m (lower-case) The symbol for milli-.
M (upper-case) The symbol for mega-.
MAC Address (Medium Access Control Address) (Also called MAC Name) Computer Networks. The (usually) 48-bit hardware address number unique to each LAN NIC (put there by the manufacturer), which identifies every network node.
macintosh (also mackintosh) Chiefly British A raincoat or a lightweight, waterproof fabric that was originally of rubberized cotton. [After Charles Macintosh (1766-1843), Scottish inventor] [AHD]
macrosonics Industrial application of high amplitude sound waves, for example, surface cleaning.
Made In America Festival Sponsored by Budweiser this yearly music festival is held in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, usually during August.
MADI (multichannel audio digital interface) An AES recommended practice document Digital Audio Engineering - Serial Multichannel Audio Digital Interface (MADI) AES-10-1991 (ANSI S4.43-1991) specifying and controlling the requirements for digital interconnection between multitrack recorders and mixing consoles. The standard provides for 56 simultaneous digital audio channels that are conveyed point-to-point on a single coaxial cable fitted with BNC connectors along with a separate synchronization signal. Fiber optic implementation is specified in document AES-10id-1995, entitled AES information document for digital audio engineering - Engineering guidelines for the multichannel audio digital interface (MADI) AES 10. Basically, the technique takes the standard AES/EBU interface and multiplexes 56 of these into one sample period rather than the original two.
magic "An art of converting superstition into coin. There are other arts serving the same high purpose, but the discreet lexicographer does not name them." -- Ambrose Bierce.
magnet Physics. A body that produces a magnetic field external to itself. [IEEE]
magnetic field Physics. The electric field surrounding any current-carrying conductor. [IEEE] A condition found in the region around a magnet or an electric current, characterized by the existence of a detectable magnetic force at every point in the region and by the existence of magnetic poles. [AHD]
magnetic flux density Symbol B or B-field. The amount of magnetic flux through a unit area taken perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic flux. Also called magnetic induction. [AHD]
magnetic induction See: magnetic flux density above.
magnetic pickup See: pickup.
magnetite The mineral form of black iron oxide, Fe3O4, that often occurs with magnesium, zinc, and manganese and is an important ore of iron. [AHD]
magnetostriction (magneto + (con)striction) Magnetism. Deformation of a ferromagnetic material subjected to a magnetic field. [AHD] Discovered by James Joule in 1842. The reciprocal effect, the change of the susceptibility of a material when subjected to a mechanical stress, is called the Villari effect, named after E. Villari, a 19th-century Italian physicist.
magnitude Mathematics. 1. A number assigned to a quantity so that it may be compared with other quantities. 2. A property that can be quantitatively described, such as the volume of a sphere, the length of a vector, or the value of a voltage or current waveform. [AHD]
Maine The only American state whose name is just one syllable.
mainframe Computers. 1. A large powerful computer, often serving many connected terminals and usually used by large complex organizations. 2. The central processing unit of a computer exclusive of peripheral and remote devices. [AHD]
mains Electricity. Name for the AC line voltage input. Short for mains power system.
Make Music Day From website: "Make Music takes place each year on the summer solstice. Founded in France 32 years ago as the Fête de la Musique, it is now the world's largest annual music event, celebrated in 800 cities across 110 countries."
MAMA (Musical Archives, Musical Archives) Founded in 1989 (1986?) by Gene Czerwinski (Cerwin-Vega founder) to preserve the music of culturally significant artists (by not requiring them to be commercially successful), whose CDs consistently are Grammy nominees, with at least one Grammy winner. [Now appears to be defunct.]
Manchester encoding A method of encoding data in which separate data and clock signals can be combined into a single, self-synchronizable data stream, suitable for transmission on a serial channel. [IEEE]. Also see: differential Manchester encoding.
mandolin rail A device installed within a piano used to create the classic ragtime honky-tonk sound popularized in player pianos and nickelodeons. "The rail consists of a rod of wood spanning the strings of an upright piano. Fringed leather hangs from the rod. Each fringe is approximately two inches long and half an inch wide. Although steel buttons were often used, brass buttons affixed to the string side of the leather worked best. The rail was usually hinged to pivot upward when not in use or to pivot down when in use. The felt from the piano hammer will hit the leather fringe, knocking the brass button against the piano string. The result is a metallic, honky-tonk piano sound." -- Howard Byrne, Assistant Curator, The Music House Museum, Acme, MI.
mantissa The fractional part of a logarithm, e.g., in the logarithm 1.83885, the mantissa is 0.83885. (The integer part of a number is called the characteristic. In the example the characteristic is 1.) Floating-point arithmetic also calls this the significand.
Mapp's Law Acoustics. "Point the loudspeaker at the listener," created by Peter Mapp, principal of Peter Mapp Associates. He is an engineer and physicist specializing in acoustics and technical writing.
Marantz, Saul (1911-1997) American inventor and entrepreneur who pioneered high-fidelity audio equipment.
Marconi, Guglielmo (1874-1937) Italian engineer and inventor who in 1901 transmitted long-wave radio signals across the Atlantic Ocean and opened the door to a rapidly developing wireless industry. In 1909 he won the Nobel Prize in physics, shared with Karl Ferdinand Braun whose modifications to Marconi's transmitters significantly increased their range and usefulness. [AHD]
Marshall, Steven Curtis See: Stephen St. Croix.
