A Technical Glossary of helpful audio terms!

Audio Port – where you connect the audio wire from a different device. E.g. some phones have a mini-jack audio port to connect headphones.

Distortion – unwanted sound which effects the clarity of the audio, maybe in the form of buzzing or white noise. Check all audio settings/cables to try and fix.

Envelope – Added in editing, a sound envelope changes the amplitude of the audio over time.

Image shows a volume envelope in Reaper

Gain – the amount of audio input you allow. Increases the volume of the audio, but can also alter the tone or distort the input if pushed too high.

Internal/External Microphone – An Internal Microphone is the mic built into the device. An External microphone is added by the user to replace the in-built microphone.  You might use an external microphone to increase the audio quality, or have the microphone closer to the subject to pick up their voice more clearly.

Jack or Mini-Jack – commonly used as an audio cable. A mini-jack is found on most headphones.

   A mini-jack connector.

Levels – Measured in Decibels (Db) the audio levels show the volume of your audio.

    An example of Audio Levels in Adobe Premiere

Mono – Audio recorded using one channel.

Noise Reduction – A system for reducing noise or for reducing the level of hiss present in a recording.

Normalise – A process in editing which changes to the overall volume to a target level.

Stereo – Audio recording using two channels (left & right).

Sound Check / Monitor Levels: Listening to and doing a test-run of the audio before recording. A very important step! Monitoring audio during filming is also essential to pick up on any problems whilst recording.

Talkback – A system designed to enable voice communication between rooms.

Peak – the maximum volume level

Wild-track – contextual audio of the area you are recording in, without any speech/content from your subject. For example, the background noise of a restaurant or park.,

XLR cable – commonly used an an audio cable for microphones.

   XLR cable – male and female connectors

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