see.

 

BACKS (the):       See BACK SURROUNDS.

 

BACK SURROUNDS:   Abbreviated BS. See BS.

 

BACKWARD-FRAME:  A “B-Frame”. A term used in video when MPEG compression is applied. (See MPEG for exact description of a B-Frame.)

 

BAFFLES:      Sound absorbing panels used to prevent sound from entering or leaving a certain space. Also called gobos. Baffles are usually made of soft fabric material or foam to absorb sound. The word “baffle” means to impede the flow of.   A baffle can also be a moveable, absorptive panel used in recording studios to provide sound isolation between different instruments or voices being recorded together at the same time. Such baffles reduce the amount of sound leaking from one microphone to another and from one performer to another.

 

BALANCE:    

1) The relationship between the relative volumes (loudness) of more than one instrument or singer in a recording. If one instrument is unnaturally or undesirably louder or softer than others in a piece of music, it is said to be “out of balance”.

2) The relationship between the relative volumes of different frequencies of any one sound or combination of sounds. If an audio loudspeaker system has a correct amount of bass frequencies compared to treble frequencies, the speaker is said to have “good balance”. Also referred to as “tonal balance.” “That guitar has excellent tonal balance.”

3) The comparative loudness of the left and right channels of a stereo music program or the audio equipment (stereo or surround) it is played upon. If the volume balance is not correct, the singer or instruments which are supposed to be precisely located between the speakers or dead centre when listening over headphones will be off to one side or the other, depending on which channel is louder. Also called “channel balance”. Note:   “off to the right” or “off to the left” means that the volume balance is louder to the right or to the left.

 

BALANCE CONTROL: A control knob on a stereo amplifier which when moved clockwise will make the right channel louder (or the left channel softer) and will do the reverse when moved counter-clockwise. This control is used to make the right and left speakers or headphones have equal volume. 

 

BALANCED: 

1) Having the correctly proportioned amount and relationship of low frequencies compared to midrange frequencies and high frequencies.

2) Having an equal volume level in each of the two channels of a stereo audio system.

 

BALANCED LINE:        A method of connecting electronic gear, one to another, using a cable (wiring) with three conductors in it. It is called “balanced” because of the way the electrons flow through the three conductors, one is “plus” and the other “minus”. They therefore “balance” each other out and this helps reduce outside interference from affecting the signal the wire is carrying. (Compare to UNBALANCED and SINGLE ENDED.)

For a more technical description, read on… A Balanced Line is the type of cable that contains two insulated conductors surrounded by a shield of braided and-or twisted fine-stranded copper wire. The shield does not carry any of the audio signal. It is connected to ground - in this case the metal chassis of the pieces of audio equipment. The same audio signal is sent down both the other two conductors but in such a way that each wire’s signal has an opposite waveform, meaning that when the audio signal’s wave has a peak on one wire, it has a dip [trough] in the other wire. The two signals are of equal volume and the same in all other respects. Only their waveform is opposite. A balanced line protects the audio signal from being influenced by other electronic interferences which may exist in and around the cable itself such as from electric power wires or other electronic wiring nearby. Microphone cables are always balanced because the audio signal is very low in volume and therefore easy to be interfered with. Unless the microphone’s signal is sent balanced, even radio waves in the air from local radio stations could influence its sound and create interference.

 

BALANCED PROPERLY:    

1) Microphones correctly placed so as to achieve a perfect recording.

2) Having the exact right amount of volume in a mix or sent to a loudspeaker so the presence of the sound is even, not shifted in the direction of a louder speaker.

 

BALDWIN:    The Baldwin company is a famous piano and organ manufacturer.

 

BALLISTICS:        The characteristics of how the needle (or indicator) of a meter moves as it responds to audio volume level changes both sudden and gradual and the combination thereof. Meters from different manufacturers have different ballistics. Some are faster, others are slower, and some appear more erratic or harder to see peaks. Recording he is very familiar with and watching how the new meters respond. The word ballistics comes from its military usage where it describes the study of how a projectile (bullet or missile) travels, increases speed, slows, etc. and its derivation is from the Latin word “ballista”, which is an ancient military weapon used to hurl rocks and other heavy projectiles. It comes from a Greek word meaning “to throw”.

 

BANANA PLUG:   A type of audio connector often used to connect a speaker to an amplifier. It is about 1½ inches long and ¼ inch wide. A banana plug is so called because its shape resembles the banana (slightly fatter in its middle than at its two ends).

 

BAND, BAND OF SOUND, BAND OF FREQUENCIES: A range of frequencies. For example, the frequencies from 20 Hz to 200 Hz can be said to be a low frequency band and those from 5,000 to 20,000 are in a high frequency band.

 

BAND-PASS ENCLOSURE: A type of enclosure used for subwoofers (loudspeakers which only produce very low bass frequencies) where the speaker driver is completely inside the enclosure (virtually hidden) and all of the output emerges through holes in the cabinet called ports. This configuration is usually designed for high output (loud) volume with less importance placed on accuracy of the sound. This is due to the fact that because the speaker itself is surrounded by air within the cabinet that can only enter or escape through specific ports, the speaker itself is prevented, by the restricted airflow, from moving back and forth too far. The speaker can therefore be played very loudly without it distorting because it is not allowed to move to its very extreme in and out positions (where its distortion is highest). It is called a “BAND-PASS” enclosure because the cabinet and its ports are designed (“tuned”) to allow more of certain frequencies to “pass” easily through the ports and to restrict other frequencies which, if not restricted, would be heard too loudly.

 

BAND-PASS FILTER:  A “filter” in this sense is an electronic circuit such as in mixboards and some mixing equipment that is designed to only pass certain desired frequencies in an audio signal and to reject other frequencies within that same signal. It is “filtering out” frequencies that are not wanted, just like the oil filter in a car removes unwanted particles from the oil. A band-pass filter only allows signals within a certain range (band) of frequencies to pass through and rejects frequencies outside that range (band).

 

B&W:     Black and White, as opposed to colour pictures.

 

BANDWIDTH:     

1) The full range of frequencies over which a tape recorder, amplifier, loudspeaker or other audio device is useful (acceptably accurate).

2) The range of frequencies affected by an EQ knob or tone control.

3) In broadcasting, bandwidth is the range within which a program can be transmitted without distorting and without encroaching on other stations’ broadcasts that are using adjacent frequencies. 

 

BANDWIDTH RESTRICTED, BANDWIDTH RESTRICTED MONITORS:  1) A type of audiovisual equipment that does not operate within the full frequency range of possible sight or sound as able to be perceived by the ear or eyes. 2) Small loudspeakers that are not designed to reproduce the lower bass frequencies.

 

BAR:      

1) Any of the vertical lines drawn across the staff on a sheet of music to divide a piece of music into measures.

2) Atmospheric Measurement. The amount of pressure exerted by the Earth’s atmosphere - 15 pounds per square inch. One “bar” = one atmosphere = 15 pounds per square inch. It’s the amount of pressure the atmosphere puts on one’s body at sea level. “Bar” comes from the Greek word meaning “weight”.

 

BAR GRAPH METER: 

1) Some audio computers and computerised displays on audio equipment can show a representation of selected audio frequencies and their individual volumes relative to the volumes of other frequencies. This is seen as multiple bars moving up and down.

2) Any audio meter that uses rows (bars) of lights to indicate fluctuations in the audio signal.

 

BARITONE:  1) Male singing voice range that is between a tenor and a bass singer’s range. 2) It is a brass instrument used in military bands, shaped like a trumpet. 3) Some musical instruments have “baritone” added to their name to indicate the range of musical notes they are designed to play, such as the “baritone saxophone”.

 

BARITONE 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.

 

BARN DOORS:     Metal flaps which attach to the sides of a cine or photographic lamp’s housing to control its amount of light and its direction cast onto an area. These flaps are commonly seen on any set shooting a video or film.

