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Glossary of common and not so common DAW terms

This will grow over time as I  find a new term or remember an old one. If you want to know what a term means email me and i'll add it here pretty quick for you.


ATA- AT Attachment, the AT was the first real PC/IBM computer with a hard drive as standard. ATA-1 was the first standard in IDE and it had the controller built into the drive.

ACPI - Advanced Configuration and Power Interface. Some motherboards now have ACPI2.

ASIO - Audio Streaming Input Output, ASIO2 drivers are common now.

ATAPI - AT Atachment packet interface. Another name for ATA-4 / IDE mode4 ect.

Bessel function roll-off at the upper bandwidth limit: Not only are Bessel filters "phase linear", but they are ideally damped to eliminate ringing (signals amplified by resonance) of the out-of-band garbage. The bandwidth is gracefully limited in a way that blocks the interference without intruding on the music.

BIT - the length(accuracy) of each sample in digital audio, 8 bits make 1 byte. A BIT is simply a 0 or a 1 / ON or OFF. A switch position.

DAE -  Digidesign Audio Engine, the drivers that Protools hardware uses to interface with Logic / protools software.

DAW -  Digital Audio Workstation, any piece of gear that can record digital audio and allow some editing.

DFS - Digital Full Scale...the term used for 0Db in the digital domain. Exceeding DFS gives u digital distortion.

DMA - Direct Memory Access, if a device uses this then it doesn't require the CPU for accessing memory.

DVD - Digital Versatile Disk...can store up to 16 GIG, there are many types and most of the standards haven't been set yet, DVD VIDEO has been set and is taking off quite quickly in Australia...DVD AUDIO is a while off since the format for surround sound is still under debate, It will be 24 bit 96Khz though this much has been set.

EIDE - enhanced IDE

EMI electro magnetic interferrence

Faraday shielding. The transformer’s primary and secondary windings are separated by an electrostatic shield that shunts the remaining capacitively coupled interference currents to ground.

HAL - Hardware abstraction layer... low level part of win 2000

HDD - Hard Disk Drive, what you store all your data on in the computer.

Hysteresis, in this case, refers to the tendency of the magnetic flux in a transformer’s core to not respond precisely to the magnetizing force of the current in primary coil. For instance, the predilection of the core to stay slightly magnetized even when the current in the primary coil has ceased.

IDE - Intergrated device electronics... this is a transfer protocol. Its another name for ATA

LED - Light Emitting Diode. Looks like a little light bulb normally red in color.

MB - MotherBoard or MainBoard.... The part your whole computer is built around.

MME - MultiMedia Extensions. This driver structure has been around for a very long time.

MIDI - Musical Instrument Digital Interface

Mu-metals (mu, "mew", from the Greek letter µ) are a family of magnetic metals specifically optimized for magnetic shielding.

Nyquist Theorem - this means that to record a frequency Hz you must use a sample rate at least 2 times.

PC - Personal Computer

PIO - Programmed Input Output, DMA is replacing this very quickly.

PLL - Phase Locked Loop

RAID - Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks.

RFI - Radio Frequency interferrence

Sample / sample rate - It is like a coordinate on a graph, the voltage / level at that piont in time.

SCSI - Small Computer Systems Interface, there are many type of scsi. It is a tranfer protocol.

TOSLINK - This is optical SPDIF. It is sometimes called this because "toslink" are the main manufactor for the optical conectors and components.

USB - Universal Serial Bus

VIA - means trouble....stay away LOL. I get 3 calls a day minimum about these boards.