AAC: Abbreviation for Advanced Audio Coding. AAC id a new breed of codec for encoding audio that provides more efficient compression than older formats such as MP3. It is used by many modern internet, wireless, and digital broadcast systems. Apple heavily supports AAC in itunes. See also: codec.
Accent Microphone: A closely-placed mic that is ultimately mixed with a distantly-placed mic to improve the tonal balance, can be used as a special effect, or it can to add presence to audio.
Adobe Audtion: Integrated audio recording, mixing, editing, and mastering software.
Aggregator: A piece of software or website (service) that collects disparate content and presents in one place, making it easier for users to keep up with important news stories, websites, or the latest edition of a favorite podcast. Podcatchers such as iPodder lemon and iPodderX are aggregators focused on retrieving podcasts. An aggregator is also often reffered to as a feed reader or feed aggregator.
AIFF: Abbreviation for Audio Interchange File Format (similar to WAV) that is popular on the MAC platform for storing digital audio waveforms. It is widely used in professional audio production programs such as BIAS peak, Sound Forge, and DSP Quattro. Like WAV, it is a lossless format.
Ambiance: The acoustics or reverberation in a room.
AMP: Acronym for Association of Music Podcasting. An association of podcasters and independent record labels that seeks to promote new music through podcasting. The group operates with agreements stipulating that the music is to be licensed to allow it to be legally played on podcasts. For more information, see www.musicpodcasting.org.
Amplifier: A Valve amplifier (British English), also known as a tube amplifier or vacuum-tube amplifier (in American English), is a device for increasing amplidude of an electrical signal, typically sound.
Atom: AN XML format and HTTP-based protocol for syndicating web content. An Atom feed describes web content (such as a podcast) and allows it to be collected by an aggregator. Proponents suggests that it is supposed to solve some of the problems with RSS ( by offering improved security and interoperability), although some critics have argued that it just creates more confusion. For information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom_(standard) and http://ietf.org/html.charters/atompub-charter.html.
ASCAP: American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. A for-profit performing rights society. ASCAP licenses public performing rights for musical compositions, so if you want to perform someone else’s song on a record or television show, for example, and the original composers/artist’s song is licensed under ASCAP you have to pay a fee to ASCAP for legal permission to do so. For more information, see www.ascap.com.
Assign: Known as 'channel assign', to send or route an audio signal to one or more selected mixer channels.
Audacity: A free, open source software for recording and editing sounds in Linux, Mac OS X, and other operating systems.
Auto Punch: The process of automating punch in and punch out on a digital recorder, sequencer or tape recorder.
Auxiliary Bus: Known as 'Effects bus' or 'Aux bus', the bus that feeds signal processors, monitor mixes, or effects devices.
Auxiliary send: Known as 'Effects send' or 'Aux send', the control on a mixer that determines the level of channel signal sent to a signal processor, such as a reverb or chorus unit.
Back-timing: A recording technique of cueing up a musical background to a voice track so that the music ends simultaneously with the voice-over.
Balance: The relative volume levels of various instruments or tracks.
Bandpass filter: A filter that passes a band or range of frequencies but sharply attenuates or rejects frequencies outside the band.
Bass trap: An assembly whose function is to absorb low-frequency sound waves.
Bi-directional communications: The ability of a digital instrument, sound module or drum machine to send and receive MIDI messages simultaneously from a computer or other device.
Bi-directional Microphone: A microphone whose pickup pattern is sensitive to sound arriving at the front and behind the microphone.
Bit Rate: The speed at which digital information is transmitted or stored, measured in bits per second.
Blanketed: A track or mix with weak highs; muffled as though a blanket was covering the loud speakers.
Bloom: A sound or track with excellent reproduction of dynamics and reverberation, and a good low-frequency response. Also referred to as 'Spacious'.
Blumlein array: A stereo miking technique where two coincident bi-directional mics are angled 90 degrees apart (45 degrees to the left and right of center).
BMI: An acronym for Broadcast Music International. BMI is one of several performing rights organizations which protect artists' and publishers' performing rights. BMI collects, handles and distributes royalties for member and publishers whose music has been played or performed publicly. A for-profit performing rights society. BMI licenses public performing rights for musical compositions, so if you want to perform someone else’s song on a record or television show, for example, and the original composer’s/ artist’s song is licensed under BMI, you have to pay a fee to BMI for the legal permission to do so. For more information, see http://www.bmi.com.
Board: Also known as 'mixing console', a large unit having additional functions such as tone control, equalization, pan pots, channel assigns, monitoring sends, and control of signals sent to external signal processors.
Bottom: Another term for low frequencies, usually below 125 Hz.
Bouncing tracks: When two or more separate tracks are mixed onto an empty track. The submixed tracks can then be erased, freeing them up for new music.
