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FAQs: A glossary of common professional audio terms

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Like any type of technology the professional audio industry has its own vocabulary, one that can become a little confusing if you are not used to it. This Audio glossary from Extron is a great place to figure out the meaning of various terms used when referring to professional audio design and solutions.

Here are a few terms which you are likely to come across (Content credit: Extron):

Ambient Sound List – Any environmental or background sound that exists before a new sound source is added. For example, in a school classroom, ambient sound may come from an adjacent hallway or playground, HVAC system, room lights, or another classroom. Ambient sound must be taken into consideration when designing a sound support system.

Bridging (or Bridged) Audio – Some stereo amplifiers are designed to allow “bridging” or combining the power output of two channels into one channel. Bridging allows the amplifier to drive one speaker with more power than the amp could produce for two speakers. Not all amplifier designs allow bridging, however. NEVER attempt bridging of an amplifier without first consulting the manufacturer’s documentation and instructions.

Frequency range (audio) – The range of frequencies between high and low end points; for example, in audio, the frequency range of the human ear is said to be 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Individual speaker elements like woofers, midranges and tweeters serve different frequency ranges within the overall audio frequency range.

Gain – (1) A general term for an increase in signal power or voltage produced by an amplifier. The amount of gain is usually expressed in decibels above a reference level. Opposite of attenuation. (2) The amplification of a signal, unit, or system. Expressed in the unit of measurement appropriate to the signal or system. (3) In fiber optics applications, the measurement of back reflections using an OTDR – Optical Time Domain Reflectometer, due to a mismatch in core sizes between adjoining optical fibers.

Reverberation – The persistence of sound in an enclosed space, as a result of multiple reflections after the sound source has stopped. The decaying residual signal that remains after a sound occurs, created by multiple reflections as the original sound wave bounces off walls, furniture, and other non-absorbing barriers within a room or other acoustical environment. A room with very little reverberation is called a “dead” room, which is the opposite of a “live” acoustic space which is very reflective.

For a more complete list of Audio terminology, please visit this Extron Page.

(Image Credit: Extron)

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