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Recording: digital audio Digital Audio Tutorial: Glossary of terms

Digital audio tutorial
Introduction to digital audio
What sounds best?
Music compression
Common computer digital audio formats
Perceptual encoding schemes
Chart 1: bit depth and sampling rate chart
Chart 2: audio file formats
Chart 3: compression schemes
Glossary of common digital audio terms
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musiq.com digital audio
A/D conversion the process whereby analog signal is converted to digital. The higher the quality of A/D converters, the better the digital audio will sound.
amplitude loudness of signal -- in the physics of audio, represents the maximum peak of an audio wave. To the ear, amplitude is perceivable as volume.
audio format describes how digital audio is written to a computer file. Different formats typically have different headers, which describe possible bit depths, sampling rates, and the number of channels. Sound Designer II (.sd2) audio files can also store region information, which is useful for digital mixing purposes.
bit depth usually a multiple of 8; describes the number of bits which represent each byte of audio data. A bigher bit depth means that more amplitude accuracy can be represented.
CD audio the 16 bit, 44.1 khz audio standard (adopted c. 1979)
compression means of reducing the amount of data used for a sound file. The main reasons for compression were the lack of cheap storage for the audio, and the limited bandwidth for streaming audio on the Internet. mp3 and Real Audio are the main compression formats in 1999.
Compression is either lossy or non-lossy. With non-lossy compression, when you decompress the sound it's the same as before the compression. Most standards, unfortunately, are lossy.
D/A conversion the process whereby digital audio is converted to analog. Unlike in A/D conversion, having 18-20 bit converters for 16 bit digital audio will make absolutely no difference in sound.
DVD audio the 24 bit, 96khz. audio standard (adopted c. 1998)
frequency how many times per second the sound occurs. To the ear, frequency is perceivable as pitch.
hz. hertz: the measure of frequency in audio. In England, they measure this as cps (cycles per second)
jitter the phenomena of digital distortion as caused by inaccurate sample rate clocks, generally when recording digital audio
khz. kilohertz: 1000 hz. see hertz.
mp3 (mpeg) compression format based on the MPEG video compression format. The compression is lossy, and has many encoding parameters, including frame size (the larger, the more accurate), stereo encoding, and psy models (which simulate lost frequencies)
Nyquist theorem states that the highest audible frequency is half the sampling rate
oversampling filtering process that reduces the effects of digital distortion in the high frequencies and jitter.The more times oversampling takes place (8 is common today), the less erroneous data remains.
Real Audio popular compression format for streaming voice on the Internet. The compression is very lossy, but is simple to encode, and very compact.
sampling rate the number of bytes per second that represent digital audio. CD audio uses 44,100 samples per second (44.1khz); DVD-audio uses 96 khz.
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