Jargon and lingo glossary - A.
However the aanvil is the evolutionary remains of a larger bone that formed a part of the jaw, for that reason there is still a connection between your cheekbones and the aanvil which is the reason you can hear yourself eating etc., the "bone phone" and similar loudspeaker less headphone units commonly referred to as "bone conducting headphones" take advantage of this anomaly to excite the aanvil by placing a transducer on your cheekbones rather than your ears, while those devices never sound as good as normal headphones they do have a couple of advantages, namely that it is impossible to harm the eardrum by using them and you can still hear with your ears while they are used.
Active See --> amplifier
A/DC = Analogue to Digital Converter
This is simply a grounding issue, to save money the Alesis boxes used cheap AC/AC wall warts rather than built in power supplies with regulator being built into the processors themselves, this leaves the AC/AC converter grounded but not the effect unit itself. In most other cases such equipment uses AC/DC wall warts which leaves the unit decoupled from the mains or in the case of consumer equipment devices with AC/AC supplies or non-rack equipment like drum machines, the equipment casing does not touch other grounded surfaces and thus does not earthen itself, the 19” racks used in pro-audio however leaves all the units inserted into the rack electrically connected to each other via the rack rail and because the metal cases often touch one another anyway, this is not a problem with normal studio equipment since they are all grounded via the power plug but the Alesis devices grounded themselves via the other equipment in the rack causing interference with sensitive circuits such as Class A gain stages resulting in increased audio and electrical noise and in rare cases hum issues.
This problem can be fixed by either grounding the offending device separately, if you have it hooked up to a mixer that also has phono inputs you can use the grounding terminal on an unused phono input. Alternatively you can electrically isolate the unit from the rest of the rack by masking the back of the ears with electricians tape and using plastic spacers between the bolts and the unit, and if needed, plastic sheets on the top and bottom of the unit itself.
AlNiCo = Aluminium, Nickel & Cobalt Magnets
AM = Amplitude Modulation
In radio : To get audio data onto a radio wave the amplitude (signal strength) of the wave is modulated while the frequency remains constant, this is the opposite to an FM radio where the frequency is modulated while the amplitude axis remains constant. Originally invented for use in telephone equipment, this technique was then introduced to radio in the 1910's. Still used in low bandwidth radio transmissions (Long Wave, Short Wave and Medium wave bands) but never used at ranges that allow for more bandwidth since more modern techniques can pack more information onto such signals.
Pre-amplifier : A small signal amplifier that brings a signal or signals up to a common standard which is then further amplified, by far the most common version of this is the control amplifier (below) but in modern usage the 2 are usually synonymous, but lots of specialised pre-amplification devices exist, a Head Amplifier and RIAA preamplifiers are a good examples of this.
Control amplifier : A device that acts as the control unit for an audio system, compromising of a number of pre-amplification circuits that interface units with specific output characteristics to a common standard and also allows the users to control which signal is sent to the amplifier and at what strength (i.e. volume). A control amplifier often also allows the user to perform householding tasks such as equalisation or other filtering, re-routing signals to a recording device and so on. In modern times all incoming and outgoing signals are line level which has given birth to a variant of the control amplifier called a line stage in which the device only features an input selector switch and a preamplifier section with volume control.
Power amplifier : An amplifier that increases a signals strength to a degree that it can be used to drive a loudspeaker with, a power amplifier intended for home usage almost invariably has a set amount of amplification so the loudness is controlled by the incoming signal which is typically a control amplifier or a similar preamp such as a mixer, power amplifiers intended for professional applications however often have a variable gain for each channel.
Integrated amplifier : 1) A device that combines the functions of a control and power amplifier into a single unit. 2) A power amplifier built into a device that typically does not feature it such as a mixer or a loudspeaker, that case the device is often referred to as "Active".
Passive pre/control amplifier/line stage Not an amplifier at all but a passive functional replacement for a control amplifier, basically you get a number of switches that allow you to choose between inputs and an attenuator, usually a variable resistor, a bank of switched resistors or a transformer, that allows you to control the strength of the signal that is delivered to the power amplifier and thus the volume coming out of the speakers. This sort of a design takes advantage of the fact that almost all modern audio and AV devices feature line level outputs and thus do not need amplification or equalisation prior to being sent to a power amp. There also exist minimal devises that have just an attenuator and no switching capabilities, these are useful only for systems with only one source component.
Analogue Synthesiser : A type of electronic musical instrument that creates sounds out of component structures and has the signal path totally analogue, the instrument can be constructed out of analogue or digital electronics, although it is usually a hybrid of both technologies, the opposite term is digital synthesiser. Slang usage : Amongst musicians the term analogue synthesiser has become synonymous with the term subtractive synthesiser, that is regardless of if the device or software is analogue or not.
Analogue Subtractive Synthesiser : A subtractive synthesiser implemented using analogue or digital technology that has a signal path that is purely analogue.
ATC/Automatic Tape Calibration See --> ATC
ATRAC = Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding
Initial versions of the ATRAC codec were absolutely horrendous, the quality of recordings made by early MiniDisc recorders were much worse than could be archived with a reasonable hi-fi cassette recorder, but improvements in the technology meant that by 1997 (ATRAC v4) or so the technology was becoming much more useful and today's models are quite good. Like all perpetual coding schemes ATRAC has problems with harmonically rich music, quick variations in dynamics and harmonics and the masking/compression artefacts can be irritating to some listeners (since the masking effect varies from person to person). It's not only the version of the codec (currently v6) that matters but also the power of the DSP that performs the work, the more expensive models of MD recorders often have more powerful processing chips and/or use more than one chip for the encoding process.
Even though later versions of ATRAC were quite good all things considered, its proprietary status meant that the standard became irrelevant and by 2010 even Sony music players no longer supported it..
AT&T/ATT See --> S/PDIF
Note that sound waves that fall outside the audible range can affect sound propagation inside it, directly and indirectly, and you can sense portions of the sound spectrum with other organs of your body although the brain does not process that information in the same way.
Autoblend See --> High Blend
Automatic Tape Calibration See --> ATC
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