SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO (SNR)
The ratio of the magnitude of the wanted SIGNAL to that of the unwanted NOISE, expressed as a simple arithmetic ratio or in DECIBELs. For example, the ratio between the input signal and the system noise of an amplifier. Also abbreviated S/N.
See: BACKGROUND NOISE, DIGITAL RECORDING, DYNAMIC RANGE, TAPE RECORDING. Compare: GAIN, VU METER.
A signal-to-noise ratio is said to be favorable when the signal predominates; that is, it can be clearly distinguished from the noise, and exceeds it by at least 60 dB. When signal and noise are less clearly distinguishable, the signal-to-noise ratio is said to be poor or low.
See: ACOUSTIC SPACE, HI-FI, LO-FI. Compare: COCKTAIL PARTY EFFECT.