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Glossary

Please let us know if you have any More Terms we can explain here.

A

Ambience. The acoustic characteristics of a room with regard to reverberation. A room with a lot of reverb is said to be `live`; one without much reverb is `dead.`

Amplifier. A device which increases signal level. Many types of amplifiers are used in audio systems. Amplifiers typically increase voltage, current or both. See also Pre Amp & Power Amp.

B

Balanced. Inputs & outputs on a microphone, mixer or amplifier that use 3 pin XLR connectors.

Bass. Low frequency Sound. Also see Woofer

BNC. Connector often used for video signals & radio microphone antennas.

Boomy. Listening term, refers to an excessive bass response that has peaks in it.

BPM. Beats Per Minute or BPM are used to calculate the tempo or the rhythm of a song. Also the name of the National DJ show held in October each year.

C

Cannon. See XLR

Cardioid. The pick up pattern of a unidirectional microphone designed to reject feedback. See also Unidirectional.

CD+G. (The most popular Karaoke format) 5" CD+Graphics discs have on screen lyrics over a blue or plain background. They play on CD+Graphics players. Most Karaoke machines e.g.: Arbiter, Singing Machine, Goodmans, etc. use these discs. Some VCD & DVD Players will also play them. They will also play on a normal CD player for use as backing tracks.

Clipping. Refers to a type of distortion that occurs when an amplifier is over driven. The sound becomes hard and edgy. Hard clipping is the most frequent cause of "burned out" tweeters. This is why a low-powered amplifier driven into clipping can damage high power speakers.

Composite Video. The Input on a TV or output socket on a CDG or DVD player for the video picture.

Cone. (Speaker cone) The cone shaped part of a speaker that is attached to the voice coil & dome. See also Diaphragm.

Condenser. A type of microphone most used in recording studios. Requires power (volts) to work. See also Phantom Power.

Custom Burn. You select the tracks you want to make your own karaoke CD+G or DVD. This give you the freedom of filling every minute of a disc with tracks that you actually want from a massive catalogue of tracks available from the best manufacturers in the business. Just click the Custom Burn link in the Karaoke section where you can create your very own custom Karaoke disc.

D

DAC (Digital-to-Analog converter) Most modern audio signals are stored in digital form (for example MP3s and CDs) and in order to be heard through a sound system they must be converted into an analog signal. DACs are therefore found in CD players, digital music players, and sound cards.

Decibel. (dB) Volume is a scale of relative loudness. A difference of approx. 1 dB is the minimum perceptible change in volume, 3 dB is a moderate change in volume, and about 10 dB is an apparent doubling of volume. Lowest Threshold of Hearing 0 dB, Whisper 15-25 dB, Normal Speaking Voice 65-70, dB Live Rock Music 120-dB+ Pain threshold of hearing 130 dB, Jet Aircraft 140-180 dB.

Diaphragm. (Dome) The part of a loudspeaker or microphone attached to the voice coil that moves and produces or picks up the sound. In a speaker it will have a Cone attached.

Digital DJ Controller MIDI controllers or USB-to-analog devices used for controlling computer-based DJ software, installed on a personal computer, laptop, or tablet device.

Direct Track Access. The controls on a CD or DVD player that allow easy access to a track on the disc with out having to keep pressing the skip button.

Diversity (Wireless Microphone) receivers feature two separate antennas for consistent signal reception.

DMX. A standard for digital communication commonly used to control stage lighting and effects. DMX512 is the new standard. Older versions had various incompatibility problems.

Downloads. Rather than buy a CD you can download DJ tracks in MP3 format & Karaoke tracks in MP3+G format to play on your PC, iPod or on to a SD card or memory stick as more & more products now have this feature.

Dynamic. The most common type of microphone used in live situations.

DVD. Digital Versatile Disc. High quality 5" CD that holds digital audio & Video pictures. DVD Karaoke discs have on screen lyrics and most have a moving video image in the background. They play on DVD players and PC’s fitted with a DVD ROM, but not on most Home Karaoke machines. Many DVD’s have extra features inc. vocal add or remove, plain or video background etc.

E

Echo. Delay, repeat, and vocal reverberations to enhance vocals.

Equaliser. Electronic set of filters used to boost or attenuates certain frequencies.

