• Audio Speak

    The Non-Audiophile Guide to 'Audio Speak'

    This "Condensed Guide to Audio Vocabulary" put together by Audioreview.com (seemingly now defunct) will serve every Audio Apprentice or aspiring audiophile well. I took the liberties of making some edits.

    The Sound

    Highs: 1300Hz and above – cymbals, high notes, etc.

    Mids: 160-1300Hz – vocals, snare drum strike, guitar, etc.
    Lows: 20-160Hz – drums, low piano notes, bass guitar, etc.
    Soundstage/Imaging: How distinct each sound is and where it sounds along a 4-way axis.
    Reference-Quality: Being of little to no coloration; you are hearing the source, not the components.
    Coloration: When a component adds its own sound.
    Warm: A boost in the low and mid-range, softening the highs a bit.
    Cold: Less 'musical' sounding, sometimes too analytical and without emotion.
    Natural: No part of the audio spectrum sticks out above the rest; no coloration.
    Coherent: You can’t hear the tweeter versus the woofer, meaning the sound blends well.
    Bright: High-frequencies are over-emphasized. This sound can be exciting but fatiguing.
    Neutral: Highs, mids, and lows appear to all be in balance.
    PRaT: Pace, rhythm and timing.
    Sound Pressure Level (SPL): A logarithmic measure of the effective sound pressure of a sound, measured in decibels (dB).
    Dynamic Range (DR): the range of acceptable or possible volumes of sound occurring in the course of a piece of music or a performance.

    The Components

    Amplifier: Takes the low volume from the pre-amp and increases the power to drive the speakers.

    Solid State Amplifier: Doesn't use tubes to amplify the signal; a clean, cold sound.
    Tube Amplifier: Uses tubes to amplify the audio signal; a warmer sound.
    Integrated Amplifier: Both the amplifier and pre-amp in one unit.
    Watts: The power rating of the amplifier.
    Pre-Amplifier: Has an input selector and volume control.
    Phono Stage: Takes the very low signal from a cartridge and amplifies it.
    Interconnect: Connecting cables (pre-amplifier to amplifier, CD Player to pre-amp, etc.).
    PMP: Portable Music Player; iPod, HiFiMan, etc.
    Tweeter: Produces the high frequency sounds in a speaker.
    Super Tweeter: Produces super high frequencies. Supposed to help soundstage/imaging.
    Woofer: Produces the mid- to low-range frequencies.
    Subwoofer: Produces the very low frequencies.
    Full Range Driver: Combines the mids and lows into one driver. Sometimes even the highs.
    High Sensitivity Speakers: Speakers that can be driven effectively off a low-powered amplifier.
    Crossover: Divides the 20Hz-20kHz audio signal and sends it to the tweeters and woofers.
    2-Way Speaker: A speaker with 1 crossover point. Easier to produce a coherent image.
    3-Way Speaker: A speaker with 2 crossover points.
    Ported Box: A speaker cabinet with a hole that lets out lower frequencies.
    Closed Box: A speaker cabinet with no holes.
    Active Monitor: A reference-quality bookshelf speaker and amplifier combined into one.
    Passive Monitor: A reference-quality bookshelf speaker with no amplifier.
    Floorstanding Speaker: A speaker that can go right on the floor and be at ear level.
    Bookshelf or Stand Mount Speaker: A speaker meant to be placed on a stand or shelf.
    Music Server / Media Server: A digital storage deceive for digital music files.
    Receiver: Like an integrated amplifier, but does video processing as well.
    Home Theater in a Box: Typically an amplifier, DVD/Blu-ray player, and speakers, all in one box.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    1. Hello,
      I have noticed that under Audio Speak, you do not mention the term, SPL (sound pressure levels). This is a very important aspect in a listening room/environment. Your opinions and ideas on this topic would be greatly appreciated by me and possibly your other readers. Thanks. Ralph