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A non-repeating waveform, usually of much higher level than the surrounding sounds or average level. Good examples of transients include the attack of many percussion instruments, the “pluck” or attack part of a guitar note, consonants in human speech (i.e. “T”), and so on. Due to their higher-than-average level and fleeting nature, transients are difficult to record and reproduce, eating up precious headroom, and often resulting in overload distortion. Careful use of compression can help tame transients and raise average level, although over-compression will result in a dull, squashed, flat sound to the signal.

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