Audio-Visual Glossary



“U”: Stands for “unit” - meaning the electronics industry agreed upon 144.45mm high opening common in professional equipment racks and cabinets. “That piece of gear is 1U high.”


UHF: Abbreviation for Ultra High Frequency. See VHF for full definition.


UltimateTV: A special TV service provided by Microsoft which is used in conjunction with Personal Video Recorders. UltimateTV service gives Internet access right over the TV, and the capability to record two television channels concurrently.


ULTRA Analogue: A digital electronics company, specialising in the conversion of audio to digital information and digital information to analogue audio. Now affiliated with the Wadia Corporation. They are the makers of the very high quality digital converters used on many of our audio production lines. “Ultra Analogue” converters may be found inside the D to A and A to D converters built at Gold. These are modified “Manley converters” or “VTL converters”.


ULTRASONIC: Beyond the upper-frequency limit of human hearing. A frequency higher than can be heard by the human ear. Usually higher than 20 kHz.


U-MATIC: A Sony trademark for its 19mm professional videocassette machines, often used generically to describe all 19mm vcr’s (Video Cassette Recorders).


UNBALANCED LINE: In electronics, a type of wire and connector used to connect different audio equipment. Also called a “single-ended” connection. It is a method of interconnecting (using wire and connectors) that can be used on any type of audio equipment. In an unbalanced line there is one connection made for the audio (+) signal and one other connection for both the (-) and the shield (ground). It’s called “unbalanced” because of the way the audio signal flows on the conductors - there is no separate conductor for the “minus” signal as it is shared by the shield (ground). As one conductor is dedicated to the “plus” audio signal only and the other conductor is used for both the “minus” and “ground”, it is called “unbalanced”. This differs from a balanced line where there are 3 separate connection points, one for audio (+), one for audio (-) and the shield is separately connected to ground. Note that “single ended” also refers to a type of amplifier. This is a separate glossary entry.

For data on how to make single ended connections, read on... Note that most wire used for audio connections has two conductors (wires inside) plus a shield. This is so it can be hooked up as a balanced line. In an unbalanced connection, the audio (+) inner conductor is connected at each end of the cable to its connection point at both the output of the sending audio device and the input of the receiving device. The other inner conductor is treated differently in an unbalanced line. The (-) wire is tied to the cable’s shield at the end of the cable, which is meant to be plugged into the OUTPUT of the sending audio device. On the INPUT of the receiving device the shield is clipped back and only the audio (-) wire is connected (along with the + connection). In other words, the shield is connected only at the output end and is disconnected (“lifted”) at the input end. This connection method helps to prevent grounding and hum problems that could otherwise occur in an unbalanced line. Most consumer equipment, such as CD players and cassette decks, is unbalanced.


UNCOLOURED: Free from audible distortions and undesirable additives to the program. Very natural sounding. Not “coloured”.


UNCOMPRESSED: Digital audio or video signals which have not been altered by the process of compression (not been reduced in size) by computerised processes.


UNDERCRANK: To shoot (on film or video) at a slower speed so the resulting image is played back in fast motion. “Under” in this case means “less than normal or conventional” and “crank” means “to rotate”. Thus “undercrank” refers to the motion of the film or video camera mechanism that moves the film or videotape through the camera.


UNDERDAMPED: If something is “damped” it means that its motion is restricted to prevent it from moving too far. A loudspeaker cone which can move too easily or too far is said to be “under-damped”. It will not produce clean, articulate bass notes.


UNDERLOAD: An audio signal that is too weak for a piece of electronic audio equipment to handle. All audio equipment is designed and built to operate within a certain volume range of the signal it receives. If the volume of the signal is too low or too high, the equipment will not be able to handle it and will distort to a greater or lesser degree.


UNDER-MODULATION: The volume level of an audio signal or a video signal is too low (not enough) to have high quality sound. (See UNDERLOAD.)


UNDERTONE: An undertone is a harmonic of a note lower in frequency than the principal note. For example, if the principal note is 440 cycles per second, undertones would be 220 cycles, 110 cycles, 55 cycles, etc.


