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Glossary of Audio Terms

Amplify
To increase the inherent loudness of a sound. This differs from volume control in that you are actually changing the file when you Amplify. Many digital audio editors, such as Blaze Audio RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus, offer this effect.

Analog ripping
An alternative method of copying CD tracks, used when digital ripping doesn't work for one reason or another. Analog ripping is simply recording during playback, using the analog signal, not the digital. You can do analog ripping with Blaze Audio's RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus, by following our brief tutorial on the subject.

Analog signal
A sound signal that is continuously variable by nature and corresponds exactly to real sound. This differs from digital sound, which is composed entirely of on and off bits (ones and zeros) that computers can understand. An analog signal is recorded by creating magnetic traces, grooves, or some other marking corresponding to actual sound vibrations in the air. Tapes, LPs, and 8-tracks all work with analog sound. An analog recording technically contains more audio information than a digital recording, because digital sound consists of a finite series of ones and zeros that can never perfectly describe the original analog waveform (see bit depth, below). However, analog recordings cannot be copied or manipulated without degrading the sound, and they often contain more noise than digital recordings. In practice, digital recordings sound better and are much easier to work with.


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Batch Export
Provides for exporting of multiple audio files in batches to the desired format.

Bass Boost
Makes the low frequencies louder to emphasize the bass and bass drum in music.

Bit Depth (Sample Size)
The bit depth is the level of detail at which a computer samples analog audio to create digital audio. Generally, when recording with a home PC (using Blaze Audio’s RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus, for example) you can choose between 8 and 16 bit sampling. 16 bit audio generally sounds better (each sample is described by 16 bits of data instead of just 8), but takes up twice as much disk space when stored.

Bit depth is closely related to sampling rate. The sampling rate is how many times a second your audio recording software "listens" to the incoming audio signal. Again, you have a choice with RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus - 11, 22, or 44 kHz. If you selected 11 kHz, RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus would sample the incoming audio signal approximately 11,000 times per second. 44KHz audio is sampled 44,000 times per second - a lot! Audio recorded at 44KHz sounds better, but again, takes up more disk space. Generally, a recording of human voices sounds fine at 8 bits and 11KHz, while music would be of poor quality. Try 16 bits and 22KHz for some music, and reserve 44KHz for CD-quality recording. Generally, it’s best to experiment and adjust these settings to the lowest possible levels that give acceptable results, in order to save disk space.

Bitrate
The number of kilobits per second of data in your audio file. The bitrate you choose when creating an MP3 file determines the size and quality of the resulting MP3. The highest commonly available bitrate is 320 kbps. A file created using this bitrate will have excellent quality, but will be fairly large. The standard bitrate for MP3s is 128 kbps. A file created using this bitrate will have good quality, and take up about 1 Mb per 1 minute of sound.

Burn
To write data or files onto a recordable CD using a hardware device called a CD Burner. Generally, you create either an audio or a data disc when you burn a CD. If you create an audio disc, you will be able to play that CD in any standard audio CD player. A data disc contains computer files and can only be read on computers. If you want to create an audio CD you must use software such as our RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus - simply copying wave (.wav) audio files onto a CD will produce a data CD, not an audio CD. On this site, "burn" refers to recording audio CDs that will be playable in your stereo.

Byte
A byte is a unit of computer data, representing one character (such as “w,” “4,” or “:”). Each byte is made up of 8 bits. Bits are the basis of computer code - each bit is either a 1 or a 0 (“on” or “off”). If you looked at the byte that represents the capital letter “A,” it would look like “01000001”. This language of 1’s and 0’s is called binary. Bytes are a unit of measurement, like inches or meters. Instead of measuring weight or distance, they measure space on your hard drive. Here is the breakdown:
8 bits = 1 byte
1,024 bytes = 1 Kilobyte (Kb).
1,024 Kb = 1 Megabyte (Mb).
1000 Mb = 1 Gigabyte (Gb).
Modern computers can store anywhere from 5 to 100 Gbs on their hard drives. Why would you need to worry about the file size of your digital audio with so much space available? Well, your computer needs a good chunk of its hard drive to store the operating system (Windows, Linux, etc.) and instructions for running things like your modem, your internet browser, and your email program. So space is often at a premium. You’ll see.


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Center Channel Removal
Often the vocals are recorded equally in both left and right channels on a stereo recording, making them sound like they are in the center. Center Channel Removal removes sound that is present equally in both channels and may eliminate the vocals from some recordings.

CD-R, CD-RW
Stands for "CD-Recordable," and refers to a CD that can be burned. Recordable CDs can be one of two types - CD-R discs, which can only be written one time, and CD-RW discs, which can be written and erased numerous times.

Channel
When sound is recorded in stereo, it is split into two channels - one for the left speaker and one for the right speaker. The waveform of stereo sound will display the graphs of the two channels separately, one above the other. Mono audio has only a single center channel.

