Matt Connolly's Blog

my brain dumps here…

Sound vs Audio (terminology)

I’ve been thinking the last few days about the difference between the words “Sound” and “Audio”. In many respects, they are synonymous, and I’ve noticed that my usage is inconsistent.

For example: Am I a Sound Designer or Audio Designer?

Sometimes using one word over the other feels right because we often hear them combined with other words:

  1. Audio Technology
  2. Sound Effects
  3. Sound Track (of a film)
  4. Audio- visual

Then the difference came to me when thinking in plurals. You can have many sounds but not many audios. So audio is the general word, referring to the whole, and sound is the more specific word, referring to a specific instance of a noise.

But I still don’t have an answer to the question above…

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2 responses to “Sound vs Audio (terminology)

  1. anusham 12 March, 2009 at 12:34

    It all sounds very contextual. If audio is all encompassing, an audio designer seems as if it would be the person who integrates ALL elements of audio (be it music, speech, “sound” effects, silence and whatever else you can think of) into a production/work. A sound designer would be someone who focuses on one or more, but not all, elements in a production/work. These sound designers then report to an overall audio designer for the completion of the work. Though this is all very heirarchical rather than actually subjective.

  2. leon 17 March, 2009 at 20:59

    Sound is a transmitted vibration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound)

    Audio is a sound audible to the human ear (http://www.bugsweep.com/glossary.html)

    So — if your work is for humans then you are in audio business… if, on the other hand, you endeavor to produce a symphony for dogs — then you are in sound business 🙂 🙂 🙂 In other words — audio is a subset of sound… but don’t tell dogs about it 🙂

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