The audio world is full of acronyms, initialisms and words that normally make sense, but not necessarily in relation to sound. Woofer? That’s next door’s dog! Here’s STACK‘s quick guide to some of the audio terms that you may come across when looking into new audio gear.

A2DP – An easier way of saying “Advanced Audio Distribution Profile”, this is the standard protocol for streaming audio via Bluetooth

ANC – Short for “Active Noise Cancellation”, this uses electronics to reduce background noise

AptX – Advanced system that allows transmission of high resolution – or quality – audio via Bluetooth

Bandwidth – The range between the highest and lowest frequencies in an audio track

Bluetooth – A widely-used standard that allows wireless interaction between electronic devices

Channel – A single track of audio, so if something is listed as having “5.1 sound” for example, it has five channels of standard audio (usually front left, centre and right and rear left and right) plus one of sub-bass for a subwoofer.

Digital optical – Also known as TOSLINK, this is a system that uses a single cable to transmit digital quality audio from one device to another

Dolby Atmos – Lossless (all frequencies of the original sound mix are present) multichannel (up to 128) audio processing that moves sound above as well as around the listener, via dedicated up or down firing speakers.

Dolby Digital – Proprietary format of lossy – meaning some frequencies are removed – audio compression

Dolby TrueHD – Proprietary format of lossless audio delivery that supports up to eight audio channels

Driver – The round part of a speaker that usually looks somewhat like a cone

DTS – Another proprietary format of audio compression

DTS-HD Master Audio – A lossless proprietary format of audio delivery

DTS:X – Multichannel audio that aims for a similar “sound bubble” effect to Dolby Atmos, but without requiring dedicated extra speakers

HDMI – An initialism for “High Definition Multimedia Interface”, a system used for video and audio transfer between, usually, home cinema devices

HDMI ARC – Short for “Audio Return Channel”, this is a system whereby a television can send 5.1 channel audio backwards through an HDMI cable to an audio receiver, instead of using a separate cable

HDMI CEC – Allows control of several HDMI connected devices from one remote

HDMI eARC – Newer system much like HDMI ARC – the added ‘e’ is for “enhanced” – which is capable of sending uncompressed audio, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, to a receiver or soundbar

Midrange – A speaker that transmits middle frequencies from 200 to 2,000 Hz

Passive radiator – Also known as a “drone cone”, this uses sound trapped inside a speaker enclosure to add to the bass that you hear

Pre-amp – Otherwise known as a preamplifier, this takes a weak signal – such as from a microphone – and amplifies it

RCA – Old school analogue audio and video connections originally developed in the 1940s

Signal-to-noise ratio – The amount of desired sound that’s present compared to any unwanted sound

Subwoofer – A bass speaker that carries very low frequency sounds that even a woofer can’t deliver

Surround sound – Audio that literally surrounds you, either by way of front, side and/or rear speaker placement, or created virtually

True Wireless – Completely cordless

Tweeter – A treble speaker, which carries higher frequency sounds above 2,000 Hz

Woofer – A bass speaker, which carries lower frequency sounds below 200 Hz

Check out the range of audio gear at JB Hi-Fi.