Pad 1) An attenuator usually used to prevent overload of amplifier that follows. 2) A device with a surface that can be hit by a drum stick; hitting the pad produces an output signal pulse (or MIDI command) that causes a drum machine or synthesizer to sound a drum sound.
Parallel - 1) A circuit interconnection in that the source feeds several branch circuit components and interruption of current flow in one component does not stop current flow in another. 2) A method of sending data where each digit of a digital word is sent at the same time over separate wires/connections.
Parallel Jacks - Several jacks that are wired so that each connection is wired to the corresponding connection of other jacks.
Parallel Port - A jack that sends out or receives digital data where several bits are being sent/received at the same time though different pins.
Parameter - Each adjustment that is possible to change in a device.
Parametric EQ - An equalizer in which all of the parameters of equalization can be adjusted to any amount including: a) center frequency; b) the amount of boost or cut in gain; and c) the bandwidth.
Partial - 1) In acoustical instruments, a term with the same meaning as overtone. 2) In synthesizers literally "part of a sound patch;" circuitry in the synthesizer that generates and/or modifies elements of the sound to give timbre to the particular tone. 3) The sound element generated by #2.
Pass Band - The frequency range of signals that will be passed, not reduced, by a filter.
Passive Device - A piece of signal processing gear or other device that does not use an amplifier as part of its design.
Patch - 1) To route or reroute the signal in an audio system (such as a console) by using short cables with plugs inserted into jacks. 2)The routing or rerouting of the signal accomplished by #1.
Patch Bay - A Series of jacks with connections for most of the inputs and outputs of the console, console sections, tape machines and other pieces of equipment.
Patch Cord - A cable with two plugs on it to interconnect two patch jacks in the patch bay.
Patch Editor - A computer program allowing the creation or the changing of parameters of sound patches thereby creating or modifying a specific synthesized sound outside of a synthesizer.
Patch Field - A series of jacks which has connections for most of the inputs and outputs of the console, console sections, tape machines and other pieces of equipment.
Patch Librarian - A computer program allowing the storing of sound patches outside of a synthesizer.
Patch Panel - A series of jacks which has connections for most of the inputs and outputs of the console, console sections, tape machines and other pieces of equipment.
Patch Point - One jack in a patch bay.
Path - Short for Signal Path, the way in which current does or may travel in a circuit or through a device.
Pause - The button or control mode where the tape machine is paused but with the drive mechanism ready for an instant start.
PCM - An abbreviation for the term Pulse Code Modulation (the use of amplitude pulses in magnetic tape to record the digital information bits of digital audio).
Peak - 1) The highest point in the audio waveform. 2) Short for Peak Detecting (responding to the peak) or Peak Indicating (showing the peak). 3) Having a frequency response that would draw something similar to a mountain peak on a frequency response graph.
Peak Detecting - Recognizing and responding to peak values of a waveform rather than average values.
Peak Indicating Meter - A meter which reads the absolute peak level of the waveform.
Peak Level - A term with the same meaning as Peak Value (the maximum positive or negative instantaneous value of a waveform).
Peak Responding - Recognizing and responding to (or indicating) the peak value rather than the average or effective value.
Peak Response - 1) A term with the same meaning as Peak 2) Raising or lowering of the amplitude of signals at the center frequency more than signals at any other frequency.
Peak Value - The maximum positive or negative instantaneous value of a waveform.
Peaking Filter - An EQ circuit which has a peak response (raising or lowering of the amplitude of signals at the center frequency more than signals at any other frequency).
Peak-to-Peak Value - The difference in amplitude between positive and negative peaks. Equal to twice the peak value for a sine wave.
Pedal Board - A board with several guitar pedals attached and inter-connected so that a guitar player can conveniently use several effects at the same time or one after another.
Phantom Powering - A system used to supply condenser microphones with power; to eliminate the need for external power supplies.
Phase - A measurement (expressed in degrees) of the time difference between two similar waveforms.
Phase Addition - The energy of one waveform increasing the energy of another waveform because the two waveforms have similar phase relationships.
Phase Cancellation - The energy of one waveform decreasing the energy of another waveform because of phase relationships at or close to 180 degrees.
Phase Distortion - A change in the sound because of a phase shift in the signal.
Phase Distortion Synthesis - A method of altering a wave shape to add harmonics by a phase shift while a cycle is being formed.
Phase Linear- The quality of not having phase shift.
