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BACKUP: A safety copy of software or other digital data.
Baffle: - The part of a loudspeker enclosure on to which the drive units are fastened. Alternatively, a sound absorbent barrier used in recording studios to separate musicians who are recording in the same room (sometimes referred to as a "gobo" in this sense). Hence a "well baffled speaker" is not a speaker that is in a state of some confusion! but rather, it is a loudspeaker which has been firmly fixed to a rigid base-board.
BALANCE: This word has several meanings in recording. It may refer to the relative levels of the left and right channels of a stereo recording, or it may be used to describe the relative levels of the various instruments and voices within a mix.
Balanced / Balanced Line: - An audio cable, most commonly a three pin "XLR" type mic cable, which has two conduction channels surrounded by metallic shielding where each conductor is of equal impedance relative to the ground/ earth. The conductors should have equal potential but opposite polarity. The advantage of this system is in terms of noise reduction, as a balanced line reduces unwanted noise because the opposing polarities ensures that unwanted noise is lost through "cancellation" when the inverted signal on one conductor is added to the original signal of the second conduction channel when the whole of the signal reaches it's destination.
BALANCED WIRING: Wiring system which uses two out-of-phase conductors and a common screen to reduce the effect of interference. For balancing to be effective, both the sending and receiving device must have balanced output and input stages respectively.
BAND PASS FILTER (BPF): Filter that removes or attenuates frequencies above and below the frequency at which it is set. Frequencies within the band are emphasized. Bandpass filters are often used in synthesizers as tone shaping elements. A filter which allows only certain audio frequencies to pass, while rejecting all others above and below the cutoff points. An example of a bandpass filter may be found in a "3 - way" loudspeaker system which will utilise a "woofer" for bass frequencies, a "midrange" unit for middle frequencies, and a "tweeter" for high frequencies. Whilst the woofer (which has no frequencies below it) will be able to have it's band of frequencies fed to it via a "low pass" filter and the "tweeter" which has no frequencies above it will have a high pass filter, the midrange, which will have frequencies both above and below it's area of operation will need to have its frequencies fed to it via a bandpass filter. See also "Crossover".
Bandwidth (1) The upper and lower limits of a range of frequencies a signal possesses, or that a piece of equipment will pass. It should not be confused with frequency response, which concerns itself not only with the upper and lower limits but also how frequencies are amplified or attenuated between these two points. (2) One parameter on a parametric equaliser.
BANK - a storage location in a sampler or synthesizer that typically holds a large number of individual program (sounds).
Bank Select Message: A MIDI control change message which instructs a receiving synth to switch to a different bank so that another instrument or sound can be accessed within a sequence.
Bank: A storage location in a sampler or synthesizer that holds a large number of individual sounds. Typically, any synthesizer that isn’t General MIDI utilizes banks to organize the additional sounds and there can be up to 127 sounds within each bank.
Baud Rate: The speed at which digital information is passed through a serial interface expressed in bits-per-second. MIDI data is transmitted at 31.25 KBaud or 31,250 bits per second.
BETA VERSION: Software which is not fully tested and may include bugs.
BIAS: High frequency signal used in analogue recording to improve the accuracy of the recorded signal and to drive the erase head. Bias is generated by a bias oscillator.
Bi-Directional (microphone): - Microphone that will pick up sounds which are emanating from the front of the microphone (on-axis), and the rear of the microphone (off-axis), and largely reject those to the side. Also described as a "figure of eight" microphone, as the field pattern just described corresponds to that of the figure eight.
BINARY NUMBERS - a numbering system based on 2 in which 0 and 1 are the only available digits. Of or based on the number two or the binary numeration system (base 2). Digital computers use this form of numbering because the values of 0 and 1 can easily be represented by an open or closed switch.
Binaural: - Hearing with two ears, humans who are not deaf in one / both ears hear things "binaurally".
BIOS: Part of a computer operating system held on ROM rather than on disk. This handles basic routines such as accessing the disk drive.
Bit/Bit-Depth - often used to describe the resolution or quality of each sample in a digital audio stream. It is the number of bits (0's and 1's) used to describe the amplitude or volume of an audio signal at a specific point in time. The higher the number, the more precisely the original or intended audio signal can be (re)produced. See Digital Audio Basics for a more detailed explination.