Boundary microphone: A mic designed to be used on a hard, reflective surface. The mic is mounted as close to the surface as possible so that direct and reflected sounds arrive at the microphone diaphragm in phase at all frequencies.
Bright: A tonal balance with emphasized high frequencies or upper harmonics.
Brittle: A sound or mix with high-frequency peaks or weak fundamentals; lacking roundness and fullness.
Buffer: A storage or 'holding' area for data in the computer's memory until it can be processed.
Bus: Can mean the output of a mixer or submixer, or a channel that feeds a tape track, digital recorder, signal processor, or power amp.
Bus master: Located in the output section of a mixing console, a fader or knob that controls the output level of a bus.
Bus trim: Located in the output section of a mixing console, a control that provides variable gain of a bus, used in conjunction with the bus master for fine adjustment.
Calibration: 'Alignment', the adjustment of tape-recorder electronics and head alignment to achieve the best performance for the type of tape being used.
Cans: A slang word for headphones.
CD ROM: Acronym for Compact Disc Read Only Memory.
Chase lock: A synchronization system for audio equipment.
Chorus: A special effect in which a single sound source is made to sound like several, through the use of time delay and detuning.
Clean: Free of noise, distortion, overhang, leakage. Not muddy sounding.
Clear: Easy to hear or differentiate; not distorted. Reproduced with sufficient high freqencies.
Click: A component of a bass drum sound, the attack of the beater on the head of the drum.
Click track: Audio 'clicks' recorded on one track of a multitrack recorder, to indicate the tempo of the music on the tape. Is used to keep musicians in time when overdubbing.
Clipping: An effect that happens in a recording when the recording level of an audio signal (be it musical or vocal) is too high and exceeds the ability of the digital system to represent the waveform ( you just run out of numbers!), causing a loss of audio signal information in the recording and a horrible distortion of the sound. You need to avoid clipping at all costs when recording a podcast.
Cassette: A plastic cartridge containing magnetic tape with the tape passing from one reel to another
Creative Commons: The Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative work available for others legally to build upon and share. The organization has released several copyright licenses known as Creative Commons licenses. These licenses, depending on the one chosen, restrict only certain rights (or none) of the work.
Codec: Acronym for compressor/decompresser. An encoding algorithm run on a piece of hardware or as software tha compresses audio or video files into a format suitable for transportation over the web or for storage. The codec is also used to then decompress the file again at the end.
Coincident pair: Two separate mikes placed so that the microphone diaphragms occupy approximately the same point in space. The are mounted one directly above the other, and angled apart.
Coloration: Non-uniform frequency response resulting in distortion of the tonal quality of the source.
Colored: A sound that is not true to life, perhaps due to an unnatural use of external processors. A mix that has a not-flat response with peaks and dips.
Comb-filter effect: The frequency response caused by combining a sound with its delayed duplicate. The frequency response displays a series of peaks and dips caused by phase interference. The peaks and dips look like the teeth of a comb, with very narrow, deep notches where signals are attenuated.
Combining amplifier: An amplifier in which the outputs of two or more signal paths are mixed together, to feed a single track of tape or hard-disk recorder.
Complex wave: A sound wave with more than one frequency component.
Compressed: A sound, recorded track, or mix where the dynamics are restricted or narrowed.
Compression: The intentional reduction in dynamic range to increase sustain and/or add punchiness, caused by a the use of a compressor/limiter.
Compression ratio: Also known as 'slope', in a compressor/limiter, the ratio of change in input level (in dB) to the change in output level (in dB). For example, a 4:1 ratio means that for every 4dB change in input level, the output level changes 1dB.
Compressor: A signal processor that reduces dynamic range by using automatic volume control. Also, an amplifier whose gain decreases as the input signal level increases above a pre-set point.
Condenser microphone: Also known as 'Cardioid microphone, a mike that works on the principle of variable capacitance to generate an electrical signal.
Configure: To prepare a program, modem, keyboard, or other electronic device to operate with specific characteristics.
Connector: Also known as a 'plug', the physical interface on cabling or equipment used to connect or hold together a cable and an electronic component that permits a sound signal or data to flow into an external destination, such as a mixing board or a computer.
Console: Also known as 'mixing console' or 'board', a large unit having additional functions such as tone control, equalization, pan pots, channel assigns, monitoring sends, and control of signals sent to external signal processors.
Constricted: A sound or track with poor reproduction of dynamics; overly compressed or pinched, with distortion at high levels.
Contact pickup: A transducer that contacts a guitar or other musical instrument and converts its vibrations into an electrical signal.
