top of page

Introduction to Sound Engineering: Basic Terminology

Updated: May 12

Sound engineering is a fascinating field that involves the capture, processing, and reproduction of sound. Like any other field, sound engineering has its own terminology that can be difficult for newcomers to understand. In this article, we will go over some of the basic terms used in sound engineering, to help you get started in your journey.

  1. Frequency - Frequency is the measurement of how many cycles per second a sound wave completes. The unit used to measure frequency is Hertz (Hz). In sound engineering, frequency is used to describe the pitch of a sound. Low-frequency sounds have fewer cycles per second, while high-frequency sounds have more cycles per second.

  2. Amplitude - Amplitude is the measurement of how loud a sound is. It is often referred to as the "volume" of a sound. Amplitude is measured in decibels (dB). In sound engineering, the amplitude is used to describe the dynamic range of a sound, which is the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of a sound.

  3. Waveform - A waveform is a visual representation of a sound wave. It shows the changes in frequency and amplitude over time. In sound engineering, waveforms are used to analyze and edit sounds.

  4. Analog vs. Digital Audio - Analog audio refers to the sound that is recorded and processed in a continuous wave format. Digital audio, on the other hand, refers to sound that is converted into a series of numbers (samples) and stored digitally. In sound engineering, both analog and digital audio have their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Sound Engineering

Signal Flow Signal flow refers to the path that a sound signal takes from the source to the output. In sound engineering, understanding signal flow is important for setting up and troubleshooting audio systems.

  1. EQ (Equalization) - EQ refers to the adjustment of the frequency response of a sound. It is used to boost or cut certain frequency ranges to achieve a desired sound. In sound engineering, EQ is often used to balance the frequency response of different instruments and vocals in a mix.

  2. Compression - is the reduction of the dynamic range of a sound. It is used to make the loudest parts of a sound quieter and the quietest parts louder. In sound engineering, compression is used to control the dynamics of a sound, making it sound more polished and professional.

These are just some of the basic terms used in sound engineering. There are many more terms and concepts that you will encounter as you delve deeper into this field. Understanding these basic terms will give you a strong foundation to build upon as you explore the world of sound engineering.

bottom of page