P

PA System
A Public Address System is a collection of speakers and amplifiers. PA Systems are used for audio in everything from concert halls, to churches and even your local bar.

Pad
This is a passive network of resistors used to reduce signal level.

Pan Pot
Pan is an abbreviation of the word ‘Panorama’. The Pan pot is used to control the amount of audio signal sent to the left and right channels of a stereo signal pair.

PCM
PCM stands for Pulse Code Modulation. This is a digital process for encoding signals.

Peaking
This is the response curve of an equaliser unit that affects a selected band of frequencies. For example: a bandpass frequency response.

Phantom Power
This is a power signal that can be used to power Condenser Microphones and Active DI Boxes directly from a Mixing Desk. Phantom power is normally in the range 6 to 48 volts DC.

Phase
This is the relationship of two audio signals with respect to time. In Phase audio signals will reinforce each other, when summed. Out Of Phase audio signals will result in cancellation when summed. See the description of Phase in the article by Ken Lanyon by following the link below.

Songstuff Phase Article

Ping Pong
There are two common uses for this term.

Ping Pong (1)

Sometimes called ‘bouncing’ this is the process of freeing up tracks in a multi track recording by mixing several input racks down into either one (mono) or two (stereo) output tracks. This means that you can record over the original tracks, freeing them for further parts.

Doing this too many times, in the analogue domain, can introduce a degradation in signal quality. The added problem is that the sub-mix used to create the bounced track(s) cannot be undone, so that mistakes in level or EQ in the submix will be present in the final mix.

Ping Pong (2)

A panning technique where a sound appears to move from one speaker to the other.

Polarity
Polarity decribes the orientation of the positive and negative connections of an audio signal.

Pop Filter
A Pop Filter is a cloth, foam or mesh placed over or between the source and a microphone. The Pop Filter reduces the ‘popping’ effect of plosive vocal sounds like ‘P’ or ‘B’. The term is also applied to electrinc filters that use a high pass filter, with a cutoff at approximately 70Hz to 100Hz, to remove unwanted pops.

Post-Fade
This is a point in an Mixing Desk audio signal path after the master or monitor fader. This means that any signal routed Post-Fade will be affected by the fader position.

Pre Fade Listen (PFL)
This is a circuit on a Mixing Desk that allows the monitoring of a channel, or channels, indepently of the main mix. In other words depressing the PFL button on a mixer will route the pre-fade signal of that channel directly to the monitor outputs. Be careful! Turn down your monitor level before you press the button! You have been warned…

Pre-Chorus
Known as the Climb, Rise, Pre-Chorus, Channel, Prime, or Verse Extension, this specialist type of bridge differs melodically, harmonically, rhythmically and lyrically from the verse and the chorus. Additionally, instrumentation, arrangement and production can all shift up a gear to help effect the transformation.

This section is called:

  1. A Pre-Chorus because it comes before the chorus.
  2. A Climb, Rise or Lift as the level of emotion increases.
  3. A Build as it builds intensity.
  4. A Channel because it channels the listener from verse to Chorus.
  5. A Transitional Bridge because it IS a bridge between the verse section and the chorus section.

Not all songs include this section.

Musically, it often uses subdominant or a similar transitional harmony. If both the verse and chorus use the same harmonic structure, this section is used to introduce another harmonic pattern. This helps break up the sections using the same core harmony and keeps the chorus harmonies as fresh as possible.

Lyrically, this section has been used to introduce a pivotal idea, or concept that somehow links a verse and chorus. These sections tend to be quite short. Transitional Bridges sometimes change through the song, though often they retain some repetition from previous Transitional Bridges. This, yet again, helps to introduce the feeling of movement through a song.

Pre-Fade
This is a point in an Mixing Desk audio signal path before the master or monitor fader. This means that any signal routed Pre-Fade will not be affected by the fader position.

Pre-Verse
This isn’t often used in current popular music, although it was briefly popular with the American West Coast “Surf Sound” writers of the 1960s. A pre-verse was a particular link section that was used as an interlude between the Introduction section and the first Verse section.

Pressure Gradient Microphone
This microphone responds to the difference in pressure (gradient) between the two sides of the microphone diaphragm. The pressure gradient microphone has a characteristic figure-of-eight polar pattern. Also known by the name “velocity microphone”.

Proximity Effect
This is the increase in low frequency response that occurs as a source gets close to a pressure gradient microphone.

Public Performance Royalties
The financial output of performance rights. Performance rights control the permission to play a song on the radio, television, nightclub, concert etc.

Punch In
To ‘Punch In’ or ‘Drop In’ is to start a new recording on a track that already has a recorded part on it. Punch Ins can be automated to start by setting record mode to start at a given time or musical bar. The opposite process, ‘Punch Out’ or ‘Drop Out’ occurs at the point where the recording has to stop.

When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hang-ups.”
John Coltrane