Glossary & Explanations 

Welcome to the dictionary,

Below is an overview of strange and unknown words that I use on the website. Many words really exist, some I came up with myself to keep it easy to read, so I will indicate this.

I have not copied anything from other websites, I explain the words in my own way, for more information about a word I recommend the internet itself.


A

  • Actionphoto - With this I often refer to photos that are difficult for me to take, otherwise it is a reference to a special event.
  • Analog - In the audio world, this refers to sound that is stored and read out without the aid of digital techniques. Like the grooves in an LP or magnetic coating on tape.
  • Azimuth - The read, write and erase parts of a tape deck. This reads the magnetic coating on the tape and forwards it for processing into audible sound. (Also referred to as 'head(s)')

B

  • Bass - Name for a low pitch. 'Bass' consists of long and low 'Frequencies' which in music are often at the lower limit of what a person can hear. Even lower bass tones are no longer audible but can still be felt.

    See also the word 'Frequencies' at the letter F or 'Hertz' at the letter H.
  • Belts - The rubber drive belts are often used to bridge large distances between two shafts.
  • Baking - In the audio world, this mainly refers to the baking of moisture from tape. This technique is used by professionals to make damp tires normal again. Not a permanent solution but usually enough to digitize (save) a tape. See also "Stick Slip Effect" at the letter S.
  • Bargraph - Is a mostly digital way of reading units, in the case of sound in Decibels and/or percentages. The bar graph is the more accurate successor to the VU meter.

C

  • Capstan - This part can be found in tape decks, this is the axis of the flywheel, it presses the tape against the Pinch Roller during use. The Capstan is a main part of the transport.
  • Cartridge - A cartridge is an object that must be inserted into a device for use of the content, a cartridge usually also has a suitable coupling piece. In some cases, a cartridge partially protrudes from the device during use. The purpose of a Cartridge is to hold and protect its contents. Examples are: Ink cartridge, game cartridge & 8-Track cartridge.
  • Cassette - A cassette is an object that often contains one or more reels of rolled up tape. The Cassette holds the tape reels together. In most cases, a Cassette is completely inserted into a device, whereby the coils are operated by the device in order to be able to read the contents. The Cassette itself also has a built-in mechanism for this, and is part of the transport.
  • CrO2 - Also called Chromium (oxide). This is a type of magnetic coating on tape on which music can be stored. Chrome is one of the better types of coating for tape media. Also called Type II to distinguish it from other types of coatings.

D

  • DBX - Brand name for a type of noise reduction that was not as successful.
  • Digital - In the audio world, this refers to sound that originates from a digital source, ie has not been physically written. Digital sound simply consists of zeros and ones and is (de)coded by software.
  • DNL/DNR - (Dynamic Noise Limiter or Reduction), again a type of noise reduction mainly applied to Philips tape recorders.
  • Dolby - Brand name of a type of noise reduction used worldwide in tape media.
  • Dynamic spectrum - Has several meanings, in the case of sound the range means up to how much volume/decibel you can output from an amplifier or how much sound a medium as a cassette can carry and give. When such an extreme limit is reached, distortion of the sound occurs, noise is an example of this. By the way, Dynamic itself means 'Changeable' and is a contrast of 'Static' or 'Fixed' and 'Unchanging'. (to make things even more complicated, dynamic lives up to its name given the many meanings). 

E


F

  • Faraday cage - A theoretical metal cage that can absorb interference signals or floating currents, protecting the parts in the cage against unwanted noise and even damage (often used with better quality walkmans).
  • Ferro - Iron (oxide), the magnetic coating on tape on which music can be stored, besides Ferro there are other (better) types of coatings, Ferro is the cheapest and most common form of coating. Ferrous is also often referred to as Type I as a distinction for the other types of coatings.
  • FeCr - Ferro-Chromium, an improved form of magnetic coating on tape where music is stored, the coating is a combination of Ferro and Chrome. Despite this, it never became a great success and disappeared from the market quite quickly.
    FeCr is also often referred to as Type III as a distinction for other types of coatings.
  • Flutter - Short and sometimes audibly violent changes in speed and tone. This occurs on both record players and tape decks, virtually every media type that is driven by a motor experiences Flutter, including video equipment. The more stable a motor maintains its speed, the more stable the media is displayed. See also the closely related word 'Wow' with the letter W.
  • Flywheel - This metal part can be found in tape decks, this often large and heavy wheel ensures a stable speed during playback. It absorbs the slip of the belts, the central part of the flywheel (the shaft or officially: 'Capstan'), comes into direct contact with the tape during use. Flywheels appear in duplicate in some devices.
  • Frequency - At what pitch in this case sound is reproduced. 'Frequency' is often expressed in 'Hertz'. See also the word 'Hertz' with the letter H.

G

  • Groove - The tracks in a (long-playing) record. Often one long groove in a plate that runs from the outside to the inside. A stylus moves through this 'groove' as the record rotates. The walls and depth of the groove are not of the same depth or width which causes the needle to vibrate. The vibration is then mechanically or electrically amplified so that the wrinkles in the groove become clearly audible as sound. If you play a record and put your ear next to it you can literally hear the music coming out of the grooves. See also 'Track' at the letter T.

H

  • Hertz - 'Hertz' is the expression of 'Frequency' it gives a value to sound waves that can be picked up by a human being. A human ear generally hears frequencies between 20 Hertz and 20,000 Hertz. 20 Hz is a very low tone. And 20 kHz is a very high pitch.

    Low frequencies are often referred to as 'Bass' High frequencies are referred to as 'Treble' and generally the frequency around the center of human hearing is referred to as 'Mid-range'.

