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The time taken for a sound to achieve its maximum amplitude. Drums have a fast attack, whereas bowed strings have a slow attack. In compressors and gates, the attack time equates to how quickly the processor can reduce the signal level.
To reduce the signal amplitude or level.
A system used to reduce the amount of data needed to represent some information, such as an audio signal. Lossless audio data reduction systems, (eg. FLAC and ALAC) can fully and precisely reconstruct the original audio data with bit-accuracy, but the amount of data reduction is rarely much more than 2:1. Lossy data audio reduction systems (eg. MPEG, AAC, AC3 and others) permanently discard audio information that is deemed to have been 'masked' by more prominent sounds. The original data can never be retrieved, but the reduction in total data can be considerable (12:1 is common).
Signals in the range of human audio audibility. Nominally 20Hz to 20kHz.
A hardware device which acts as the physical bridge between the computer’s workstation software and the recording environment. An audio interface may be connected to the computer (via USB, Thunderbolt, FireWire, Dante, AVB or other current communication protocols) to pass audio and MIDI data to and from the computer. Audio Interfaces are available with a wide variety of different facilities including microphone preamps, DI inputs, analogue line inputs, ADAT or S/PDIF digital inputs, analogue line and digital outputs, headphone outputs, and so on. The smallest audio interfaces provide just two channels in and out, while the largest may offer 30 or more.
Jointly developed by Celemony and PreSonus in 2011, ARA relates to a data-exchange extension for DAW plug‑ins like AU, VST and RTAS, to pass information relating to an entire track, rather than just about a specific moment in time — such as pitch, tempo, rhythm etc. ARA v2 was announced in 2018 with an extended feature set including integrated undo synchronisation. Most of the popular DAWs are now compatible with ARA v2, but the only plug-ins that use it at present are Melodyne and Revoice Pro.
A common facility on tape machines or other recording devices that enables specific time points to be stored and recalled. For example, you may store the start of a verse as a locate point ('marker') so that you can get the tape machine or DAW to automatically relocate the start of the verse after you've recorded an overdub.
Dedicated mixer inputs used to add effects to the mix. Aux return channels usually have fewer facilities than normal mixer inputs, such as no EQ and access to fewer auxiliary sends. (cf. Effects Return)
A separate output signal derived from an input channel on a mixing console, usually with the option to select a pre- or post-fader source and to adjust the level. Corresponding auxiliary sends from all channels are bused together before being made available to feed an internal signal processor or external physical output. Sometimes also called effects ('FX') or cue sends.
The alignment of a tape head which references the head gap to the true vertical relative to the tape path. (cf. 'Wrap' and 'Zenith').