Martenot See: Ondes-Martenot.
Martin, Christian Frederick (1796-1893) German emigrant who founded the legendary Martin & Co. guitar company in 1833.
mask or masking (aka auditory masking) Psychology of Hearing. The human hearing phenomenon where the response to one stimulus is reduced in the presence of another, i.e., two sounds arrive but only one sound is heard. Particularly evident when one sound is louder than another, with the result being that we hear the louder sound, even if arriving at a slightly different time. Frequency plays a part: a louder sound heard at one frequency prevents softer sounds near that frequency from being heard. However, not all frequencies mask the same. Mid-band frequencies mask far better than low frequencies, for example. Related to critical bands. Also see: temporal masking (e.g., forward and backward masking) and sound masking.
Massa, Frank (1906-1990) American engineer who is considered the father of modern electroacoustics for developing the fundamental technology that became the foundation for electroacoustics. He is the recognized pioneer in the design of transducers and systems for both air and underwater applications, as well as the founder of Massa Products Corporation. Frank Massa and Harry Olson authored the first textbook on electroacoustics, Applied Acoustics, in 1934. See Fundamentals of Electroacoustics for further details.
mastering Audio recording. The final step in the recording process, completed before the replication or streaming process. The act of creating the master from which all copies will be made. The following lists many of the required artistic and technical steps, although some of these are more accurately referred to as pre-mastering steps leading to a preliminary master used to create the final production master.
Transfer the recording into the highest digital (or analog) format for the mastering steps. Fix unwanted noise problems, either captured during the recording process, or for restoration archival purposes. Edit and apply signal processing as required to optimize timbre, clarity, smoothness and impact. Maximize the stereo or surround-sound balance and spread. Maximize and smooth out differences in song levels. Add pre-emphasis equalization if required for the duplication media. Add ISRC and other subcodes as required. Sequence the songs into their optimum playing order. Create fade-ins, fade-outs, segues and spacing between songs. Hide bonus tracks by using creative subcoding, if requested. Format and transfer the final results to the required media for duplication. And sometimes, create the package artwork.
Or, as DRT Mastering succinctly puts it: "Mastering creates a seamless whole out of a collection of individual tracks."
mathematics The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols. [AHD]
mathmusician The merger of mathematics and music. See examples from Vi Hart [Absolutely one of the most brilliant contributions to the Internet by a true genius. Check it out; you won't be disappointed.] and another--quite different--from Dr. Larry Lesser,
matrix-encoding Audio. A technique of storing more than two audio channels on a two-channel medium or transmission format. Dolby Surround is an example, where the center and surround channels are electronically encoded into the left and right channels of a stereo signal (usually by broadband 90° phase shifting and summing). On playback, the center and surround channel are decoded from the left and right signals. The problem inherent with matrix-encoding is the mathematical dilemma of trying to solve for four unknowns (left, right, center & surround) when you only have two equations (the stereo signal); you can get close but you cannot get the exact right answer (so you always have crosstalk). This contrasts with today's discrete digital channels.
matrix-mixer Similar to the matrix switcher (or router) below, but with additional signal processing features on all the inputs and outputs. With a matrix-mixer, not only can you assign any input to any output but you may add EQ, compression, change level, etc. Very elaborate models exist with as many as 32-channels in and 8 or more output channels (and as big as a Volkswagen). Also see mix-minus.
matrix switcher See router.
maverick Being independent in thought and action or exhibiting such independence. Believed after Samuel Augustus Maverick (1803-1870), American cattleman who left the calves in his herd unbranded. [AHD]
Maxfield, J. P. American engineer who developed and was granted U.S. Patent #2,019, 616 for the first three-channel stereophonic system in 1935. He was a pioneer of motion picture sound while working for Western Electric. He also is credited with creating the 33 1/3 RPM record speed for synchronizing sound and motion pictures.
maximally flat magnitude response See: Butterworth crossover.
maximally flat phase response See: Bessel crossover.
maximum-length sequences See: MLS.
Maxwell's equations Electronics. Four differential equations relating electricity and magnetism that form the basis of electrical and electronic engineering.
MAU (multistation access unit) See token ring.
MBLV (Mobile Beat Las Vegas) The number one trade show for mobile DJs.
Mbps (million bits per second) (always lower-case b) A popular measure of transmission speed, but should be Mibps, or mebi bits per second. See mebi.
MBps (million bytes per second) (always upper-case B) A popular measure of transmission speed, but should be MiBps, or mebi bytes per second. See mebi.
MCA-I (Media Communications Association - International) See: ITVA
MD (MiniDisc) Trademark term for the Sony digital audio recordable optical storage system utilizing data compression to reduce disc size.
MDCT (modified discrete cosine transform) Audio Compression. A popular audio coding technology.
MDM (modular digital multitrack) Generic term used to describe any of the families of digital audio multitrack recorders. The most common examples being the Alesis ADAT series and the Tascam DA-88 series.
