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RA (.ra) - "Real Audio" file type from Real Networks. Usually produced by any of Real Networks' proprietary software.

Rackjobber: A business concern that obtains product from distributors for large discount department store chains, such as Target and Wal-Mart.

RAM: Acronym for Random Access Memory. The memory in a computer in a computer that stores data temporarily while you are working on it. Data stored in RAM is lost forever when power is interrupted to the machine if it has not been saved to another medium, such as floppy or hard disk.

R-DAT: Digital tape machine using a rotating head system.

REAL TIME: An audio process that can be carried out as the signal is being recorded or played back. The opposite is off-line, where the signal is processed in non-real time. In sequencing software there are generally two types of recording procedures, real-time; and step-time. Real-time is literally recorded in time that has not been adjusted, such as slowed down. Step-time is a recording method of inputting MIDI data that is sequentially laid down note-by-note, chord-by-chord and is particularly helpful for inputting data at one’s own pace.

Realtime Controls: Occurring in actual time or live.

RECEPTION MODE - one of four basic configurations used by a synthesizer that determines how it will respond to incoming data.

Record club: A mail order operation in which consumers become "members." In some cases, members commit to purchasing a specified number of recordings.

Rectifier: - Electronic device which is used to keep the direction of flow in AC electricity constant. They are a vital element in the power supplies of all electronic devices which run on domestic mains (AC) electricity.

Red Book" Standard: - Standard set by the Phillips and Sony corporations which governs the audio standard for virtually all audio CD production. Instituted to ensure compatabilty between CD's and their players, it states that audio should be of a standard which is 16 bit, uncompressed and recorded with a sample rate 44.1 kHz per second. On a computer, audio files recorded at these rates are usually known as "WAV" files. The formal standard for the audio compact disc (CD), developed by Philips and Sony in 1982.

Reissue: Renewed availability or re-distribution of an older, previously released or otherwise unavailable recorded product.

Release - the final period of an envelope during which a sound's attribute (such as volume) decreases from the sustain level to 0 (silence). The release period is usually started upon releasing a keyboard's note. This period of the envelope defines how a sound finishes off. A long release time causes a sound's attribute to fade away slowly, while a short release time causes it to drop out quickly. The rate at which a signal amplitude decays once a key has been released. The time taken for a level or gain to return to normal. Often used to describe the rate at which a synthesized sound reduces in level after a key has been released. The rate at which a synthesized sound reduces in level after a key has been released.

Release Date: The actual date that a manufacturer "releases" product for distribution; the date on which the manufacturer physically mails or "ships" product for distribution.

Resample - to recalculate samples in a sound file at a different rate than the file was originally recorded. If a sample is resampled at a lower rate, sample values are removed from the sound file, decreasing its size, but also decreasing its available frequency range and possibly introducing aliasing. Resampling to a higher sample rate, often interpolates extra sample values into the sound file. This increases the size of the sound file but may not increase the quality (depends on the algorithm used).

Resistance: - This is the amount of opposition or yes, resistance! to a flow of electrical current, and is measured in Ohm's, which is sometimes represented by the Greek symbol for Omega. In electronic's, copper, aluminium, gold and silver offers very little resistance to electric current, and are commonly known as "conductors". At the other extreme, rubber and most plastics offer ALOT of resistance, and are usually known as "insulators". Resistance is normally dissipated as heat.

Resistor: - An electronic component that is designed to have a set value of electronic resistance, measured in Ohms. Is used extensively in electronic circuitry for current control and protection.

RESOLUTION: The accuracy with which an analogue signal is represented by a digitising system. The more bits are used, the more accurately the amplitude of each sample can be measured, but there are other elements of converter design that also affect accuracy. High conversion accuracy is known as high resolution.

Resonance: A frequency at which a material object will vibrate. In a filter with resonance, a signal will be accentuated at the cutoff frequency. The characteristic of a filter that allows it to selectively pass a narrow range of frequencies. See Q

Resonant Frequency: Any system has a resonance at some particular frequency and at that frequency, even a slight amount of energy can cause the system to vibrate. A stretched piano string, when plucked, will vibrate for a while at a certain fundamental frequency. Plucked again, it will again vibrate at that same frequency. This is its natural or resonant frequency. While this is the basis of musical instruments, it is usually undesirable in music-reproducing instruments like audio equipment or room acoustics.

Returns: The quantity of unsold product from a retailer or other outlet that is returned to the distributor.

