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  Glossary of PA Terms - Z

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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.

In the list below, the most commonly looked-up terms are in bold, lighting-specific terms are in pink, and video-specific terms are in orange.

Z * Zebra tape * Zenith * Zero * Zero-crossing * Zero dB * Zero level * Zero out * Zip cable * Zip tie * Zobel network

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.

Z
The symbol for impedance.

Zebra tape
A slang term for any tape with brightly coloured stripes, usually referring to self-adhesive tapes intended for warning purposes. The most common types are black and yellow striped hazard tape and red and white striped barrier tape.

Zenith
The vertical angle of the front of a tape head relative to the plane of the tape; its 'front-to-back' tilt. For proper contact with the tape and for even head wear it is essential that this angle is as close to zero as possible. Compare Azimuth.

Zero
To set all controls to their 'normal' or 'zero' positions. For a fuller definition see Normalise.

Zero-crossing
The points in a signal waveform at which the instantaneous value of the quantity concerned (usually the voltage) passes through zero as it crosses from a negative-going excursion to a positive-going excursion, or vice-versa. See also Crossover distortion.

Zero dB
See 0 dB (several definitions).

Zero level
Usually refers to the agreed reference level of a signali.e. its '0 dB' level − or to the reference setting of a level control. For examples see 0 dB (1). An indicator marked 'Zero level' (e.g. on some mixers) will typically illuminate when the relevant reference level has been reached (and may remain illuminated at higher levels). For further information see the Decibels page. (Exceptionally, may be used to mean the complete absence of any signal.)

Zero out
To set all controls to their 'normal' or 'zero' positions. For a fuller definition see Normalise.

Zip cable
See Figure-of-8 cable.

Zip tie
See Cable tie.

Zobel network
A series resistor and capacitor connected across the speaker output of an amplifier (usually internal to the amplifier) to give an impedance which falls with frequency and therefore compensates to some degree for the rising impedance of the connected speakers by maintaining a more constant overall load impedance at the output of the amplifier.

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This page last updated 06-Sep-2017.