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Analog Recorder Vs Digital Recorder | Difference between Analog Recording and Digital Recording

This page compares Analog Recording vs Digital Recording and mentions difference between Analog Recording and Digital Recording based on analog recorder and digital recorder.

Introduction: The instrument which records the data to be acquired is known as a recorder. The data to be acquired is either in the form of analog waveform or digital waveform. Hence there are two main categories viz. analog recorder and digital recorder.

Difference between Analog Signal and Digital Signal

The figure depicts analog signal and digital signal waveforms. Analog signal is continuous time signal which represents physical measurements. It is usually denoted by sinewaves. Digital signals are discrete time signals represented by various digital modulation techniques. Digital signals are denoted by square waves.

Analog signal uses continuous range of values to represent information where as digital signal uses discrete values (mostly binary 1's and 0's) to represent information. ADC is used to convert analog signal to digital signal where as DAC is used to convert digital signal to analog signal. Refer Analog vs Digital Signal for more information.

Analog Recording

The Analog recorder uses microphone which converts sound waves into electrical analog signal. The analog recording is done by directing sound signal onto master tape or master record.

Storage devices : Analog signal can be recorded onto cassette tapes and LP vinyl records. Analog hardware processors such as EQ, compression are very popular.

The advantages of analog recording using analog recorder are as follows.
➨Analog tape and disc based audio storage is harder for recording executives to mess with.
➨Supports wider audio bandwidth.
➨Analog tape can be edited with simple splices.

The disadvantages of analog recording are as follows.
➨Analog tape is expensive and vulnerable to deterioration.
➨Analog tape recorders require regular maintenance.
➨Analog tape is becoming hard to source.

Digital Recording

The Digital recorder also uses microphone to tap the analog signal and converts this acquired analog signal into digital form (i.e. series of numbers).

Storage devices : Digitized analog signal can be recorded onto CD (Compact Disc), HD (Hard Drive), SSD, memories (RAM/ROM), optical drive, streamed live on internet, stored on computers or servers or mobile phones etc.

The advantages of digital recording using digital recorder are as follows.
➨It has very low distortion and noise/hiss.
➨Any part of recoding can be accessed immediately.
➨It is highly portable due to its digital form.
➨The data can be cloned and can be transmitted over networks.
➨Non-destructive editing is possible. Hence one can make copies of data and undo decisions.

The disadvantages of digital recording are as follows.
➨Data will be lost when computers crash. Hence backup of digital data is essential.
➨Data can be manipulated for evil purpose. It can also be hacked easily.
➨Software compatibility issues are required to be handled.


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