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Alignment

From Chace Audio

In the audio world, alignment typically refers to physical adjustments that are made to a record or playback head or to electronic adjustments of audio levels and frequencies for the recording or playback of audio. Alignment is intended to bring the recording or playback chain in line with a measurable, specified standard.

For example, to create a professional analog audio recording on magnetic tape, physical and electronic adjustments must be made. First, the record and playback heads on the recorder must be physically adjusted. The angle and tilt of the audio head must be carefully adjusted in relation to the path of the film or tape. Next, electronic adjustments to the signal level, frequency equalization and bias current are made using reference tones and noise to ensure that the correct levels are being recorded and reproduced in adherence to a pre-determined EQ curve. Tones are recorded onto the tape or film so that whenever it is played back physical and electronic adjustments can be made to ensure optimum reproduction of the original recording.

The recording or playback chain can also be aligned by adjusting the various level controls in any other device in the signal path between the signal's source and its destination. In fact, alignment can refer to any signal path. For example, the levels from a mix console to the speakers need to be aligned on a regular basis to ensure adherence to a pre-determined standard.