Sound is as complex as science and at Harman Kardon we take a scientific approach to creating our products to ensure the sound you hear is just as the artist intended it to be heard. The terminology used to describe sound and its reproduction reflects that complexity, which is why we have compiled a short glossary of key audio terms, to help demystify the language that surrounds sound creation.
Acoustics: The qualities or characteristics of a room, auditorium etc., that determine the audibility or fidelity of sounds in it
Anechoic: Without an echo
Anechoic chamber : A room used for acoustical measurements where its design suppresses internal sound reflections
Bass: Low in pitch, the lowest range of audible frequencies
Beaming: Sound being emitted with a small sold angle. This sound is more acute as frequency increases.
Boomy: An excessive bass response with various peaks in it
Bright: Too much upper frequency energy
Coherence: How well integrated the sound of the system is
Diffraction: A change in the direction of sound energy. Dispersion caused by a boundary, such as the edge of a reflective or absorptive surface.
Distortion: Anything that alters the musical signal
Dynamic range : The range between the loudest and softest sounds that are in a piece of music, or that can be reproduced by a piece of audio equipment without any distortion.
Extension: How extended a range of frequencies the device can reproduce accurately.
Fidelity: How faithful the sound quality is to the original.
Free field: An environment where a sound wave may disseminate in all directions without obstructions or reflections. An anechoic room produces this environment in controlled conditions.
Frequency: The measure of rapidity of alterations of a periodic signal, expressed in cycles per second / Hz.
Frequency response : The changes in the sensitivity of a circuit, device, or room with frequency.
Hertz: The unit of frequency, abbreviated to Hz
Imaging: A good stereo system can provide a stereo image that has width, depth and height.
KHz: 1,000 Hz
Reflection: The reflection of sound from one surface, which changes the direction of the sound wave.
Sound: The sensation produced by stimulation of hearing organs by vibrations transmitted through the air or other medium.
Soundstage: A stereo image that replicates the original performance.
Spectrum: The distribution of energy of a signal with frequency.
Timbre: The quality of sound that distinguishes it from other sounds of the same pitch and volume / the distinctive tone of instrument or singing voice.
Tonal: Audible sound capable of stimulating an auditory sensation having pitch.
Tone: Quality or character of sound.
Transparency: The more “transparent” a sound, the clearer the auditory picture.
Treble: The higher frequencies of the audible spectrum.
Warmth: In terms of frequency, generally considered to be the range from 150Hz – 400Hz.
Watt: Unit to measure electrical or acoustical power.

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