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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,
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,
us know, thanks!
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1. How much a circuit can amplify a signal without distorting
2. The amount of signal available; the average level of a signal.
3. A control on a device that affects how much signal is passed
through it; a volume control.
4. The level control for the microphone preamplifier of a mixer.
The input level control. This control must be set correctly to
avoid distortion and input overload. Used to compensate for the
wide range of input levels coming from different microphones and
see trim control
The amount of sound pressure level increase available before
the system encounters acoustic feedback based on the acoustics
of the room, sound system design, and equipment used.
1. A filter or circuit that switches a circuit or channel on
or off (automatically).
2. A short wooden door that keeps little people (and big people)
out of the sound booth.
A rating for cables that describes the physical size of the internal
conductor(s). The higher the number, the smaller the wire. Typical
microphone cables are made up of wires that are 22G (22-gauge),
while typical speaker cables are larger (14G or 12G).
A flexible pipe. Typically used on a microphone stand to allow
a microphone to be positioned just about any possible way.
An equalizer made up of multiple attenuators set (centered) on
evenly spaced (fixed) frequencies throughout the audio spectrum
and affecting a fixed range of frequencies around them. The controls
allow the frequency to be cut or boosted at these frequencies.
There are three typical types: controls centered on 1-octave intervals,
controls centered on 2/3-octave intervals, or controls centered
on 1/3-octave intervals. The narrower the separation, the more
control the unit gives.
see also parametric equalizer; equalizer, notch filter, constant
1. The Earth.
2. Electrical wiring that's connected to the Earth to provide
safety from electrical shock.
3. The shielding, 0-voltage circuit to provide noise free circuits
within an audio device or cabling.
Two or more interconnected (via a grounded audio line) pieces
of audio equipment plugged into electric circuits with different
ground connections. Both units are grounded by the AC power cord
as well as the shield wire that runs between them. This creates
a circular path through the ground and shield lines, resulting
in a ground loop. The resultant loop can produce low-frequency
(60Hz) hum and high-frequency buzzing sounds. Solving such a problem
isnt an easy task.
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 acoustics.
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!