Live Show Glossary

Live Show Glossary
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Live Show Glossary

Do you want to understand live show terminology? At Studiospares, we understand that the world of live shows can be very daunting and often hard to comprehend, with complex words that have even more complex meanings, leading to complex headaches… But don’t worry we're here to help you shed some light on live show terminology! 

Our goal is to break down the barrier to entry on live shows so that anyone can understand these concepts. When you come to performing your track, you'll understand what everything is and exactly what it's doing! 

 

Acoustic Treatment

Materials used to improve the sound quality by reducing reflections and reverberations in a room.

 

Amplifier

Equipment that increases the power of an audio signal to drive speakers.

 

Auxiliary (Aux) Send

A separate output from the mixing console used to send a mix to monitors or effects.

 

Clipping 

Distortion occurring when an amplifier is pushed beyond its capabilities.

 

Compressor

A device used to reduce the dynamic range of an audio signal, controlling peaks and lows.

 

Condenser Microphone

Delicate microphones with higher sensitivity and a broader frequency response.

 

Crossover

A device that splits audio frequencies into different bands for speakers to handle different frequency ranges.

 

Cue System

Communication system allowing crew members to communicate during the show.

 

dB SPL (Sound Pressure Level)

The measurement of sound intensity in decibels relative to a reference pressure.

 

dBFS (Decibels Full Scale)

Measurement of digital audio levels in reference to the maximum level a system can handle without distortion.

 

Decibel (dB)

A unit of measurement for sound intensity.

 

Delay

An effect used to create echoes or repeats of the audio signal.

 

DI Box (Direct Injection Box)

A device used to convert and balance high-impedance instrument signals to low-impedance signals for the sound system.


Dynamic Microphone

A rugged microphone ideal for live performances due to its durability and ability to handle high sound pressure levels.

 

Dynamic Range

The difference between the quietest and loudest parts of an audio signal.

 

Equalization (EQ) 

Adjusting the balance of frequencies within the audio signal.

 

Fader

The sliding control on a mixing console used to adjust the volume of a channel.

 

Feedback

Unwanted high-pitched noise caused by sound looping through microphones and speakers.

 

FOH (Front of House)

The area where the main sound engineer manages the live sound during a concert.

 

Frequency Response

The range of frequencies a device can reproduce.

 

Gain

The initial level of amplification for an audio signal.

 

Gate

A tool used to reduce or eliminate low-level background noise by cutting off the audio signal below a set threshold.

 

Ground Loop

A type of interference caused by multiple devices being grounded at different potentials.

 

Headroom

The available space between the average level of the signal and the maximum level before distortion occurs.

 

In-Ear Monitor (IEM)

Personal monitoring systems for performers worn in the ears.

 

Lavalier Microphone

A small microphone designed to be worn on the body for hands-free operation.

 

Limiter

A device used to prevent the audio signal from exceeding a set level.

 

Line Array

A speaker system where multiple speaker elements are stacked vertically to provide uniform sound dispersion over long distances.

 

Load-In

The process of bringing in and setting up equipment at the venue.

 

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)

Protocol used for communicating between electronic musical instruments and computers.

 

Mixing Desk/Console

The control surface where audio signals are adjusted, mixed, and managed.

 

Monitor Engineer

The person responsible for mixing and controlling the sound for the performers on stage through monitor speakers.

 

Multicore Snake

A single cable with multiple channels used to connect stage equipment to the mixing console.

 

Mute

A function that silences an audio signal or channel.

 

PA (Public Address) System

The system used to amplify and distribute sound to the audience.

 

Patch Bay

A panel where audio connections are routed and managed.

 

Phantom Power

A method of delivering power to microphones through an audio cable.

 

Phase Cancellation

When two identical audio signals are out of phase, resulting in weakened or cancelled frequencies.

 

Phasing

Occurs when two identical signals interfere with each other, causing cancellation or reinforcement of frequencies.

 

Rack Unit (RU)

A measurement used for the height of audio equipment in a rack.

 

Reverb

A sound effect simulating different acoustic spaces, adding depth to audio.

 

Rider

A document outlining the technical and hospitality requirements of the band or artist.

 

RMS (Root Mean Square)

A method to measure the average power of an audio signal.

 

Sibilance

Harsh "s" and "sh" sounds that can occur in vocal performances.

 

Soundcheck

A session before the show where audio levels and equipment are tested and adjusted.

 

Stage Box

An interface that connects microphones and instruments on stage to the main mixing console.

 

Stage Plot

A diagram showing the placement of instruments and equipment on stage.

 

Subwoofer

A speaker specifically designed to reproduce low-frequency sounds.

 

Windscreen

A cover for microphones to reduce wind noise and plosives.

 

XLR Cable

A common type of audio cable used to connect microphones and other audio devices.