The A-Z of audio. Audio tech jargon explained
Friday, 23 October 2020 | Amit
You don’t need to be an audio technician to know superb sound when you hear it. But if the ‘try before you by’ option isn’t available to you, it helps to know what factors go into creating high quality audio.
The sound world is littered with confusing jargon. So we’ve created a cheat sheet for some of the most bafflingly abstruse examples of geeky audio lingo.
An amplifier refers to any device that increases the amplitude of electrical signals, in this instance - audio output. When it comes to speakers, amplitude can be controlled using the volume setting, which in special cases can go all the way up to 11.
Audio quality is in the ear of the beholder. But if you want an objectively quantifiable measure, audiophiles tend to refer to a sound’s resolution, which is defined by its bitrate (see the next definition for more).
High resolution sound uses 24-Bit resolution with a sampling frequency ranging between 44.1 and 192 kHz. This ensures an optimal listening experience for lossless audio.
The Bitrate expresses the speed of information processed per second. In audio, this usually means kilobits per second. For example, MP3s are usually around 256 kilobits per second, meaning there are 256 kilobits of data stored in every second of a song.
Bluetooth is a wireless communication exchange between two devices. Or if we want to anthropomorphize things, it is the process of getting two devices to ‘talk to each other’ without using any cables. Bluetooth connections usually stretch to around 10 metres, which is enough for many home networks.
Lithe Audio’s Bluetooth speakers utilise the latest Bluetooth 5 technology, which features improved speed and a greater range. These will work with all the latest smartphone models, and provide unrivalled performance for your Bluetooth speakers.
DLNA, or the ‘Digital Living Network Alliance’ if you’re feeling majestic, is a system of certified devices that allow you to share content between devices around your house over your home Wi-Fi network. Their published guidelines incorporate several public standards, including Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for media management and device discovery and control.
Impedance is a measure of how much a speaker resists an electrical current. The lower the impedance (measured in ohms), the more power the speaker will draw from your amplifier. For consumers, tallying up the total impedance of your speaker is important for determining the stability of an electrical connection. Given Lithe Audio’s speakers combine both amplifier and receiver in an all-in-one speaker solution., you won’t need to worry about this part.
A jack plug refers to the habitually faulty cable which people used to rely on for playing music from their smartphones, before bluetooth and wireless connectivity took over. The relic makes an annoying buzzing sound when being removed, and is a testament to how far the audio technology world has come.
Latency refers to the delay between when a signal is sent and the audio is heard through the speaker. Every sound contains latency, but the concept is particularly important when it comes to audio technology, where the sound gets relayed through an audio chain. For domestic audiovisual setups, matching sound to image is pretty important if you want perfect synchronisation between TV and speakers.
Multi-room refers to the placement of multiple speakers in several rooms of a home. The speakers are connected to each other via Wi-Fi or bluetooth, and connected to a wireless audio source (smartphone, computer or tablet). Music lovers can now take their tunes throughout their household.
Lithe Audio’s ceiling speaker range is designed to be used as a set, with Wi Fi speakers allowing up to 30 speakers to connect simultaneously.
A power supply links a device to its power source, enabling it to function. Lithe Audio’s speakers can be connected to a 13A mains plug socket, or terminate to a dedicated 3A fused spur.
An RCA connector can send electric signals or digital data. It is widely used for audio equipment. A standard RCA cable has three color-coded plugs that connect to corresponding inputs on audiovisual devices.
RMS, or root mean square refers to how much continuous power the speaker can handle. The peak power handling value refers to the maximum power level that the speaker is capable of utilizing in short bursts.
Sampling rate corresponds to the number of samples per second, and is another measure of audio quality. For an MP3, the sampling rate is usually 44.1 kHz, meaning that each second of sound, when converted, is divided into 44,100 samples. Higher sample rates mean richer audio.
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