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Glossary – V

Vacuum Tube
Vacuum Tube – A diode, a glass tube with the gases removed, through which electrical current can flow. In audio, vacuum tubes are used in amplifiers, oscillators, and other analog devices.
Vamp – A part of a song or chord progression that is repeated, usually at the end of the song, and usually the chorus or part of the chorus.
Vamp and Fade
Vamp and Fade – A method of ending the recording of a song where the music has a repeating part and the engineer reduces volume until the music fades out.
Vari-Speed – A control on a tape machine that changes the play speed.
Variable-D – A trademarked, patented technology of ElectroVoice in its microphone designs to vary the proximity effect in its microphones. Variable-D places several ports along the microphone body, each of which has a reduced level of sensitivity to higher frequencies the further they are placed from the microphone’s diaphragm.
Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA)
VCA – Shorthand for “Voltage Controlled Amplifier,” an amp whose gain is affected by an external voltage fed to it.
VCA Automation
VCA Automation – A system of mix automation in some mixing consoles in which sound levels or other functions are altered through the use of voltage controlled amplifiers.
VCA Group
VCA Group – Several VCA faders that are fed control voltages from a group master slide. A feature in higher-end mixing boards that enables the engineer to control groupings of independent signals by a single fader that uses VCA to adjust the voltage sent to each channel.
Voltage Controller Oscillator (VCO)
VCOSee “Voltage Controlled Oscillator.”
Velocity Message
Velocity Message – In synthesizers and keyboard controllers, a MIDI message that transmits data on how hard the key was struck. Velocity messages can be used to transmit volume information, as well as triggering different samples on a multi-sampled instrument patch.
Velocity Microphone / Pressure-Gradient Mirophone
Velocity MicrophoneSeePressure-Gradient Microphone.”
Velocity Sensitive
Velocity Sensitive – (Also calledTouch Sensitive“) A feature on a MIDI instrument such as a keyboard that transmits a MIDI velocity message depending on how hard the key is struck.
Vibrato – A smooth and repeated changing of the pitch up and down from the regular musical pitch, often done by singers or performed by string and wind players.
Virtual Instrument
Virtual Instrument – (Also called Software Instrument) One of a number of software-based synthesizers, samplers or sound samples that are stored and accessed via computer and performed by an external MIDI controller, rather than in a standalone synthesizer or module. Because of the wide versatility available from these instruments, a growing number of composers and electronic musicians are working with virtual instruments that can be stored in hard drives, rather than purchasing stacks of keyboards and modules.
Vocal Booth
Vocal Booth – A room in the recording studio that is used for recording vocals in isolation. This practice prevents bleed-through of the sounds of other instruments into the vocal microphone, and also reduces natural ambience and reverberation in the vocal recording.
Vocoder – An audio processing device effects device or plug-in that analyzes the characteristics of an audio signal and uses them to affect another synthesized signal. Primarily developed for the purpose of producing synthesized voice effects from human speech, a vocoder creates the characteristic robotic vocal sound or the “human synthesizer” effect that makes it sound like the synth is speaking or singing words.
Voice – 1) Besides the obvious definition of the sound humans make from their mouths…in synthesizers, a voice refers to one of a number of sounds/pitches that may be played at the same time. “Monophonic” means only one voice plays at a time, while “polyphonic” means multiple voices can sound at once. (See also “Polyphonic”, “Monophonic.”) 2) In some synthesizers, like Yamaha, “voice” may also refer to a specific sound patch available on the synth.
Voice Over
Voice Over – The recording of vocal announcements or narration over a bed of music in video, film or commercials.
Volatile Memory
Volatile Memory – Computer memory whose data will will be lost when the computer is turned off. RAM (Random Access Memory) is the most common form of volatile memory.
Voltage – The difference in electrical force or pressure (“potential”) between two objects, causing a flow of electric current between them.
Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO)
Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) — An oscillator whose frequencies are modified by voltage input. Most commonly found in synthesizers.
Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA)
Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA) – An amplifier whose gain level is affected by an external voltage being sent to it. VCAs are commonly used in synthesizers, signal processors, and as a means of automation for some mixing consoles.
Voltage Controlled Filter
Voltage Controlled Filter – A filter (especially a low-pass filter) that will change its cutoff frequency according to a control voltage fed to its control input.
Volume – A common, non-technical term that either refers to sound pressure level (which we hear as loudness), or to audio voltage level.
Volume Unit (VU)
Volume Unit (VU) – A unit to measure perceived loudness changes in audio. The unit is basically the decibel change of the average level as read by a VU Meter. (See also “VU Meter.”)
Vox – A Latin word meaning “voice,” often used as an abbreviation for track logs in the studio.
VU Meter
VU Meter – A meter that reads audio voltage levels in or out of a piece of equipment and is designed to match the ear’s response to sudden changes in level.

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