 

BARREL:       See CONNECTORS TYPES OF.

 

BARRIER MICROPHONE: Also called “boundary microphone” or “pressure zone microphone” - PZM. A microphone attached directly onto a flat plate of metal. The plate of metal reflects sound right into the microphone in addition to the microphone also picking up the sounds in the room directly. The microphone is mounted very near the plate and faces the plate, with a gap of a few millimetres between the microphone and the plate. The area between the plate (the “barrier”) and the microphone is called a “pressure zone”, as the combination of the direct sound and reflected sound are used to help the microphone reproduce sound. It is called a “barrier” microphone as the flat plate creates a “barrier” that stops and reflects the sound into the microphone. These microphones are often used to record conferences or sounds in a room from a distance. They also work well for some specialised uses such as placing on the inside of a piano.

 

B.A.S.E.:        Acronym for Bedini Audio Spatial Enhancer. Bedini is a famous audio electronics designer. The BASE spatial enhancer is able to take a stereo signal and make it sound as though it envelops the entire room and not coming from just the speakers.

 

BASF:     The acronym for a company that manufactures audio recording tape and many other materials. BASF is an abbreviation for “Badische” (a region in Germany) “Aniline” (a colourless oily liquid used in the manufacture of plastic) “Soda” (the chemical compound) and “Fabrik” (the German word for “Factory”). BASF tape is now distributed by EMTEC Pro Media, Inc. BASF was founded in 1865 and today operates in many countries. The BASF group produces oil and natural gas, chemicals, fertilisers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and pigments, potash and salt, inks and printing accessories, electronic recording accessories, cosmetic bases, pharmaceuticals, and other related equipment and products. The most common type of BASF tape used for recording and mixing at Gold is “BASF SM 468” (Studio Master). Production Master tape for high-speed copy is BASF 526.     

 

BASS:     Lower end of the musical scale such as those notes played by a bass guitar or organ pedals. The low frequency sounds in a film’s surround sound mix such as those created by trains, earthquakes, bombs, etc. The “bass” is generally considered to be that range of sound frequencies below 250 Hz. In mixing music or setting up a full-range sound system, the range below 160 Hz is more exactly referred to as the bass, while the frequencies extending up to 250 Hz are considered to be “upper bass”. “Low bass” is a term used to direct attention to the lower bass frequencies (those below 50 Hz). “Sub bass” is used to refer to those frequencies below 30 Hz.

 

BASS AUTHORITY:     Excellent power and impact from those instruments producing the bass notes in a musical piece (live, recorded, or reproduced). Bass authority also refers to the bass notes having clarity in a mix with an emphasis that complements and contributes to music so as have emotional impact.

 

BASS-END, BASS END:      Just like the “high end” in music refers to the treble frequencies, the bass end refers to the bass frequencies.

 

BASS-END MANAGEMENT:       See BASS MANAGEMENT. It’s the same thing.

 

BASS-HEAVY:      1) Too much bass in a mix. 2) The low frequency content of any instrument or sound, if boosted too much by EQ or incorrect microphone placement, is said to be bass-heavy.

 

BASS LINE:  The bass (low notes) part in a musical piece or song as played on a bass guitar, synthesiser, etc. It is called a bass line as it is the notes on the “bass lines” of the written pages of music. Often spoken of when mixing and recording. “He needs to play a new bass line for the recording.”

 

BASS MANAGEMENT or BASS MANAGER:    A device or electronic circuit for controlling and routing the low frequencies in surround soundtracks. Very large surround sound systems such as those in major commercial theatres and professional mixing studios have big, full-range loudspeakers for all surround sound channels. These lager surround systems don’t need bass management, because all their speakers can handle low frequencies. However, other surround sound systems such as those in consumer homes have smaller loudspeakers as the surround speakers, and a small one as well for the centre channel. These smaller speakers cannot handle much in the way of bass information. Therefore, bass management is used to cut off the bass that would normally be sent to these speakers and sends it instead to the subwoofers - which are usually a part of the system. Bass management is what you are adjusting when you select speaker “size” and turn the subwoofer output “on” or “off” on any surround sound receiver or processor. All consumer surround sound receivers and processors used in home surround sound audio systems which have Dolby Digital Surround processing have bass management circuitry. There are settings on these receivers and processors that activate the bass management feature. One such setting, called the “size” setting, tells the receiver or processor that the consumer is using small speakers for all or most of the loudspeakers around the room. And another setting called the subwoofer “off” setting, when turned “off”, means that the large surround sound system method of routing bass information to the loudspeakers is defeated in favour of “bass management”. The “bass management” circuitry takes control of all the bass frequencies heard throughout the entire system. The bass management function, now in control of all bass frequencies, routes all bass sounds to the subwoofer. Note that most consumer surround sound loudspeakers are not full range and can not produce low bass or would distort if sent such, so all the bass that would go to every loudspeaker is routed to the system’s subwoofer by the “bass management” system. It “manages” (controls and directs) the bass.

 

BASS MOD (OTARI BASS MODIFICATION):       Otari is a manufacturer of electronic equipment, including multi-track tape machines. The low frequencies (bass sounds) are the most difficult for an analogue tape machine to reproduce accurately. Therefore, to improve the reproduction of the bass frequencies, a special electronic circuit was designed at Gold and is installed inside the Otari machines. This Bass Mod circuit has adjustments on it that enable one to calibrate the playback of the Otari machine for optimum performance. A similar circuit was also designed and installed here in our Studer tape recorders.

 

BASS REFLEX:     The word “reflex” as used here means to cast back or reflect. It comes from the Latin word meaning “to bend back, to reflect”.  Reproducing bass frequencies requires much more power than any other frequency range, so loudspeaker manufacturers have developed various ways of building speaker boxes which strengthen bass sounds. A speaker element reproduces sound by moving back and forth as the electrical energy of the sound signal from an amplifier strikes it. A “bass reflex” is a type of speaker enclosure that combines the direct sound coming out of the front of the speaker with the reflected (“reflex”) bass frequencies bouncing off of the back of the box. The enclosure has a hole in it called a port or a vent that is built to an exact size to amplify the reflected bass and add it to the sound coming out of the front of the speaker. As a result, there is an increase in volume of low frequencies.

 

BASS ROLL-OFF: The term “roll-off” is used to describe the drop (“roll-off”) in volume of low or high frequencies. A “bass roll-off” is any electronic circuit that drops the volume of low frequencies. It is also the fact of a sound having bass roll-off. The amount of the drop and the frequency at which the circuit becomes active are often pre-determined and designed in by the manufacturer. Some are adjustable by the operator. You will find bass roll-offs on most mixing consoles, one for each channel. They are usually activated by pressing a single button. Often, the frequency at which the roll-off activates can be adjusted by a separate knob. The bass roll-off feature is commonly used for live mixing where there can be unwanted sounds which get into a microphone, like a singer’s breath pops, wind noise or the handling noise made when a performer grasps the microphone. The bass roll-off circuit can lessen the audibility of these unwanted sounds, as they are predominately very low frequencies. However, in the controlled environment of a professional recording studio one would rarely use a bass roll-off because they remove some of the full natural frequencies of a voice or instrument.

 

BAUD RATE: Pronounced “bawd”, after the French inventor Emile Baudot (1845-1903) who developed a way to transmit 5 telegraph messages at once over the same wire. Originally the term “baud rate” meant the number of telegraph keystrokes that a wire could transmit in a second. Note that it is a quantity per unit of time. In modern communication systems the “baud rate” is the number of bits of digital information which can be transmitted or received per second. One comes across this term in regards to transferring data from one computer system to another especially over phone lines.

 

BBE:       The name of a company that makes various types of mixing equipment. The BBE Corporation has licensed its circuits to others and their processing may even be found in some car audio equipment. BBE stands for “Barcus Berry Electronics”. However, BBE is now a separate corporation and no longer affiliated with Barcus Berry - which is a company well known in the music industry for manufacturing guitar electronic parts and accessories.

