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miércoles, 7 de mayo de 2008

What Is Digital Audio? Introduction To Digital Audio


What Is Digital Audio?

In this day and age of marketing geniuses who insist on labeling everything "digital" this and "digital" that, understanding what "digital audio" means can become quite confusing. Digital Audio is a term which can be used to describe a wide range of topics, including:

  • The audio generated/played back by your computer.
  • The method of recording audio from an analog source to your hard drive or sampler.
  • The audio stored on a CD.
How Does It Work?
Similar to a scanner which breaks down an image into thousands of tiny dots called pixels, a digital recording breaks down the audio waveform into thousands of tiny samples. When you listen to a CD, you are hearing the playback of 44,100 (44.1 kHz) samples per second! Using your computer and your SoundBlaster sound card, you can record your own digital audio at levels of up to 96,000 (96 kHz) samples per second - that's more than twice the quality of a compact disc!

What is sample rate and how does it affect quality?
Sample rate refers to the number of samples per second as mentioned above. This is often displayed as kiloHertz or kHz. The higher the number of samples per second, the greater the sound reproduction will be.

Why Should I Care About The Sample Rate Of My Sound Blaster sound card?
Imagine riding a train across a beautiful countryside. Not imagine if you could only open your eyes once every five seconds. What kind of image of the world would you have? How could you accurate describe the scenery if you only have limited information? The same rings true for the sample rate used during recording. At lower sampling rates, the audio will sound fuzzy due to a lack of samples required to represent the sound accurately.

What Does A Sampler Do?
A professional digital sampler records audio and places the desired audio on a keymap to be used as an instrument sound. Any sound can be recorded via microphone and be used as an instrument on a digital sampler. An example of digital sampling can be found in the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." The title character, Ferris, uses a sampler to fake his cough, just by pressing a key! (We don't recommend trying this at home!)

The road to digital audio is littered with the many ways in which audio can be stored. Whether it's saved as a Real Audio file or a Windows Media file, you can bet that you'll run across the following file types at one time in your life. We've compiled a small list to help you sort through the madness of file type extensions.

Extension File Type
aa Audible Audio File
aac FAAC File
aif Audio File
aifc Audio File
aiff Audio File
ape Monkey's Audio File
asf Windows Media File
asx Windows Media Playlist
au Audio File
avi Video File
dat Video CD File
jmx MusicEx File
lks Learnkey's Real CBT File
lqt Liquid Audio File
m1v MPEG Video File
m3u MP3 Playlist
mid MIDI File
midi MIDI File
mov Quicktime Video File
mp+ MPEGPlus File
Mp2 MPEG Audio File
mp3 MPEG Audio File
mpa MPEG Audio File
mpe MPEG Video File
mpeg MPEG Video File
mpg MPEG Video File
mpv MPEG Video File
ogg Ogg Vorbis File
pls MP3 Playlist
ra Real Audio File
ram Real Media File
rm Real Media File
rmi MIDI File
rmid MIDI File
rmm Real Media File
rmx Real Media File
sdp Scalable Multicast File
smi SMIL Document File
smil SMIL Document File
snd Audio File (Mac)
swf Shockwave File
tac TAC File
voc Voice File
wav Audio File (Windows)
wax Windows Media Playlist
wm Windows Media File
wma Windows Media File
wmv Windows Media File

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