What is Analog?

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What is Analog?
The word analog refers to a system or device that has a continuously changing variable. An eye, for example, is an analog system because it sees an infinite combination of colors, shapes and gradients. When applied to electronics analog is a format that uses a continuous modulating signal. A telephone line uses this type of signal to transmit sounds. Analog technology takes a visual or audio signal and transmits it using electronic pulses.

In contrast, in a digital signal the information is encoded into a series of ones and zeros. This is called a binary code. This system makes the information simpler to store than an analog system. It is also easier to retrieve and change than analog data. A digital signal can carry a tremendous number of ones and zeros. This creates the ability to transfer much data quickly.

Analog and digital signals do have a limit on the resolution and bandwidth they can travel. Either system can become degraded when attempting to transmit large, complex amounts of data. In the analog system, it is impossible to tell at what point the signal deteriorates. The signal cannot be repaired once it breaks down. With a digital signal, the deterioration can be detected and repaired.

Analog recoding is being replaced by the digital revolution. Some people prefer the nuances of an analog recording. The ability to record and transmit an infinite number of sounds creates a different result than digital. Analog recordings do not experience the aliasing phenomena that affect digital recordings. However, there are impressive changes in digital recordings. They are now rivaling the analog sound due to amount of complex information the system can send. Digital signals are becoming more stable, and systems have fewer errors than their predecessors. Many believe that digital will eventually replace analog recording in the near future.

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