     

BEAMY:  A loudspeaker is said to be “beamy” when its sound appears to be highly directional and narrowly focused in a way that is unpleasant to listen to. For example, a piercing trumpet note could be said to sound “beamy”. The word comes from a “beam” of light and has spilled over into use in the audio field.

 

BEATING:    

1) There is an unwanted physical phenomenon that occurs when sounds of nearly identical, but just slightly different pitch are mixed together. The slight difference of their pitches can create fluctuations that are heard as a sort of warbling or “beating” of the two sounds against each other. For example if two guitar strings are slightly out of tune or if two trumpets which are out of tune with each other play the same note one may hear beating.

2) The word “beating” also describes when a loudspeaker’s motion forward and backward as it reproduces sound is caused to be excessive due to loud bass sounds, so higher frequencies sound like they are varying up and down in pitch and volume.

 

BEATNIK:     A brand of computer software program for creating and manipulating music utilising computerisation.

 

BEDINI: (See B.A.S.E.)

 

BEEP TONE: 1) A tone put on a third channel on an audio cassette tape used specifically for slide show soundtracks. The beep is not heard by the audience, but a small computer in the slide show system hears it and thereby knows when to change to the next slide. Also called a “cue track”. 2) A tone that prompts someone to do an action or to warn. Some audiovisual equipment and computers have a beep that tells when one has hit a wrong button or asked the machine to perform a wrong command. 3) When doing post lip synching (PLSing), a beep will be played over the actor’s headphones as a cue to start talking.

     

B-FRAME:     A “Backward-looking Frame”. A video term concerning MPEG compression. (See MPEG for exact description of a B-Frame.)

 

BELDEN:       A company that manufactures many different types of cable. The most common type of Belden cable we use on our lines is for connecting together much of the equipment in our studios. This is a grey cable and it is referred to as “grey Belden” or “8761” (its model number).

 

BELL SHAPE:        A type of equaliser whose frequency response, if graphed out on paper, resembles a bell. The width of the bell as well as the centre frequency and amplitude of the centre frequency can be adjusted.

 

BELT DRIVE:        A method of rotating the platter of a turntable by means of a belt, usually made of rubber, which connects the turntable's motor to the platter.

 

BER:       (See BIT ERROR RATE)

 

BERNIE GRUNDMAN:        A famous Mastering Engineer in LA.

 

BETACAM, BETACAM SP, BETACAM SX:       Three broadcast-quality formats developed by Sony for recording video onto a videocassette. Normal analogue Betacam is “SP” (Superior Performance), while Betacam “SX” is one of Sony’s newer Digital versions of Betacam. SX tape is specifically used with Sony’s Betacam SX video format, which is a digital format for Digital Television (DTV) broadcasting.

NOTE:    SX is not as high quality as the Sony “Digital Betacam” format. It is an intermediate quality between Sony’s analogue Betacam SP format and Sony Digital Betacam.) “SX” stands for “Superior Digital” (the “X” was a letter chosen by Sony marketing and engineers to signify the tape is for a digital format as opposed to SP, which is an analogue format.

 

BETA TEST, BETA TESTING:    A quality control technique where the new product is put on trial usage with select consumers and-or professional users so any last minute bugs can be worked out before it is broadly marketed and sold. It is called “beta” because beta stands for the second letter of the Greek alphabet - and the Beta Test is the second phase of testing, after it has already been tested at the factory. The first testing is sometimes called the Alpha Test.

 

BETA-VCR:   A defunct Sony video format, which is more often referred to as “Beta”. It was actually a very high quality video recording and playback method, one Sony pushed to gain market share over normal VHS (Video Home System) video years ago. VHS won rapidly at consumer level, even though the Sony system was higher quality. The Beta format remained in use professionally for a few years during the 80’s then completely disappeared.

     

BEYOND-THE-SPEAKERS-IMAGING:     The placement of musical instrument and vocal images beyond (to the outsides of) the actual physical location of the loudspeakers.

 

B FRAME:      (See MPEG.)

 

BGW AMPLIFIER:       BGW is a company that makes loudspeaker amplifiers.

     

BGW SUBWOOFER:    This is the brand name of large professional subwoofers.

 

BI-AMPLIFICATION: The process of having low-frequency loudspeakers and high-frequency speakers within the same system driven by separate amplifiers. “Bi” means two - and each speaker system uses two amplifiers, one for the highs and one for the low frequencies.

 

BIAS CURRENT:  This is a small amount of electricity used inside audio amplifiers specifically to be applied to transistors or vacuum tubes to activate them so that they can operate and do their job with the actual audio program signal when received for amplification. (Compare BIAS and BIAS FREQUENCY.)

     

BIAS FREQUENCY:     This is the frequency of the bias signal used in a tape recorder to help get the sound onto the tape accurately and without distortion. There is a rule of thumb that the bias frequency should be 5X the highest frequency that the equipment is capable of recording. For example, our Studer master recorders can record accurately up to 25,000 Hz. The bias frequency used is 125,000 Hz. (Compare BIAS CURRENT.)

 

BIAS TRAPS:       Bias traps are built into analogue tape recorders. Even though the bias frequency is well above the highest frequency a machine will record and reproduce (and well above what the human ear can hear), the bias frequency will still interfere with a recording if allowed to pass beyond the recorder’s circuits where it is needed. Ideally the bias in a recorder stays exactly where the record head meets the tape and doesn’t “leak” into the other record and playback circuitry where it will interfere with the quality of the sound. Bias traps are electronic circuits installed to “trap” the bias frequency and prevent it from going somewhere in the tape machine’s electronics where it shouldn’t be.

 

BI-DIRECTIONAL PATTERN:   A microphone pick-up pattern that has maximum pick-up directly in front and directly in back of it and minimum pick-up at its sides. A microphone with a “bi-directional pattern” picks up sound from two directions. For example, if you look at the front of a bi-directional microphone, you will be looking at an area of the microphone that is sensitive to sound. If you rotate it 180 degrees and look at its back, you will see the other area of the microphone that is sensitive to sound. The sides of the bi-directional mic are not very sensitive to sound so they tend to reject any that comes from those directions. Some microphones will pick up sounds in a variety of directions or from all directions and have a switch on them to select the pick-up pattern desired.

 

BIG BOTTOM:      See APHEX BIG BOTTOM.

 

BIG SCREEN TV: See REAR PROJECTION TV.

 

BILLOWING, BILLOWY:   Excessively reverberant. One hears an excess field of reverb (echo) surrounding the recorded sound (voice or instrument). The sound itself loses focus and solidity.

       

BINARY, BINARY SYSTEM:     The binary numbering system. The word comes from “bin”, from the Latin meaning “two”. We are usually accustomed to thinking with numbers in groups of 10 (1 - 10). This is called the decimal system (“deci” meaning “10” or “10th”). The binary system of numbering is the language of computers. This system has only two numbers, “1” and “0”. A computer has electronic circuits. It is easy for a circuit to be “on” or “off” (passing electricity or not passing electricity). Therefore, the binary system (“1” and “0”) can be equated to “on” or “off” - meaning the electricity is passing or it is not passing. Computers can read “on” and “off” very easily. Each “1” and “0” is actually a small bit of “information” to a computer. To the computer, the number “1” is “on” and the number “0” is “off”. You can grab a math book to study the binary system further, but as regards the audiovisual field, it is really only important to know that digital audio and video equipment uses the binary system. (Such equipment is computer-based.) A CD or DVD player is actually a small computer. There are computer chips inside that process the music so one can hear it. Just like any computer, CD and DVD players operate using the binary system. In all digital audiovisual equipment, computerised circuits read binary information. You may have heard of the word “bit”. A bit is the smallest unit of information a computer uses to do its work, and it can be assigned as either a “1” or a “0” per the binary system. When you type a letter by striking a key on a computer, you are sending a binary number message to the computer. Each typed letter is made up of different combinations of bits. So, really, a bit is simply a charge of electricity - or no electricity. It has a value of either “on” or “off”. A letter typed on the computer might have the following binary series; 01001101. Each of those individual numbers is a bit. The computer would see that sequence of numbers (bits) and know the zeros are “off” (no current is to be passed) and the ones are “on” (current is to be passed). Each letter has its own unique series of bits. The computer sees the unique series of “on” and “off” bits, so it knows what to do and it can put the letter you typed on its screen. Different combinations of individual bits tells the computer which letter or number key has been pressed. Inside every computer are devices called “microprocessors” (also called “microchips”). A microprocessor has an incredible amount of electronic circuitry which has been condensed down to a very small size (thus the term “micro” is used). Actually what is inside the chip are vast collections of “transistors”. A transistor is a device that can be told to “transfer” a signal, or not transfer the signal. It can turn on or off - it can switch on or off. Since a bit is either a “1” or a “0” (“on” or “off”), the bits can signal the transistors if they should switch “on” or “off”. It’s the transistors, passing or not passing electrical current that is the basis of the computer and its ability to create or detect “on” or “off” information. That is a very simplistic, but accurate, description of how a computer works.

