The A-Z Of Music-Making: The W’s – Z’s – From WAV To Zero Point Crossing

Our A-Z series draws to a close with a look at everything from WAV to zero point crossing. If you’ve missed any entries so far, be sure to check out the rest.

zero point crossing


(Click the titles for the best of each definition)

1. WAV

The Waveform Audio File Format is an uncompressed standard for audio files.

2. White Noise

A random audio signal that has equal intensity at all frequencies. White noise may just sound like a lot of hissing, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many and varied musical applications for what (at first) may seem to be an offputtingly unusable racket.

As a quick experiment, try feeding some white noise into a filter with a high resonance to create some familiar, classic sweep effects. Now sidechain that noise with the kick-drum track in your tune and you’ll end up with a killer effect.

3. XLR

A professional connector for audio signals. These usually have three pins and carry a balanced, mono signal.

4. Xylophone


A chromatic percussion instrument that has wooden bars which are struck by a mallet. Can add a rounded, soft, somewhat ethereal sound.

5. Yamaha NS-10

A studio staple – Yamaha’s NS-10 monitors are generally held as the gold standard of monitoring and have been since their introduction in 1978. They can be used as nearfield alternative monitors to complement full-range speakers, or as the main monitors in project studios.

Today, they remain something of a Marmite monitor, with certain people volubly disputing their legendary status. Whatever your perspective on these, their place in history is assured…

6. Zero Point Crossing

Where the audio signal crosses the zero point of amplitude. If you’re in the process of making loops, you should cut at these points to make sure the repeating loops do not click.

7. Zombie

Sitting in a dark studio for eight hours a day eating pizza while drinking around 20 cups of sugary coffee a day, with no exercise and limited social contact, will turn you into a zombie. Look after yourself, have fun, approach everything with a little amusement and ignore the critics.

If it wasn’t for your creativity and enthusiasm, the world would be a sorry place. Go make fabulous music and light up the lives of the people who listen to it!