created on 2022-05-07, edited on 2022-09-16


Audio Terminology for Audio Programmers

I decided to write this post since I'll be an audio programmer in a few months time. It is very exciting but also a little scary since I have no professional experience with audio. As an audio programmer, if you want your fellow audio designer love you, you should know these terms.

dB(decibel): A unit to measure 'sound pressure level'. It is also a thing in logarithms.

RMS: Root mean square. It is basically the average, but for continuous signals, such as audio or electrical signals. Measured in dBs.

Peak: Maximum value of an audio signal. Measuered in dBs.

Buffer underrun: In audio context, a buffer underrun occurs when there are no more samples to read in the audio buffer. This can happen when the processing thread consumes the samples faster than the audio input device can produce.

Buffer overrun: In audio context, similar to buffer underrun, buffer overrun occurs when the buffer is filled faster than the processing thread consumes.