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Principles of Digital Audio

ANALOG AUDIO SPECS

• Analog Audio is:


– Continuous
– Infinite
– Represented using Voltage
DIGITAL AUDIO SPECS

• Digital Audio is:


– Discrete
– Finite
– Represented using binary numbers
• Binary System
– 0 and 1
– Binary Digit = BIT
– 8 bits = 1 Byte
DIGITAL CONVERSION

• To digitize a continuous wave, it must be


measured regularly. This measurement is called:

SAMPLING
• SAMPLING:
– Taking a measurement of something at regular time
intervals
SAMPLING
CHARACTERISTICS OF DIGITAL AUDIO

• Two measurements characterize digital audio


signals:
– Sampling rate/sampling frequency
– Quantization - AKA
• Bit Depth
• Word Size
• Sampling Rate is:
– How often an audio signal is sampled
– Measured in samples per second
– The more samples per second, the better representation
of the original wave
SAMPLING TYPES

• Oversampling
– Audio frequency is below Nyquist frequency
• Critical Sampling
– Audio frequency is sampled at precisely the Nyquist
frequency
NYQUIST THEOREM

• AKA: Sampling Theorem


• Definition of “sampling rate”
– To digitally represent a signal containing frequency
components up to x Hz, the sampling rate must be at
least 2x Hz
• Definition of “maximum frequency”
– The maximum frequency in a signal sampled at rate
SR Hz is SR/2 Hz
– This Frequency is also known as:
• NYQUIST FREQUENCY
SAMPLING TYPES

• Undersampling
– Audio frequency is greater than Nyquist frequency
– Results in ALIASING
– Frequency sampled at F at rate of SR exceeding
Nyquist, the frequency will alias to a frequency of
-(SR-F)
where minus indicates inverted frequency
CD AUDIO SAMPLING RATE

• 44,100 Hz -AKA- 44.1 kHz


– Other rates: 48kHz, 96kHz
QUANTIZATION

• The resolution with which each sample is recorded


• Directly dependent on how many bits are available
to represent the data
• In CD audio:
– 16 bits
• Quantization error can never be completely
eliminated!
QUANTIZATION
MARGIN OF ERROR

• Signal-to-error ratio depends on the nature of the


audio contents
• Error is less noticeable for high level signals
• Low level signals don’t use all available bits!
– Signal-to-error level is greater
– Quantization error can become audible
• Problems with quantization error results in:
– DIGITAL DISTORTION
DITHER

• Low-level noise added to the audio signal before


it’s sampled
• Adds random error to the signal, transforming the
quantization distortion into added noise
• Noise is therefore a constant factor