Phase Lock - 1) In the control of tape machines, a method of keeping machines synced together by sensing phase differences in the playback of pilot tunes by the two machines and adjustment of speed to eliminate the phase difference. 2) In synthesizers, the control of one tone generator so that it begins its waveform in phase with the signal from another tone generator.
Phase Reversal - A change in a circuit to get the waveform to shift by 180 degrees.
Phase Shift - A delay introduced into an audio signal measured in degrees delayed.
Phase Sync 1) A term with the same meaning as the term Phase Lock. 2) A method of keeping machines synced together by sensing phase differences in the playback of pilot tones by the two machines and adjustment of speed to eliminate the phase difference.
Phasing - An effects sound created by variable phase shift of an audio signal mixed with the direct signal.
Phon 1) A unit of equal loudness for all audio frequencies. 2) The phon is numerically equal to dBspl at 1000 Hz but varies at other frequencies according to ear sensitivity to frequency.
Phone Plug (Jack) - A plug (or its mating jack) with a diameter of 1/4 inch and a length of I 1/4 inches used for interconnecting audio.
Phono Cartridge 1) The device that changes the mechanical vibrations stored on records into electrical signals. 2) A transducer changing sound stored as mechanical vibrations to sound in the form of electricity.
Phono Plug 1) A term with the same meaning as RCA Plug. 2) The common audio connector round on most stereo systems with a center pin as one connection and an outer shell as the second connection.
Photoelectric Cell - A device that generates a small current when it receives light.
Pick Up Pattern - The shape of the area that a microphone will evenly pick up from, giving similar but less detailed information than a polar pattern.
Pickup 1) A device on an electric guitar (or other instrument) that puts out an audio signal according to the string motion on the instrument. 2) A device that puts out an audio signal according to the vibration of something; this term means the same thing as a contact microphone.
Pilot Tone 1) Same as Neo-Pilot Tone. 2) A system of recording a 60 Hz tone, used for syncing on a 1/4 inch tape, developed by Nagra.
Pin Plug 1) A term with the same meaning as RCA Plug. 2) The common audio connector found on most stereo systems with a center pin as one connection and an outer shell as the second connection.
Pinch Roller - A rubber (or plastic) wheel which pinches the tape between it and the capstan, allowing the capstan to pull the tape.
Ping-Ponging - Playing several recorded tracks with sync playback through a console to mix them together and record them on an open track.
Pink Noise - Noise which has equal energy per octave or portion of an octave.
Pitch 1) The perception of frequency by the ear (a higher or lower quality of music). 2) A control on a tape transport which adjusts the speed slightly up or down, changing the pitch and time of the music. 3) The spacing of the grooves in a phonograph record.
Pitch Bend 1) Making, in a synthesizer, the pitch smoothly glide up slightly. 2) Also the wheel controller or MIDI command that will allow this.
Pitch Change 1) A characteristic of human hearing where bass frequencies sound lower in pitch at high sound pressure levels; an error of as much as 10%. 2) A function of a delay effects device where the output signal's pitch is different than the input signal's pitch.
Pitch Ratio - The percentage change in pitch in a pitch change program of a delay line.
Pitch To MIDI Converter - A device that will change an audio signal into MIDI information.
Pitch to Voltage Converter - A Device that will convert the frequency changes of an audio signal into proportional control voltage changes.
Plate Program - A setting in a digital delay/reverb effects device that simulates the plate reverberation sound.
Playback 1) The reproduction of recorded audio. 2) In motion picture or video production, the reproduction of the music over loudspeakers so that the performers/musicians can perform in time to the music for the camera.
Playback Equalization - A reduction of the amplitude of signals with high frequencies during playback of a tape to compensate for the Record Equalization.
Playback Engineer - The audio technician who plays back music over loudspeakers for motion picture/video production so that performers can perform in time with the music for the camera.
Playback Head - A transducer (energy converter) which converts magnetic flux recorded on tape into an audio signal.
Playback Level 1) A term with the same meaning as Reproduce Level. 2) A control that determines the output level of signals played back from the tape by the reproduce head.
Playback Mode - A connection of the console's monitor mixer inputs to the tape machine outputs for a quick playback of the multitrack master.
Playback Monitor - A position of the switch on a tape machine which allows the VU meter and sound output of the tape machine electronics to monitor the playback of what is actually recorded on the tape.
Playlist - A series of computer commands to a disk recording of digital audio where the playback of the digital audio is to play certain portions and not others.
Plug - A connector, usually on a cable, that mates with a jack.
