In the world of professional audio, many products are available in both analog and digital models. Digital is newer, so it must be better?

Not so fast there, bucko. For audio quality, digital is still a few (tiny) steps behind analog. Some very $$$ digital units are getting pretty close, but for the kinds of things that we can afford, analog audio quality is still better.

The area that digital has the advantage is transportability, and control.

A digital audio file can be copied a dozen times, and the 12th copy will sound exactly like the first. A 12th generation analog copy will have increased noise and poor signal-to-noise.

In the realm of control, digital can easily remember all of your settings. This is convenient for audio processors that need to behave differently for a sports program than for a classical music recital. One click, and everything changes instantly.

Digital mixers can remember complete “scenes”. Press one button, and all the faders, equalization, bus assignments, and effects are exactly where they need to be.

A digital audio item may be able to be controlled remotely over an IP connection, complete with visual display of the metering and other settings.

Is digital better? In some ways… yes. A large facility will realize the benefits of remote control, preset recall, and perfect audio copies. While a small, one-room studio may not need those features.

For practical purposes, digital audio and analog audio are both pro-quality. No significant difference. Feel confident in selecting the equipment based on the features it offers you, without fear that the choice of analog or digital audio will be audible.

Digital technology offers a lot of convenience. It’s not “better”… just different.


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