Chorus
A voice effect available in Blaze Audio’s RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus that makes one voice sound like many. Chorus works with all types of audio, but is particularly effective with the human voice.

CODEC (or Codec)
Codec stands for compression / decompression. A codec is a small program that's installed on your computer which then allows Windows to compress and/or decompress audio to and from certain formats. Codecs which allow for higher quality compression are available for download separate from any specific software program, but are not useful unless you have a program that supports that Codec. For example, Blaze Audio RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus supports both the Fraunhofer and LAME codecs when creating MP3 files.


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Delay
A postponing of a sound or effect. This term is often used to describe and set the amount of time between the original sound and the effect. For example, the Echo effect in RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus generates an echo in your wave file by taking the original sound, reducing its volume, and mixing it back into your audio with a slight delay. You can set that delay to be anything from 10 milliseconds to 740 milliseconds.

Digital Audio
Digital audio is audio that has been converted into a series of ones and zeros that can be understood by a computer. Computers cannot understand analog data - it must first be converted into digital data. When analog sound is converted to digital, it is generally saved as a wave file. Digital, or digitized, sound is easier to reproduce and manipulate without loss in quality than analog.

Echo
An effect available in several Blaze Audio products that takes the original sound, reduces its volume, and mixes it back into your audio with a slight delay. The effect is somewhat like shouting into the Grand Canyon.

Encoding / Decoding
When used in the context of audio files, these terms refer to the process of converting audio to or from a compressed format like MP3 or WMA. The encoding and decoding processes are often incorporated into programs called CODECs (see definition above).

Equalization (EQ)
Sound is made up of many simultaneous vibrations at different frequencies. An audio equalizer lets you separately adjust the volume of different bands (ranges of frequencies) to control the overall sound. Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz); the higher the number, the higher-pitched the sound. Some equalizers, like WebEQ, operate in real-time; other programs, such as RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus, allow you to apply equalization to an effect after it’s already been recorded.


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Fade
A set of effects available in Blaze Audio's wave editor RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus. Fade-in brings the sound in gradually to reach full volume at a point in the file selected by the user. Fade-out does the opposite - the sound disappears gradually until there is silence.

Flange
An audio effect that distorts sound by applying a short delay and variable modulation of the frequency. This effect adds a Sci-Fi dimension to your sound and is available with Blaze Audio RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus.

Feed:
A feed is a list (usually formatted in RSS) which provides the URLs of the site (or podcasting show) of which one wishes to be kept informed. RSS feeds typically also show publication date, titles, and brief descriptions of each article or episode.

Frequency
The number of vibrations in a sound wave per unit of time. Frequency is usually measured in hertz, where one hertz is one cycle per second. High-pitched sounds have higher frequencies and low-pitched sounds have lower frequencies.

Karaoke
A fun phenomenon that is sweeping the globe, where singers provide their own vocal accompaniment to their favorite songs. Karaoke singers usually get to follow the cues from a synchronized lyrics display that tells them when to sing which words. Popular at nightclubs, bars, and parties of all kinds. Our own Karaoke Sing-n-Burn lets you turn your own computer into a karaoke machine!

Line-in
The input jack on your computer’s sound card. This is where you plug in equipment such as tape-decks, turntables, etc, to feed music into your computer from an outside source.

Low Pass Filter
A low pass filter removes all sound above a set frequency. It is useful in removing certain kinds of hiss.

MIDI (Musical Instruments Digital Interface)
A 'language' that allows computers and certain musical instruments to communicate. This language consists of instructions telling the instrument (or the MIDI synthesizer in your sound card) which notes to play, with what instrument, and when. MIDI can be used, for example, from a computer to control external MIDI-compliant instruments such as synthesizers. MIDI can also be used entirely within a computer, with no external instruments. Karaoke Sing-n-Burn works great as a MIDI player as well as a karaoke player.

MIDI Karaoke
Computer-based karaoke that utilizes MIDI technology for accompaniment. MIDI karaoke files are much smaller and easier to download than other types of karaoke files, and they allow the singer to adjust the instrumentation, pitch, and more, none of which can be easily done with other types of karaoke files.

.MID files / .KAR files
These are the extensions used for MIDI and MIDI karaoke files. These files display a song’s lyrics in time with the song, and are widely available on the internet. Both are supported by Blaze Audio's Karaoke Sing-n-Burn.

Mono To Stereo
Our Mono To Stereo tool takes a single channel of sound, splits it in two, and modifies the resulting data so it sounds like it was recorded in stereo.

