These are some short definitions I primarily gathered from the book Audio in Media by Stanley R. Alten. I have taken the liberty to alter or clarify these definitions to make them more applicable to our class, but they are by no means COMPLETE definitions. I strongly suggest looking up these terms if you are interested in gaining a more comprehensive understanding of their varied meanings and usage.
Frequency: The number of times per second that a sound source vibrates. Expressed in hertz (Hz).
Frequency response: A measure of an audio system’s ability to reproduce a range of frequencies with the same relative loudness; usually represented in a graph.
Equalization (EQ): Altering the frequency/amplitude response of a sound source or sound system.
Equalizer: A signal-processing device that can boost, attenuate, or shelve frequencies in a sound source or sound system.
Gain: A measure of the ability of a circuit (often an amplifier) to increase the power or amplitude of a signal from the input to the output, by adding energy to the signal converted from some power supply. It is usually defined as the mean ratio of the signal output of a system to the signal input of the same system. It is often expressed using the logarithmic decibel (dB) units (“dB gain”). A gain greater than one (zero dB), that is, amplification, is the defining property of an active component or circuit, while a passive circuit will have a gain of less than one.
Gain staging: The process of optimizing your input signal levels in order to maximize signal strength while minimizing noise.
Noise: A- Any unwanted sound or signal.
B- A genre of sound art in which sound classified as noise is utilized for composition and/or performance.
Signal-to-noise ratio: The ratio between the signal level and the noise level of a component or sound system. The wider the signal-to-noise ratio, the better.
Sine wave: A pure tone or fundamental frequency with no harmonics or overtones.
Fundamental: The lowest frequency a sound source can produce.
Harmonics: Frequencies that are multiples of the fundamental.
Overtones: Harmonics that may or may not be multiples of the fundamental.
Monophonic (Mono): Refers to a sound system (or recording) with one master output channel.
Stereophonic (stereo): A sound system (or recording) with two channels. Stereo gives the listener the illusion of sonic depth and width.
Timbre: The unique tone quality or color of a sound.
Treble: Frequency range between approximately 5000 and 20000 Hz.
Bass: The lowest frequency range; between approximately 20 and 320 Hz.
Midrange: The part of the frequency spectrum to which humans are most sensitive; between approximately 250 and 4000 Hz.
Upper midrange: Frequency range between approximately 2560 and 5120 Hz.
Dynamic range: The range between the quietest and loudest sounds a sound source can produce without distortion. Also, the range between the quietest and loudest sounds in a recording.
Reverberation: Multiple blended, random reflections of a sound wave after the sound source has ceased vibrating.
Reverberation time: The length of time it takes a sound to die away.
Sound frequency spectrum: The range of frequencies audible to human hearing: roughly 20 to 20000 Hz.
Compressor: A signal processor with an output level that decreases as it’s input level increases. A compressor reduces the dynamic range of a sound; evening out the disparity between the quietest and loudest sounds.