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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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The parameter of tape head alignment relating to vertical alignment head and whether it is leaning forward or back relative to the tape path. (cf. Azimuth and Wrap.)

Zero Crossing Point

The point at which a signal waveform crosses from being positive to negative or vice versa.

Zero Latency Monitoring

A monitoring system that does not introduce delay. When recording into a computer the audio interface inherently introduces some latency (delay) in passing the signal in and out of the computer which may amount to several milliseconds. If trying to audition the output signal while performing, this delay can be disturbing and may even make it impossible to play/sing at all. To circumvent this situation, many interfaces are equipped with a 'zero-latency' or 'latency-free' monitoring function which passes the input signals directly to a local monitoring output, where it can be combined with any required replay signals from the computer.

Zipper Noise

Audible steps that can occur when a parameter is being varied in a digital audio processor.