Audio Terminologies

The following are commonly used audio terms explained. Should any terms be left out, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will try to include it in this page.  

Last updated : 6/1/2020

Sounds 

Highs/Treble

Sounds that are in the higher end of the frequency range. Think of sounds such as cymbals of the drums, high pitch notes of an electric guitar, or sibilant sounds

Sibilant

We say that a sound is sibilant when it produces a "hiss", or high pitch. An instance of this is the word "produces", where you emphasise the letter "s" of the word

Mids

Sounds that do not fall under lows nor highs. Most sounds fall under this range. Think of instruments such as guitar strumming, piano, most vocals etc.

Midbass

Sounds that are in between mids and bass. Think of kickdrums or the slapping sounds on a bass guitar. 

 

Lows/Bass

Sounds that are in the lower end of the frequency range. Think of the low pitch rumbling sound in a song such as those produced by a bass guitar. 

Sub-bass

Describes the frequencies of a music lower/deeper than bass. Usually identified by the rumbling of the bass when listening to music. People insensitive to bass or low frequency sounds might not be able to pick this up

V-shape sound

Used to describe the sound that has more emphasis on the highs and lows with laidback mids 

U-shape sound

Similar to V-shape sound, but with a steeper gradient in the sound. Very sharp highs and very deep bass, lower highs and midbass are not present with laidback mids

 

W-shape sound

Sound that has emphasis on highs, mids and lows, but lack higher and lower mids. Each high, mid and low sounds very distinct and sounds like there are sounds missing in between

Terms to Describe Sound

High/Low Extension

To explain how high or low of a sound frequency that an earphone is able to reproduce. An earphone with good high end extension means that it is able to reproduce sound with a higher frequency range (more sparkle etc) of the music and vice versa.

Organic

Naturalness of the sound perceived compared to real life

Depth

We say a music has depth when it does not sound one dimensional. 

Flat

Is a kind of depth. We say that a music sounds flat when it sounds very one dimensional

Layering/Separation

To describe the distinct sounds in a music. If an earphone has good layering/separation, it means that it is able to discern between different instruments well, with each being its own "layer" 

Air

Usually used in "good air between the instruments", it means to describe the space between each layer of sound

 

Sparkle

Used to describe highs, where the hiss/rings in the high frequencies of a music are obvious to the listener (think of cymbals crashing and each crash rings sharply). People insensitive to high frequencies might not be able to pick this up

 

Attack/Bite

Usually used to describe mids. We say that mids has a bite/attack to it when the mids produced by an earphone/headphone has a sharpness to it. A simple example would be when the snare drum is being played and you can feel that distinct note in your ears

 

Dark Sounding/Veiled

Used to describe the overall sound of the music. We say that an earphone is dark sounding or veiled when it sounds like listening to a pair of speakers with a cloth covering the music, making it sound muffled

 

Bright

Opposite of dark/veiled; used to describe the overall sound of the music. We say that an earphone is bright when it tends to have more emphasis in the highs 

Laidback

Used to describe the presence of a certain sound frequency. A certain sound is laidback when it tends to sound softer compared to the rest of the frequencies 

Miscellaneous

Soundstage

Describes the 3-dimensional space of the sound produced by an audio equipment. For instance, when hearing a performance in a theatre, the music usually has a wider soundstage as it echoes throughout the hall compared to a performance in a room or studio, where the music is more direct and "in your face"

 

Driver(s)

Technology used in an earphone/headphone to produce music. Some commonly used drivers include balanced armature, dynamic, piezoelectric and electrostatic

Imaging

Ability of an audio equipment to precisely reproduce the placement of the instruments in a music. For example, hearing vocals in the centre, bass on the left, guitars on the right.

Sound Signature

Used to describe the general sound characteristics produced by an audio equipment of an audio company 

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