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  Glossary of PA Terms - K

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The glossary pages provide definitions for over 2680 PA-related terms. If you can't find the term you are looking for, or would like any of the existing definitions to be expanded, please email me − likewise of course if you find any errors in the links etc. Use of this information is conditional upon acceptance of the Disclaimer on the PAforMusic home page.

kbit/s * Kettle connector * Kettle lead * Key * Keys * Keystone correction * kHz * Kick * Kilohm * Kit * Knee * Krone * kVA * kW

The definitions for these terms are given on the assumption of their use in the context of PA systems; many of the terms have more general meanings when used in a wider context. Where more than one definition is given for a term, the definitions are numbered (1), (2) etc.

Some of the definitions themselves use terms (such as "signal") in a specific way − most of these are links (just the first time they are used, in each definition), so just click on them to see the meanings that are intended.

kbit/s
A unit of bit-rate, equal to 1024 bits per second. Sometimes written as 'kbps'. See also Mbit/s.

Kettle connector
A deprecated slang term for an IEC 320 mains connector. The term is mostly used by non-technical staff, and arose because a similar type of connector is used for the mains connection to some domestic kettles. However, note that there are several variants of IEC 320 connector; the variant referred to is most usually the 'standard' C13/C14 one, not one of the hot condition types typically used with kettles. For further information see IEC 320.

Kettle lead
A deprecated slang term for a mains cable that is fitted with an IEC 320 connector at one end and a normal mains plug at the other end. The term is mostly used by non-technical staff, and arose because a similar type of cable is used for the mains supply to some domestic kettles. However, note that there are several variants of IEC 320 connector; the variant referred to is most usually the 'standard' C13/C14 one, not one of the hot condition types typically used with kettles. For further information see IEC 320. See also BS 1363A connector.

Key
The process of triggering, activating, or otherwise controlling the function or operation of an item of equipment, especially an effects unit. The term is most often used when the source of the keying signal is external to the equipment being keyed, and is applied via a separate 'Key' input. The side chain input of a dynamics processor such as a compressor or noise gate is sometimes referred to as a 'Key' input.

Keys
A name given to one or more keyboard instruments, or to the mixer channel(s), multicore channel(s), etc. assigned to such instruments.

Keystone correction
The facility of computer display equipment, which allows adjustment to compensate for the type of image distortion that occurs when the beam from a projector hits a vertical surface at an angle other than 90. When the projector is located lower than the centre of the screen, the effect of this distortion is to make the upper edge of the image wider than its lower edge. It is named from its visual similarity to the block at the apex of a stone archway, which is called a keystone.

Note that if the projector is located higher than the centre of the screen (which most often happens when the projector is ceiling-mounted), then the keystone effect will be 'upside down' − i.e. the lower edge of the image is wider than the top − but the same name is still given to it.

More sophisticated projectors also include the facility to correct for left-right keystone distortion, which occurs when the projector is located to the left or right of the screen centre.

kHz
A unit of frequency. One kHz is 1000 Hz.

Kick
A name given to a bass drum or to its microphone, mixer channel etc., to distinguish it from an electric bass.

Kilohm
A thousand ohms.

Kit (1)
An abbreviation for 'drum kit'.

Kit (2)
A slang term for equipment, especially a complete set of equipment. See also Gear.

Knee
In a compressor, the point of transition between the inactive (i.e. below the threshold level) and active states. A sharp transition is referred to as a hard knee, and a smoothed transition as a soft knee (or 'over-easy').

Krone
A registered brand name for cable connectivity products and other related items. It is most commonly used to refer to groups of insulation displacement cable terminations, such as are often used on patchbays for audio and computer networking applications. The name Knone has to some extent become a generic term for such connection blocks, regardless of their manufacturer. Krone, originally a separate company, have been part of the ADC company since 2004. Their website is www.krone.com (external link, opens in a new window).

kVA
1000 VA.

kW
A unit of power. One kW is 1000 watts.

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This page last updated 11-Jul-2016.