What's the difference between Analog & Digital?

For someone not technically minded the terms ‘analog’ and ‘digital’ can seem extremely alien. But worry not; for their differences and uses are actually quite simple to understand.

Analog comes from the word analogy, and is when something is a representation of a measurement. Digital is the use of discrete values to show a measurement. The best way to describe these ideas is to think of clocks. An analog clock is the clock with hands; these hands, and their movement, represent a measurement of time. Moving from one point on the dial to the next point represents a measurement of five minutes. Digital clocks are the ones that give you the exact time in hours and minutes; either 12 or 24 hour. The numbers are a discrete measurement of the current time, not a representation.

So what does all this mean with regards to events and such?

Digital devices allow for more data storage and transmission, are easier to edit, and are less prone to disruption, but are generally a lot more expensive than analog equipment, and don’t have the same quality of signal. Analog, by comparison, cannot store or transmit the same amount of data that digital can, but it is less expensive to use and the quality of signal is much better than one converted to digital, and also can potentially be more accurate and precise than their digital counterparts.

Most technologies are now moving from analog to digital, and the distinct drawbacks of a digital signal are being addressed and combated. An example is the increasing availability and usage of computer advancements that detect and correct errors in the signal, vastly improving the quality of the output.

An example of when we’ve used digital over analog was when we ran a conference for House Builder; we used a digital mixing desk instead of an analogue one because the large number of microphones that needed to be EQed.