Point Source - A design in speaker systems, where separate speakers (reproducing different frequency ranges) are made so that the sound appears to come from one place.
Polar Pattern 1) For microphones, a graphic display of the audio output levels caused by sound waves arriving at the mic from different directions. 2) In speakers, a graphic display of the speaker's dispersion.
Polarity - The direction of current flow or magnetizing force.
Polarizing Voltage - The voltage applied to the plates of the variable capacitor in the condenser microphone capsule.
Pole Pieces - Iron or other magnetic material that conducts magnetic force to where it can be used in transducers like record heads, playback heads, microphones, etc.
Pole Mode - In MIDI, a mode which allows the voices of the controlled synthesizer to be assigned polyphonically by incoming keynote numbers.
Polyphonic - Able to play more than one pitch at the same time, in synthesizers.
Ponging - Playing several recorded tracks with sync playback through a console to mix them together and record them on an open track.
Pop Filter - A device that is placed over a microphone or between the microphone and singer to prevent loud "pop" sounds by the singer.
Port 1) An opening in a speaker case or in a microphone case, just behind the diaphragm. 2) A jack accepting or sending digital data.
Portamento 1) A pitch change that smoothly glides from one pitch to another. 2) The synthesizer mode or MIDI command that allows or causes this to happen.
Ported-Case Microphone - A microphone with at least one port (opening behind the diaphragm) in its case.
Post - 1) A position of a send control (or other control) after the main channel fader. 2) Short for the term Post-Production.
Post Echo - A position of an echo send control after the main channel fader.
Post Production - Production done after a film or video is shot including the recording of replacement dialogue, adding sound effects and the mixing of dialogue, effects and music for the production.
Post Roll - The amount that the tape machine will play past the desired end point.
Pot - 1) Short for the term Potentiometer. 2) A device that outputs part of the input voltage according to the position of the control's knob.
Potentiometer - A device that outputs pan of the input voltage according to the position of the control's knob.
Power- 1) The measurement of the ability of an electrical current to produce light, produce heat or do other work. 2) A similar measurement of another energy form to do work. 3) The name of the switch which turns on a device.
Power Amplifier - A device that takes a line level signal and amplifies it to be able to drive a speaker.
Power Supply - An electrical circuit which supplies voltage and current for devices to operate.
Pre-Amp - A low-noise amplifier designed to take a low-level signal and bring it up to normal line level.
Pre/Post Switch - A switch on the input module, which determines whether the echo send control comes before or after the main channel fader.
Pre Delay - Delay circuits at the input of a reverberation device causing a delay before the reverberation is heard.
Pre Echo - 1) A repeating of the sound before the reverberation is heard used to simulate reflections caused by a stage. 2) In Tape Recording, a low-level leakage of sound coming later caused by print through. 3) In Disc Recording, a similar sound caused by a previous groove deforming a later groove. 4) A placement of an echo send control before the main channel fader.
Pre Emphasis - A boosting of high frequencies during the recording process to keep the signal above the noise at high frequencies.
Pre Fader - A placement of a send control (or other control) before the main channel fader.
Pre Fader Listen - A solo circuit that allows a channel signal to be heard (and often metered) before the channel fader.
Pre-Mix - 1) Another term for ponging (playing several recorded tacks with sync playback through a console to mix them together and record them on an open track). 2) To mix together the audio of several devices before sending the composite mix to the main console. 3) The composite mix of #1 or #2.
Precedence Effect - A factor in human hearing where delay has a much bigger effect on the human perception of the location of the sound source than level does.
Presence - The quality in sound of the instrument (or sound source) being right there next to you.
Presence Frequencies - The range of audio frequencies between 4 kHz and 6 kHz that often, when boosted, increases the sense of presence, especially on voices.
Preset - 1) A program of a sound done at the factory by the manufacturer. 2) A set of factory set parameters to give one effect on a signal processing device.
Pressure-Gradient Microphone - A microphone whose diaphragm is exposed front and back and diaphragm movement is caused by the pressure difference between its front and back.
Pressure Microphone - A microphone where the diaphragm moves because of the pressure of the sound wave having one side of the diaphragm working against the normal or controlled air pressure inside the microphone case.
Pressure Operated Microphone - A term meaning the same thing as the term Pressure Microphone. See the preceding entry.
Pressure Sensitivity - The feature in a synthesizer or Keyboard Controller of After Touch (a control or operational function of a synthesizer where pressing a key after it has been pressed, and before it is released, will activate a control command that can be set by the player).
