Analog vs Digital Recording: Complete Breakdown

Analog Vs digital

What is analog and digital?

There's a big difference between analog vs digital audio production.


Digital and analog are both important within the music industry!


Currently, digital audio production is the wave - most recordings you hear in the media are through hybrid digital audio equipment!


That's said - analog audio equipment will never die.


If you take a stroll in a record label studio, you'll see analog recording software everywhere!


Here is the difference between analog versus digital audio recording:


Analog audio is recorded physically, meaning all soundwaves are continuous.


Analog wave-compressed


Digital audio recordings are discreet, meaning that the sound waves are compressed.


The difference is in the audio wave level.


Digital recording practices are on the rise because it's much easier to get a digital recording.

An analog sound takes more memory.

Digital wave


Just think about an analog vs digital clock.


The term "digital" refers to the discrete digits of numbers shown.

It's a similar concept when it comes to analog vs digital audio recordings.


Usually, there is technology built-in recording equipment that changes the playback from analog audio to digital sound.


This also happens on the flipside - converting from digital to analog sound.


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Digital audio limitations

The analog vs digital audio debate generally ends at the sound wave level.


Analog and digital sound recordings have different frequency spectrums.


Analog audio has a higher sampling rate since analog audio takes in more frequencies of sound.


This is why digital recordings are generally avoided during the music production stage.


Digital recording weakness


Analog audio recording maintains the highest quality so it's much better to work with!


Think of digital audio recording as an already compressed audio signal.


The bit depth is rounded to a number set in a digital recording.


This explains why Cymatic sample packs are so good.


The audio quality for Cymatic samples is made with analog signal - there is a REALLY good signal-to-noise ratio, regardless of room size.


Analog vs digital audio production costs

One aspect of the analog versus digital audio debate is price.


Most musicians don't have limitless budgets to buy both analog AND digital equipment!


At least not at the same time.


This is why you need to scrutinize analog and digital to see what works for you.


Since analog audio recording has a high-fidelity audio signal, it's not a surprise that it's more expensive to record one audio vs digital audio.


Analog vs Digital pricing


The major place to see a difference between analog and digital recording is when buying instrument samples.


Depending on how the analog tape or recorded and the analog or digital recording software used can make huge differences in the final audio recording.


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Analog VS digital instrument samples

Don't just take my word for it in the analog versus digital audio debate!


Listen to analog and digital audio recordings side by side and you can tell.


An analog-to-digital converter has practical value though.


Converting from analog to digital original sound waves compresses the analog sound.

Converting digital and analog audio-compressed


Even so, it will generally sound better than a strictly digital audio recording.


It doesn't go the same way for analog and digital conversions though.


Using a digital-to-analog converter will leave practically the same original sound wave.


The bit depth remains the same.

Common analog vs digital audio playback equipment

When it comes to analog vs digital audio you should also consider the media.


Digital media is much more common, and they only play a digital signal.


When an audio signal comes out of your phone speaker for example.- it's generally a digital recording audio wave.


Keep in mind, that the audio quality will be lower for digital recordings.

However, it's much easier to access digital media.


Here is common analog audio equipment:

  • Cassette tapes players
  • Speaker monitors (XLR/TRS)
  • Audio interface
  • Headphone jack

Analog audio equipment


You can get technology with built-in recording equipment that changes the recording and playback from a digital signal to an analog signal.


Most audio interfaces do this already.


The signal-to-noise ratio is much better when using analog recording compared to a digital audio recording.


This is because the audio signal during an analog recording is phantom power technology.


How an analog and digital recording is made

There's a lot of technology behind recorded audio.


Within your audio equipment, there's a full system and process for channeling each frequency.


Each grove contains data values - it's a series of numbers held within the magnetic record bit storage.


When these systems are played, the record calls back the frequency data - using digital audio technology the media playback comes out as sound recordings.


That's how audio is played back.


Just the process of transferring electrical frequency into a digitally recorded system is a long process!


An expensive sound system gets high sound quality analog recordings.


The analog signals are captured and stored way better on CD DVD than on cassette tapes.


Audio signals sound quality gets better over time!


The difference between formats and Soundsystem quality is the ability of the tape to hold a high bandwidth of audio frequency (sample rate.)


And when the stored values are played back, different formats have different values.


This is also the main difference between MP3 and WAV sound audio formats.


In a vinyl record, the music is recorded onto magnetic plates on the vinyl.


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