F

Feedback. A howling noise caused by microphones picking up sound from the speakers. Turntables etc. can also cause feedback but more often at a lower frequency.

Fog Machine. Uses a special liquid pre-mixed with water that is heated up & blown into the room to make the lighting & Lasers stand out. See also Haze Machine.

Foldback. See Monitor.

Frequency. The range of human hearing is commonly given as 20-20,000Hz (20Hz-20kHz). One hertz (Hz) represents one cycle per second, 20Hz represents 20 cycles per second and so on. Lower numbers are lower frequencies.

Frequency Response. The range of frequencies that a speaker, microphone or an audio device reproduces.

G

Gain. To increase the level. The function of a volume control.

Graphic Equaliser. see Equaliser.

H

Haze Machine. Uses a special liquid that produces a translucent haze so that the lights can be seen while not being obscured in a cloud of Fog.

HDMI High-Definition Multimedia Interface. A digital interconnection between HDTV devices that carries video, audio data (in uncompressed digital form) and control signals.

HDTV High Definition Television. HDTV is a TV system with approximately twice the vertical and horizontal picture resolution of none HD TVs and a wide aspect ratio of 16:9.

Hiss. Audio noise that sounds like air escaping from a tire.

Hum. Audio electronic noise that has a steady low frequency pitch.

I

Impedance. The Resistance (Ohms) In electrical or electronic circuits.

Input. The point a signal enters i.e.: microphone input, audio input, video-input etc.

J

Jack Plug. Common audio connector used for Domestic microphones, Speaker leads, headphones etc. Can be mono or stereo.

K

Karaoke. Japanese word for Sing-Along literally meaning "Empty Orchestra" with the lyrics displayed on your TV screen. All songs are performed in the style of the original artist. In Karaoke you have the music and backing vocals, while you sing the lead vocal. Don’t know the words? No problem. Karaoke sound tracks allow the lyrics to scroll across the screen of a standard TV.

Key Control. (digital key control, pitch control, key changer) Raises or lowers all the notes to help you sing in your range. Digital key change effects only the pitch, not the tempo or speed.

L

Laser. A Laser emits light (electromagnetic radiation) through a process called stimulated emission or light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. The light is emitted in a narrow, low-divergence beam & used to great effect for entertainment lighting especially when viewed through Fog or Haze. Also, small Lasers read the information on CD’s & DVD’s a bit like a hi-tec version of a record stylus!

Laserdisc. (Mostly redundant, yet some systems are still out there!) Laserdiscs or LD have on screen lyrics and moving video in the background. LD’s only play on 12" Laserdisc players. The Pioneer Laserkaraoke system is Fondly remembered as the first commercial Karaoke System in use in the UK.

Latency The time between manipulating the jog shuttle on a Midi Digital DJ controller and the effect on the audio file. This does vary with computer speed & sound card latency.

LED Lighting. Modern LED’s are very bright, have ultra low power consumption, are Eco friendly, light weight, give off very little heat, are low maintenance and with no need to replace lamps you can see why the new LED lighting is so now popular.

Line Level. CD players, DVD players, VCRs etc., are connected in a system at line level, usually with shielded phono type connectors. Line level is before power amplification. In a system with separate pre-amp and power-amp the pre-amp output is line level. Most surround sound and Hi Fi systems have line level inputs as well. (Aux. In etc).

M

Microphone. Device for converting sound waves to an electrical signal. Microphones come in many forms for many different applications (recording, studio, PA etc.) and types (hand held, headworn etc.) also with a fixed cable or wireless with a radio transmitter. The most common type for PA live vocals must be robust, good at rejecting feedback & have a frequency response tailored to the vocal range.

Mid Bass. Mid frequency bass, usually frequencies just above the sub-bass range, from around 100 - 400 Hz or so.

Mid Range. The middle range of frequencies. A midrange speaker is sometimes combined with a woofer for low frequencies and a tweeter for high frequencies to form a complete, full-range system.

Mixer. A device that combines audio from microphones, CD players, musical instruments etc. together. Allowing you to alter the volume and in some cases the sound then send the mixed signal to an amplifier. See also Pre-amplifier.

Mixer/Amplifer. As above plus the addition of a power amplifier built in to the same box.

Monitor. This can be either a TV (with video input, to view the output from a DVD or Karaoke player) or a Speaker fed from a separate amplifier pointed at the performer.

MP3. Tracks can be downloaded from the Internet on to a computer or an MP3 player, SD Card or burnt onto a CD.

MP3+G. As above with on screen graphics like a CD+G disc.

Muddy. Listening term. A sound that is poorly defined, sloppy or vague. For example, a "muddy" bass is often boomy with all the notes tending to run together.

Multiplex. (MPX) A guide lead vocal is recorded on one channel of a Karaoke disc that can be removed with the balance control or multiplex (MPX) button. Handy for practising.

N

Noise. Audio. Generally described as hum, buzz or hiss. All buildings have low-level magnetic & electrostatic fields in & around them from the mains supply wiring & this can induce hum into the signal path.

NTSC. National Television Systems Committee. The TV system used in the USA

O

Octave. An octave is a doubling or halving of frequency. 20Hz-40Hz is often considered the bottom octave. Each octave you add on the bottom requires that your speakers move four times as much air!

Omidirectional. Refers to a microphone that picks up sound from all around. See also Unidirectional.

Out of Phase. When speakers are mounted in reverse polarity, i.e., one speaker is wired +/+ and -/- from the amp and the other is wired +/- and -/+. Bass response will be very thin due to cancellation.

Output. This term can have various meanings including the sound level produced by a loudspeaker or it can refer to sockets where the signal leaves i.e.: Video output, speaker output, mixer output etc. see also Input.

Overload. A condition in which a system is given too high an input level. A common cause of distortion or product failure.

P

PA. Public Address System. Referred to as the main front of house sound system for the audience.

PAL. TV system used in the UK.

Peak Music Power. Or PMPO (peak music power output) is a method of rating the output power of an amplifier or the power a speaker can handle. Peak music power is roughly 4 times the RMS rating, so a amplifier or speaker rated at 100w PMPO is the same as one rated at 25w RMS.

Phantom Power. Feature found on most pro PA mixers to provide voltage to Condenser Type microphones that require power to work (48volts).

Phase. See Out Of Phase

Phono. Phono Connectors are the most common type of connections used between Turntables, CD players, Mixers & Amplifiers to link stereo audio products together i.e.: the red & white sockets on the back of all CD players. A single (yellow) socket is also used for the main video output on a CDG or DVD player to take the signal to a TV video input. Often referred to as RCA Connectors.

Pitch Control. Changes the tempo (Speed) of the music. See also Key Control.

Power Amplifier. Or Power-amp / slave-amp is a device that takes the signal from a mixer or Pre-amp, increases the signal level and passes it on to the speakers.

Pre Amplifier. Or Pre-amp is a device that takes a source signal, such as from a turntable, tape deck or CD player, and passes this signal on to a power-amplifier(s). The pre-amp may have controls such as source selector switches, balance, volume and tone controls. See also mixer.

Q

Question We haven’t answered? Let us know & we will include it.

R

Radio Microphone. A microphone with a built in radio transmitter that sends the signal to a receiver that in turn is connected to the microphone input on a mixer. The transmitter & receiver may use VHF (very high frequency) or the higher quality UHF (ultra high frequency) band. To use more than one microphone at the same time they must be on different frequency’s (like radio stations).

RCA Connector. See Phono

Rekordbox. Digital music management software for DJs in collaboration with Pioneer & MixVibes. DJs can utilise the software to prepare tracks in advance, ready for the Pioneer CDJ-350s, CDJ-900s or CDJ-2000s at the club.

Resistance. (Ohms) In electrical or electronic circuits, a characteristic of a material that opposes the flow of electrons. Speakers have resistance that opposes current. A typical speaker would be 8 ohms; a microphone would be 600 ohms.

RF Modulator. Adapter that converts a video signal from a CD+G player etc. to the Ariel (RF) input on a non-video ready TV

RGB. Also referred to as YUV. Video signal split in to red, green & blue signals for better quality. Most DVD players have these type of outputs on 3 separate phono plugs or BNC connectors for connecting to hi-end TV’s & plasma monitors. This signal can also be carried in most scart cables.