 

BINAURAL:   “Bin” means “two”. “Binaural” literally means hearing two sources of sound, one for each ear. Note however that “binaural” is different than “stereo”. It is different in this one important respect: In stereo, both ears hear both sound sources but in binaural, each ear hears only one of two sources. So the word “binaural” precisely means that your two ears are each hearing BUT EACH HEARS A SINGLE DIFFERENT SOURCE OF SOUND, EACH EAR DOES NOT HEAR TWO DIFFERENT SOURCES. For example, when you listen over headphones, each ear has its OWN earpiece. Both ears are not hearing both earpieces. Each ear hears only its earpiece. That is binaural. It is your two ears listening to two different sources but each ear is only hearing its own separate source. Why do we have this word at all? And why don’t we just call it “stereo”? It’s for this reason:       When you listen in stereo, both ears hear BOTH SPEAKERS. It’s not like headphones where each ear hears only its own headphone (“ear speaker”). When listening to stereo loudspeakers, you could turn off one of the speakers yet your two ears will still hear the one speaker still playing. But one speaker is not stereo. Stereo requires two sources, both playing at the same time, with both sources heard by both ears. Only one loudspeaker playing is also not “binaural” because there is only one source of the sound now and binaural means TWO sources of sound. (The word “monaural” is used when there is only one source of sound - “mono” meaning “one”.)  By technical definition, when you listen in stereo, both ears hear BOTH sound sources. That is true stereo. So, what are “stereo headphones” then? In reality, there is no such thing! With all headphones, one ear hears one source of sound and the other ear hears another source (the other earpiece). Therefore, technically speaking, that is NOT stereo because both ears are not hearing both headphones (the left and the right) at the same time. So, all headphones are actually “binaural”, not stereo. One seems to hear a “stereo effect” when listening to headphones because, when the music is mixed, some instruments are put to the left or right and some in the middle. As the sounds are different between the two sides, you therefore apparently hear “stereo” when listening over headphones. Correctly labelled, headphones are “binaural”.

 

BINDING POSTS:       The connectors found on the back of loudspeakers are commonly referred to as “binding posts”. Some amplifiers have large connectors at their rear, which can also be referred to as “binding posts”.  Such connectors are designed with a hard plastic nut that screws down over the wire thus binding it to the contact point. Most loudspeaker binding post connectors will also accept a banana plug.

     

BIOS:     Acronym for Basic Input-Output System. The “BIOS” is a set of instructions that directs the computer’s actions. In most computers, BIOS is programmed into a microchip that is installed inside the computer. The BIOS in a computer affects such things as powering up and testing itself, its hardware operation, how its inputs and outputs receive and send data and writing data onto discs.  

 

BI-PHASE:    “Bi” means “two” and “phase” means “time” or timing in relationship to some other object or action.  In electronics, “phase” is the timing relationship between two similar frequency waveforms. “Bi-Phase” is a method for generating and recording time code signals that uses two separate voltages - meaning two different phases of an electrical signal. One phase corresponds to the digital value “0” and the second phase corresponds to the value “1”.  This method of generating and recording time code allows machines using the code to know whether to play forward or backwards and at high, normal or low speed.

 

BIPOLE: A speaker design that generates equal amounts of sound both forward and backward, with the two sounds being in phase. Compare with “dipole”, a speaker design that generates equal amounts of sound both forward and backward with the two sounds being out of phase. A bipole speaker is one designed to generate equal amounts of sound both forward and backward, with the two sounds being "in phase”.  Bipole speakers are often used for surround speakers in home consumer surround audio systems. It’s up to the consumer and what he or she prefers or ends up installing - even normal (front firing only) speakers are used, and preferred.

 

BIRD:     Slang for satellite. “The event has started and we are now live, up on the bird”.        

 

BIREFRINGENCE:      The word “birefringence” is used to describe a fault in the recording or playback of a compact disc, DVD or other types of digital CD-type discs. It means that the laser light used to record or read the data is refracted in two different directions by the base material (plastic portion) of the CD. It is caused mainly by improper cooling of the CD’s plastic material during manufacture. Refringent means of, pertaining to or producing refraction, refractive. It comes from the Latin word meaning “to refract”. Refraction (from the Latin word meaning to break away) means causing to swerve or turn aside (deflect). When light or sound passes from one medium to another (like from air to glass or water), it is deflected, or caused to change direction. Refraction can also occur within a single substance that is not uniform in density. Birefringence is unwanted, since it interferes with the quality of the sound or DVD’s pictures. Users, however, cannot determine that it is birefringence causing the poor performance in their CD or DVD recorders or playback machines.

 

BISCUIT BOX:     When at a live event, the audiovisual production crews usually each wear a headset so as to communicate together. Some members of the crew, and executives, don’t wear the headsets, instead they use a small tabletop intercom, which can sit next to them. Industry slang calls it a “biscuit box” because it is just a small metal box - similar to a little metal breadbox, or biscuit box.

     

BIT:        Bit is an abbreviation for “Binary Digit”. A bit is the smallest unit of digital information accepted and processed by computers and computerised audiovisual equipment. The word comes from a computer industry designer who, years ago, came up with cute names for the small electronic signals computers use. He called the smallest single unit of information a “BIT”, the next largest unit a “NIBBLE” (made up of four “bits”) and the next largest unit (equal to 8 bits) a “BITE” - which he spelled as “byte” to give the word a sort of computer terminology flair. As you can see, the words chosen are an analogy to eating food - one can take a bit (a small bit of food), a nibble (equal to several bits of food) or a whole big bite (“byte”). A bit is assigned a value using the binary system. It can be assigned as either a “0” or a “1”. The bit represents electrical charge. It is either “on” or “off”.  (0 is “off” and 1 is “on”.)  So really, a bit represents a message to a computer.  A bit tells the computer to either allow electricity to flow or to not allow it to flow.  For example, if you were to type into a computer the single letter “M”, the “M” would be a message made of several bits - eight total to be exact. The message might look like this, inside the computer; “01101110”. Just by pressing the “M” key on your computer, you told the computer to process 8 bits of information, in that sequence. The letter “N” also has eight bits, and they are also 1s and 0s, but in a different order. The computer knows that is an “N” and the other message an “M”. It knows this for all numbers and letters. Even the most complex computer information is just different amounts and sequences of individual bits. So, really, a bit is simply a charge of electricity - or no electricity. It has a value of either “on” or “off”.  Bits are also used in another way:      In digital audiovisual equipment, a total amount of bits is available at any given instant the machine is operating.  For example, a normal music CD player is a “16 bit” device.  This means that the CD player provides up to 16 bits of information at any given moment of time. Some digital equipment has more bits available, some less.  

