Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


Game Development Dictionary


Audio


  • You cannot add terms

  Term Name Description

Quantization

The act of conforming digital music information (MIDI) to a set tempo and time signature.

Release

The fourth and final part of an ADSR envelope. The amount of time it takes after a key is released for the note's volume to drop from sustain level to zero.

Resampling

An alteration of sampling rate without changing the pitch or speed of the sample.

Ring modulation

A ring modulator is used in analogue synthesis. A ring modulator takes two different tones, and plays the sum, and difference frequences of them both. Example: if you run a 500 Hz sine wave and a 600 Hz sine wave through a ring modulator, it produces two sine waves with the frequencies 100 Hz (600 - 500 Hz) and 900 Hz (600 + 500 Hz). With such simple ingredients it is not very useful, but using more complex tones, it generates more interesting results. Nowadays it is rather simple to produce digitally, but back in the old days when everything was analogue, it was a bit more complicated. The most common way to do it involves a ring of four diodes, hence the name, Ring Modulator.

Sidebands

In modulation, "phantom frequencies" that are created when the modulator's frequency enters the audible range.

Signal/Noise Ratio

A measure of how much undesirable noise a signal has in it.

Sine Wave

The most fundamental waveform, which contains no harmonics. All other waveforms can be composed out of an infinte number of sine waves.

Soft Clipping

The effect on a signal typical of an overdriven valve. As opposed to hard clipping, which creates high frequency harmonics, it tends to eliminate these harsh, higher frequencies.

Software Synthesizers

Computer programs that produce sound. They are usually less expensive than their hardware counterparts, though, due to the limitation of computing power, they are seldom realtime.

Solid State Amplifier

A type of amplifier that uses solid-state circuitry, or transistors, rather than valves. This form of amplification has a higher degree of linearity and is more reliable than vacuum tube amplification, though produces harsher tones when overdriven.

Square Wave

A fundamental waveform whose shape is the same as a wave. Spectrum-wise, it's the same as a sawtooth, sans the even even harmonics.

Subtractive Synthesis

A form of synthesis that is popular with analog synthesizers. It takes a complex waveform rich in harmonics (such as the sawtooth) and strips away parts, resulting in a simpler wave.

Sustain

The duration a note is held before it decays away.

Sustain

As the third part of an ADSR envelope, the volume at which a note is held after the attack and decay until the key is released.

Texture

A subjective perception of a sound's fundamental qualities. Usually expressed in terms of 'harshness', 'smoothness', 'breadth' and so forth. Eg: A sawtooth waveform would be perceived as having a harsh texture, whereas a square or simple sine wave would have a smoother texture. A similar usage is often seen in discussions of music and compositions in general.

Timbre

The character of a sound. More formally, an instrument's unique set of overtones. It is timbre that causes a piano to sound different from, say, a guitar, and also what makes sine waves sound different from a pulse wave.

Tracker

A music sequencing program, in which the interface is primarily numeric. The interface of a tracker allows the user to arrange sound-samples on a timeline across several monophonic channels. Trackers generally save songs to disk incorporating both sequencing data and samples. This can give a relatively small file size, while still providing a generally better quality of sound that MIDI often produces.

Tremolo

An effect where the amplitude of a signal is modulated by a sine wave. In the guitar world, the "whammy bar" is mistakenly called a tremolo -- it is used, in fact, to produce vibrato (modulation of frequency).

Triangle Wave

A fundamental waveform that has very weak, odd harmonics (approximately 8/9 of the energy is devoted to the fundamental). Often found in oscillators instead of sine waves because a low-pass filtered triangle wave is effectively a sine wave.

Vacuum Tube Amplifiers

An amplifier that uses valves (vacuum tubes) to make the signal louder. They add a bit of coloration to the signal, which is usually desirable, and sound very warm and rich when overdriven.

VCA

Voltage Controlled Amplifier. In analog synthesizers, an amplifier whose magnitude of amplification manipulated through control voltage. With various modulators, it is possible to create a number effects with a VCA, such as tremolo (a low-frequency sine wave as the modulator).

VCF

Voltage Controlled Filter. A filter in analog synthesizers controlled by voltage.

VCO

Voltage Controlled Oscillator. In analog synthesizers, a device that generates various waveforms, whose frequency is determined by a control voltage.

Vibrato

The sine-wave modulation of a signal's frequency. Basically, it results in the warbling of the signal's pitch.

VOC File

Creative Labs' sound format made popular with the Sound Blaster.


PARTNERS