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Browse Results: [All], Audio
A form of digital audio tape with 8 tracks.
Additive Synthesis
The process of creating complex waveforms by combining simpler ones. Also known as Fourier synthesis.
A complex envelope, probably the most common. Allows for fairly accurate recreation of real instruments' dynamics. The evelope has four parts, attack, decay, sustain, and release.
A feature on keyboards that allows you to alter the sound produced by pressing the key after a note has been released.
A fairly common audio standard, an acronym for Audio Interchange File Format.
With digital sampling, to measure a particular frequency, the sampling rate must be at least twice that of the measured frequency. If an insufficient sampling rate is used, phantom frequencies will be created.
A device used to increase the volume or amplitude of a source signal.
Amplitude Modulation
Amplitude Modulation Changing the amplitude (volume) of a signal. For instance, amplitude modulation with a sine wave as the modulator gives you tremolo.

Very fast amplitude modulation is called ring modulation. Ring modulation produces the sum and difference of all the frequencies of both the modulator and the signal being modulated.

Analog Synthesizer
A type of synthesizer that creates sounds through the modification of electrical signals.
A very simple envelope type, with only attack and release.
A device that, when you play a chord on a keyboard, cycles through the depressed keys in a programmed pattern.
A generic term for graphics, sounds, maps, levels, models, and any other resources. Generally assets are compiled into large files. The file formats may be designed for fast loading by matching in-memory formats, or tight compressions for handheld games, or designed to otherwise help in-game use. It is often useful to have an asset tool chain. The original models may be high-density models with R8G8B8A8 images. You may have a model striper and image compresser that reduces the model for LOD, and compresses the texture to a DXT compressed image. These assets may then go through further transformations, and end up in the large resource file.
The first part of an ADSR envelope. The amount of time, immediately after a key is struck, that it takes for the resulting note to reach the velocity (volume level) at which the key was struck.
The opposite of amplification -- when a signal's amplitude is reduced.
A feature on a mixer where a number of channels can have their settings modified together.
The signal that is modulated by the modulator or program wave.
With MIDI, there are 16 channels over which data can be transmitted. With mixers, a channel is an input.
A method of adding depth to a sound, by rotating part of the sound in one channel out of phase with the other.
A signal without any effects.
Clipping occurs when a device is transmitting more signal than it was designed to handle. The distinct sound of audio clipping is created by the waveforms getting "chopped off" before they (the waveforms) reach the peaks of their excursion. Creating, esentially, a square-wave. The higher the amplitude, the closer the waveform resembles a square-wave, and thus, the more noticable the sound becomes. Clipping is found useful in some cases ie: overdriven guitar effects.
Reduction of the signal's dynamic range; makes quiet sounds louder, and louds sounds quieter. Often used to smooth the sound of an instrument and to increase sustain.
Control Voltage
A method of controlling analog synthesizers -- used for pitch control (with VCOs), loudness control (VCAs), etc.
Digital audio tape -- a very common means of digital recording.
The second part of an ADSR envelope. The amount of time, after the attack time has elapsed, that it takes for the note's volume to drop to sustain level.
A logarithmic scale of an audio signal's intensity.
An effect where the original signal is repeated after a short interval.
Digital Modelling Amplifier
An amplifier that emulates the characteristics of other amplifiers, allowing for near authentic tone with much more versatility and a vastly lower price.
Digital Synthesizer
Synthesizers where sound is generated much like it is with analog synthesizers, though all processing and filtering is done digitally. Usually capable of much more realistic reproduction of natural instruments, though this is not always desirable. A common complaint is that digital synthesizers sound colder than their analog counterparts.
A round connector with a number of pins. MIDI connectors are 5-pin DIN connectors.
Any alteration of a signal -- can be desirable, with controlled distortion through effects boxes, overdrive, etc., or unwanted, such as with noticable distortion in hi-fi equipment caused by poor components.
Downloadable Sounds. A standard that encorporates custom samples into MIDI sequences. DLS samples are distributed in conjunction with a SMF and are played back as part of the sequence. DLS ensures that a sequence played back on one system sounds the same as the original.
Drum Machine
A device that simulates percussion patterns. Used often when band members are short, for practice (to lay down a beat to use as reference), or in certain musical genres (hip hop, house).
An effect where the original signal is repeated after a small delay.
Effect Box
A type of unit that alters the signal in a wide variety of manners.
A representation of the dynamics of a single note.
Envelope Generator
In synthesizers, a device that produces a volume envelope. Some common types are ADSR and AR generators.
The manual shaping of various frequency ranges.
A component that attenuates certain frequency ranges. Various filters have different volume reduction slopes; the most common being 12 decibels per octave.
Frequency Modulation
When a signal's frequency is altered by another signal's.
A type of distortion that intentionally adds noise to the signal.
Boosting the power of a signal.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface. The interface between different sound hardware and software to pass on musicial information.
MOD is a trackerbased music format well used and spread on bbs.
a format for audio compression, MP3 uses psychoacoustics to eliminate/reduce redundancy.
The MPEG-3 format. An audio format with CD quality music. It is usually created by converting a WAV file to the format via an MP3 Converter.
Noise Gate
The noise gate is a piece of studio equipment used to control the volume of an audio signal. The original intended purpose of this is to clean up unwanted noise from a recording, but some nice effects can also be achieved using a noise gate. Used simply, the noise gate only allows an audio signal above a certain threshold to play. This can be used to clean up unwanted noise by setting the threshold above the level of the noise. A typical use of the noise gate as an audio effect is to have it controlled by an additional track - for example, a beat supplied by a drum machine. In this case, the gate can be applied over the top of an audio track such as a synth pad, or perhaps vocal 'oohs'. By 'opening' and 'closing' the gate based on the rhythm supplied by another track (which may or may not be audible itself), the track in question is effectively cut up into a nice rythm. This is often used in electronic music, especially Trance. Software noise gates are also available.
