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Glossary of Audio Terms: T - Z



TAPE HEAD: The part of a tape machine that transfers magnetic energy to the tape during recording, or reads it during playback.

TEMPO: The rate of the 'beat' of a piece of music measured in beats per minute.

TEST TONE: Steady, fixed level tone recorded onto a multitrack or stereo recording to act as a reference when matching levels.

THD: Total Harmonic Distortion.

TIMBRE: The tonal 'colour' of a sound.

TOSLINK: Toshiba link. Optical fiber connection system used to carry digital audio signal.

TRACK: The term dates back to multitrack tape where the tracks are physical stripes of recorded material, located side by side along the length of the tape.

TRANSIENTS: An element of a sound where the spectral content changes abruptly. Most natural sounds start with a transient element before settling into something more steady-state, and it is often that transient element that provides most of the recognisable character of the sound source. 

TRANSPARENCY: Subjective term used to describe audio quality where the high frequency detail is clear and individual sounds are easy to identify and separate.

TREMOLO: Modulation of the amplitude of a sound using an LFO.

TRANSDUCER: A device for converting one form of energy to another. A microphone is a good example of a transducer as it converts mechanical energy to electrical energy.

TRANSPOSE: To shift a musical signal by a fixed number of semitones.

TRIANGLE WAVE: Symmetrical triangular shaped wave containing odd harmonics only, but with a lower harmonic content than the square wave.

TRS JACK: Stereo type ¼”jack with Tip, Ring and Sleeve connections, indicated by 2 black rings on the plug.

TRUNCATION: Reduction of wordlength by cutting off the lower bits due to not dithering

TYRE KICKER: Terminology used to describe a individual who requests pricing information with no intention of making a purchase.



UNBALANCED: A 2-wire electrical signal connection where the inner or hot or +ve (positive) conductor is usually surrounded by the cold or -ve (negative) conductor, which forms a screen against electrical interference.

USB: Universal Serial Buss. 



VALVE: Vacuum tube amplification component, also known as a tube.

VCA: Voltage Controlled Amplifier. Amplifier who’s gain is controlled by an external d.c voltage.

VELOCITY: The rate at which a key is depressed. This may be used to control loudness (to simulate the response of instruments such as pianos) or other parameters on later synthesizers.

VOICE: The capacity of a synthesizer to play a single musical note. An instrument capable of playing 16 simultaneous notes is said to be a 16-voice instrument.

VU Meter: Volume Unit Meter. designed to interpret signal levels in roughly the same way as the human ear, which responds more closely to the average levels of sounds rather than to the peak levels. 



WATT: Unit of electrical power.
WAVEFORM: A graphic representation of the way in which a sound wave or electrical wave varies with time.

WHITE NOISE: A random signal with an energy distribution that produces the same amount of noise power per Hz.

WORD CLOCK: A clock signal that synchronizes digital equipment.

WEBER: Unit of magnetic flux.

WRITE: To save data to a digital storage medium, such as a hard drive. 



XLR: Industry standard connector used to connect  many professional audio equipment. Usually 3 pin male or female.  



Y-Lead: Lead split so that one source can feed two destinations. Y leads may also be used in console insert points in which case a stereo jack plug at one end of the lead id split into two monos at the other. 



ZENITH: Is the vertical orientation of a tape head with respect to the surface of the tape.

ZIP: A data compressed file format.