These are some standard terms and definitions you may see mentioned in our Manuals and articles.
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  • AAX

Plugin format used by Avid's Pro Tools DAW starting with Pro Tools 10 and higher.

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  • ADC

ADC (or A/D, analog-to-digital converter) The electronic component which converts the instantaneous value of an analog input signal to a digital word.

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  • ASIO

Audio Stream Input/Output - developed by Steinberg, is a cross-platform, multi-channel audio transfer protocol.

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  • AudioUnit

Plugin format used by Apple's CoreAudio system.

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  • DAW

Digital audio workstation. This includes programs like Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Cubase and Logic.

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  • dBFS

Decibels Full Scale. This is a measurement of signal level relative to a maximum known value, always calibrated to 0dBFS. dBFS is commonly used in digital audio systems where 0dBFS is the clipping point of the system. Measurments in dBFS will always be negative values.

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  • dBu

Measurement of signal level relative to a reference level (0.775 Volts with an unloaded, open-circuit source). dBu is commonly used to measure signal level in the analogue domain.

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  • Firmware

Firmware is software that is stored in a read-only format on a hardware device. Just like software, firmware should be updated when improvements have been made.

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  • GUI

Graphical User Interface - This can be a plugin window, or any graphical control interface presented to a user on a computer screen or graphical display

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  • Headroom

In digital and analog audio, headroom refers to the amount by which the signal-handling capabilities of an audio system exceed a designated nominal level. You can think of this as "breathing room" between the level of the signal you are inputing and the max level that is acceptable by the sound engine before you reach any form of distortion. 

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  • Input gain

On a mic pre, input gain varies the amount of amplification of the (very low level) microphone. The gain knob for your individual channels on your interface will control the level of input coming into the interface

  • IRQ

The IRQ is a number set in the computer for the interrupt request. The interrupt request is assigned to devices to allow it to "interrupt", or send a signal, to the computer when it is finished processing.

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  • Latency

Latency is the transit time through a process, from input to output.

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  • Opto

Abbreviation of 'optical semiconductor' - a component which will switch or generate electric current when illuminated.

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  • PACE

PACE Anti-Piracy develops and licenses technology that allows software and media publishers to enforce their product licensing terms.

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  • RTAS

Real Time Audio Suite (RTAS) is a plug-in format created by Digidesign for Pro Tools. Unlike the hardware powered TDM ProTools plugins, RTAS uses host based processing. RTAS is limited by the available CPU processing power. RTAS offers similar performance to TDM in that each plug-in is fully automatable.

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  • S/PDIF

Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format. A consumer digital interface standard, similar to the professional AES/EBU standard, (IEC-958) for encoding digital audio.

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  • Side-Chain

An auxiliary input to a device which is generally used for a control purpose e.g. the side chain input to a compressor controls the gain-reduction.

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  • Voltage

The difference in the electrical potential of two points in a circuit.

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  • VST

(Virtual Studio Technology): A plugin architecture developed by Steinberg.

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  • Wordclock

A signal that is shared by a group of devices that require sampling frequency synchronisation

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