Pressure Zone Microphone - The full name for PZM (trademark), Crown's barrier microphone (a microphone with the head attached closely to a plate, designed to be attached to a larger surface, and which has a half-Omni pickup pattern).
Preview - 1) To play the edit in a digital audio editing system before committing to save it. 2) In a computer assisted punch in, to have the computer play over the area while switching the monitoring so that the effect of the punch in can be heard before it is performed. 3) Short for preview signal (a signal in disc recording that matches and is earlier than the signal being recorded).
Preview Head - An extra reproduce head on a tape transport used in disc recording that the tape reaches before the regular playback head
Preview Signal - A signal in disc recording that matches and is earlier than the signal being recorded.
Print - 1) The action of a Print Through (unwanted transfer of magnetic flux from one layer of tape to another). 2) To record (slang definition).
Print Through - The unwanted transfer of magnetic flux from one layer of tape to another.
Processing - 1) A computer performing tasks as programmed. 2) Short for Signal Processing (changing the sound of the instrument or other sound source with equalizers, limiters, compressors and other devices thereby "processing" them to be recorded onto a master).
Processor - The part of a computer which actually performs task/calculations.
Producer - The "director' of an audio recording project responsible to get a final product of desired quality within a budget.
Production - 1) A recording of a tune, collection of tunes, video or film performance. 2) The action of directing an audio recording project to get a final product of desired quality within a budget.
Production Studio - A recording studio that specializes in the assembly and mixing of commercials and radio programs from pre recorded music and effects with newly recorded dialogue.
Program - 1) The instructions, the action of instructing, or the action of recording instructions for a computer or computer controlled device to perform certain functions. 2) A Sound Patch, the sequence of tone generators and modifiers in a synthesizer to obtain a particular sound. 3) The settings (especially those set at the factory) that will obtain a certain effect in an effects processor. 4) One selection of recorded music on a CD or DAT. 5) The audio that is recorded in general.
Program Number - The number of the pre-recorded selection in a CD or DAT.
Program Change- A MIDI message for the receiving device to change presets.
Program Disc - In a computer, the floppy disc that holds the program (to tell the computer how to process and store digital information).
Program Equalization - Changing the level of any signal in a certain range of frequencies to accent (or de-emphasize) certain frequency elements of an instrument or sound source and change its tone.
Program Mode - An operational mode of a monitor section of a console where the monitor inputs are connected to the console outputs feeding the multitrack tape machine (used during the recording session).
Program Switch - A switch which activates the Program Mode (Record Mode) of the monitor section connecting the monitor inputs to the console outputs feeding the multitrack tape recorder (used during the recording session).
Program Time - In DAT recording, the time indication from the top of one selection.
Programmable - Able to have the parameters changed by the user, especially in a computer controlled device.
Prompt - A set of instructions for the user to follow, which appears on a computer screen.
Proprietary - Describing a function, feature or characteristic owned by one company and available only in units manufactured by that company.
Protocol - A system of digital data where the positioning of the data, and what each bit in the data stream signifies, is according to a standardized format so all devices can properly interpret the data.
Pro Tools - A trade name of Digidesign for a hard disk digital audio recording system
Proximity Effect - In directional microphones, the boost in the microphone's output for bass frequencies as the mic is moved closer to the sound source.
Psychoacoustics - The study of how things sound to individuals because of mental or emotional factors.
Puck - Any circular piece of metal, fiber, rubber, etc., which drives something from a rotating power source.
Pulse - A rise and then fall in amplitude, similar to a square wave but staying up for less time than staying down.
Pulse Code Modulation - The use of amplitude pulses in magnetic tape to record the digital information bits of digital audio.
Pulse Wave Modulation - Moving smoothly from a square wave to pulse wave according to a control voltage input (usually from a LFO).
Pulse Width - The amount of time that a pulse is at maximum voltage.
Pumping Breathing - The sound of the noise changing volume as the limiter or compressor works.
Punching In and Out - Putting the recorder in record on a previously-recorded track while the tape is playing in sync playback and the singer or musician is singing or playing along is called Punching In.
Pure Tone - A tone without harmonic frequencies except for the fundamental frequency and with a sine wave shape.
PZM - A trademark belonging to Crown for their barrier microphones (a microphone with its head attached closely to a plate, designed to be attached to a larger surface, and which has a half-Omni pickup pattern).
Pan (Balance) - Knob on the mixer that adjusts the relative volume
between left and right (or A and B) in a stereo setup. Just like the stereo in
the living room.
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