A piano-styled keyboard that sends out MIDI signals to control other MIDI devices. Most keyboard instruments are equipped with MIDI control capabilities, but dedicated MIDI keyboard controllers emit no audio signals, only MIDI data.
An abbreviation for kilohertz (1000 Hz, or 1000 cycles per second). Example: 2000 Hz = 2 kHz. Most commonly used in the studio for describing audio frequency ranges or digital sampling rates.
The bass drum on a trap drum set, so called because it is played with a kick pedal.
A function on a compressor that determines how abruptly or gradually compression begins once the sound level crosses the threshold. So-called because the graphic “bend” in the response curve is reminiscent of a knee. “Hard knee” refers to an abrupt activation of the compressor, while “soft knee” refers to a more gradual change.
Refers to almost any blending of similar multiple musical parts or sounds at once, often combined on one channel or assigned to one controller. In audio recording, layering usually involves recording similar takes of the same instrument or vocal (or duplicating parts with slight delays or chorusing effects) to create a fuller, richer sound than the vocal/instrument by itself. In sound design, it also refers to blending multiple samples (example: two or more drum sounds) to create a fuller sound.
The musical instrument that plays the melody, including the vocal.
A shorthand form of music notation (similar to a chord chart) that displays the basic essential elements of a song so musicians can follow along without the full notation of every note or expression. Lead sheets most commonly include a melody line written in music notation with chord changes above the staff, and lyrics below it. (See also “Chord Chart.”)
Sounds from other instruments and sound sources that were not intended to be picked up by the microphone.
The amount of signal strength; the amplitude, especially the average amplitude.
A type of compressor that sharply reduces (limits) the gain of the signal when the audio level reaches a certain threshold, typically used to prevent overload and signal peaking. A compressor effectively becomes a limiter when its ratio is 10:1 or higher. (See also “Compressor.”)
An input designed to take a line level signal.
The standard audio signal level that runs through interconnecting cables in the studio or sound system, before the signal is amplified and sent to the speakers. Line level is often described in comparison to mic level or instrument level (which usually require preamplification to bring them up to line level).
Any output that sends out a line level signal, such as the output of a console that feeds a recorder.
1) A term describing a space with a reverberant or reflected sound. In a “live” space, the sound waves are active or “live.”
2) Occurring in real time, as opposed to previously recorded.
A recording session where all the musicians are playing at once with no overdubbing.