 

BIT CLOCK:  Every computer, or computerisation inside a digital audiovisual device, has a crystal oscillator inside its circuitry. (An “oscillator” is something that electronically vibrates.) It is somewhat similar to the type of quartz crystal timing circuit used in a digital wristwatch. The watch’s crystal vibrates very precisely - so precisely and accurately that exact time can be kept after you set your watch to the correct time. The crystal’s vibrations are used to compute seconds, minutes, hours, etc. So many vibrations = so many seconds. It is the same inside the computer. The crystal vibrations in a computer are used as a reference signal, just like your watch uses the vibrations as a reference signal. In the computer, the vibrations are the evenly paced pulses that determine the computer’s speed. During each clock “tick”, the computer actually does something. In between clock “ticks” the computer does nothing. The more clock ticks per second, the faster the computer will run (do its work). The term “Bit Clock” refers to this clocking action computers and computerised digital audiovisual equipment do. It allows the computer to determine where each group of bits is. Clocking is important as well when hooking one digital device up to another digital device. In passing digital data, the receiving device must know where each group of bits starts and stops so it can process it. A “bit clock” signal is sent with the digital data so this can be determined by the receiving device. If not for this feature in digital audiovisual equipment, dropout or distortion may result. Sometimes a separate cable is used between audiovisual equipment just for the clocking signal to pass between them. There is also a term called “word clock”, which is very similar to bit clock - the difference being how some computer systems group their data.

 

BIT ERROR RATE:      (Abbreviated BER) Bit errors are caused by interference, or loss of signal, so a stream of bits is disrupted. Bit error rate is a measure of the errors in a transmitted digital signal.

 

BITMAP:       1) This has to do with computer printers - when an image is printed off by a computer. The bitmap is a record (stored memory data) of the pattern of dots needed to create a specific character (letter) in a certain size and with whatever attributes are desired (such as boldface, italicised, etc.) The printer’s own internal computer circuits use the “bitmap” (which it receives from the main computer sending the page to be printed). The bitmap tells the printer how exactly to print the page. 2) A bitmap is also a type of display on a computer of all the data bits that make up an image. (Compare VECTOR-BASED ART.)

 

BIT RATE:     The rate or frequency at which bits appear in a bit stream. “Bit rate” is measured in units of information (“bits”) per unit of time, as in “bits per second”. Generally, the more bits per second that a computer or piece of computerised equipment can transfer and-or process, the faster its operation.

 

BIT RESOLUTION:     Seen as “16 Bit”, “20 bit”, “24 bit”, etc. The number of bits used by computerised audiovisual equipment to record, store and pass information. Specifically this is the number of bits per sample.    

 

BIT STREAM:       A continuous transmission of digital bits (digital information). The term can also generally be used to describe any digital connection or wire or flow of bits, such as the digital cable that is used to connect a CD player transport to a D to A Converter. It can also be a flow of bit information inside an audiovisual device. For example, when a CD is played, its digital information is sent (transmitted) over wire or via a circuit board to the part of the CD player’s internal circuitry that converts digital to analogue signal so one can listen over loudspeakers or headphones. It is any stream of digital information. Also called a DATASTREAM. Refers to any stream of bits transmitted over a communications line between two devices. When two computers transmit between themselves using a digital hook-up, the transmission is called a “bit stream”. This term is often used in regards to DVD-Video players. There is a connector on the back of such players that is called the “BIT STREAM”. What it is, is the output connector that must connect up to a surround sound receiver or processor in order to hear Dolby Digital surround sound of any type, or DTS digital surround sound.

 

BI WIRING: Some loudspeakers have separate binding posts (connectors) for both bass and treble (low and high frequencies). When ONE amplifier is used with only ONE set of amplifier connectors hooked up to BOTH sets of binding posts ON THE LOUDSPEAKER - meaning 2 sets of wires are required with both sets hooked to one set of connectors at the amplifier and to separate connectors at the speaker - the speaker is said to be “BI-WIRED” (“bi” meaning “two”).

 

BKC:       BKC stands for “Back-up C”. (The “C” stands for “Clipstore.”)  This is a specialised command for the SADiE computer and its use is covered in the SADiE manual, but its exact definition is not, so it is given here.

 

BKE:       BKE stands for “Back-up E”. (The E stands for “Edit Decision List.”) This is a specialised command for the SADiE computer and its use is covered in the SADiE manual, but its exact definition is not, so it is given here. 

     

BKM:      BKM stands for “Back-up Mixer”.) This is a specialised command for the SADiE computer and its use is covered in the SADiE manual, but its exact definition is not, so it is given here.

 

BLIMP:  A sound-absorbing jacket that can be put around a motion picture camera to reduce its mechanical noise. Most modern professional film cameras made for film shooting with sound are built to be silent-running.

 

BLACK AND WHITE FILM:        Film for shooting moving or still images in black and white. It has an emulsion that, when processed in the lab, presents an image that transforms the real life colours of the image shot into various shades of black, grey and white. Black and white film was used for most all commercial film releases until the mid-1950’s, when Eastman Colour film became popular. Since then nearly all Hollywood films are shot and released in colour, although black and white is still sometimes used to convey a certain mood and look. Black and white film is still commonly used for some still photography applications.

 

BLACK a VIDEO TAPE (to):     To put a totally black image on a video tape. Such is done before and after the actual picture program so the video screen is black and there are no distracting glitches to see. The black signal also has synchronisation information in it that helps a video machine run stably.

 

BLACK BURST:    Also called Black Signal and Black Reference. A colour video signal that is black only (absence of any picture information, but it totally blacks the screen). The black burst signal has synchronisation information that helps a video machine run stably.

       

BLACK SIGNAL:   (See BLACK BURST.)

 

BLACK REFERENCE:   (See BLACK BURST.)

       

BLANK (tape):    Nothing recorded on the tape. It is fresh tape or has been entirely erased.

 

BLANKETED: In audio, weak high frequencies (treble) as if you had put a blanket over the speakers or microphone.

 

BLANK or BLANKED or BLANKED OUT:

1) To stop a TV or video picture from being seen.

2) A sudden cessation of the picture being watched by an audience. “The picture just blanked out.”

3) A missing portion of a TV video picture. “The video is blank in that section.” 4) Any black colour signal fed to a TV screen instead of the actual TV or video picture.

 

BLANKING:  Televisions, video projectors and some computer monitors create their picture by “scanning lines” - lines which scan across the screen very rapidly. They move from left to right and down the screen. They only produce the picture when moving from left to right. When they reposition themselves by going backwards (right to left), there is no image generated. (Even though it is all happening ultra-fast, there would be a distorted image created when the repositioning of the scanning lines occurs, and that’s why this repositioning motion is blanked out in a video signal.) “Blanking” means that the electronic scanning beam used to create the video image on a screen is turned off for the very brief time it is moving from the bottom of the screen back to the top. One then only sees the image made by their left to right, top to bottom motion, which is when they generate the actual picture one is trying to watch on the screen. The blanking is actually black but it happens so fast the eye doesn’t perceive it - you only see the picture of the TV video on the screen.

 

BLASTY: Referring to a sound signal that has blasts in it.

 

BLER:     Acronym for Block Error Rate. Block error rates indicate the number of blocks that contain erroneous bytes in a CD-ROM (Compact Disc-Read Only Memory) or other digital storage medium. BLERs also serve to gauge the quality and accuracy of mastering, replication, CD-R (CD-Recordable) and other encoding processes. An average BLER of less than 220 is considered within most specifications of CD-ROM production.

 

BLOATED:     Too much upper bass frequency content in a sound (in a mix or loudspeaker system).

