Glossary of Audio, Recording
and Music Terms "W"
Watt – Unit of electrical power.
Waveform – A visual representation or graphic of a sound wave, audio signal or other type of wave, showing the wave’s oscillations above and below the zero line.
Wavelength – The physical length of one cycle of a wave, measured in feet, inches, etc. The longer the wavelength of a sound wave, the lower its frequency; the shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency.
Weighting – An equalization curve used in audio tests that compensates for the Fletcher Munson Curve at various levels. (See also “Fletcher-Munson Curves.”)
Wet – Refers to a signal that has the full amount of an effect (like reverb) applied to it, as opposed to “dry,” which refers to the un-effected sound. Many times, the preferred sound in mixing will be a blend of wet and dry signals. (See also “Dry.”)
White Noise – A noise signal containing an equal spread of energy across all audible frequencies. Like pink noise, engineers often send a white noise signal through audio equipment for tuning and calibration purposes, or in EQ-ing a live audio space. (See also “Pink Noise.”)
Whole Step – A change in pitch equivalent to two half steps, or the difference in pitch between two piano keys.
Wild Sound – In film and video, audio that is recorded separately from the visual that may be added to the audio track later, and does not need to be synchronized with the picture.
Wind Controller – A device that is played like a wind instrument to control a synthesizer, module or virtual instrument via MIDI signals, as opposed to a keyboard controller.
Windscreen – A covering that fits over a microphone to reduce the excessive noise resulting from wind blowing into the mic. Typically used for recording in outdoor locations.
Wireless Microphone – A microphone that transmits its signal over an FM frequency to a receiver offstage, rather than traveling over an audio cable.
Woofer – A speaker that is designed to reproduce bass frequencies only.
Write Mode – A mode of operation in an automated console where the engineer is in control of channel gain and the computer is recording the gain changes over time.