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5 common audio terms explained

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Today, I’m going to talk about a few common audio terms that you’ll see mentioned everywhere. I didn’t know exactly what they all were when I started out. Hopefully this helps you out even just a bit!

Mastering – It is the process of preparing and transferring the audio to the final medium on which it will be stored. So in other words, it is the process of applying the final touches to your recording. It will involve removing any excessive headroom, adding some compression, adding some eq along all of the tracks, things like that. It requires a lot of critical listening and it takes a lot of experience to do it right.

Mixing – Thats the process of getting all of the tracks balanced in relation to each other, and getting them down (most often) to a nice stereo track. It’s done using your DAW’s mixer or if you’re going analog, using a mixing console.

LFO – That stands for Low Frequency Oscillation. Because of the low frequency, it can be used to create a pulse or sweep which can be used to modulate other signals. Examples of this are your tremolo, vibrato and flange effects. A really common use of LFO these days is the wobble bass used in dubstep.

Sample Rate – it’s a measure that defines how many samples over time are taken from the continuous signal to define the discrete signal. The higher the sampling rate, the clearer the signal. The unit in which it is defined in is Hertz (Hz). The standard sample rate for audio cd’s is 44.100 Hz, or 44.1 kHz.

MIDI – Musical Instrument Digital Interface. I could get all technical, but I think its easier to explain it otherwise. It is a code which allows you to control almost any parameter in your DAW. It doesn’t transmit any audio signal, but rather a set of information. Most commonly it’s used to control software instruments, transmitting the note value, the length of the note and its velocity to the instrument and to the DAW.

As further reading I suggest reading about all of those terms on wikipedia, as all of those articles go into a LOT more detail, and its all very interesting reading.


Written by majorshake

May 16, 2011 at 7:34 am

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