MDS (multidimensional scaling) Statistics. A method of displaying differences between items.
mebi Symbol Mi New term standardized by the IEC as Amendment 2 to IEC 60027-2 Letter Symbols to be Used in Electrical Technology to signify binary multiples of 1,048,576 (i.e., 220). Meant to distinguish between exact binary and decimal quantities, i.e., 1,048,576 verses 1,000,000. For example, it is now 16 mebibits, abbreviated 16 Mib, not 16 megabits or 16 Mb.
media converter or media manager The ability to manage and the process of managing different media (coaxial cable, twisted-pair cable, and fiber-optics cable) used within the same network. Media management involves cable performance monitoring, cable break detection, planning for cable routes, as while as converting data signals between the various media.
medical conferencing See telemedicine.
medium 1. In telecommunications, the transmission path along which a signal propagates, such as a twisted-pair, coaxial cable, waveguide, fiber optics, or through water, or air. 2. The material on which data are recorded, such as plain paper, paper tapes, punched cards, magnetic tapes, magnetic disks, or optical discs.
MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) A microwave ray gun that beams sounds directly into people's brains, developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation. Short microwave bursts rapidly heat tissue, which causes a shockwave inside the skull that is detectable by the ears. Also see: Mosquito™. [Ah yes, science at its best.]
meep Sound. " An exclamation akin to 'ouch' or 'uh oh..' Urban Dictionary.
mega- 1. A prefix signifying one million (106). abbreviated M. 2. A prefix popularly used in computer work to signify multiples of 1,048,576 (i.e., 220), but should use mebi.
megabyte Popular term meaning a million bytes but should be mebibytes. See mebi.
megacycle See megahertz.
megaflops See MFLOPS
MEIEA (Music & Entertainment Industry Educators) An international organization formed in 1979 to bring together educators with leaders of the music and entertainment industries.
mel filter See MFCC.
Mellotron Musical Instrument. The first sampling keyboard, made famous by The Beatles, who used it prominently on their 1967 hit Strawberry Fields Forever. Not digital, it uses strips of magnetic recording tape.
Melodeon See: reed organ.
membranophone Generic term for instruments that produce their sound from tightly stretched membranes. They are subdivided according to whether they are struck drums, plucked drums, friction drums or singing membranes (which are made to vibrate by speaking or singing into them). Membranophone form one of the four main classes of instruments. [Sadie] See: aerophone, chordophone, idiophone.
memristor (memory resistor) Electronic-circuit theory. The theoretical fourth two-port passive-component element, with the other three being resistors, capacitors and inductors. First postulated by Leon Chua, Professor at UC Berkeley, in his 1971 paper for IEEE Transactions on Circuit Theory. The first practical example was demonstrated by R. Stanley Williams, a Hewlett-Packard senior fellow in 2008.
MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) The acronym says it all. Check out this clearinghouse website for the latest info.
Mercer, Johnny (1909-1976) American songwriter who wrote the lyrics to more than a thousand songs and received nineteen Academy Award nominations.
MerleFest MerleFest was founded in 1988 in Memory of Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College and to celebrate "traditional plus" music. Country and bluegrass festival held at the Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC.
Mesa filter Term coined by Lake Technology Ltd for their Lake Contour™ EQ technology.
mesh ground (a.k.a. common-bonded network) "A system where every piece of structural and non-structural metalwork in a building is bonded together. This includes concrete reinforcing bars, girders, cable trays, ducts, deck-plates, gratings, frameworks, raised-floor stringers, conduits, elevators, window and door frames, and the metal pipe-work used for HVAC to make a highly interconnected system that is finally connected to the lightning protection system." From A Practical Interference Free Audio System by Tony Waldron, Technical Manager, CADAC Electronics PLC.
METAlliance (Music Engineering & Technology Alliance) " ... collaborative community in which producers, engineers and audio technology manufacturers work together to ensure the highest standards of audio production and delivery through developing consumer formats." [From website.]
metadata Data about data. See: Michael Day, "Metadata in a Nutshell," and "Demystifying Audio Metadata," J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 51, No. 7/8, pp 744-751, July/Aug 2003.
meter Abbr. m 1. The international standard unit of length, approximately equivalent to 39.37 inches. It was redefined in 1983 as the distance traveled by light in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. 2. Indicators. Any of various devices designed to measure time, distance, speed, or intensity or indicate and record or regulate the amount or volume, as of the flow of a gas or an electric current. 3. Music. a. Division into measures or bars. b. A specific rhythm determined by the number of beats and the time value assigned to each note in a measure. [AHD]
meter ballistics Term describing the response characteristics of a meter indicator. Applies to all meters from original iron vane, taut-band or pivot & jewel mechanical analog designs to LED, LCD or plasma ladder arrays. Two universal standards exist for audio use: the VU meter and the PPM (peak program meter). The indicator attack (or rise) times are specified as well as the decay (or fall) rates along with the recommended detector method. Also see: peak hold.
metronome Music. A device used to mark time by means of regularly recurring ticks or flashes at adjustable intervals. [AHD] Originally mechanical devices that produced clicks over a range of 40-240 BPM (beats per minute), today most are electronic wonders.
MFCC (mel-filtered cepstral coefficients) An important analysis parameter in CBID systems. These coefficients describe the harmonic spectrum shape perceived by the human auditory system, i.e., they characterize the shape of sound. For details, see Audible Magic, one of the leaders in CBID systems.
MFLOPS (pronounced "mega-flops") (million floating point operations per second) A measure of computing power.
MI (musical instrument) A broad term used to describe the musical instrument marketplace in general. Reference is made to "the MI market," or to a specific "MI store." If a store sells band instruments, for instance, it is an MI store.
