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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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hall (digital effect)
(Usually) A microphone designed to be operated while held
in a persons hand. A handheld microphone is designed to be
held close to the sound source (mouth) as opposed to suspended,
boundry, lapel, or boom microphones. Specifically in wireless
microphones, the type of transmitter where the microphone
capsule is directly attached to the transmitter (no cable)
and the transmitter is designed to be carried in the hand.
Undesired sound/noise picked up by a microphone when the
user moves their fingers, hand, or arm on the microphone and/or
see triboelectric noise
hard of hearing system
A frequency that resonates in response to a fundamental (primary)
freuency. Sometimes, when a certain frequency is fenerated
(a fundamental), it will also cause another frequency or frequencies
to start as well. These are called harmonics.
A small single speaker or pair of small speakers that are
worn on the head such that the speakers cover the ears. Some
units are single-sided, two sided, open or closed back, fit
in the ear, or cover the entire ear.
The amount of room between the normal operating level and
the maximum level where clipping (distortion) occurs in a
sound system. This number tells you how much louder the system
can get before it goes into distortion.
A device that's designed to be used while worn on the head.
A common example is a microphone headset where the user wears
a headband that has a small microphone on the end of a short
flexible boom arm. Opposed to suspended, boundry, lapel, handheld,
or boom microphones.
1. Anyone who's unable to hear and/or understand speech at
a level that most people are able to do so.
2. A hearing impaired system
see assistive listening system
The measure of how long it takes one complete (sound) wave
to pass by a given point. One Hertz is one cycle per second.
Abbreviated Hz. The higher the frequency, the higher the pitch
HDTV (high-definition television)
The label found on a 2 or 3-band equalizer on a sound mixer.
Refers to the control that cuts or boosts the high-freqeuncies,
usually using a shelving EQ.
The electromagnetic frequency range from 150 - 216 Mhz. Used
for FM transmission. Very commonly used for professional wireless
microphone systems. Also used by television broadcast.
high cut filter
An electonic filter which only allows frequecies below a
set point to pass. Frequencies above the set point are eliminated.
Usually this point is between 6 - 12 kHz (Kilo-Hertz) to reduce
hiss and sibilance. Also called a low-pass filter.
see also high pass filter; low cut filter; low pass filter
high pass filter
An electonic filter which only allows frequecies above a
set point to pass. Frequencies below the set point are eliminated.
Typical filter points are 80 - 100 Hz which helps eliminate
stage rumble, popping sounds, and 60-cycle hum. Also called
a low-cut filter The point at which it begins blocking is
called the crossover point.
see also high cut filter; low cut filter; low pass filter
A form of static at 2kHz and up. Electronic equipment has
inherant hiss; also due to falty circuitry.
1. A signal that's higher than normal or expected.
2. A microphone that's turned on.
3. A mixer channel that's turned on.
4. In a balanced signal, the positive signal is "hot".
5. What one says after taking the first sip of coffee.
1. The main room where people sit in a theater or church.
2. The sound system that provides sound reinforcement for
that area (as opposed to the monitor system, recording system,
3. The main speakers used.
4. Usually refers to God's house, not yours.
A form of low-frequency interference (esp. in the 60 Hz range).
Sources include groud loops or AC electrical induction from
electrical lines too close to audio lines.
HVAC (heating, ventalation, air conditioning)
A microphone even more directional than a supercardioid microphone.
Typical specifications are: coverage angle=105-degrees, maximum
see also: bidirectional; cardioid; omnidirectional; supercardioid;
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
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 Corp, 1990
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,