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Home Recording Academy: Glossary of Home Studio Terms N-Z

We started our glossary of home studio terms in last week’s installment of the Sage Audio Mastering Blog, and now we’re back to tackle the rest of the alphabet.

Home Recording

As we noted last week, the terms run the gamut from technical terms like overdubbing and frequency to those less definable words you’re likely to hear in a studio like warm and bright.

And so we’ll get right to it:

Noise: Well, this can mean quite a few things, obviously. But in studio settings, noise is typically any sound you don’t want in a track. See Signal to Noise Ratio below for more information.

Normalizing: This means adjusting the peak volume of a track to a certain point, usually around -0.5 dB.

Overdubbing: This simply means recording a new track while listening to an existing track. The new track is then mixed in with the existing track.

Producer: This word has perhaps the widest definition of any other in this glossary, because the role of a producer changes with every recording session, and often changes from song to song. A producer’s main job is to guide recording sessions and produce the best music possible from the artists in the studio.

Punch In: This is a way to record over a very short section of an already recorded track. Most often used to cover up a mistake made on an original recording.

Punchy: Having a good replication of dynamics.

Reverb: Short for reverberation, reverb effects attempt to recreate natural room acoustics.

Ribbon Microphone: This is a type of dynamic mic that features a magnetic field with a moving coil, or ribbon inside it. Though these mics are more fragile than many other microphones available, and are therefore usually only used for recording purposes. They offer a very warm sound sought by many producers and artists.

Sharp: A crisp, clean sound.

Sibilance: Loud “S” or “Sh” sounds in a mix – often reduced with a de-esser.

Signal to Noise Ratio: A ratio that measures the volume level of the audio signal compared to unwanted background noise.

Spacious: A track that sounds like it has a significant amount of space around the instruments. Can be achieved with reverb, moving the recordings mics further from the instrument and numerous other ways.

Thin: The opposite of Fat – a sound that is not full, with fundamental frequencies weak compared to harmonic frequencies.

Tweeter: A speaker used to produce high range frequencies.

Unidirectional Microphones: As its name would suggest, these microphones are designed to receive sound from one direction, and block out sounds from other directions. In addition to recording use, these are often used in live settings to avoid feedback.

Warm: Another antonym of thin, has good bass and low frequencies and spacious.

Woofer: Basically the opposite of a tweeter, a speaker designed to handle low frequency ranges.

XLR Connector: Typically found on microphone cables, these connectors have three pins and produce a balanced signal.

Zero Latency Monitoring: For digital recording, the process of routing the input signal directly to the output of the audio card.

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