MP3 (.mp3)
Stands for MPEG audio layer 3. A popular compressed audio format widely used to transfer music over the internet. An MP3 file is much smaller than a wave file - a three minute song will take up 30 Mb as a wave file, but only between 2 and 7 Mb as an MP3 (depending on the bitrate you choose), but still sound virtually as good as the original. Though they are controversial because of certain copyright abuses, MP3 files themselves are not illegal. Blaze Audio RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus each have a built-in MP3 converter that allows you to convert MP3 files to wave files, or wave files to MP3 files.


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Noise Gate
A noise gate is a filter that analyzes a sound, looking for sections that have only noise, and filters all sound until there is some useful audio signal. It is especially helpful for soft sections that have certain kinds of noise.

Normalization
This effect permanently adjusts the amplitude (volume, essentially) of your audio to a certain value. Normalization is particularly useful when creating a CD using tracks from many different CDs or MP3 files. The volume of each track will be slightly different from the others; normalization will set them each to the same volume for a consistent final CD. This effect is available in Blaze Audio’s audio editors RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus.

Notch Filter
This filter removes all audio in a specified frequency band in a wave file.

Note Scrubber
Note Scrubber allows you to use a tool called an Equalizer (sometimes referred to as an EQ) to reduce the amount of sound in a particular range of notes.


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Ogg Vorbis
Ogg Vorbis is a free, open-source audio compression format. While it is still nowhere nearly as popular as MP3, many users contend that it can provide an excellent substitution due to its high fidelity and increased use on the web.

Pop and Click Removal
This tool uses sophisticated DSP algorithms to detect abrupt changes in the waveform that indicate a pop or a click. It then removes just the portion that is causing the undesired sound.

Streaming Audio Recording
Streaming audio refers to the way that audio is delivered through a computer. Rather than being downloaded first to a machine's hard drive from which it is then played, streaming audio may actually be listened to while it is being delivered. Recording streaming audio from various applications is made possible by the innovative technology of RipEditBurn Plus.

Sampling Rate
The number of times per second the program converting analog to digital "listens" to the analog signal. See Bit Depth.

Streaming Audio
A method of delivering audio from the internet to your media player that allows you to play the audio as you are downloading it, rather than waiting for the entire file to finish downloading. Internet radio stations play streaming audio. The two most popular formats used for streaming audio are RealAudio and Windows Media.

Sound Warmer
The Sound Warmer works by adding a little bit of resonance to the sound. It's like a simple reverb.

RealAudio (.ra) Format
A streaming audio format often used for posting sound files on the internet. Real Audio files are smaller even than MP3 files, but are of lower quality if compressed enough to play over a slow connection (such as a 56 kbps modem).

Real-time
Refers to effects that take place as you listen, without a noticeable delay. For example, when you move the sliders on Blaze Audio's WebEQ, the equalization changes as you move them.

Reverse
An effect that takes one or both channels in a sound file and plays them backwards. This effect is available with Blaze Audio's RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus.

Rip
To extract music directly from your CD in pure digital form and save it directly to your hard drive, bypassing the noise-introducing process of converting to analog and back to digital again. Blaze Audio RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus lets you rip audio from your CDs directly into the program's wave editing or burning module.

RSS:
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is usually referred to as a feed or an RSS feed and it contains a summary of content--as in an RSS feed for a news site--about the website or podcast to which it links. RSS is an easy, automated way for subscribers to stay current with the content of their favorite websites.

RSS content is read using an aggregator, also called a feed reader. Subscribers enter a feed's link into the aggregator or click the RSS symbol on the website.


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Wave (.wav) Files
A wave file, simply, is an audio file on your PC. A wave file is uncompressed data - as close a copy to the original analog data as possible - and is therefore much larger than the same file would be in a compressed format such as MP3 or RealAudio. Audio CDs store their audio in, essentially, the wave format.

Waveform
A graph of the level of air compression or rarefaction that is how sound is shown in the display of a wave file editor (such as Blaze Audio RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus). Usually there is a horizontal line in the middle of the display representing no compression or rarefaction. The line representing the sound goes up as air becomes more compressed and down as it becomes less compressed.

Wave Editor
Audio software designed for editing digital audio. Some of the editing functions work like a text editor; for example, you can cut, copy, and paste sections of a wave file and zoom in and out for precise editing. Other functions add effects such as echo, chorus, flange, or fade to your audio. Good wave editors allow you to import digital audio in other formats as well, such as MP3. If you want to be able to make changes to your wave or MP3 files, you’ll need an editor of this type; naturally we recommend that you try out Blaze Audio RipEditBurn or RipEditBurn Plus!

Windows Media Audo (WMA)
Windows Media Audio (WMA) is a proprietary compressed audio file format developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Windows Media framework. Files in this format can be played using Windows Media Player, Winamp and many other alternative media players.

XML:
XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. It is a type of file which combines text and additional information about the text, such as HTML and RSS feeds. ePodcast Producer, ePodcast Creator, and ePodcast Express all create XML files automatically so that no coding need be done by the individual user.


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