 

BLOCK:  1) A collection of computer data that is grouped together so that it can be more efficiently sent, received and-or processed by a computer. The groupings of the data are done in bytes. For example, when computer files are transferred via a modem, the data is transferred in BLOCKS. In smaller modems the size of the block that can be handled at one time is 128 bytes. Larger modems can handle 1024 byte blocks. 2) A group of data stored as a unit on an external storage medium, such as a floppy disc, and handled as a unit by the computer for input or output…“A block of data.”  3) A section of storage locations within a computer allocated to a particular set of instructions or data. “That data is stored in its own block.” 4) A group of consecutive machine words organised as a unit and guiding a particular computer operation, especially with reference to input and output. “The output block on my Macintosh is set up for a full-colour printer.”

 

BLOCK DIAGRAM:      A simplified diagram showing the various component parts or stages that make up a piece of audio equipment, showing each of these with a box that is labelled. The path of the signal through the equipment is shown by lines or arrows connecting the blocks. Block diagrams are used to trace the signal flow through the equipment to aid connection, operation and troubleshooting. Additionally, a block diagram can be used to show the flow of a signal or a product from one piece of equipment or production line to another.

 

BLOOM: In sound, a quality of richness and warmth, like the live body sound of a cello. Adequate low frequencies. Spacious. Good reproduction of dynamics and reverberation. The sounds coming from the loudspeakers seem to sort of open up and present themselves with full size and dimension.

 

BLUE BOOK: First released in January of 1996, the “Blue Book” gives the technical specifications for the CD Plus (also known as CD Extra or Enhanced Music CD). (See CD PLUS.) It’s called the “Blue Book” because the front and back covers of the original publication are blue. This type of CD contains written text, graphics and still pictures as well as audio. When the contents of such CDs are created, they are done at separate times - not all at once. For example, music would be added in one session, the text in another, pictures next, etc. This is known as a “multi-session” production.  Note that the CD Plus is not a recordable CD, so the consumer cannot record over its contents. CD Plus discs are intended to be played on any CD audio player, on PCs and on personal audio players.

 

BLUE LASER:       A newer type of laser system for CD (and DVD) playback. It is a more precision laser beam and is used in higher quality CD and DVD players. Previously, the most commonly used laser was red. Blue laser makes possible far higher storage rates on CD’s and DVD’s.

       

BLUETOOTH:       Bluetooth is a wireless connection for computers. Companies, such as Toshiba, are pushing the Bluetooth format in hopes that consumers will be able to use small handheld personal digital assistants (PDA’s) away from their main computer, then return with their PDA and be able to transfer files and information between the PDA and main computer, without having to hook up any wires between the two.  “Bluetooth” is the English translation for the name of a Scandinavian god who united all Scandinavian countries. (The Bluetooth format “unites” computers wirelessly.) 

 

BLUMLEIN PAIR:        Two microphones with bi-directional pickup patterns placed to pick up a stereo image. This technique was developed by Alan D. Blumlein in the 1930’s. The two microphone heads are placed close together so that one microphone faces the right side of the stage and the second microphone faces the left side.

 

BLURRED:     Vague stereo imaging, not focused. Each individual sound in a mix is not clearly separate from the other sounds. Each individual sound does not appear to have a precise location within the mix’s soundstage.

 

BMG:      One of the largest music companies in the world called Bertelsmann Music Group. The company that used to be known as Capital Records was bought by Bertelsmann, a German company.

 

BMI:       An abbreviation for Broadcast Music Incorporated. This is a non-profit organisation founded in the USA in 1940. It is retained 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. BMI ensures that those who commercially use a musical work pay royalties.

 

BNC:      Origin is uncertain. BNC refers to a type of connector commonly used in video and digital transmission. The name may have come from Bayonet Neill Concelman (designer), or Baby N-connector, or bayonet connector). A BNC is a locking connector coaxial cable. What "BNC" truly stands for is still debated. 1) There is an "N-connector”, similar to, but larger than the BNC-type, used for fat coaxial cables. 2) British Nut Connector, Bayonet Navel Connector and British Navel Connector (so called because the end of a BNC resembles a navel) are also listed in some definitions. This type of connector is commonly found on professional video equipment and is easy to connect. These connectors are used for video equipment because they can pass the high frequencies very accurately.

 

BOARD:

1) Another term for mixboard. Also called a mix console or “desk”

2) Short for circuit board.

 

BODY:    A sound is said to have “body” when it has sufficient lower midrange and bass frequencies. Lacking such, the sound can be described as “thin”. A sound, (a mix or the sound quality of a loudspeaker system) has “body” when the overall sound presented and individual sounds heard are very much there and they sound as rich, full and natural as they should if heard live.

 

BODY SOUND:     Of a musical instrument:     The characteristic sound of the material of which the instrument is made, due to the resonance of that material. The wooden quality of a viola, the characteristic sound by which a brass flute is distinguishable from a wooden or platinum one.

 

BONUS TRACK:   An extra song added to a music or video release (CD, DVD, etc.) that is in addition to the expected program. An extra song or songs not on the original release or version.

 

BOOKS: There are many various books which contain all the industry-set and agreed upon technical specifications for all types of audiovisual products that exist, such as for all types of CD’s and DVD’s. When producing such products, these books can be obtained and used by technicians and operators to ensure their product meets all industry standards. You hear these books referred to by colours. The “Red Book” sets the technical standards for the CD and CD players, for example.      

 

BOOKMARKS:      DVD videos have “bookmarks”, like the chapters in a book. These separate the film on the DVD into sections that one can access immediately without having to scroll through the whole film.

 

BOOK MATCHED:        Better loudspeaker cabinets, when they are of high quality woods, are made in “book matched pairs”.  This means that the woods on each have been taken from the same tree and, when the loudspeaker cabinets are placed next to each other, one will see that where the wood grain goes in a certain pattern and direction on one, it does the same on the other loudspeaker cabinet. They are “book matched” (like two opposite pages from a book which go together, each with the printing and margins made so they look the same when you read them).

 

BOOM:  

1) A telescoping arm that is attached to a microphone stand. It allows a variety of microphone positions and can be adjusted at various angles and distances from an actor or instrument.

2) A large rig designed for microphones on a film set. It consists of an adjustable upright shaft that can vary in height from 5 feet to about 12 feet, and it has a very large telescoping arm that can reach out as much as 20 feet or more onto a large film set. This rig also has a platform for the Boom Operator to stand on, tires and a steering mechanism so that it can be moved around the set between and even during a shot. 

 

BOOMBOX:   Any cheap portable audio system - usually with a radio, CD player and-or a tape cassette player made of plastic. Also called a “ghetto blaster”. Called a boombox because bass notes coming from them just sound like “boom” “boom” (no distinction). Mixers often check their mixes on a boombox to make sure the mix sounds at least somewhat acceptable on such because so many persons own and use boomboxes.

 

BOOMSTAND:      (See BOOM.)

 

BOOMY: Sound characterised by exaggerated bass and upper bass frequencies. In mixing, a “boomy” sound is a bass note or lower drum sound which is not well defined or clearly articulated and preventing other sounds in the mix from being clearly heard. Its sound tends to blur and hang on after the sound should have decayed (gone inaudible). Boomy is a description of a mix’s or loudspeaker’s sound quality that has unwanted resonance in the low frequencies, or a broad bass accentuation that is undesirable. It is also referred to as “tubby” or “bassy”.

 

BOOST:  To increase gain, especially to increase the gain at specific frequencies with an equaliser.

 

BOOT:    In computers, “boot” means “starting up the programme” [incorrect definition – Myk]. It can also be applied to devices that contain microprocessors (small computers) in them.

 

BOTTOM (the), BOTTOM END (the):    In sound, the bottom, or bottom end are the low bass frequencies.

 

BOUNCE, BOUNCE-DOWN:      This is a term used in the operation of SADiE. 1) To rerecord audio from one or a pair of channels (called “streams” in SADiE) to another channel(s). Also to take an audio program from inside SADiE and send it to a PC disk or external drive. 2) To rerecord audio from many tracks of a multi-track tape onto one, two or a few tracks. For example, in doing the mixdown for a film’s soundtrack, the Mixers usually take the film’s many sound effects tracks, do a special mix for these and bounce them down onto a few tracks. It is common for the sound effects of a film to start out as 8 or more separate tracks. In order to better handle these in a final mixdown, these 8 tracks can be mixed down (“bounced”) and rerecorded onto 2 tracks (the final number of tracks can vary depending on what is needed for the mixdown). 4) There is another term that means the same thing as “bounce”, and that is “ping-pong”.