MIAC (Music Industries Association of Canada) "A national not-for-profit trade association that represents Canadian manufacturers, distributors and retailers of musical instruments and accessories, keyboards, sound reinforcement products and published music."
mice music "Scientists have known for decades that female lab mice or their pheromones cause male lab mice to make ultrasonic vocalizations. But a new paper from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis establishes for the first time that the utterances of the male mice are songs." Hit the link for the whole story.
mic-level See levels.
mickey-mics See mmF.
microbar A unit of pressure equal to one millionth of a bar. [Not to be confused with microbrew.]
microcontroller See: microprocessor.
microfiche One millionth of a fish.
micrometer Abbr. µm A unit of length equal to one thousandth (10-3) of a millimeter or one millionth (10-6)of a meter.
micron A deprecated unit of measure equal to a micrometer, one-millionth of a meter. No longer used.
microphone Abbr. mic (never "mike"); however the abbreviation for the verb is miking (never "mic'ing") [One of the many inconsistencies of pro audio jargon.] An electroacoustic transducer used to convert the input acoustic energy into an electrical energy output. Many methods exist; see, for example, electret microphone, condenser microphone, and dynamic microphone. The inventor of the carbon microphone is Emil Berliner. The name "microphone" was coined by Narcissus Marsh: "In 1683 Marsh became one of the first members of the Dublin Philosophical Society. He contributed an early paper to that Society, called “An Introductory Essay on the Doctrine of Sounds, Containing some Proposals for the Improvement of Accousticks” in which he apparently was the first to use the word microphone." Also see: Spooky & the Metronome.
microphone directivity See: microphone polar patterns.
microphone, optical See: optical microphone.
microphone polar patterns (also called microphone directivity response)
microphone positioning See: Positioning Microphones Cheat Sheet
microphonic cables See: triboelectric effect.
microphone sensitivity See: sensitivity.
microphone tips See: Audio-Technica's How To Mic A Zombie.
microphonic General. Any noise cause by mechanical shock or vibration of elements in a system (IEEE Std 100). Audio. Electrical noise caused by mechanical or audio induced vibration of the object. Common examples are vacuum tubes where mechanical vibration of the tube causes modulation of the electrode current, and capacitors that induce noise when tapped or vibrated in any manner.
microprocessor An integrated circuit that performs a variety of operations in accordance with a list of instructions. The core of a microcomputer or personal computer, a one chip computer.
Microsoft®(microcomputer software) Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975, whose relationship began with their first business venture named Traf-O-Data.
mic splitter A phrase first coined by Franklin J. Miller, founder of Sescom, to describe a box fitted with female (inputs) and male (outputs) XLR mic connectors that allowed mic inputs to be routed to two, or more outputs. Usually passive, either hard-wired, or transformer connected. One common usage is for on-stage mic splitting, where one output goes to the monitor mixer and one to the FOH mixer.
middle C Music. The tone represented by a note on the first ledger line below a treble clef or the first ledger line above a bass clef. It is the first C below international pitch. [AHD] The pitch equals 261.6 Hz and is the MIDI note number 60.
MIDEM An exhibition for music professionals held in Cannes, France each year at the Palais des Festivals.
MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) Industry standard bus and protocol for interconnection and control of musical instruments. First launched in 1983, now generalized and expanded to include signal processing and lighting control. See MMA [Historical Note: MIDI began with Dave Smith, President of Sequential Circuits, who delivered an AES paper in the Fall of 1981 (The "USI," or Universal Synthesizer Interface by Dave Smith and Chet Wood, 70th AES Convention, 1981, preprint 1845). He is credited with the original concept, but he admits that the initial idea of needing some sort of standard interface originated by both Oberheim and Roland. Sources: Polyphony, February 1983, pp. 36-40 and an official IMA (International MIDI Association) publication, Exploring MIDI by David Droman in 1984.]
MIDI show control A term originally created by Charlie Richmond (Richmond Sound Design) to describe a new form of MIDI control designed for live theater venues. His efforts resulted in the official MIDI Show Control (MSC) specification. This document states: "The purpose of MIDI Show Control is to allow MIDI systems to communicate with and to control dedicated intelligent control equipment in theatrical, live performance, multi-media, audio-visual and similar environments."
MIDI time code See time code.
military music "Military justice is to justice what military music is to music." -- Groucho Marx [from Barber]
Miller effect Electronics. The input impedance, and hence frequency response, of an inverting voltage amplifier stage is strongly affected by the feedback from the output to the input. This effect was first described by John M. Miller in his paper, "Dependence of the input impedance of a three-electrode vacuum tube upon the load in the plate circuit," Scientific Papers of the Bureau of Standards Vol. 15, pp. 367-385, 1920. This effect is used often in power amplifiers and op amps to set the frequency response and guarantee stability by forcing a single-pole (6 dB/octave, 90 degree phase shift) roll-off. Analog power amplifiers in their simplest form consist of an input differential pair that produces a single-ended output to drive a class A common-emitter amplifier voltage gain stage, followed by a push-pull emitter follower current gain class AB output stage. If a single capacitor is connected between the base and collector of the class A stage (called the "Miller capacitor") it will create a stable dominate pole for the entire amplifier. In this circuit the effect described by Miller acts as a capacitance multiplier, allowing a small capacitor to set the overall response.
millimeter Abbr. mm A unit of length equal to one thousandth (10-3) of a meter.
