What is Analog?

When it comes to the transmission of signals in technical devices, the terms analog and digital are often used. An analog signal is a continuous transmission of picture or sound in the form of electromagnetic oscillations and frequencies.

Analog signals consist of a continuous signal or data stream. There is no such thing with digital signals. When digital data is generated, it is usually explosive. The data volume then often exceeds a level that can no longer be processed. The data must then be cached so that it is not lost.

The advantage of analog signals compared to digital signals is that the receiving device (for example the television) can output the transmitted signals directly as sound or image. In the case of digital signal transmission, a conversion into an analog signal must take place beforehand.

Analog image and audio signals spread information over a transmission channel with a bandwidth measured in Hertz (Hz). The image and audio signals are converted into electronic voltage in conventional television transmission and modulated onto a carrier signal in such a way that they can be reproduced separately by the receiving device.

When referring to audio as analog, it refers to audio electronics and storage media that can process, store, and play back the entire signal, as opposed to just bits of the signal, which we call digital.

Take a violin as an example, which is an acoustic instrument. It produces air waves when played. A microphone placed near the violin would convert it into an electronic signal that would represent the entire movement of the sound waves. To make it simple, let us say this violin only produces a pure 1 kHz tone. The microphone would convert that to a 1 kHz electrical wave, which is an almost perfect representation of the original sound. In the analog domain, all devices (microphones, preamplifiers, mixing consoles, other processing devices, recording and playback equipment) receive this entire wave without converting it to anything that would no longer look like a sine wave.