Bit: - Smallest unit of digital currency, and the basis of the binary numbering system (bit is a shortening of "binary digit). A bit may be either 0 (off), or 1 (on). Eight bits make a Byte (see below). A Bit is a single piece of information assigned a value of 0 or 1 as used in a digital computer. Computers use digital words which are combinations of bits. A Byte is a digital word consisting of eight Bits.
bitrates - speed at which audio data travels per second
BITS (BYTES) - a binary digit. Mode of information used by a computer to store numbers. One bit equals a \Qone' or a \Qzero'. Usually 8 bits equals one byte, however, MIDI uses a 10 bit-byte that includes a start bit, the 8 - bit data message, and a stop bit.
BJT: - Acronym of Bipolar Junction Transistor.
BNC: Bayonet Nut Connector provides a secure, easy-to-use means of connecting shielded cables to electronic equipment used for high-end video, computer networking and digital audio. Word clock usually uses a BNC connector and is on the Edirol DA-2496, an 8 in, 8 out PCI soundcard.
Boomy": - A subjective term used to describe recording sound - mix etc which has an excessive amount of bass.
BOOST/CUT CONTROL: A single control which allows the range of frequencies passing through a filter to be either amplified or attenuated. The centre position is usually the 'flat' or 'no effect' position.
Boot: Starting up a computer by loading a program that allows it to run other programs. The term comes from bootstrapping which means that the computer "pulls itself up by its own bootstraps."
Bounce: When recording or sequencing, to bounce tracks means to combine (mix) several tracks together and record them on another track.
BPF - see Bandpass Filter.
BPM: Beats per minute. (example: a rap song with 130 bpm has more beats per minute than a classical song at 60 bpm)
Break-Jack": - See Normalised / Normalled Connection.
Breath Controller: This is a controller that converts breath pressure into MIDI data. Although not common, these controllers are synthesized renditions of acoustic woodwind instruments and are especially beneficial when assigning a wind instrument in a sequence.
BUFFER MEMORY: Temporary RAM memory used in some computer operations, sometimes to prevent a break in the data stream when the computer is interrupted to perform another task.
Buffer: - A temporary storage location in memory, where data may be accumulated until it is ready for processing. Circuit designed to isolate the output of a source device from loading effects due to the input impedance of the destination device. Buffering: This is a method for temporarily storing or delaying data samples before processing or conversion.
Bug: - Software error. A term that originally comes from the early days of computing, when a problem in an early military research computer was found to be caused by a moth inside the machine!
Bulk Dump: Used with synthesizers, a bulk dump transmits a chunk of data commands known as system-exclusive messages. Generally a synth can send and receive bulk dumps to a sequencer, either software or a stand alone synth.
Bumper: Music based on a thematic idea from the score, used to "bookend" an act of a show. Usually 3 to 5 seconds long, and underscores a show logo.
burning - term for writing data to a cd
BURN-Proof - short for "Buffer Underrun Proof", this technology was developed by Sanyo to combat the most common problem in burning CDs. If a data stream is interrupted while burning, the cd creation process is often ruined. BURN-Proof combats this by connecting the data seamlessly between the recorded point and the recording start point
Bus: - In recording parlance, a bus is one of the main outputs of a mixer, which may be connected to one of inputs of a recorder, amplifier or signal processor. In computing parlance, it is the means by which data is transported between one part of a computer (eg Central Processing Unit) to another (eg Hard Disk). A computing type of bus may be separated into two parts, an address bus, and a data bus, and is measured in terms of its "width" in terms of bits (how many bits of data it can move at one time).
BUSS: A common electrical signal path along which signals may travel. In a mixer, there are several busses carrying the stereo mix, the groups, the PFL signal, the aux sends and so on. Power supplies are also fed along busses.
Buzz: - Annoying audio noise, created by harmonics at the 60 Hertz (the frequency of AC electricity) part of the sound frequency spectrum.
Byte: A unit of digital value which consists of 8 bits, usually in the number of bytes such as kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes.