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ADC: Analog-to-Digital Converter

An analog-to-digital converter (abbreviated ADC, A/D or A to D) is a device that converts a continuous quantity to a discrete time digital representation. An ADC may also provide an isolated measurement. The reverse operation is performed by a digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

Typically, an ADC is an electronic device that converts an input analog voltage or current to a digital number proportional to the magnitude of the voltage or current. However, some non-electronic or only partially electronic devices, such as rotary encoders, can also be considered ADCs.

The digital output may use different coding schemes. Typically the digital output will be a two's complement binary number that is proportional to the input, but there are other possibilities. An encoder, for example, might output a Gray code.


ADAT Lightpipe

The ADAT Lightpipe, officially the ADAT Optical Interface, is a standard for the transfer of digital audio between equipment. It was originally developed by Alesis but has since become widely accepted, with many third party hardware manufacturers including Lightpipe interfaces on their equipment. The protocol has become so popular that the term "ADAT" is now often used to refer to the transfer standard rather than the Alesis Digital Audio Tape itself.

Lightpipe uses fiber optic cables (hence its name) to carry data, with Toslink connectors at either end, making them identical to S/PDIF optical cables. However, the data streams of the two protocols are totally incompatible. S/PDIF is mostly used for transferring stereo or multi-channel surround sound audio, whereas the ADAT optical interface supports up to 8 channels at 48 kHz, 24 bit. Recently, Lightpipe devices have been successfully interfaced via FireWire.

Analog recording

Analog (or analogue) recording (Greek, ana is "according to" and logos "relationship") is a technique used for the recording of analog signals which among many possibilities include audio frequency, analog audio and analog video information for later playback.

Analog recording methods store signals as a continual wave in or on the media. The wave might be stored as a physical texture on a phonograph record, or a fluctuation in the field strength of a magnetic recording. This is different from digital recording of which among many possibilities include digital audio and digital video, which digital signals are represented as data or discrete numbers.

Examples of analog audio recording are:

  • Compact Cassette magnetic tape recorders
  • Gramophone record (also known as a phonograph record, vinyl, etc.)


In computing and especially in computer hardware, controller is a chip, an expansion card, or a stand-alone device (usually called a control unit) that interfaces with a peripheral device. This may be a link between two parts of a computer (for example a memory controller that manages access to memory for the computer) or a controller on an external device that manages the operation of (and connection with) that device.

Cut, copy, and paste

In human-computer interaction, cut and paste and copy and paste are related commands that offer a user-interface interaction technique for transferring text, data, files or objects from a source to a destination. Most ubiquitously, users require the ability to cut and paste sections of plain text. The cut command removes the selected data from its original position, while the copy command creates a duplicate; in both cases the selected data is placed in a clipboard. The data in the clipboard is later inserted in the position where the paste command is issued.

The command names are an interface metaphor based on the physical procedure used in manuscript editing to create a page layout.

This interaction technique has close associations with related techniques in graphical user interfaces that use pointing devices such as a computer mouse (by drag and drop, for example).




DAW: Digital Audio Workstation

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic system designed solely or primarily for recording, editing and playing back digital audio. DAWs were originally tape-less, microprocessor-based systems such as the Synclavier and Fairlight CMI. Modern DAWs are software running on computers with audio interface hardware. Integrated DAW

An integrated DAW consists of a mixing console, control surface, audio converter, and data storage in one device. Integrated DAWs were more popular before personal computers became powerful enough to run DAW software. As computer power increased and price decreased, the popularity of the costly integrated systems with console automation dropped. Systems such as the Orban Audicy once flourished at radio stations and television station. Today, some systems still offer computer-less arranging and recording features with a full graphical user interface (GUI).


DMA: Digital Media Adapter

Digital media adapter, a device that facilitates connections between computers Direct memory access, a computer feature that allows hardware subsystems to access system memory independent of the CPU Dynamic memory allocation, the allocation of memory storage for use in a computer program during the runtime


GUI: Graphical User Interface

In computing, a graphical user interface (GUI, commonly pronounced gooey) is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices with images rather than text commands. GUIs can be used in computers, hand-held devices such as MP3 players, portable media players or gaming devices, household appliances and office equipment. A GUI represents the information and actions available to a user through graphical icons and visual indicators such as secondary notation, as opposed to text-based interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation. The actions are usually performed through direct manipulation of the graphical elements.[2]


MIDI  short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is an electronic musical instrument industry specification that enables a wide variety of digital musical instruments, computers and other related devices to connect and communicate seamlessly with one another.
The primary functions of MIDI include communicating event messages about musical notation, pitch, velocity, control signals for parameters (such as volume, vibrato, audio panning, cues, and clock signals (to set and synchronize tempo) between multiple devices; these complete a signal chain and produce audible sound from a sound source. For users, MIDI enables a single player to sound as though they are playing two or more instruments simultaneously. As an electronic protocol, it is notable for its widespread adoption throughout the music industry.


Mixing console

In professional audio, a mixing console, or audio mixer, also called a sound board, mixing desk, or mixer is an electronic device for combining (also called "mixing"), routing, and changing the level, timbre and/or dynamics of audio signals. A mixer can mix analog or digital signals, depending on the type of mixer. The modified signals (voltages or digital samples) are summed to produce the combined output signals.

Mixing consoles are used in many applications, including recording studios, public address systems, sound reinforcement systems, broadcasting, television, and film post-production. An example of a simple application would be to enable the signals that originated from two separate microphones (each being used by vocalists singing a duet, perhaps) to be heard through one set of speakers simultaneously. When used for live performances, the signal produced by the mixer will usually be sent directly to an amplifier, unless that particular mixer is "powered" or it is being connected to powered speakers.



MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression. It is a common audio format for consumer audio storage, as well as a de facto standard of digital audio compression for the transfer and playback of music on digital audio players.



In computing, a plug-in (or plugin) is a set of software components that adds specific abilities to a larger software application. If supported, plug-ins enable customizing the functionality of an application. For example, plug-ins are commonly used in web browsers to play video, scan for viruses, and display new file types. Well-known plug-ins examples include Adobe Flash Player, QuickTime, and Microsoft Silverlight.

Add-on (or addon) in computing is often considered the general term comprising snap-ins, plug-ins, extensions, and themes for software applications. 


VST: Virtual Studio Technology

Steinberg's Virtual Studio Technology (VST) is an interface for integrating software audio synthesizer and effect plugins with audio editors and hard-disk recording systems. VST and similar technologies use digital signal processing to simulate traditional recording studio hardware with software. Thousands of plugins exist, both commercial and freeware, and VST is supported by a large number of audio applications. The technology can be licensed from its creator, Steinberg.

VST plugins are generally run within a Digital Audio Workstation, providing the host application with additional functionality. Most VST plugins can be classified as either instruments (VSTi) or effects, although other categories exist. VST plugins generally provide a custom GUI, displaying controls similar to the physical switches and knobs on audio hardware. Some (often older) plugins rely on the host application for their UI.

VST instruments include software simulation emulations of well-known hardware synthesizer devices and samplers, emulating the look of the original equipment and its sonic characteristics. This enables VSTi users to use virtual versions of devices that may be otherwise difficult to obtain.

VST instruments require notes to be sent via MIDI in order to output audio, while effect plugins process audio data (some effect plugins do require a MIDI input too though, for example they might use MIDI sync to modulate the effect in sync with the tempo). MIDI messages can often also be used to control parameters of both instrument and effect plugins. Most host applications allow the audio output from one VST to be routed to the audio input of another VST (known as chaining). For example, output of a VST synthesizer can be sent to a VST reverb effect for further processing.

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