Analog and Digital Recording – How Do They Work?

When the CDs were introduced first in early 1980s, their main purpose in life was to actually hold music in digital format. To know and understand more about how CDs work, you have to understand first how playback and digital recording works and the difference between digital and analog technologies.

In 1877, Thomas Edison was the one who did the first ever sound recording using a moving needle that’s attached to the vibrating diaphragm in response to the sound. Through time, the involved technology in sound recording became advanced and it’s possible to capture minute sounds in faraway places. Nevertheless, from the early beginnings, there are basically 2 certain recording mechanisms for capturing sound and these methods became known as digital recording and analog recording.

Out of these recording mechanisms, the first to be discovered was analog recording and even if it has been replaced by some new digital recording in many instances, this remains a resilient technology, which has its own exceptional uses. On contrary, digital recording is the famous choice in modern era and understanding how such mechanisms work will allow a person to realize the differences between the 2 methods.

In these methods, the devices that capture the sound would function in same way and it’s the sound waves that’ll be converted to the electrical signals inside a microphone device. When the electrical signals are already generated with the use of air pressure waves that are generated with sound, this could be stored with the use of one of the methods mentioned above.

Analog Recording

In terms of analog recording, electrical signals generated could be analogues to air pressure variations, which take place when the sound travels through the air. A cutter device or tape will enable cutting or imprinting the same pattern or variation in the recording media that can be read later with the use of the similar device. Some examples of analog recording devices are gramophone disk’s grooves and magnetic tape device.

Digital Recording

When it comes to digital recording, the device called as digitizer or analog to the digital converter would make a sequence of the electrical signals in the form of 0s and 1s. This allows the recorder to store sound as discrete set of numbers rather than a pattern in a recording media. If it’s necessary for playback of the recording, digital information will be converted again into the analog signals with the use of a digital to analog converters. Majority of the recording devices used belong to this category and some digital media are electronic storage media, diskettes, and CD.

Even if both of the techniques could generate topnotch quality sound if right equipment was used during at the right time, there are some discrete differences between the 2 recording methods. Digital recording has the ability to achieve same source fidelity, yet recording’s cost and duplicate will be low. On contrary, analog recording would need high and bulky quality play back devices to achieve the same results.


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