Digital vs Analog
Digital and analog are two terms discussed in physics. A digital entity is something that is discrete, and an analog entity is something that is continuous. The concepts of digital and analog play a vital role in fields such as physics, electronics, data and signal processing, computer engineering, audio engineering a and various other fields. In this article, we are going to discuss what digital and analog are, their definitions, applications of digital and analog, the similarities between these two, conversion of signal from digital to analog and analog to digit, and finally the difference between digital and analog.
Most of the entities we encounter in our daily lives are analog entities. In physics, as well as electronics, analog is a term used to describe a signal or a function which can take any value over a given region. An analog signal is continuous. A sinusoidal voltage signal is a very good example for an analog signal.
An analog signal has infinitely many values between any two given values. This is, however, limited by the capabilities and the resolution of the instruments used to measure these signals. Analog signals can be detected and analyzed using instruments such as cathode ray oscilloscopes, voltmeters, ammeters and other recording devices.
If an analog signal has to be analyzed using a computer, it has to be converted into a digital signal. This is because computers are only capable of handling digital signals. Analog computing can be done using devices such as operational amplifiers and transistors.
The term “digital” is derived from the word “digit” which means a specific number. A digital signal can take only discrete values. For an example, the logic levels of 1 and 0 are digital values. A logic level between 1 and 0 or “true” and “false” doesn’t exist. If a digital signal is digitized with values very close to each other and with a large number of values, it can be said that the signal is a fine approximation for the corresponding analog signal.
Computers use digital signals in their internal circuits but most of the other equipment use analog signals. The least resolved digital signal has two discrete values. The real voltage of these depends on the physical circuits used. These two leveled signals are known as binary signals. A decimal signal has 10 voltage levels, and a hexadecimal signal has 16 voltage levels.
Digital vs Analog
- An analog signal can have an infinite number of values between two given points, but the number of values between two points of a digital system is known.
- An analog signal always carries more information than a digital signal.
- Converting a digital signal to an analog signal is known as DAC (digital to analog conversion). Converting an analog signal to a digital signal is known as ADC.
- Digital signals are easier to work with than analog signals.