Digital SamplingFor the purpose of storing audio information in digital form, like a compact disc, the normal continuous wave audio signal (analog) must be converted to digital form (analogtodigital) conversion. Below is an example of a D/A conversion using digits 09, but practical schemes store the numbers in binary form. The number of bits in the binary sampler determines the accuracy with which the analog signal can be represented in digital form. From this crude picture of digitizing in steps, perhaps you can appreciate the industry standard of 16 bit sampling in which the voltage is sampled into 65,536 steps. In addition to the number of steps, the rate of sampling also affects the fidelity of representation of the analog waveform. The standard sampling rate is 44.1 kHz, so the assignment of one of 65, 536 values to the signal is done 44,100 times per second. If this recorded data is read from the CD in real time, you are processing 1.4 million bits of information per second (1.4 Mbps).

Index Traveling wave concepts Sound reproduction concepts Audio signal concepts  

Go Back 
Implication of Number of BitsThe number of bits used in a digital sampler determines the resolution of the "image" of the signal being represented. A onebit sampler would be like a light switch, having two possible values, on and off. Samplers with multiple bits are representing a signal in terms of a binary number, and the number of bits determines the number of values which can be expressed, just as a 3 digit number in the usual 10based number system can take more values than a 2 digit number. The number of bits determines the possible dynamic range. 
Index Sound reproduction concepts Audio signal concepts  

Go Back 
Bits and Dynamic RangeIf you are doing a linear stairstep digitization of an analog waveform, the number of bits used in the sampling determines the maximum dynamic range you can faithfully represent with the sampling.

Index Sound reproduction concepts Audio signal concepts  

Go Back 