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Literally the return of a portion of the output of a process or system to the input. In our discourse (of audio and video production) we mostly encounter feedback when an open microphone is picking up sound from a nearby loudspeaker that is also being used to amplify sound from the same microphone. This forms what is known as a feedback loop. The sound of the room enters the microphone and is then amplified by the speaker. This amplified sound then becomes part of the sound of the room entering the microphone, which causes it to get amplified by the speaker again. If too much of this “feedback” occurs the signal will “run away” and quickly degrade into an oscillation at some frequency. This sound is the “squeal” we’ve all come to know and hate and is what we typically call feedback (though technically feedback occurred well before the squeal happened). It is also possible to produce electronic feedback. Routing the output of a mixer or effect unit back to its input is a sure way to do this. In fact, many effects are based on using this phenomenon creatively, the most obvious one being an echo with multiple repeats. Feedback and “feedback loops” are also used in all kinds of electronic circuits to achieve specific results. Old analog oscillators are based on electronic feedback.

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