Audio terms such as “master and slave” a step closer to extinction, thanks to PAMA initiative

The organisation is aiming to create a “neutral” and “unified” terminology across the industry.

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XLR Connectors

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Audio terms such as “master and slave” and “male/female connectors” could be made obsolete soon, thanks to a push for neutral and inclusive language by the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA).

PAMA’s members include some of the biggest names in professional audio, including Audio-Technica, Audix, Harman, Sennheiser and Shure.

The organisation is working with its members and other companies on an initiative to create a “unified terminology” across pro audio by popularising alternatives to commonly used terms that discourage “a spirit of inclusivity”, according to a press release dated 30 June.

The result is a document collecting suggested alternatives – such as “plug/socket” for “male/female” connectors and “primary/secondary” for “master/slave” – based on a survey circulated to PAMA members.

PAMA has made the document public and said it will continue to “evolve with ongoing input from the industry at large” – see it here.

Several members of the organisation have spoken on the importance of the initiative, including Sennheiser’s Dawn Birr and Harman’s Karam Kaul. Both are members of PAMA’s Inclusion Committee.

“As we all strive for continuous improvement in our work, personal lives and society, often it’s the small steps that get us to our goals,” Birr said. “We hope that by taking these actions we can begin making meaningful change happen over time.”

Kaul added: “It comes down to treating each other with respect.”

The initiative has been lauded by Karrie Keyes, Executive Director of women-in-audio advocacy group SoundGirls, who shared: “This is a tremendous undertaking and is important to continue working toward meaningful changes in our industry.”

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