Continuous controller: A type of MIDI message intended to control dynamics (volume, modulation, etc.) or continually changing aspects of a performance. Continuous controllers allow enhanced musical expression for keyboardists and previously sequenced tracks, and also can be used to modulate effects device parameters such as reverb time or chorus depth,
Control room: The room in which the producer and engineer monitor and control the recording.
Control voltage: An electrical signal used to adjust the values of settings in analog circuits. If you send a specific electrical voltage to a module of a synthesizer (such as an ASDR envelope, you can specify what you want the module to do (perhaps lengthen the decay time).
CPC: Abbreviation for Cost Per Click. The method of determining how much an internet ad costs, based on how many times people click the ad link.
CPM: Abbreviation for Cost Per Thousand exposures (note that the “M” in the abbreviation represents the Roman numeral for “thousands”). The method of determining the cost of advertising based on the number of people potentially exposed to the ad.
Creative Commons: A nonprofit organization dedicated to allowing creative types to share their work through the use of free licenses known as Creative Common liscenses. These licenses offer a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors and artists alike. For more information, see www.creativecommons.org and www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0.
Crisp: A sound or track with an extended high-frequency response. A cymbal sound with sizzle and presence.
Crossover: An electronic network that divides an incoming signal into two or more frequency bands. Crossovers can be active (with amplifying components) or passive (non-amplifying).
Crossover frequency: The single frequency at which both filters of a crossover network are down 3dB.
CSA: An acronym for the Canadian Standards Organization, that regulates and controls Canadian data communications standards.
Cue: Also known as 'Cue send', in mixer input module, a control that adjusts the amount of signal feeding the cue mixer which, in turn, feeds a signal to headphones in the studio. Also, a section of music or sound effects used in film or video production. The points in the film where the cues are played to sync with elements of the picture are called hits or cue points.
Cue mixer: A submixer in a mixer input module that takes signals from cue sends as inputs and mixes them into a composite signal that can be used to drive headphones in the studio.
Cue sheet: Typically used during the mixdown stage, a chronological list of mixer control adjustments and fader movements needed at various points in the recorded tracks. The list may have tape-counter or elapsed-time readings to indicate exactly when the adjustments should be made.
Cue system: A monitor system that allows musicians to hear themselves and previously recorded tracks through headphones.
Cutoff frequency: The designated frequency of a filter after which the sound is not allowed to pass. In a high-pass filter, a high cutoff frequency will be excessively trebly and bright, as no low frequencies will be present. In a low-pass filter, a low cutoff frequency may be too muted and dark, as no high frequencies or overtones will be present.
DB: Abbreviation for Decibels. The logarithmic units used to describe sound amplitude or intensity.
Domain Name: The unique identifying name of a server or sit on the internet that allows the browsers to find it. For example, the domain name of the website found at http:www.podcastsolutions.com is podcastsolutions.com.
DSP: Abbreviation for Digital Signal Processing. Audio processing ( usually to improve clarity, or for a specific sound effect) carried out through the use of hardware or software such as can be found on this book’s companion CD.
Dubbing: The transfer or copying of previously recorded audio material from one medium to another of the same or a different type.
Effects: Adding reverb, echo, flange or any other effect to change the sound or quality of a production.
EQ: Abbreviation for Equalization. The process of modifying audio by amplifying or attenuating different frequencies (e.g., high-pass filtering to eliminate low frequency sounds).
FCC: Abbreviation for Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. government agency responsible for regulating electronic communication (e.g. radio and television broadcasts). The FCC currently has no jurisdiction over podcasts transmitted via the internet. For more information, see www.fcc.gov.
Fostex: Fostex is a Japanese manufacturer of loudspeakers and professional audio equipment.
FTP Client: Abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol Client. A piece of software that allows you to open a connection with a FTP site, and transfer data to and from it. This is an important means by which you can get your podcasts uploaded to the web for others to access.
Goose Neck: A microphone extension, made of a twisted core of spring steel, allows for infinite adjustability in microphone placement.
Headphones: (Also known as earphones, earbuds, stereophones, headsets, or by the slang term cans) are a pair of transducers that receive an electrical signal from a media player or receiver and use speakers placed in close proximity to the ears (hence the name earphone) to convert the signal into audible sound waves.
HTML: Abbreviation for Hypertext markup Language. A language used to structure the vast majority of the content on the internet. For more information, see www.w3.org/Markup and www.w3schools.com/html.
ID3 Tag: A tag used to attach metadata to an mp3 file containing information such as album name, artist name, track name, and so on. This information can be edited using and ID3 tag editor (such as the one provided by itunes), and it can be very useful when searching for tracks.
iPod: A brand of portable media players designed and marketed by Apple computers.
ISP: Abbreviation for Internet Service Provider. A company or service that provides internet access via services such as dialup, cable, and DSL. Examples of ISPs include AOL, CompuServe, and NTL.