MIM (Music Instrument Museum) "With musical instruments from every country in the world, MIM will pay homage to the history and diversity of instruments and introduce museum guests to their varied and unique sounds. MIM will be an engaging, entertaining, and informative experience, in which the uninitiated and the knowledgeable, the young and the old will feel welcome." [From the website.] Here is a preview video.
MIMO (pronounced "my-moh" or "me-moh") (multiple-input multiple-output) A broadcast technology utilizing multiple antennas at the transmitter and the receiver for better communication.
Minifon An early portable dictating machine developed in the 1950s using wire recorder technology. An example of "dead recording media."
minimum-phase Networks. "If a network is minimum phase, there exists a unique relationship between amplitude and phase which allows a complete determination of phase from amplitude." [Richard C. Heyser, "Loudspeaker Phase Characteristics and Time Delay Distortion: Part 1," J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 17, p. 31 (Jan., 1969).
minimum-phase filters Electrical circuits. From an electrical engineering viewpoint, the precise definition of a minimum-phase function is a detailed mathematical concept involving positive real transfer functions, i.e., transfer functions with all zeros restricted to the left half s-plane (complex frequency plane using the Laplace transform operator s). This guarantees unconditional stability in the circuit. For example, all equalizer designs based on 2nd-order bandpass or band-reject networks have minimum-phase characteristics. Acoustics A term used to mean a linear phase (or phase linear, European term) system. See group delay and the RaneNote Exposing Equalizer Mythology.
minimum-phase loudspeaker One where "the measurement of either phase or amplitude is sufficient to characterized the frequency response completely." [Richard C. Heyser, "Loudspeaker Phase Characteristics and Time Delay Distortion: Part 1," J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 17, p. 31 (Jan., 1969).
minute (time) Abbr. min A unit of time equal to one sixtieth of an hour, or 60 seconds.
minute (plane angle) Abbr. ' A unit of angular measurement equal to one sixtieth of a degree, or 60 seconds.
MIPS (million instructions processed per second) A measure of computing power.
mix-minus A specialized matrix-mixer where there is one output associated with each input that includes all other inputs except the one it is associated with. (The output is the complete mix, minus the one input.) In this manner, the simplest mix-minus designs have an equal number of inputs and outputs (a square matrix). For example, if there were 8-inputs, there would be 8-outputs. Each output would consists of a mix of the seven other inputs, but not its own. Therefore Output 1, for instance, would consist of a mix of Inputs 2-8, while Output 2 would consist of a mix of Inputs 1 & 3-7, Output 3 would consist of a mix of Inputs 1,2 & 4-7, and so on. Primary usage is large conference rooms, where it is desirable to have the loudspeaker closest to each microphone exclude that particular microphone, so as to reduce the chance of feedback. See the RaneNote Introduction to Speech Reinforcement with Conferencing.
mixer At its simplest level, an audio device used to add (combine or sum) multiple inputs into one or two outputs, complete with level controls on all inputs. From here signal processing is added to each of the inputs and outputs until behemoth monsters with as many as 64 inputs are created -- at a cost of many kilobucks per input for fully digitized and automated boards. At these price points a mixer becomes a recording console.
mLAN (music local area network) A technology developed and licensed by Yamaha based on the IEEE 1394 standard. It is a high-level multichannel audio, video and MIDI networking and connection-management protocol.
MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing) A lossless audio coding scheme developed by Meridian Audio Ltd. MLP has been selected as the optional coding scheme for use on DVD-Audio, as well as other transmission, storage and archiving applications. It is a true lossless coding technology, in that the recovered audio is bit-for-bit identical to the original. Unlike perceptual or lossy data reduction, MLP does not alter the final decoded signal in any way, but merely "packs" the audio data more efficiently into a smaller data rate for transmission or storage. It is simple to decode and requires relatively low computational power for playback.
mirror ball See: disco ball.
MLS (maximum-length sequences) A time-domain-based analyzer using a mathematically designed test signal optimized for sound analysis. The test signal (a maximum-length sequence) is electronically generated and characterized by having a flat energy-vs.-frequency curve over a wide frequency range. Sounding similar to white noise, it is actually periodic, with a long repetition rate. This test signal is most often tailored to be pink noise, as the preferred response for fractional octave analysis. Similar in principle to impulse response testing - think of the maximum-length sequence test signal as a series of randomly distributed positive- and negative-going impulses. See: MLSSA
MLSSA (pronounced "Melissa") (maximum-length sequences system analyzer) Trademarked name for the first MLS measurement instrument designed by DRA Laboratories (Sarasota, FL). M.R. Schroeder used maximum-length-sequences methods for room impulse response measurement in 1979 (based on work dating back to the mid-60's); however, it was not until 1987 that the use of MLS became commercially available. The first MLS instrument was developed and made practical by Douglas Rife, who described the principles in his landmark paper (co-authored by John Vanderkooy, University of Waterloo) "Transfer-Function Measurement with Maximum-Length Sequences" (J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 37, no. 6, June 1989), and followed up with new applications described in "Modulation Transfer Function Measurement with Maximum-Length Sequences" (J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 40, no. 10, October 1992).
MMCD (multimedia compact disc) See DVD.
mmF (micro-micro-Farad) Capacitors. Old term used before pico- became standard. Pronounced "mickey-mics" by old-timers.