 

BOX:     

1) Any loudspeaker cabinet.

2) Any electronics device used for mixing such as a reverb unit.

 

BOXY:    Having resonances as if the music were enclosed in a box. Emphasis around 250 to 500 Hz. Used to describe the upper-bass to lower-midrange sound of a loudspeaker with excessive cabinet-wall resonances. Literally, the sounds seem like they are coming from a box and being coloured to sound like sound is resonating within, then exiting, the box itself. 

 

BPM:      Abbreviation for Beats Per Minute. (The number of pulses in music occurring in one minute and thus defining the tempo of a song.)

 

BRASS INSTRUMENTS:     Horns, such as trumpets, trombones, tubas, etc.

 

BREAK UP:   1) The sound of severe distortion. Loudspeakers can “break up” if they are driven by too much power or an incorrect type of signal. Any electronic equipment can break up if it is fed too much signal strength. 2) When shifting the sounds in a mix between two loudspeakers, one wants a smooth flow of the sound moving across to the next speaker. Sometimes, especially when mixing with many surround loudspeakers, the sounds can “jump” (not smoothly transition between them) even though the Mixer is moving his controls smoothly. The sounds are said to “break up” or “break” when this happens. Often such a break up occurs due to phenomena with certain sound frequencies or how the loudspeakers are aimed to the listener and the sound’s interaction with the room. It can be handled by EQ'ing (adjusting the tone) of the sound so it transitions smoothly.

 

BREATH CONTROLLER:    A device used with synthesisers to simulate the control of woodwind, reed and brass instruments including the increase of volume with increase in breath and the start of sound with tonguing. It makes the artificially synthesised sounds of these instruments considerably more realistic.

 

BREATHING:        More commonly referred to as “pumping”. In mixing sound, an audible rising and falling of background noise which become objectionable when incorrectly using an expander. (The expander is a piece of mixing equipment used to remove noise from an audio program, and if incorrectly set it can cause the background noise to “breathe”.)

       

BREATHY:     1) Audible breath sounds when woodwinds and reed instruments are played. 2) Said of audio loudspeaker systems when they have good response in the upper-mids or highs as one tends to hear the air in the recording or mix better.

     

BRICKWALL FILTER: An electronic circuit built into digital recording and playback equipment that prevents audio frequencies higher than a specified limit from being recorded and-or reproduced. At the very highest frequencies there is a “brickwall” which will not allow any audio information above those frequencies to be processed by the digital electronics. Most CD equipment has a brickwall at 22,000 Hertz. The brickwall is created electronically. No signals above those frequencies are allowed to pass.

 

BRIDGED (bridged mode):     Some stereo audio amplifiers can be “bridged”, meaning that their two stereo channels can be combined into one channel to create more power (wattage). The amp is no longer stereo when used in this mode. It is just producing one channel. Two amps are therefore needed - one for the left speaker and another for the right - if used in a stereo system in the “bridged mode”.  Instructions for how to bridge a stereo amplifier are usually in writing on the back of the amp or in its instruction manual if the amp has this capability.

 

BRIDGING:  Having an input impedance much higher than the output impedance of the device feeding it. This is to better “bridge” the two units together, as the receiving piece of equipment will easily accept the signal from the sending unit. Most modern recording equipment has bridging inputs. If the impedance is not higher, then the receiving piece of equipment could alter the volume of the sending equipment just by the nature of the electrical hook-up between them - the resistance or lack of it between them. Equipment with a bridging input will not affect the level (volume) of the signal put out by the device feeding it.

 

BRIGHT (sometimes called “Brilliant”):    High-frequency emphasis. A lot of treble. Brightness usually relates to the frequency content in the 4 kHz - 8 kHz frequency band. The right amount of brightness makes the sound alive and natural.

 

BRING SOUNDS FORWARD INTO THE ROOM:   A mixing term wherein the sounds being mixed are not allowed to be flat and stuck just around the locations of the loudspeakers themselves, but actually made to reach out into the listening area of the room. In surround sound mixing, the Mixer views the listening seating area as a space; and efforts are made to get the sounds of the mix to be placed within that space, not just over where the loudspeakers themselves are. This is done by placing some portion of the various sounds into opposite loudspeakers, together with creative use of reverberation and delays.

 

BRITTLE:      Unwanted high frequency sound peaks. A recorded or reproduced sound having a characteristic that might equate to physical objects made of a thin, hard and brittle material. It’s as if they might break. It is not pleasant to listen to.

 

BROADBAND:      “Broadband” means sending multiple TV programs, phone services, Internet services, etc. to consumers all over one wire, fibre optic cable or one satellite station’s signal. Each separate program or service has its own separate carrier wave within the overall feed or signal, thus they don’t interfere with each other. Broadband technology is used for Digital TV (DTV) broadcasts, interactive TV, DSLs, ISDN lines and computer networks. 

 

BROADCAST:       1) A show sent over the air (radio or TV or satellite TV). 2) The action of doing such a broadcast. 

 

BROADCAST MUSIC INCORPORATED: See BMI.

 

BROADCAST QUALITY:     1) Audio and video program that is of a quality suitable for broadcast. 2) Equipment or master tapes that meet the standards of the industry.

 

BROADCAST STATION:     The radio, TV or satellite station used to broadcast a show.

 

BROWSER:   See WEB BROWSER.

 

BRUSHED ALUMINIUM:    Aluminium having a very fine hairline texture which gives an even, consistent finish over the entire surface area to give it a professional, classy look. It appears to have been “brushed” by an abrasive. The vast majority of audiovisual equipment has brushed aluminium surfaces, if not painted. As aluminium is relatively soft, care should be taken to not scratch or nick its surfaces. Cleaning should only be done with a very soft cotton cloth and ammonia.

 

BRUTE FORCE RESOLVER:       A “resolver” is an electronic circuit that uses the motor rotating speed of one audiovisual machine to make another machine run at exactly the same time, together with the first machine. A “brute force” resolver uses a strong electrical current to control - by “brute force” (of electricity) - the speed of the second machine. The first machine is called the “master” and the machine being forced to run in perfect synchronisation with it is called the “slave machine(s)”. A brute force resolver is used in some applications where, for example, a film projector must run in exact synchronisation with an audio tape recorder supplying sound. The projector’s motor establishes the running speed of the film and a sensor detects the motor’s precise revolutions per minute (rpm).  The tape machine supplying audio for the film is hooked up so it runs at the exact same speed as the projector’s motor. What is “resolved” is the speed of their motors. The resolver takes the rotations of the master’s motor and, based on those, sends out an electrical current that drives the slave(s) and forces their motors to run at the same speed as the master. If the master speeds up, the slaves speed up, if the master slows down, the slaves slow down.

 

BRYSTON:    This is the name of a Canadian company that manufactures very reliable loudspeaker amplifiers.

 

BS:  Back Surround. Dolby and DTS surround systems for film add one or two back surround channel loudspeakers.

     

B-62:      Model number of the Studer tape playback machine used on the Nakamichi Cassette Copy Line in A.V. Manufacturing. This B-62 was specially upgraded so as to be used on the Nakamichi Copy Line as the playback machine. The Studer B-62 was a predecessor of the A-80 models that are used on our audio production lines.

 

BSS:       Abbreviation for Brooks - Siren. The name of a British manufacturer of professional audio gear used in mixing and live sound presentations. They make EQ’s, delay units and all manner of other mixing components.

 

B-3 ORGAN: One of the most famous musical instruments ever made. Produced years ago by the Hammond Company, the B-3 model is the classic organ sound heard on rock, jazz and blues records. 