UNDO: A computer function that cancels the results of the last operation and reverts to what was there previously.


UNI-CASTING: A method of transmitting information over the Internet by computer that uses independent streams (or channels) to send the same information to multiple users.


UNIDIRECTIONAL MICROPHONE: A microphone that is most sensitive to sound pickup from the front of the microphone. “Uni” means one - it picks up from one direction. Shotgun (rifle) microphones are uni-directional.


UNI-MED: An abbreviation for “Universal Media”. This was an organisation established at the Flag Land Base in the mid 1970s to produce Scientology dissemination films. Films done by Uni-Med include “The Secret of Flag Results” and “The Case He Couldn’t Crack”. This org was a predecessor to Golden Era Productions.


UNIT: See “U”.


UNITED NATIONS STYLE TRANSLATION: 1) Done by a highly skilled and literate translator who listens to the original language as it is being spoken, instantly translates it into another language, and speaks the translation - keeping up with the original person speaking. 2) A style of translating audio, such as a radio or TV broadcast, wherein the original language (i.e. English) is kept low in volume and the translated speaker is heard at a much louder volume. There is no effort to synchronise the foreign speaker’s words with the lips of the original English performers.


UNITY GAIN: Unity means, “the state or quality of accord or agreement”. This is a term used in professional audio (studio and live) to mean that the volume (loudness) of the audio is set to “0” - the agreed upon reference volume level for a given product, broadcast, etc. When equipment is set to unity gain, it does not boost or reduce the amount of volume. It passes on (relays) the signal with the volume unchanged.


UNIVERSAL REMOTE: A remote control for audiovisual equipment that can be used to operate all types of different A/V equipment. This usually applies to home consumer equipment where the consumer may have a Sony television, a Panasonic receiver, a Denon CD player, etc. The “universal” specification means that the home consumer can be assured the remote control will operate all the types and brands of equipment he may have. Universal remotes are also called “multi-brand remotes”.






UPCONVERTER, UP-CONVERTER: 1) A digital audio component that has the ability to change the digital signal into one that has higher digital values (bits and sampling frequency). For example, a music CD’s digital content is at 16 bits, 44.1kHz sampling frequency. When that digital music signal is run through an “up-converter”, that very same signal is turned into a 24 bit, 96k digital signal which can make the music sound clearer and more natural, if the conversion is done well. Also called “up sampling”. 2) A TV/video picture can be “up-converted” by digitally creating more lines of resolution for the given picture as seen on a TV or projected on a screen. Also called “doubling”. Also called “up-scaling”.


UP-FRONT: Said of how a mixed and/or reproduced sound is presented by a loudspeaker in a very forward and “up-front” way. Bold, right there. No depth, no distance away from the listener. In the context of the mix, an up-front sound is presented as being in front of, and/or very clearly distinct from, the rest of the instruments or singers. “Her voice was very up-front in the mix.”


UPLINK: The professional satellite facility where one goes to send an audiovisual program (event) up to a satellite for broadcast and the action of sending such a signal.


UPPER BASS: The range of frequencies from 80 to 160 Hz - the area of audio frequencies just below the midrange sounds but above the bass sounds. This is the area of frequencies that can give sounds (instruments and voices) body. A mix or loudspeaker system can have “good upper bass”. Good upper bass can help make sounds sound rich. A lack of upper bass makes sounds seem thin, having little power or impact.


UPPER HIGHS, UPPER TREBLE: The range of audio frequencies from 10 kHz to 20 kHz. These are the very top treble frequencies.


UPPER MIDDLES, UPPER MIDRANGE: The range of audio frequencies from 650 Hz to 1,300 Hz.


UPRIGHT BASS: The instrument used in many jazz groups and for other types of music to create the low bass notes. The Jive Aces use an upright bass. It is called “upright” because it is held straight up and down and standing on the floor as it is so large. It looks like a huge violin, about 5 1/2 feet tall. Can be played with a bow, but is usually plucked with the fingers. Called a “double bass” when used in an orchestra. It’s the largest member of the violin family.