MMVF (multimedia video file) See DVD.
Mobile Beat Las Vegas See: MBLV.
Möbius (or Moebius) strip Mathematics. A topological oddity, it is a continuous closed surface with no outside and no inside, i.e., it is a one-sided two-dimensional surface. Cutting it lengthwise down the middle does not produce two pieces, instead it produces a larger loop! See link for how to make a Möbius strip. [After August Ferdinand Möbius.]
MOBO (Music of Black Origin) An organization that "identifies, showcases and celebrates music derived from black heritage." A U.K. award show called the MOBO Awards.
modes Shorten form of room modes.
modem (modulator-demodulator) A peripheral device used to convert digital signals ("1s" and "0s") into analog signals (tones) and vice versa, necessary for communication using standard telephone lines.
modified discrete cosine transform See MDCT.
modulation 1. The act or process of modulating. 2. The state of being modulated. 3. Music a. A passing or transition from one key or tonality to another. b. The result of such a transition. 4. a. A change in stress, pitch, loudness, or tone of the voice; an inflection of the voice. b. An instance of such a change or an inflection. 5. The harmonious use of language, as in poetry or prose. 6. Electronics The variation of a property of an electromagnetic wave or signal, such as its amplitude, frequency, or phase. [AHD]
modulation noise Signal Processing. Any artifact that did not exist in the original signal and that varies with the signal strength. Common to analog tape recorders.
mojo 1. A charm or amulet thought to have magic powers. 2. Slang: power, luck, etc., as of magical or supernatural origin. 3. Mojo Series Rane Corporation trademark for their discontinued series of economical products designed for high quality performance and reliability aimed at the working musician. 4. Abbr. Mother Jones magazine, or reference to their Internet news network: The Mojo Wire
MOL (maximum output level) Magnetic tape. The maximum output level of a magnetic tape is defined as the magnetization level at which a recorded 1 kHz sine wave reaches 3% third-harmonic distortion (note that is 3% THIRD-harmonic distortion -- not 3% TOTAL harmonic distortion). Also referred to as 3% distortion of the musical twelfth. See third-harmonic distortion.
Moldavian pan flute See: nai.
MOMM (Museum of Making Music) "Founded in 1998 by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the Museum of Making Music was developed to showcase and celebrate the music products industry." [From website.]
monaural See mono.
mondegreen The term for representing a series of words resulting from the mishearing of a statement or song lyric. Variously attributed to Sylvia Wright, who is credited with coining the word in a 1954 Harper's column, and also to Jon Carroll by Pinker.
Monitor World Live sound. Area of the live sound stage where the monitor engineer mixes his/her magic and attempts to decipher cryptic hand signals from the performers. Not to be confused with "Guitar-Tech-Land", where all the babes hang out.
mono Shorten form of monophonic, or monaural, relating to a system of transmitting, recording, or reproducing sound in which one or more sources are connected to a single channel; monaural. [AHD] Compare to stereo.
monoed One of many pro audio inspired jargon terms it is the verb form for mono. Usually meaning the result of mixing left and right channels. [Yes, it is a word; yes, it is correct.]
mono 3-way, etc. See active crossover.
monophonic See mono.
monopole woofer system Loudspeakers. Literally "one pole," the most common form of woofer system that acts like an omnidirectional sound source, thus exciting room modes more than the alternative dipole woofer systems.
monotonic Mathematics. Designating sequences, the successive members of which either consistently increase or decrease but do not oscillate in relative value. Each member of a monotone increasing sequence is greater than or equal to the preceding member; each member of a monotone decreasing sequence is less than or equal to the preceding member. [AHD]
month One of the words in the English language without a rhyme -- some others are "orange," "purple" and "silver."
Moogfest "Moogfest is the annual event that honors the remarkable vision of Robert Moog and his amazing musical inventions that changed the course of music. Moogfest is a 3-day, multi-venue event originally held in Asheville, NC—the place Bob Moog called home for the last 30 years of his life—now held in Durham, NC. [From website.]
synthesizer The first electronic keyboard invented by US engineer Robert A. Moog in collaboration with composer Herbert A. Deutsch. Introduced in 1964, but not made popular until Wendy Carlos released the megahit album Switched-On
Bach in 1968. For the complete history see Electronic and Experimental Music by Thom Holmes. Moog was granted U.S. Patent 4,050,343
Electronic music synthesizer, in 1977.
moon guitar See yue qin
Moore's Law 1. Named by the physicist Carver Mead, after Gordon E. Moore, a cofounder of Intel, who wrote in an Electronics magazine article in 1965, that computer chip complexity would double every twelve months for the next ten years. Ten years later his forecast proved to be correct. At that time, he then predicted that the doubling would happen every two years for the next ten years. Ten years later, he was, once again, proved correct. By combining the two predictions, Moore's Law is often stated as a doubling every 18 months. 2. The dictum that requires you to buy a new computer every two years. [Thanks DC.]
MOR (magneto-optical recording) An erasable optical disc system using magnetic media and laser reading/writing.
morin khuur Musical Instrument. Mongolian horse-headed violin. Nickname is horse head fiddle. [Think two-string cello.]
Morse, Samuel Finley Breese (1791-1872) American artist (true fact) and inventor best known as co-inventor of Morse code.
