This chapter delves into the details of digital audio and what sets it apart from nondigital, or analog, audio. If you are simply interested in using your digits (fingers) to push a button and hear music, you should at least read the sidebar “The Difference Between Analog and Digital,” but you can skip the rest of this chapter. However, if you plan to record and edit audio on your computer, we recommend you read the entire chapter before you continue on to Part IV of this book, which covers recording and editing in detail.
To help you better understand the concepts of digital audio, we’ll first cover some of the fundamentals of sound waves as they travel through the air and reach our ears. We’ll provide examples of how sound is recorded and played using analog audio equipment, and we’ll describe the limitations of analog audio that led to the development of digital audio. Finally, we’ll explain how digital audio works and how it can transcend the limitations of analog audio.