Teachers' blog


【Digital vs. Analog】



(Contributed by Kota)

Digital vs. Analog


How much music do you have in your device? You may not even know how many tunes you have. But, you might tell me that you would have enough tunes to continuously listen to for one week, two weeks, or three weeks, which seems pretty normal now. Why can you carry so many tunes? This is simply because you can compress music files (e.g. MP3). If you got on a time machine and went back to the 70s, people would not believe that you can carry thousands of tunes, because you cannot carry even a hundred vinyl records.


From the perspective of portability, digital music (e.g. AIFF files, WAV files, and MP3 files) is better than analog music (vinyl). But, there is one thing that digital music cannot beat analog music in; analog has the best sound quality. Given that technology has advanced, you may think what we have now is better than what we used to have. But this is not necessarily true in this case.


Let me explain technically. Vinyl records can reproduce actual wave forms whereas digital media cannot. Imagine you draw a sine wave on a sheet of paper. You have an actual line. Imagine you draw the same sine wave with dots. You do not have an actual line. Instead, you would have bunch of dots forming a line. Which sine wave contains more information? The answer is the former. That is, vinyl records contain more acoustic information.


If you just want to enjoy your favorite tunes anywhere you go, digital music files are great. But if you are looking for sound quality, you may want to choose vinyl. If you have not listened to music on vinyl, perhaps you should try it once. It might be a nice retro cultural experience for you.


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