Essay on Analog-to-Digital Conversion of Audio

Essay on Analog-to-Digital Conversion of Audio

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Digital signals have transformed the world today, and in few areas is it as prevalent as it is in the music industry. Today’s analog-to-digital converters allow us to accurately store the physical, analog phenomena of sound as digital data, with high fidelity and perfect reproduction quality [1]. Digital audio storage is far more practical than analog audio storage for both the consumer and the professional alike. Digital audio is not vulnerable to noise, unlike analog audio where noise is not only prevalent but machine-indistinguishable from the original message [NEED CITE]. Additionally, digital audio is compressible, meaning that we can reduce the amount of data needed to represent the audio signal if we value data storage space over sound quality [2]. We see the natural result of this convenience in the massive spread of digital sound devices both in our portable music players, and in more inconspicuous locations such as the audio tracks to DVDs and the pre-recorded dictations in our GPS systems.
The most important component of any system that stores analog sound waves as digital data is the analog-to-digital converter (ADC). Analog signals by nature have no defined behavior, but digital signals are rooted in the concept of patterns and numeric, mathematical representation [3]. The conversion from an analog signal to a digital signal is therefore the part of our system that will most determine the quality of the digital data that we obtain from our analog signal [3]. Preferably, digital audio should have high fidelity and perfect reproducibility. High fidelity means that our system is capable of accurately reproducing the digitally recorded analog signal without being noticeably different to the or...

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...Vardalas, "Pulse Code Modulation: It all Started 75 Years Ago with Alec Reeves," IEEE, June 2012. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 14 November 2013].
[18] Library of Congress, "Linear Pulse Code Modulated Audio (LPCM)," National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, 19 February 2008. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 14 November 2013].
[19] John, "Analog to Digital Converters (A/D),", 24 June 2011. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 14 November 2013].
[20] M. Rouse, "analog-to-digital conversion (ADC)," TechTarget, April 2005. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 11 November 2013].

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