Glossary of audio engineering terms White Noise MP3 Download

Glossary of audio engineering terms

Here's a glossary I've compiled of the most common terms used in location audio and audio engineering.


Adapters — cabled or in-line audio format converters used for connecting different sound equipment

ADR — Automatic Dialog Replacement; the process of replacing dialog that is unusable in its present form

AGC — automatic gain control, use very sparingly

Assisted Listening — auxiliary listening monitors, usually for directors, script supervisors, clients and producers

Audio DA — audio distribution amplifier

Audio Mults, Audio Snakes — multi-pair cables, housed in a single cable, generally used for long cable runs


Boom Operator — assistant who operates a microphone at the end of a boom pole

Boom Pole — a lightweight (ex. graphite) pole, used for extending microphone reach


Cardioid — heart-shaped microphone pickup pattern

Condenser — a type of microphone that requires power


dBFS — means “decibels relative to full scale”. An abbreviation for decibel amplitude levels in digital systems which have a maximum available peak level. 0 dBFS is assigned to the maximum possible level.


Feedback — a high-pitched sound that occurs when a microphone “hears” itself from a PA speaker or headset

Frame Delay — an audio processor that delays the audio signal so the final video and audio will be in sync


Gaff tape — Gaffers tape; a cloth tape that is used extensively on productions for their light-tack quality


Headroom — the maximum audio signal level before distortion

Headset — microphones worn over the head; with or without earpiece

Hypercardioid — a polar pattern similar to the cardioid except there is more sound pickup in the rear


Lavaliere — tiny microphones (wired or wireless); may be visible for announcers and newscasters


Micro-Cat - a small “furry” windscreen used on lavaliere microphones

Monitors, Audio — speakers

MOS — acronym for “mitt out sound”; meaning no sound on the next shot


Omni — circular microphone pickup pattern


Phantom Power — low-wattage power for condenser microphones

Plant Mic — hidden microphone for dialogue or sound effects pickup

Playback — audio or video replay of pre-recorded material

Polar Pattern — microphone pickup pattern

Plug-in Transmitter — wireless transmitter that plugs into any adaptable microphone


Q-Box — troubleshooting listening device made by Whirlwind™.


RF — acronym for “radio frequency”


Saddlebag — a metal or fabric “saddlebag” that holds wireless receivers on a video camera

Shark Fin — flat-sided RF antenna; “bat-wing”

Shotgun — a long-tube type microphone with a supercardioid polar pattern that is predominately used on production sets

Stick — handheld microphone used for announcer stand-ups

Supercardioid — microphone polar pattern usually associated with “shotgun” microphones


TRS — acronym for tip, ring, sleeve; used in balanced audio connectors

T-Power — terminology for 12 volt microphone power


Weatherproofing — process of protecting against inclement weather

Whip — a standard rubber coated antenna

Windscreen — foam or cloth covering over microphone for wind protection; most microphones come with a built-in metal windscreen

Wireless — terminology for radio frequency equipment

“Work the mic” — when the on-camera talent maneuvers the microphone between themselves and the guest


XLR — acronym for a 3-pronged balanced audio connector


Zeppelin — hard meshed cover for a shotgun microphone used for wind protection

Payment and download information

Transactions are secured by PayPal, and downloads are immediately enabled. Link to more information here.

White Noise Guarantee

Your purchase is protected by the White Noise guarantee and policy. If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, you will receive either a replacement of your choice, or a complete money refund. Link to more information here.

Also, if you have lost a previously purchased MP3 (hard drive crash, accidentally deleted, etc.) please contact me! I haven’t updated this site in 8+ years and have moved onto other ventures, all MP3s are 90% off. Who uses MP3s anymore? Seriously.

- Karen Ramirez BFA