Reverb - an effect that simulates natural reverberations (sound reflections) that occur in different rooms and environments to create an ambience or sense of spaciousness. Acoustic ambience created by multiple reflections in a confined space. Acoustic ambience created by multiple reflections in a confined space. Also, a type of digital signal processing that produces a continuous wash of echoing sound, simulating an acoustic space such as a concert hall. Reverberation contains the some frequency components as the sound being processed, but no discrete echoes. See Echo, DSP or Delay.

Reverb / Reverberation Unit: - Electrical / Mechancal / Both kind of device to add to add the effect of reverberation (see below) to a sound / signal. See also echo and effects processing.

Reverberation A complex of many reflected sounds occurring in an enclosed space such as a building or cave. The effect is often confused with echo which, strictly, is a discrete repeat of a sound event. Reverberation occurs to some extent in any place where a sound can occur, but is most noticeable in very large places with many hard reflective surfaces which are at complex angles to one another, such as large churches etc. Most people are able to recognise particular types or reverberation and can associate these with imaginary rooms of varying sizes. Devices for the artificial creation of reverberation ( sometimes called "room simulation") have been available for some time. Initially based on electromechanical devices such as reverb springs or reverb plates, these are now usually digital devices. Several distinct phases are observed in the evolution of a reverberative sound and these include pre delay, early reflections, high & low frequency damping, decay.

Reverberation Time Also call Rt60. In a reverberant environment, this is the time a sound event will take to decrease in amplitude by 60 dB(SPL). In general bigger spaces will have longer Rt60 times than smaller spaces, however there are a number of other factors to be taken into account such as the damping effect of furniture, curtains or even people.

RF Interference: Interference significantly above the range of human hearing. Radio Frequency.

RIBBON MICROPHONE: A microphone where the sound capturing element is a thin metal ribbon suspended in a magnetic filed. When sound causes the ribbon to vibrate, a small electrical current is generated within the ribbon.

RING MODULATOR: A device that accepts and processes two input signals in a particular way. The output signal does not contain any of the original input signal but instead comprises new frequencies based on the sum and difference of the input signals' frequency components. Ring Modulators will be covered in depth later in the series. The best known application of Ring Modulation is the creation of Dalek voices but it may also be used to create dramatic instrumental textures. Depending on the relationships between the input signals, the results may either be musical or extremely dissonant - for example, ring modulation can be used to create bell-like tones. (The term 'Ring' is used because the original circuit which produced the effect used a ring of diodes.)

Rip - to extract or copy data from one format to another more useful format. The most common example is found in the phrase "CD Ripping" which means to copy audio tracks from an ordinary audio CD and save them to hard disk as a WAV, MP3 or other audio file, which can then be played, edited or written back to another CD.

Ripping: This is the process of taking audio data from a CD and making it into a sound file on your computer. It is called ripping because in most cases the audio data is digitally "ripped" directly from the CD. This process can be very fast (a four minute song might only take 30 seconds to record). An analog recording process on the other hand records a song by playing the CD and recording the sound output. The analog process can only happen in realtime (a four minute song takes four minutes to record). The digital extraction process is faster because it copies the data instead of recording the sound output. Software applications that rip from CDs create the new audio file in the WAV, AIFF or MP3 formats. Cakewalk’s Pyro is suitable. also called digital audio extraction, this is the process of taking CD audio and recording it to a computer in any file format. When the transfer is from CD to MP3, the process is both ripping and encoding.

RM (.rm) - "Real Media", fie type from Real Networks.

RMS: - Acronym of Root Mean Square, it is a measure of the average level of a signal (by squaring then averaging the voltages produced by a signal). "RMS Continuous" is usually the most conservative (and the best) way of estimating the power output of an amplifier, or the power handling of loudspeakers, and the most common way of defining AC voltage. A method of specifying the behaviour of a piece of electrical equipment under continuous sine wave testing conditions.

Roll-Off: - Rate of attenuation of a signal (usually by a filter), measured in Decibels per Volt (DbV) The rate at which a filter attenuates a signal once it has passed the filter cut-off point.

ROM - read only memory. Permanent memory in a computer or MIDI device. Abbreviation for Read Only Memory. This is a permanent or non-volatile type of memory containing data that can't be changed. Operating systems are often stored on ROM as the memory remains intact when the power is removed. This is computer memory which can't be changed or erased. It is 'burned' into the computer or device. Most synthesizers have some sounds which are in ROM memory and can't be altered. A sign of a more expensive synthesizer is having sounds in RAM memory, implying that you can alter the sounds and save variations as your own.

RS 422: A high-speed serial communication port which allows data to be transferred to and from an external computer at a very high rate (500K baud).