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Digital audio playlist

01 Introduction - what is digital audio?

02 Binary and digital data

03 Data size, data capacity and data rate

04 The six physical forms of digital data

05 What is an analogue to digital audio converter?

06 Analogue to digital audio conversion - The 2 primary parameters

07 Analogue to digital audio conversion - Sample rate

08 Analogue to digital audio conversion - Nyquist theory

09 Analogue to digital audio conversion - Aliasing

10 Analogue to digital audio conversion - Word length and quantisation

11 Analogue to digital audio conversion - Common word lengths

12 Analogue to digital audio conversion - Setting record levels

13 Down sampling and dither

14 Uncompressed digital audio file formats

15 Compressed digital audio file formats

16 Digital audio interconnection signal types

17 Digital audio synchronisation

18 Connecting audio devices with Toslink leads

19 Connecting audio devices with AES3 or SPDIF coaxial leads

20 Latency

Digital audio 06
Analogue to digital audio conversion - The two primary parameters

Level of challenge Intermediate




Welcome to this video on the two primary parameters of analogue to digital audio conversion.


Analogue to digital audio converters work by repeatedly measuring the amplitude of an incoming electrical pressure soundwave, and outputting these measurements as a long list of binary bytes. Each byte represents a single measurement. In this way, a mathematical "picture" of the shape of the wave is created.


If you are unfamiliar with basic sound wave theory you may wish to watch our sound wave videos playlist before continuing.


Caption- Join the dot pictures

Remember join-the-dot pictures? To produce a good image you must have both a sufficient number of dots to capture the detail of the shape of the subject AND the dots must be positioned accurately.


Join the dots sample rate


Join the dots word length


join the dots good quality


In short, quality in a join-the-dots picture depends on ...

The number of dots
.. and ..
The accuracy of the positioning of the dots

Creating a good quality digital audio signal depends on 2 similar parameters.


Caption - The 2 primary conversion parameters (or settings)

In analogue to digital audio conversion, each measurement of amplitude is called a sample, and is recorded as a single binary byte.


single sample


The accuracy of each sample measurement is determined by the word length of the byte.


Therefore, the 2 primary parameters which control the quality of the analogue to digital audio conversion process are ..

Sample rate, which is the number of measurements of amplitude taken per second

audio sample rate

.. and ..
Word length, which determines the accuracy of each measurement

sample word length


Both of these parameters require detailed explanation in order for studio owners to make informed choices when choosing settings for them. Please watch our other videos on sample rate and word length.


Caption - Thanks for watching

The script for this video, with accompanying images, can be found at 


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Thanks for watching.

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