A compressed file format, similar to mp3. Features slightly better quality at the same compression rate. See http://www.vorbis.com for library and sources. Free, open source. Very liberal license. Can be used commercially without paying royalties.
OpenAL is a cross-platform 3D audio API appropriate for use with gaming applications and many other types of audio applications. Visit site for more information.
A pre-amp is the first device in a gain structure. It is used to bring a relatively weak microphone signal up to line level. It is often found at the top of a mixing console or as a dedicated outboard device. In the mixing console, the amount of signal gain is determined by a "gain" or "trim" knob.
A repercussion of an insufficient bit depth used to represent the amplitude of a signal. Quantization may create frequencies that do not exist in the original signal. This is, however, occasionally used as a desirable effect.
The act of conforming digital music information (MIDI) to a set tempo and time signature.
The fourth and final part of an ADSR envelope. The amount of time it takes after a key is released for the note's volume to drop from sustain level to zero.
An alteration of sampling rate without changing the pitch or speed of the sample.
Ring modulation
A ring modulator is used in analogue synthesis. A ring modulator takes two different tones, and plays the sum, and difference frequences of them both. Example: if you run a 500 Hz sine wave and a 600 Hz sine wave through a ring modulator, it produces two sine waves with the frequencies 100 Hz (600 - 500 Hz) and 900 Hz (600 + 500 Hz). With such simple ingredients it is not very useful, but using more complex tones, it generates more interesting results. Nowadays it is rather simple to produce digitally, but back in the old days when everything was analogue, it was a bit more complicated. The most common way to do it involves a ring of four diodes, hence the name, Ring Modulator.
In modulation, "phantom frequencies" that are created when the modulator's frequency enters the audible range.
Signal/Noise Ratio
A measure of how much undesirable noise a signal has in it.
Sine Wave
The most fundamental waveform, which contains no harmonics. All other waveforms can be composed out of an infinte number of sine waves.
Soft Clipping
The effect on a signal typical of an overdriven valve. As opposed to hard clipping, which creates high frequency harmonics, it tends to eliminate these harsh, higher frequencies.
Software Synthesizers
Computer programs that produce sound. They are usually less expensive than their hardware counterparts, though, due to the limitation of computing power, they are seldom realtime.
Solid State Amplifier
A type of amplifier that uses solid-state circuitry, or transistors, rather than valves. This form of amplification has a higher degree of linearity and is more reliable than vacuum tube amplification, though produces harsher tones when overdriven.
Square Wave
A fundamental waveform whose shape is the same as a wave. Spectrum-wise, it's the same as a sawtooth, sans the even even harmonics.
Subtractive Synthesis
A form of synthesis that is popular with analog synthesizers. It takes a complex waveform rich in harmonics (such as the sawtooth) and strips away parts, resulting in a simpler wave.
The duration a note is held before it decays away.
As the third part of an ADSR envelope, the volume at which a note is held after the attack and decay until the key is released.
A subjective perception of a sound's fundamental qualities. Usually expressed in terms of 'harshness', 'smoothness', 'breadth' and so forth. Eg: A sawtooth waveform would be perceived as having a harsh texture, whereas a square or simple sine wave would have a smoother texture. A similar usage is often seen in discussions of music and compositions in general.
The character of a sound. More formally, an instrument's unique set of overtones. It is timbre that causes a piano to sound different from, say, a guitar, and also what makes sine waves sound different from a pulse wave.
A music sequencing program, in which the interface is primarily numeric. The interface of a tracker allows the user to arrange sound-samples on a timeline across several monophonic channels. Trackers generally save songs to disk incorporating both sequencing data and samples. This can give a relatively small file size, while still providing a generally better quality of sound that MIDI often produces.
An effect where the amplitude of a signal is modulated by a sine wave. In the guitar world, the "whammy bar" is mistakenly called a tremolo -- it is used, in fact, to produce vibrato (modulation of frequency).
Triangle Wave
A fundamental waveform that has very weak, odd harmonics (approximately 8/9 of the energy is devoted to the fundamental). Often found in oscillators instead of sine waves because a low-pass filtered triangle wave is effectively a sine wave.
Vacuum Tube Amplifiers
An amplifier that uses valves (vacuum tubes) to make the signal louder. They add a bit of coloration to the signal, which is usually desirable, and sound very warm and rich when overdriven.
Voltage Controlled Amplifier. In analog synthesizers, an amplifier whose magnitude of amplification manipulated through control voltage. With various modulators, it is possible to create a number effects with a VCA, such as tremolo (a low-frequency sine wave as the modulator).
Voltage Controlled Filter. A filter in analog synthesizers controlled by voltage.
Voltage Controlled Oscillator. In analog synthesizers, a device that generates various waveforms, whose frequency is determined by a control voltage.
The sine-wave modulation of a signal's frequency. Basically, it results in the warbling of the signal's pitch.
VOC File
Creative Labs' sound format made popular with the Sound Blaster.
More formally called timbre modulation. It is your standard "wah-wah" effect that Jimi Hendrix and so many other guitarists hackneyed.
WAV File
A file which stores audio information, saved with a ".wav" extension. WAV files are commonly used in big budget games because they provide excellent sound quality. But it takes a lot of data to provide such high quality sound. So WAV files are larger than those of other audio file formats. (Microsoft's standard sound exchange format.)
The shape of any periodically oscillating wave.
Wavetable Synthesis
Synthesis that digitally stores the waveforms in a "wavetable" and then uses them to create sounds. This method is capable of producing very realistic sounds.
White Noise
Noise with completely random amplitude across all frequencies. Also known as Gaussian noise.

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