Sound Engineering Glossary

Topics: Musical Instrument Digital Interface, MIDI, Synthesizer Pages: 30 (11115 words) Published: March 9, 2013
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A to Z

AC: Alternating Current.
A/D [A-D] CONVERTER: Circuit for converting analogue waveforms into a series of equally spaced numerical values represented by binary numbers. The more 'bits' a converter has, the greater the resolution of the sampling process. ACTIVE: Describes a circuit containing transistors, ICs, tubes and other devices, that require power to operate and are capable of amplification. ADAT: The term 'ADAT' is best known today as a widely used eight-channel optical digital audio interface — and a contraction of 'ADAT Lightpipe'. It was developed by Alesis as a bespoke interface for the company's digital eight-track tape machines in the early 1990s — hence the name ADAT (Alesis Digital Audio Tape). Those machines are long obsolete, but the interface has survived. The interface transfers up to eight channels of 24-bit digital audio at base sample rates (44.1 or 48kHz) via a single fibre-optic cable. This 'lightpipe' is physically identical to that used for the TOSlink optical S/PDIF stereo interface found on many digital consumer hi-fi devices, but while the fibre itself can be used interchangeably for either format, the S/PDIF and ADAT interfaces are not compatible in any other way. The interface incorporates embedded word- and bit-clocks, and padding zeros are introduced automatically if digital wordlengths lower than 24 bits are being transmitted. Although not supported by all ADAT Lightpipe interfaces, an increasing number of devices do support the S/MUX (Sample Multiplexing) protocol (licensed from Sonorus) which allows higher sample rates to be employed at the cost of fewer channels of audio. The S/MUX2 format operates at double sample rates (88.2 and 96kHz) but carries only four channels, while S/MUX4 operates at quad rates (176.4 and 192kHz) but with only two channels. S/MUX uses a clever technique that divides the high sample rate data across the nominal channels in such a way that accidental level changes or dithering applied identically to each channel in the data stream do not destroy the wanted demultiplexed signal. ADDITIVE SYNTHESIS: A system for generating waveforms or sounds by combining basic waveforms or sampled sounds prior to further processing with filters and envelope shapers. ADSR: Envelope generator with Attack, Sustain, Decay and Release parameters. This is a simple type of envelope generator and was first used on early analogue synthesizers. This form of envelope generator continues to be popular on modern instruments. See Decay for more details. ACTIVE SENSING: A system used to verify that a MIDI connection is working, that involves the sending device sending frequent short messages to the receiving device to reassure it that all is well. If these active sensing messages stop for any reason,the receiving device will recognise a fault condition and switch off all notes. Not all MIDI devices support active sensing. AES: Acronym for Audio Engineering Society, one of the industry's professional audio associations. AES 3: A two-channel interface used to pass digital audio between equipment. Originally developed by the Audio Engineering Society and the European Broadcasting Union, it is often known as the AES-EBU interface. The AES standards documentation list it as 'AES 3', and it is normally connected using 3-pin XLRs. It carries two digital audio channels plus embedded clocking data on a balanced cable of a nominal 110 Ohm impedance, with up to 24 bits per sample and sample rates up to 384kHz. The datastream is structured identically to S/PDIF, although some of the Channel status codes are used differently. An extension to the AES 3 standard is AES 3-id, which describes an...
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