Sounds Like? An Audio Glossary Glossary: T-U


tail The reverberant decay of a sound in an acoustical space.

taut In bass reproduction, under tight control of the electrical signal; detailed and free from "hangover."

tempo The actual number of beats per minute in a musical performance. Compare "pace."

texture, texturing A perceptible pattern or structure in reproduced sound, even if random in nature. Texturing gives the impression that the energy continuum of the sound is composed of discrete particles, like the grain of a photograph.

thick Describes sodden or heavy bass.

thin Very deficient in bass. The result of severe attenuation of the range below 500Hz.

tick A high-pitched pulse characterized by a very sharp attack followed by a short "i" vowel sound. The most common background noise from analog discs.

tight 1) Bass reproduction that is well controlled, free from hangover, not slow. 2) Stereo imaging that is specific, stable, and of the correct width. 3) Describes a closely bunched image in A+B double-mono mode that occupies a very narrow space between the loudspeakers.

tilt 1) To aim the axis of a loudspeaker upward or downward. 2) Across-the-board rotation of an otherwise flat frequency response, so that the device's output increases or decreases at a uniform rate with increasing frequency. A linear frequency-response curve that is not horizontal.

timbre The recognizable characteristic sound "signature" of a musical instrument, by which it is possible to tell an oboe, for example, from a flute when both are sounding the same note.

timing The apparent instrumental ensemble (synchronism) of a performance, which is affected by system speed. See "articulation," "rhythm," "pace."

tipped-up Having a rising high-frequency response.

tizzy A "zz" or "ff" coloration of the sound of cymbals and vocal sibilants, caused by a rising frequency response above 10kHz. Similar to "wiry," but at a higher frequency.

tonality In music, the quality of an instrument's tone, often related to the key in which the music is written. In audio, mistakenly used in place of "tonal quality."

tonal quality The accuracy (correctness) with which reproduced sound replicates the timbres of the original instruments. Compare "tonality."

top The high treble, the range of audio frequencies above about 8kHz.

toppish Tipped-up. Slightly "tizzy" or "zippy."

tracking The degree to which a component responds to the dictates of the audio signal, without lag or overshoot.

transient See "attack transient."

transistor sound, transistory See "solid-state sound."

transparency, transparent 1) A quality of sound reproduction that gives the impression of listening through the system to the original sounds, rather than to a pair of loudspeakers. 2) Freedom from veiling, texturing, or any other quality which tends to obscure the signal. A quality of crystalline clarity.

treacly British for syrupy.

treble The frequency range above 1.3kHz.

tubby Having an exaggerated deep-bass range.

tube sound, tubey That combination of audible qualities which typifies components that use tubes for amplification: Richness and warmth, an excess of midbass, a deficiency of deep bass, outstanding rendition of depth, forward and bright, with a softly sweet high end.

turgid Thick.

tweak 1) To fine-tune a system or component to the nth degree in pursuit of perfection. 2) A person who constantly does this in an ultimately vain effort to achieve absolute perfection.


ultrasonic Beyond the upper-frequency limit of human hearing. Compare "supersonic."

uncolored Free from audible colorations.

unctuous Overripe, super-rich, pleas~antly blah.

underdamped Pertains to the audible effects of inadequate woofer damping. See "damping."

uninvolving Ho-hum sound. Reproduction which evokes boredom and indifference.

upper bass The range of frequencies from 80-160Hz.

upper highs, upper treble The range of frequencies from 10-20kHz.

upper middles, upper midrange The range of frequencies from 650-1300Hz.

usable response The frequency limits between which a device sounds as if it is essentially linear, regardless of how it measures.