MOS-CQE (Mean Opinion Score; Conversational Quality, Estimated) A measurement of voice quality in communication systems.
MOSFET (metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor) See FET.
Mosquito™ Teenage Deterrent A security device used in the U.K. that emits a high-pitched scream at a frequency audible only to young people (roughly below the age of 20). With an effective range of about 20 meters, its aim is to break up loitering youths by annoyance and is, needless to say, a very controversial device. Also see: MEDUSA.
motional feedback See servo-loop.
Mountain Jam Held at Hunter Mountain, in Hunter, NY, since 2005, is a four-day multi-stage event considered one of the top music festivals in the country.
MOV (metal oxide varistor) See: TVS.
Movement Electronic Music Festival Beginning in 2000, an electronic music festival said to be the largest in the US, held yearly in Detroit over Memorial Day weekend.
moving coil Abbr. MC Transducers. A type of electromagnetic transducer that operates by having a mechanical device move a coil of wire in a magnetic filed to convert the mechanical movement into an electrical current. Invented and patented by General Electric researchers Chester Rice and Edward Kellogg in 1924. The first stereo moving coil cartridges are credited to Joseph Grado and Grado Labs. Contrast with moving magnet.
moving magnet Abbr. MM Transducers. A type of electromagnetic transducer that operates by having a mechanical device move a magnet in a coil of wire to convert the mechanical movement into an electrical current. Invented in 1957 by ELAC. Contrast with moving coil.
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791) Austrian composer.
Mozart was approached by a young man, little older than a boy, who sought his advice on composing a symphony. Mozart pointed out that he was still very young and it might be better if he began by composing ballads. "But you wrote symphonies when you were only ten years old," objected the lad. "But I didn't have to ask how," Mozart retorted. [Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes]
MP3 (MPEG-1, Layer 3) A type of digital audio compression popularized for transmitting songs over the Internet. MP3 allows real-time audio streaming for Internet encoding and downloading. MP3 files are identified by the suffix ".MP3" Typically MP3 compresses CD-quality audio down to about one minute per 1MB file size.
MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) A working group within SMPTE who set, among other things, specifications for compression schemes for audio and video transmission. A term commonly used to make reference to their image-compression scheme (MPEG-2) for full motion video.
MPEG-2 See AAC.
MPEG-4 Structured Audio This specifies a set of tools that allow powerful and flexible description of sound in a variety of ways, all based on what has become known as "structured audio," meaning transmitting sound by describing it rather than compressing it. Also see: SLS
MPGA (Music Producers Guild of the Americas) The original professional guild for music producers and audio recording engineers, however in 2000, the Recording Academy absorbed it and established the Producers & Engineers Wing.
MPX Abbreviation for multiplex as found in FM analog stereo broadcasting.
M/S or M-S (mid-side or mono-stereo) microphone technique. Invented by Alan Blumlein and awarded US Patent 429,054, "Improvements in and relating to Sound-Transmission, Sound-Recording and Sound Reproducing Systems, filed in February 1934. It was first commercialized in the mid '50s by the Danish radio engineer Holger Lauridsen (H. Lauridsen & F. Schlegel, "Stereophonie und richtungsdiffuse Klangwiedergabe," Gravesaner Blätter, 1956, Nr. V, August, S.28-50). It is a method for capturing stereophonic sound using two microphones. One microphone with a cardioid response (although any polar pattern will work) is aimed straight ahead toward the sound source (this is the mid or mono M part), and a second microphone with a figure-8 (or bipolar) response is placed so that the two lobes are directed toward the sides (this is the side or stereoS part). The two signals are then combined using an M-S matrix circuit that yields two signals: M+S and M-S. See Streicher & Everest for complete details.
M/S matrix See M/S above.
MS-DOS® (Microsoft® disk operating system) Microsoft's registered trademark for their PC operating system.
MSM (mid-side-mid, also called Double MS) An extension of the M-S microphone technique using two coincident M-S pairs sharing the same side-facing figure-of-eight microphone, one pairing for the Front L and R and the other pairing for the surrounds Ls and Rs (from Mike Skeet's article "MSM Mic Surround Technique," Audio Media, May 2003, pp. 58-59.
MSO (Music Store Owners) Originally called iSMO (Independent Music Store Owners) this organization exists to serve as a link between dealers, manufacturers and the public.
MSPS (million samples per second or megasamples per second) A measurement of data converter speed.
MTBF (mean time between failure) Reliability Analysis. A measure based on statistical experience of how reliable a hardware product or component is, expressing in thousands or tens of thousands of hours as the predicted average time between failures.
MTC (MIDI time code) See time code.
MTTR (mean time to repair or mean time to recovery) Reliability Analysis. A measure of the maintainability of a piece of equipment. It is the average time required to fix any removable item in a product or system. Helpful in analyzing how long repairs and maintenance tasks will take in the event of a system failure.
mu Vacuum Tubes. Symbol for the tube's amplification factor.
MuchMusic Canada's MTV-like cable music channel.