Latency: The time it takes for audio signals to travel around you system. In audio terms, latency comes into play when a delay is caused in the audio due to processing or transmission. As an example, if you are recording on your computer and using a number of audio effects, the audio you hear your voice in the headphones. Latency is also a big issue when using skype and other internet telephony programs.
Mastering: The process of preparing audio into a final form (in terms oftone and levels of the different elements contained in the audio) on a wide range of audio playback devices, using software and hardware tools such as equalizers and compressors.
Microphone: A device that converts sounds to electrical signals by means of a vibrating diaphragm. The signals can then be amplified, transmitted for broadcasting, or used for recording the sounds.
Mixer: An electronic device used to adjust and combine various inputs, e.g. performed or broadcast sounds, to create a single output
Monitor: A speaker used on stage or in a studio to enable musicians to hear each other.
MP3: An audio file encoded using the MPEG-1 Audio layer-3 (MP3) format.
Multi-Track: A method of sound recording that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources to create a cohesive whole.
Podcast: A segment or a whole broadcast of a live or prerecorded media presentation, saved to a common format used by the mass of available media players.
PHP: Abbreviation for PHP: Hypertext preprocessor. A dynamic web scripting language that allows you to write web pages that will display different information depending on variables such as user input, time of day, and so on. The pages are processed, and the results are then turned into HTML for display in a web browser. PHP is an ideal language to create blogs in. For more information, see www.php.net and www.w3schools.com/php/default.asp
Plosive: A consonant pronounced by completely closing the lips or air passage and then releasing air suddenly (e.g., “p,” “b,” etc.).
Podcast: An audio program available for download from the internet via subscription by way of an RSS feed with MP3 audio enclosures.
Podcast Badge: A graphic (typically 80x15 pixels in size) used to promote a podcast.
Podcatcher: Slang for podcast aggregator. Software used to manage a podcast subscriptions and automatically download new episodes.
Podroll: A list of favorite podcasts. Listeners typically share their podrolls with others by posting them on their blogs or websites.
RIAA: Abbreviation for Recording Industry Association of America. A trade consortium that supports and represents the U.S. recording industry and strives toward a business and legal climate that protects its members’ creativity and finanbcial viability. For example, RIAA works to protect record companies’ intellectual property rights, an it certifies gold, platform, multiplatinum, an diamond sales awards. Over 900 companies are part of the RIAA, including BMG, EMI, and Sony Music. For more information, see www.riaa.com.
RSS: Abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary). An XML format for syndicating web content. An RSS feed describes content (such as a podcast) and allows it to be collected by an aggregator. RSS feed is said to be a precursor to Atom, but it is still far and away the most common protocol for podcasts.
See also: XML; aggregator; Atom.
Rushpod: Podcast from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Sample Rate: The frequency at which analog data ( in the case of podcasts, sound) is recorded or “sampled” and converted to digital information (e.g., 44, 100kHz or 44,100 samples per second).
SESAC: Acronym for Society of European Stage Authors and Composers. A for-profit performing rights society. SESAC licenses public performing rights for musical compositions, so if you want to perform someone else’s song on a record or television show, for example, and the original composer/ artist’s song is licensed under SESAC, you have to pay a fee to SESAC for legal permission to do so. For more information, see www.sesac.com
URI: Abbreviation for uniform resource Identifier. A term for a classification of identifiers of resources of the internet. For example, a URL is a type of URI. Other types include Uniform Resource Classification (URC), relative URL, and Uniform Resource Name (URN).
See also: URL
URL: Abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locater. Also known as an internet address, or link, a URL provides the location of a directory or file in the web (e.g., http://www.friendsofed.com or http://www.podcastsolutions.com).
VST: Abbreviation for Virtual Studio Technology. A format for audio plug-ins used with audio processing software.
WAV: The de facto standard file format (especially on Windows, where it originated) for storing raw, uncompressed sound. You’ll deal with WAV files often as you record your podcast. A WAV file recorded at 44.1kHz and 16 second samples offers quality equivalent to that of a CD, but its large file size means it isn’t practical for delivering audio over the web. This is why podcasts are always turned into MP3s before they are published.
Waveform: A graphic representation of a sound recording.
WMA: Abbreviation for Windows Media Audio. A proprietary Microsoft audio format similar to MP3. for more information, see www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/9series/codecs/audio.aspx.
XML: Abbreviation for Extensible Markup Language. A markup language that can be extended, allowing you to create your own custom vocabularies for describing data. RSS and Atom are two examples of XML vocabularies. For more information, see www.w3.org/xml, www.w3schools.com/xml/default.asp, and www.xml.com