We often hear the term “analog” with reference to older recording technology, yet it is very relevant to digital recording. Analog is, in one sense, the opposite of digital and refers to continuously changing values (as opposed to the discretely changing ones - ones that change in steps – in the digital realm).

For instance, imagine you are turning up a volume dial on a sound producing device. Let’s say this dial is labeled 1 (softest setting), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 (loudest setting), but you can sweep the dial to any position on or in between these numbers. Theoretically, there are an infinite number of settings for the dial in between 1 and 2, or 2 and 3, etc.

Now imagine a dial that “clicks” or locks into place only at the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc. instead of sweeping continuously. You can set the volume to 1, 2, 3, etc. but no where in between. On this dial there are only 10 discrete settings. This is digital, and from this example it doesn’t seem as good as analog, does it? But let’s get back to our vibrating object.