Analog vs Digital and File Compression


How computers turn analog sound into digital files, and the pros and cons of data compression.

Let's discuss analog vs digital on a very basic level.

Most specifically, we'll talk about how computers interpret analog sound and turn it into a digital file.

An analog sound wave could look like anything, but for this example it's a wavy line.

The computer takes it and measures at lots of different points, turning them into numbers.

This is called sampling.

Later, the computer can take those numbers and turn them into sound again.

Let's also discuss data compression.

The benefit of compression is that it's a smaller file: it's easier to store, it's easier to send to someone else, and it just takes up less space.

One of the ways this is done in sound is that the sampling is taken less often.

Another way is that it takes the measurement from a median point instead of from 0, so the numbers recorded are smaller.

In images, it's done by measuring groups of pixels by 16 instead of individually.

The takeaway from this video is that you'll want to use digital files as they're a higher quality, and when you're looking at compression, you want to decide how far you are willing to go to ensure the user still has the best possible experience.