Beats

Periodic fluctuations that are heard when sounds of slightly different frequencies are superimposed.

There is confusion in some areas between beating and amplitude modulation, which also can produce an undulating vibration level. Amplitude modulation is different from beating, and is caused by a high-frequency component being multiplied by a lower-frequency component and is thus a nonlinear effect, whereas beating is simply a linear addition of two components whose frequencies are close to one another.

See also: Amplitude Modulation, Beat Frequency Oscillator, Heterodyne.

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Subjects: Noise & Vibration Physics