Mullin, Jack See: John Mullin.
mult Recording. Slang shortened form for "multiplex" or "multiple." Refers to routing or splitting signals to multiple destinations. Found on patchbays where several "mult" jacks make a signal available to many devices.
multicasting See broadcasting.
multicore Microprocessors. Two or more processors in a single package, which allows simultaneous processing of multiple instructions, thus greatly increasing processing speed.
multi-denomial transpedance informer Term coined by Jensen Transformers for their mythical product, the JE-EP-ERs, first introduced in 1987, which almost changed the whole audio transformer industry. The Jensen JE-EP-ERs pioneered the use of triple electonomic shielding and intrinsic eddy-breeding, until outlawed by Congress in 1988. Voluntarily discontinued when their stock of zeta-metal ran out, preventing any further use of interstage transpedance informance. Considered by many to be the only necessary accessory when coupling a Rane PI 14 Pseudoacoustic Infector to a Crown Belchfire® BF-6000SUX amplifier for playback using an Electro-Voice Rearaxial Softspeaker.
multidimensional scaling See: MDS.
multimedia Generally refers to personal computers capable of multiple forms of communication methods. These constitute a minimum combination of stereo audio, video, text, and graphics, plus the more complex system includes fax and telephony provisions.
multing See mult.
multipath Broadcast. Short for "multipath interference" or "multipath distortion." Interference due to multiple arrivals of the same broadcast signal due to reflections off buildings (usually). The difference in path lengths creates different arrival times thus causing signal cancellation and degradation. Most commonly occurs in FM and TV broadcast signals. The experience in car audio FM systems is static and signal weakening heard while slowing down and stopping; the signal comes and goes, weakens and distorts then clears, creating a phenomena called "picket fencing." Since AM broadcast frequencies are lower in frequency the wavelengths are longer and multipath does not occur. See diversity antenna.
multiplex To interleave two or more signals into a single output; a process of selecting one of a number of inputs and switching its information to the output.
multipoint conference Telecommunication term referring to conferencing between three or more sites.
Mummers Parade Music Festival. Said to be the oldest continuous folk festival in the U.S., held annually in Philadelphia on New Year's Day.
Murphy, Edsel and Murphy's Law The dictum that if anything can go wrong, it will. For the full treatment see: "The Contributions of Edsel Murphy to the Understanding of the Behaviour of Inanimate Objects." This momentous presentation is believed to have been first published in EEE, vol. 15, no. 8, August 1967. [EEE (Electronic Equipment Engineering) magazine morphed into today's EDN (Electronic Design News) magazine.]
Museum of Making Music See: MOMM.
Museum of Mathematics Their Mission Statement: " Mathematics illuminates the patterns that abound in our world. The Museum of Mathematics strives to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics. Its dynamic exhibits and programs will stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics. The museum’s activities will lead a broad and diverse audience to understand the evolving, creative, human, and aesthetic nature of mathematics."
music 1. The art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. [AHD] 2. The art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds with a view to beauty or coherence of form and expression of emotion. [OED] 3. The science of harmonical sounds.
musical instrument frequency ranges See the most amazing & informative chart here.
MUSICAM (masking pattern adapted universal sub-band integrated coding and multiplexing) A flexible bit rate reduction standard for high quality audio. Jointly developed for digital audio broadcast by CCETT in France, IRT in Germany and Philips in the Netherlands.
Music Genome Project© A mathematical algorithm, granted US Patent Number 7003515, developed by its inventors to identify and describe music based on over 400 attributes. Using this algorithm it is possible to know a song's genre without listening to it.
music genres See: electronic music genres.
Music Instrument Museum See: MIM
music note value Click the link.
Music Rising A charity created in 2005 by U2's lead guitarist, the Edge, music producer Bob Ezrin and Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp., along with musical partner Guitar Center.
music temperament See temperament.
music vs. noise 1. "The sensation of a musical tone is due to a rapid periodic motion of the sonorous body; the sensation of a noise to non-periodic motion." from On the Sensation of Tone(1862) Hermann Helmholtz. 2. "Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable." -- Samuel Johnson [from Barber]
Musikmesse The world's largest music trade show held annually in Frankfurt, Germany.
musique abstraite Music. Music written for later playing; normal music as opposed to musique concrète.
musique concrète Music. Electronic music composed of instrumental and natural sounds often altered or distorted in the recording process. [AHD] The earliest classification for electronic music, invented by French composers, Pierre Henri Marie Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, in Paris, in 1948. Contrast with musique abstraite.
Mutek A Montreal music festival. "A not-for-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination and development of digital creativity in sound, music, and audio-visual art." [from website]
mutual capacitance Electronics. The capacitance between two conductors in a pair when the rate of change of the charges on the two are equal in magnitude but opposite in sign, and the potentials of the remaining conductors in the cable are held constant. [IEEE]
mutual coupling See coupling.
mute A control found on recording consoles, some mixers, and certain signal processing units that silences (mutes) a signal path, or output. Various uses.
Muzak (music + Kodak) 1. Trademark of the business music company founded in 1928 by General George Owen Squier who patented the transmission of background music (phonograph records played through the telephone system). He created the name by merging the word "music" with that of his favorite high-tech venture, the Eastman Kodak Company. The word "Kodak" was coined by Eastman himself, and in 1888 he first registered it as a trademark. According to Eastman, he invented it out of thin air. He explained: "I devised the name myself. The letter "K" had been a favorite with me - it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter. It became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with 'K.' The word 'Kodak' is the result." 2. "I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else." -- Lily Tomlin [from Barber]
MVCDL (multiple voice coil digital loudspeaker) Loudspeakers. A type of direct digital loudspeaker. Compare: DTA.