    Audio equipment often uses the expression 'Hertz' to indicate the range that the device can deliver to sound.
  • Head(s) - The read, write and erase parts of a tape deck. This reads the magnetic coating on the tape and forwards it for processing into audible sound. (Also called Azimuth).

I


J


K


L


M

  • Metal - Metal is the highest degree of magnetic coating on tape where music is stored. Metal tape was and is sometimes confused with the genre of 'metal' music. Metal tape is also called Type IV to distinguish it from other types of coatings.
  • Mid-range - Also sometimes abbreviated as 'Mid'. In the music world the middle of pitches of what a person can hear on average.
  • MPX (filter) - Type of noise reduction for use when recording radio broadcasts to tape.

N


O


P

  • Phono - Synonym for turntable, Phono is often used because it is a shorter description of the word Phonograph (the original English name for turntable). Often you will find this word on compact screens, or as a description of a connection to devices that work with a turntable, for example an Amplifier.
  • Pinch Roller - This rubber roller can be found in tape decks, the tape is pressed against it by the Capstan during use. The Pinch roller is a main part of the transport.
  • Platter - The official name for the turntable of a record player, on which you place the record itself.
  • Playback head - Another word for 'Azimuth' (see letter A) or the heads of a tape-related device. This reads the magnetic coating on the tape and forwards it for processing into audible sound.
  • Potmeter - In full: 'Potentiometer'. Official name for a rotary knob with a scale from 0 to max. Potentiometers are often used for fine, uninterrupted adjustment. On audio devices, they can often be found as a volume knob.

Q


R

  • Reel - By this is meant a wafer of two disks in which, between or on. A ribbon can be rolled up.
    A reel is, in many cases, mounted on a machine for use, or is mounted in a housing for easy use. Often reels come in duplicate so that when used, the ribbon can be rolled from one to the other. Also, Reel to Reel, a common name for the Tape Recorder, is to distinguish the device from other Tape media. 
  • Regulator - part that maintains the speed of a machine at the correct position/speed. Found on many (old) mechanical machines. From timepieces to steam engines and gramophone players.

S

  • Slack - If a tape is not wound tightly enough on a spool, Slack is created, which can affect the quality of your sound or your tape can be damaged.
  • Stick Slip Effect - An annoying problem that can arise especially with older tape. The tape sticks to the playback head but at the same time is pulled away, in fact your tape vibrates quickly along the head, alternating between sticking and being pulled off, which can give a high-pitched or grinding sound, you can hear this when playing and also physically with the tape itself. The sound itself is a physical problem, so it is not part of the recorded sound. The recording itself remains unharmed, but recording over is no longer an option because the screeching sound would then also be recorded, see also 'Baking' at the letter B.

T

  • Tape - This refers to the physical media on which the data is located. This is an often rolled up (plastic) ribbon with a magnetic coating on it, this coating can be influenced by a device, with which data can be written, read or erased on the coating. Tape is of course also an all-encompassing word for anything that consists of a ribbon on which a print (image) or coating has been applied according to use. Examples are, Adhesive Tape, Video Tape & Audio Tape.
  • Torque - in other words also called 'Force', in the audio world this word can also be used to describe how much power, for example, a motor in a tape deck has to turn a tape. With a heavy running belt, more 'Torque' is therefore needed to make the belt move at the same speed. This can sometimes be accompanied by 'Wow' and 'Flutter' under the letters W and F. See also the word 'Torque limit' below.
  • Torque limit - The ultimate limit at which the maximum torque (force) is reached (see the word above). From the tipping point the motor loses its power and in this case can no longer run a belt steadly, a belt can then start to run erratically or in the worst case stop completely. Especially when starting a tape, 'Torque limit' can occur, once the tape has started (or is helped) can the 'Torque' keep it up to speed without stopping. It can be one of the causes of unwinding cassettes or cartridges.
  • Track - Literally translated 'groove' otherwise also a complete music track. The latter meaning therefore originates from the grooves in an LP and magnetic traces of audio tape. A Track on Tape often refers to a mono track, but sometimes also two (stereo) tracks that make up a song. Media like the 8-Track is a direct reference to the number of mono tracks on the tape or 4 pairs of stereo tracks.
  • Transport  - This is an all-encompassing word, meaning virtually all moving parts that directly or indirectly keep the tape moving.
    Examples are: Flywheel, Capstan, Pinch Roller, Belts or simply rollers where the tape is guided when playing or winding.
  • Treble - Name for a high pitch. 'Treble' consists of short and high frequencies that in music are often at the higher limit of what a person can hear. Even higher treble tones are no longer audible but can still be picked up by the ear and can even be felt in the eardrum. Especially at a younger age, these higher tones are more audible than at an older age.

    Also see the words 'Frequencies' at the letter F or 'Hertz' at the letter H. 
  • Type I, II, III & IV - Different degrees of magnetic coating on tapes where music is stored. From low to high: Ferrous, Chrome, Ferro-Chrome & Metal.

U


V

  • VU-meter - 'Volume Unit' Meter. An analog meter on which a scale is displayed, often in units of Decibels and/or Percentages. The needle itself is influenced by the music and then gives an indication of the volume.

    VU meters are known for not always being accurate or precise. They often lag or do not display short peaks. Nowadays, preference is therefore given to digital readout.

W

  • Wow - Slow changes in speed and especially tone. Occurring on both record players and tape decks, virtually any motor-driven media type experiences Flutter, including video equipment. The more stable a motor maintains its speed, the more stable the media is displayed. See also the closely related word 'Flutter' with the letter F. Or the word 'Torque' with the letter T.

X


Y


Z


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