Studio Terms Cheat Sheet

Whether this is your first studio session, or you’ve been in the studio multiple times, knowing the right terminology will empower you to communicate efficiently with industry professionals.

The Studio

Words to know about studio roles

This is the person that is primarily responsible for client interactions, booking sessions, and making sure your studio visit runs smoothly.

This engineer is primarily responsible for capturing and recording sound during the initial phase of music or audio production. The terms “recording engineer” and “tracking engineer” are often used interchangeably, though some may make distinctions based on the specific phase of the recording process.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Setting up Equipment
  • Microphone Placement
  • Signal Flow
  • Monitoring
  • Troubleshooting
  • Collaboration
  • Documentation

The mix engineer is responsible for various parts of the multi-track mix. Most recording engineers take care of this aspect, however there are a few dedicated mix engineers. The mixing engineer plays a crucial role in shaping the overall sound and ensuring that each element of a song or audio project is heard at its best.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Balancing Levels
  • Panning
  • Equalization (EQ)
  • Compression
  • Effects
  • Automation
  • Editing
  • Reference Listening

A music producer is a key figure in the music production process, playing a pivotal role in the creation and development of a recording. The role of a producer can vary widely, and their responsibilities often extend beyond the technical aspects of recording to include artistic, creative, and managerial duties. Here are some of the key functions of a music producer:

  • Musical Vision
  • Pre-production Planning
  • Studio Direction
  • Overseeing the Recording Process
  • Arrangement and Composition
  • Sound Design
  • Mixing Oversight

It’s important to note that the role of a producer can vary greatly depending on the genre of music, the size of the production team, and the preferences of the artists involved. Some producers are more hands-on with the technical aspects, while others focus primarily on the creative and artistic direction. Additionally, advancements in technology have led to the rise of “bedroom producers” who work independently using digital tools to create and produce music.

Music Producers

A quick list of terms you should know as a music producer (beat maker).

A .mp3 file is a severely compressed file that allows for easy sharing. It is also known as a “lossy” format because of the extensive (and irreversible) compression applied to the file.

Waveform Audio File Format (pronounced “wave”) is an audio file format standard for storing audio. A WAV file is a lossless audio format that does not compress the original audio. It is one of the highest quality file formats available.

Track-outs are the individual tracks for each element in the instrumentation project. They are typically “tracked out” on their own separate tracks. This allows the mix engineer greater freedom to fine-tune each individual element in the final mix to properly fit within the record.

Similar to track-outs, stems are the grouped elements of the record. For example, a vocal stem is one .wav file with all vocals grouped together. A drum stem is one .wav file with all elements of the drum kit grouped together.


Words to know as an engineer.

This is the process of recording individual sources. Usually songs are recorded one track at a time, however bigger bands may record multiple tracks at once – thus the name.

This is the number of samples per second (or per other unit) taken from a continuous signal. A higher sample rate typically allows for a higher quality recording. Typical sample rates:

• 44.1 kHz – Typically known as “CD Quality”, this is the standard.

• 48 kHz – This is the standard rate for audio for video.

Blackwall Studios uses 48k as our in-house standard, however this can be increased/decreased upon request.

This is the number of ‘bits’ of information in each sample of audio. This directly corresponds to the resolution of each sample. Bit depth is only relevant to PCM digital signals (ie. .wav files).

Standard bit depths are:

• 16-bit

• 24-bit

• 32-bit

Blackwall Studios records all sessions in the highest quality 32-bit depth.

The term “two-track” refers to the two-tracks of an audio file, (left & right stereo channels)


Is there anything you’d like to add to this list? Let us know!