Part of the Personal computing glossary:

Audio is sound within the acoustic range available to humans. An audio frequency (AF) is an electrical alternating current within the 20 to 20,000 hertz (cycles per second) range that can be used to produce acoustic sound. In computers, audio is the sound system that comes with or can be added to a computer. An audio card contains a special built-in processor and memory for processing audio files and sending them to speakers in the computer. An audio file is a record of captured sound that can be played back. Sound is a sequence of naturally analog signals that are converted to digital signals by the audio card, using a microchip called an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). When sound is played, the digital signals are sent to the speakers where they are converted back to analog signals that generate varied sound.

Audio files are usually compressed for storage or faster transmission. Audio files can be sent in short stand-alone segments - for example, as files in the Wave file format. In order for users to receive sound in real-time for a multimedia effect, listening to music, or in order to take part in an audio or video conference, sound must be delivered as streaming sound. More advanced audio cards support wavetable, or precaptured tables of sound. The most popular audio file format today is MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3).

This was last updated in April 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • Slingshot

    - Slingshot is Facebook's photograph sharing smartphone application, developed to compete with services like Snapchat and Instagram. Slingshot is available for iOS and Android. The app is modeled on... (WhatIs.com)

  • mindfulness training

    - Mindfulness training is the teaching or learning of practices designed to help participants increase their ability to live fully in the present moment. The ability to be present and aware is a powe... (WhatIs.com)

  • BIOS (basic input/output system)

    - BIOS (basic input/output system) is the program a personal computer's microprocessor uses to get the computer system started after you turn it on. It also manages data flow between the computer's o... (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Personal computing

    - Terms related to personal computers, including definitions about computers sold as consumer products and words and phrases about laptops, tablets and smartphones.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.