Sounds Like? An Audio Glossary Glossary: A

The Glossary: A
absolute phase, absolute polarity Refers to the preservation of the initial acoustic waveform all the way through the recording and reproducing system so that a compression that reaches the original microphone will be reproduced in the listener's system as a compression reaching his or her ears. Some listeners appear to be more sensitive to this being correct than others, often referring to the inverted state as "muffled."

accuracy The degree to which the output signal from a component or system is perceived as replicating the sonic qualities of its input signal. An accurate device reproduces what is on the recording, which may or may not be an accurate representation of the original sound.

acoustical space 1) A large performing or recording hall. 2) All the spatial and reverberant characteristics of the performing hall or location in which a recording was made.

acuity 1) The sensitivity of the ears to very soft sounds. 2) The acquired ability of an audiophile to hear and to assess the subtle qualitative attributes of reproduced sound.

aggressive Reproduced sound that is excessively forward and bright.

"ah" (rhymes with "rah") A vowel coloration caused by a frequency-response peak centered around 1000Hz.

airy Pertaining to treble which sounds light, delicate, open, and seemingly unrestricted in upper extension. A quality of reproducing systems having very smooth and very extended HF response.

aliveness A quality of sound reproduction which gives an impression that the performers are present, in person, in the listening room.

ambiance (pronounced "ambee-onts") The feeling or mood evoked by an environment.

ambience (pronounced "ambee-ints") The aurally perceived impression of an acoustical space, such as the performing hall in which a recording was made.

analytical Very detailed, almost to the point of excess.

articulation 1) Clarity and intelligibility, usually of voice reproduction. 2) The reproduction of inner detail in complex sounds, which makes it easy to follow an individual musical voice among many.

attack 1) The buildup of sound when an instrument is bowed, blown, struck, or plucked. 2) The ability of a system to reproduce the attack transients in musical sound. Poor attack makes a system sound slow.

attack transient The initial energy pulse of a percussive sound, such as from a piano string, triangle, or drum head.

audibility The measure of the severity of a sonic imperfection. The scale of audibility, from least audible to most audible, is: inaudible, subtle, slight, moderate, obvious, conspicuous, and Arrggh!!

auronihilist (pronounced "auro-nigh-illist") A person who believes that all components that measure the same, sound the same. A meter man.

autohype Suggestive self-deception; hearing something that isn't there, because you expect it to be. A rich source of audio mythology.

"aw" (rhymes with "paw") A vowel coloration caused by a frequency-response peak centered around 450Hz. An "aw" coloration tends to emphasize and glamorize the sound of large brass instruments (trombone, tuba).