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Church Audio & Acoustics Glossary
This glossary is being put online to help with unfamiliar
words when visiting this site. Since this is a web site devoted
to church audio and acoustics, the glossary will cover common
words used when talking about church audio and acoustics.
This is only one step beyond typical glossary listings, since
it's specific to churches. New words will be added as they come
up; if you have any suggestions, please
let us know!
There are a number of words that relate to churches in general,
as well as video and lighting terms. You usually need to know
a little of everything...
Many words don't have definitions yet, we're working on it. This
is a project in motion; it will be updated as time permits. If
you would like to contribute a definition for any words listed
here, just let
us know, thanks!
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A measure of the power (current) in an electric signal. Abbreviated
"W". Currrent is annotated as "I".
An oscilation of something. Specifically in audio refering
to either the oscilation air pressure in a sound wave, or the
oscilation of voltage in an electrical audio signal. Just like
a wave on the ocean where it goes up and down, the voltage of
an audio wave goes up and down and our ears eventually interpret
that oscilation as sound.
A graph of the voltage levels of an audio signal with amplitude
being the Y-axis and time being the X-axis. The "picture"
of an audio signal's wave pattern.
The physical distance from a given point of a wave through
one complete cycle. How long a wave is. The length of a sound
wave determines the frequency of the sound. Can be calculated
by dividing the frequency of sound into the speed of sound (for
example, a 500Hz sound wave is 2.26 feet long).
An audio signal that's been processes, usually with some sort
of effects. (Not a mixer with coffee spilled on it.)
see also dry signal
An audio signal with equal energy at all frequencies. Has more
energy at higher frequencies than pink noise from the way octaves
are related to frequencies.
see also pink noise
A cover placed on a microphone to protect it from wind. Normally,
the air (other than sound waves) moving across a microphone
will cause pops, whistles, and thumps. A windscreen minimizes
these sounds. Make sure the windscreens you use are acoustically
transparent and that you wash them in soapy water often. Windscreens
can then be dipped in mouthwash to further sanitize them and
make them smell good!
A microphone system that has the microphone capsule attached
to a radio transmitter. The transmitter takes the audio signal
from the capsule, changes it into a radio signal, and transmits
it. A matching radio receiver takes the radio signal, converts
it back to an audio signal, and outputs it usually to a mixer.
This is opposed to a standard microphone where the capsule is
connected to the mixer by continuous wiring. The rule for using
wireless mics is that if it doesn't move, it doesn't need to
be wireless. Wired mics are still much, much better than even
the best wireless mics.
Term for low frequency speaker drivers.
see also squaker, tweeter
A slow frequency change in an audio signal when playing back
a pre-recorded signal. This is causes by a mis-adjusted or physically
limited mechanical component in the medium transport system.
A comment made when something impresses you.
see also flutter
A wiring design of one connection to multiple others or from
multiple connections to one. I.E. the output of one device directly
wired to the inputs of several devices. Note:wye'ing an output
to several inputs will often work, but there's a loss of signal
for each split. Wye'ing multiple outputs to a single input usually
will NOT work or at best will offer significant loss of signal
due to impedences of electronic wiring.
No, we didn't write all of these definitions ourselves. What
we did was take a word, read several definitions from books and
listings on the internet, then write our own version. In some
cases we used phrases word-for-word, but usually we reworded the
definition to be more clear and applicable to church audio and
Glen Ballou, Handbook for Sound EngineersThe New Audio
Cyclopedia. Howard W. Sams & Co., MacMillan, Inc. 1991
Don & Carolyn Davis, Sound System Engineering. Howard W. Sams
& Co., MacMillan, Inc. 1997
Glossary of Wireless Microphone Terms. Lectrosonics, http://www.lectro.com/wg/wgglos.htm
John Eiche, Guide to Sound Systems for Worship. Hal Leonard Publishing
Tim Vear, Microphone Selection and Application for Church Sound
Systems. Shure Brothers, 1996
Tim Vear, Selection and Operation of Wireless Microphone Systems.
Shure Brothers, 1994
Microphone Techniques for Music, Shure Brothers, 1994
Joe De Buglio, Why Are Church Sound Systems & Church Acoustics
So Confusing?, 1998
various handbooks and users manuals for specific equipment especially
by Mackie, Spirit, Shure, and Rane.
EXTREME thanks to Stephen Lund of LaRue Electrical Specialties,
who began writing a glossary of terms, never fully completed it,
but has passed his words and definitions on to us for use in this
glossary. There are many definitions he had written that were
so simple to understand, we took them as-is without any editing.
We finally finished it! (...almost) Thanks a million, Stephen!