 

BTX SHADOW:     BTX Shadow is a brand name. “Shadow”, as used here, refers to the ability to follow something. The BTX Shadow is a piece of equipment used to make tape machines run in synchronisation with each other.

 

BUDGET LEVEL:   The cheapest sort of a halfway decent consumer level audiovisual equipment. It’s above ghetto-blaster level, and is the least expensive entry-level audiovisual equipment.

 

BUFFER:        1) A small amount of digital memory, directly available in a computer or piece of digital audiovisual equipment that holds, momentarily, instructions or other information in it. A common example of a “buffer” is in portable CD players that have skip protection - they literally store the CD’s sound in a buffer and if the CD skips while one is jogging, no skip in the music is heard because it has been storing the music in the buffer and playing it from the buffer. The buffer is just a computer chip inside the CD player. 2) In digital audio equipment, there is always a buffer. Consider it a sort of “holding tank” for when digital information is played off digital tape from inside the machine. There is always some degree of error in the signal coming off the tape. Tape speed is not always constant, the tape stretches a bit, and the mechanism moving the tape is not always ultra-precise. Pitches of the sounds recorded can slightly change; there can be ever-so-slight warbles. Digital equipment has an internal “clock,” much like a digital watch that one wears. The clock ensures that the digital information, each bit of it, occurs at the right time. If the bits do not occur at the right time, the sound coming out of the digital audio recorder or CD player would be very flawed. Therefore, there is a buffer - a storage area - for the digital information to go into first. It gets all sorted-out there, to ensure it will all come out straight and all right.

 

BUNCHING:  The imaging of all sounds from a small area between the loudspeakers - they “bunch together” rather than the mix sounding large and open.

 

BUNDLING, BUNDLED SERVICES: 1) The practice of selling computer related hardware or software with additional items that, supposedly, increase the overall price the consumer is being asked to pay but do not. (He is getting a “deal”.)  It is a marketing method of getting someone to buy a major item by tagging on smaller items or to get a smaller item into wider use. Initially, minor software products were bundled with personal computers. All kinds of things can be bundled such as Windows, modems, audio speakers, CD ROMs, etc. to improve the “deal”.  2) Services can be bundled as well, and such are called “bundled services”. For example, a Cable Digital TV provider may provide not only Digital TV, but also high-speed Internet access, Internet telephone service, Video On Demand, Interactive TV, etc.

 

BURIED:       A term used to describe an instrument’s sound as being hard to hear in the mix because it is covered up by other sounds, not loud enough, or not properly mixed so it stands out and can be heard clearly.

 

BURN, BURNING, BURNABLE:       To make a recording using a recordable CD or DVD. The term is used because a laser is used to make the disc recording. The laser “burns” the disc. CD’s or DVD’s which are capable of being recorded upon are called (slang) “burnable”.

 

BURN-IN:     New audio equipment, and even new audio wiring, must be “burned in” (operated, used, or played) for many hours before its full sound quality potential is achieved. The electrons flowing through the equipment - even the wire used to hook up all the equipment - actually form paths to travel throughout the equipment. The electrons’ ability to flow improves throughout the burn-in period. Also, as part of the “burn-in” process, small parts inside electronic equipment also burn-in similarly. They start working as they were designed to and stabilise to their rated specifications. Bass frequencies and the highest treble frequencies can be heard more clearly played by equipment and wire that has been fully burned-in. The sound is often more open and dynamic.     

 

BURN-IN CD:      Various manufacturers have made special CDs for use in burning-in audio equipment and wire. (See BURN-IN.) These CDs have a combination of different sounds, some with music, some with only “test tones” and other random noises. When played on “repeat” for many hours (even several days), they “burn-in” the new equipment.   

 

BURNED-IN TIME CODE: Time code that is superimposed (“burned-in”) on pictures. This is seen on TV screens as small numbers constantly changing. They are usually located off in the corner of the picture so they don’t interfere with the main picture image. Burned-in time code is used by the editing and post-production audio crew as a reference for synchronisation and to locate specific sections of a video. Burned-in time code is never put on the final release copies. (TIME CODE is defined as its own separate entry.)

     

BURR BROWN:    The name of a manufacturer who makes high quality electronic chips which can convert digital audio to analogue audio. These are commonly used in CD players, digital tape recorders, and many other digital devices.  

 

BUS (or BUSS):   In the field of audio, the word “buss” 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 bus bars inside. Like a bus, 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. There can be several different buses, each for specific purposes in a mixboard.  It is any pathway down which one or more signals can travel. This how a mixboard works to combine all the sounds sent to it so one can hear them all mixed together.

 

BUZZ:     1) A persistent unwanted type of distorted sound heard over an audio system. The term “buzz” is onomatopoeic. A buzz can be caused by a poor connection or a faulty part inside a piece of electronic gear.

2) Any low-frequency (bass) sound having a fuzzy characteristic - it has a sort of  “buzzzzzzz” quality mixed in with the sound.

 

B-WEIGHTING:   (See WEIGHTING.)      

 

BWF:      BWF is an abbreviation for Broadcast Wave Format. BWF is a type of WAV file supported by SADiE, Pro Tools et al. WAV is a common audio computer file format. Microsoft named it “WAV” because its sound files are stored as waveforms. The word “broadcast” as used in the name “BWF” means that the format complies with broadcast standards. The computer file can be sent (“broadcast”) to other computers with timecode identification as a stable datum.  This file format uses time code as an exact reference for the start of a recording and enters the start time onto the edit decision list (EDL). When the file is opened using another computer, the time code, as well as the rest of the edit decision list (EDL) data, is available for use. This type of computer file that is precisely referenced to time code is called a “time stamped” file. The audio and time stamp data are broadcast, received and duplicated by the other computer. For example, if you begin a recording at 1 hour 2 minutes 15 seconds and 10 frames, the BWF will have a time code of exactly 01:02:15:10 entered into the EDL. This time stamp allows one to locate the exact point where the recording started, which can be important - especially if there are several different points where a recording was made and you need to find the start point of each.

 

BYPASS SWITCH:       Some mixing and music processing equipment has a bypass switch. When pressed, the bypassed unit is not in the path of the signal. When the unit is not in bypass, whatever the operator set the unit to do to the sound will be heard. For example, digital reverb units can allow you to hear the sound with the reverb setting on or off. This is referred to as a “bypass” or “bypass switch” as the reverb effect is “bypassed” when the feature is activated.   

 

BYPASS TEST:     Directly comparing the output signal from a piece of audio equipment to the original input signal being fed to it by putting the device into and then out of the signal path and observing the difference so as to tell what the “sound” of the device is on a mix line or recording line. Some equipment has a “bypass switch” that allows the original audio signal coming into the unit to bypass all internal electronics and exit straight out. The unit is essentially bypassed as a result.   

 

BYTE:     A computer operates and processes information in “bytes.” A byte is a group of eight bits. It uses one byte to create one letter of the alphabet when you type on a computer. The word “byte” comes from a computer industry designer who, years ago, came up with cute names for the small electronic signals computers use. He called the smallest single unit of information a “BIT”, the next largest unit a “NIBBLE” (made up of four “bits”) and the next largest unit a “BITE” (which he spelled as “byte” to give the word a sort of computer terminology type flair). Of course, the words are an analogy to eating food - one can take a bit (a small bit of food), a nibble (equal to several bits of food) or take a whole big bite (“byte”). A byte is the amount of memory needed to store one character (one letter or number) within the computer. Therefore, one can say that any time one key is pressed on a computer’s keyboard, a single byte is used. The amount of memory (storage) a computer is capable of is specified by number of bytes. Kilobytes (thousands), megabytes (millions), gigabytes (billions), terabytes (trillions), etc. A group of bytes is called a “WORD”. For most computers, a “word” is equal to two bytes.

 

 

 

___________