Digital audio is a digital representation of sound obtained by sampling the amplitude of audio input at a regular interval.

The process works like this:

  • The original sound is produced by the movement of air. For almost all sound, this movement is an alternating of high and low pressure wavefronts.
  • A transducer represents this as an electrical signal. The high pressure wavefronts become higher voltage signals and the low pressure wavefronts become lower voltage signals.
  • Next, this electrical signal is routed to a device known as an Analog to Digital Converter (or ADC, for short). The ADC checks the voltage at a regular interval (this interval is usually referred to as the sampling rate) and converts the voltage of each sample into a number.

    The stream of numbers that result from this process is digital audio.

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