RMS. A method of rating the output power of an amplifier or the power a speaker can handle i.e.: 100 watts RMS. See also Peak Music Power.

S

Scart. The 21 pin rectangular connector used on European TV’s, VCR’s most DVD players and AV equipment to carry the audio & video signals on one convenient cable.

Selectatrack. You select the tracks you want to make your own karaoke CD+G or DVD or you can download tracks in MP3+G format to a PC. This give you the freedom of filling every minute of a disc with tracks that you actually want from a massive catalogue of tracks available from the best manufacturers in the business. Just click the Selectatrack link in the Karaoke section where you can create your very own custom Karaoke disc or make downloads.

Slave Amplifier. See Power Amplifier.

Smoke Machine. See Fog machine.

Software. Music and information stored on discs and tapes. Example: CD, CDG, LD, DVD, SD Cards, VHS cassettes, VCD, music soundtracks, and Karaoke discs.

Sound Card (Audio Interface) Sound cards use a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), which converts digital data into an analog format. The output signal is connected to the audio input of a mixer or amplifiers inputs such as RCA (Phono) connectors or jacks.

Soundtracks. Music soundtracks, Backing tracks or Karaoke backings on CD, CDG, DVD or SD Cards.

Sound Waves. Sound waves can be thought of like the waves in water. Frequency determines the length of the waves; amplitude or volume determines the height of the waves. At 20Hz, the wavelength is 56 feet long! These long waves give bass its penetrating ability, (why you can hear a car backfire streets away).

Speed Control. Changes the tempo of the music. See also Key Control.

Sub Bass. Very Low frequency Sound.

Sunfly. Well known brand of Karaoke discs in CD+G & DVD formats. Sunfly tracks are now available to download in MP3+G or on custom made discs in our Downloads & Custom area.

Superimpose. Function that allows video input from VCR or video camera to be displayed on the TV screen behind lyrics off a CD+G disc.

S-Video. Or (Y/C) Video signal split in to brightness (luminance) & colour (chroma) for better quality pictures. Most DVD players have this type of output for connecting to hi-end TV’s & plasma monitors. This signal can also be carried in scart cables.

T

Tempo. Speed that the music is playing, See also Pitch.

Timbre. The quality of a sound that distinguishes it from other sounds of the same pitch and volume. The distinctive tone of an instrument or a singing voice.

Tone Control. Usually a single control that boosts either the bass or the treble. Tone Controls often mean there will be separate controls for the bass and the treble.

Treble. High frequency Sound.

Tweeter. A speaker, (driver), used to reproduce the higher range of frequencies. To form a full-range system, a tweeter needs to be combined with a woofer, (2-way system), or a woofer & midrange, (3-way system).

U

UHF. See Radio Microphone.

Unidirectional. A microphone that only picks up sound from the front to help reduce unwanted sound from being picked up & reduce feedback.

USB (Universal Serial Bus) Industry standard connector used for connection, communication and power supply between computers and electronic devices.

V

VHF. See Radio Microphone.

VCD. or Video CD (5" CD with video) has on screen lyrics and a moving video image in the background. They play on Video CD players and most DVD Players & PC’s but not on most Home Karaoke machines. Many have vocal add or remove (MPX) feature. Was a Very popular format in the Far East before DVD`s, not so here.

Vocal Reducer. (vocal masking, vocal suppresser) reduces the level of vocal range on regular CD and audiocassette recordings. May reduce instruments in same range (not always a very successful system).

Vocal Replacement. Karaoke feature(voice cancel, vocal partner) Mutes the recorded vocal on multiplex recordings when you sing into mic and brings them back up when you stop singing.

W

Watts. Unit of power used to rate amplifiers & speakers, not loudness or volume. See RMS.

Wireless. See Radio Microphone.

Woofer. A speaker, (driver), used for low-frequency sound reproduction (bass). Larger & heavier than a midrange or tweeter.

X

XLR. (Cannon) 3 pin connector used on microphones and audio devices that have balanced inputs & outputs.

Y

Y-Adapter. Any type of connection that splits a signal into two parts. An example would be a connector with one male Phono at one end, and two female phonos on the other end.

YUV. See RGB.

Z

Zzzzzzzzzz. The sound the webmaster makes after answering all these questions.

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