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Welcome to Sound On Sound's indispensible, regularly updated, explanations of technical terms from the fields of Recording, Audio Production, Music Technology, MIDI, Music Software, Audio Plug-ins, Mac and PC Computing, Live Sound, Acoustics, Electronics and more...

If we do not explain a particular term below, please email and we will add it to our next update.

Last updated: 01/02/24

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Part of the ADSR envelope which determines the level to which the sound will settle if a key is held down. Once the key is released, the sound decays at a rate set by the Release parameter. Also refers to a guitar's ability to hold notes which decay very slowly.

Swan Neck

See Gooseneck.

Sweet Spot

The optimum position for a microphone, or for a listener relative to monitor loudspeakers.

Switching Power Supply

(Also SMPS) A type of power supply that uses mains power to drive directly a high frequency oscillator so that a smaller, lighter transformer may be used. These power supplies are commonly used because they can be made to accept a wide range of mains supply voltages, and are thus universal.


A system for making two or more pieces of equipment run in synchronism with each other.


The creation of artificial sound.


An electronic musical instrument designed to create a wide range of sounds, both imitative and abstract.


(System Exclusive) A part of the MIDI standard that allows manufacturers to define their own specific message formats, commonly used to dump and load a specific product’s patch data.