I’m going to link to previous posts for some of the audio basics that we’re covering.
It is important to understand the analog and digital recording/playback chains. Analog recording quality depends on the quality of the transduction between different devices in the recording chain. Transduction is the change of energy from one form to another. Every step of the analog recording/playback chain involves transduction, even making copies of recordings.
For analog recording/playback, you should know:
- the recording/storage/playback chain
- the transduction that takes place at each step (energy is converted from what form to what form)
- analog recording is continuous
For digital recording/playback, the key components are the analog-to-digital converter (ADC), and the digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The recording and playback chain still includes analog components, so transduction still plays a part. But the quality of the converters, expressed in terms of the sample rate and bit resolution play a bigger role in sound quality. Although copying may involve transduction, since the representation of the audio is entirely comprised of 1’s and 0’s, there is no functional degradation of quality.
For digital recording/playback, you should know:
- what the sample rate refers to (what it measures) and how it affects the recording quality (think Nyquist Frequency)
- what bit resolution refers to, and how it affects the recording quality
- digital recording is discrete, meaning that it measures at specific times, and does not measure in between those times.
More explanation can be found in this previous post.