UPS: Uninterruptible Power Supply. A battery that can supply continuous power to a computer system in the event of a power failure. The battery, which is charged while a computer is switchedon, kicks in if the power fails and provides power for 10 minutes or more, during which time one can save files and shut down the computer to preserve the integrity of crucial data.






UPSTREAM AMPLIFIER: This is an electronic circuit that allows home consumers to send information back to the broadcasters of Digital Television (DTV) to accomplish Interactive TV wherein the consumer can select different desired programs or film videos and use other interactive programming. The “upstream amplifier” is installed in Digital TV set-top receiver boxes used by the consumer. It allows the consumer to send digital commands and information back (“upstream”) to the broadcaster.


URL: Abbreviation for Universal Resource Locator. This is a computer program that connects Internet users to the Internet site of a company or other entity. When someone types in “.com” at the end of an Internet address, the URL program locates the site having that address then connects it with the site of the person who typed “.com”.




USABLE RESPONSE: The frequency limits between which an audio device sounds its best, regardless of how it measures. Includes loudspeakers.


USB: An abbreviation for the Universal Serial Bus in computers and computerised equipment. A connection point on a computer for hooking up to other computerised devices. “Universal” is a specification meaning that the user can be assured the connector will work with most electronic devices. “Serial” means that the digital information travels as a series of digital bits - on only one path and in one direction at a time. A “bus” is a pathway down which one or more signals can travel. A “USB” connection can be used with personal computers, to connect such things as CD-ROM drives, modems, printers, digital cameras, mice and keyboards. By using the USB connections in each piece of equipment, many individual devices can be connected to a p.c. - up to 127 of them at once.


USENET: Short for User Network. A still extant predecessor to the World Wide Web. Usenet is an international computer communication service started in 1979 by two students of Duquesne (“Duke”) University. It was created to provide an online network where computer users could exchange messages and discuss various topics they were interested. The Usenet was in use well before the Internet, e-Mail, etc. It was the pioneering method of connecting persons up via their computers to share information, etc. It is actually still available and in use today. And, you don’t need an Internet access to use Usenet. It is entirely free. To keep the costs down, messages are passed only once a day - usually at night when the rates are lowest. Usenet has been relatively unutilised since rise of the Internet in the mid-1990’s. In 2000, Usenet had only 7.9 million users and posted 151 million messages. This is as compared to the Internet which had 83 million users in the USA alone in that same year. However, Usenet is still an extant and economical international communication line. It can be accessed through e-mail and the Web at Usenet messages are grouped into topics, and the users who send and receive messages on a given topic are called a “newsgroup”. Examples of newsgroup categories include “computers”, “recreation”, “society”, etc. Usenet retains all the messages in a given newsgroup’s topic and, in addition to passing the messages on once a day, each remains available on a sort of electronic “bulletin board” stored in Usenet’s central computer system.


USER BITS: A number of data bits of information which are transmitted along with the digital audio. These bits of digital data are added to an audio or video program by the user. The additional bits can be include information such as the name of a song, the date recorded, etc.


USSB: Abbreviation for United Satellite Service Broadcasting. This was a company that provided satellite services to home consumers, just like DirecTV and Dish Network do now. USSB is now owned by DirecTV.


UV: Ultraviolet. Electromagnetic radiation at frequencies higher than visible light yet lower than those of x-rays.


UV22: This is a term found in the SADiE digital audio computer manual. UV22 is the model number of a plug-in computer card designed by Apogee Electronics for use in computerised audio systems. “UV” stands for Ultra Violet and “22” is short for 22 kHz. The ultra violet part is just named after the Apogee company’s colour - violet - which they put on the front of their equipment. And 22 (kHz) is the Nyquist frequency of a 44.1k sampling rate digital audio signal. (See NYQUIST FREQUENCY.) UV22 is used when reducing the bit rate of an audio signal as in mastering a CD. Note: Tests were done when installing the SADiE system and it was found that a different plug-in, called POW-R, sounds better - so that’s the one used for the LRH and translated lectures for CD release. (See POW-R.)