The Analog to Digital Conversion Process

I’m Peyton Haynie from Bay City, Tx. This is for week three of Introduction to Music Production at coursera.org. I will be talking about analog to digital conversion.

Analog to digital conversion is an electronic process in which a continuously variable (analog) signal is changed, without altering its essential content, into a multi-level (digital) signal.

Step one – Sampling

Generally done with a sample-and-hold circuit, sampling is a process which involves taking “snapshots” of audio signals at  fast intervals. The quality of the audio is largely determined by the sampling (or bit) rate.

Step two – Quantization

Quantization is the process which converts the sampled signals, which are continuous in value, into a signal that is discrete in value.

Step three – Coding

Coding is the process in which quantized signals are converted into a digital representation. Coding is performed by giving each quantization level a label. For example, when using four bits, the lowest level would be 0000, the next 0001, and so on.

Receiving and Decoding

After the signal is coded it is sent to a digital receiver. The signal is then decoded and reverted back into analog to be heard through speakers.

To summarize: to convert an analog signal into a digital signal, the signal is first sampled. Then each sample is quantized, and the values mapped into bits. The information is then sent as a digital signal to a receiver, where it is decoded and the analog signal is restored.

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