Converting Analogue to Digital

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Converting Analogue to Digital

The terms analogue and digital are used when discussing a variety of devices, many of which are electronic devices. There are several differences between analogue and digital as well as advantages and disadvantages for each; however, digital products are becoming increasingly popular. An example of a device that has both an analogue and digital version is a thermometer. When using an analogue thermometer, users have to estimate exactly where the mercury level falls using the scale on the side of the thermometer. The resulting temperature is an estimate because it could be slightly higher or lower than the user estimated. Digital thermometers, on the other hand, provide an actual temperature since the display shows the actual numbers and no estimation is required.

There are a variety of devices that are capable of converting analogue to digital, for audio, video, and imaging. When shopping for these devices, it is important for shoppers to determine exactly what the device is to be used for so that they can purchase the device that is right for them.

Brief Explanation of Analogue Audio

Analogue audio signals were the first audio waves to be recorded and played back. Sounds occur as waves, which are recorded as analogue waves on analogue audio recording devices. These waves can be amplified and the sounds can be sent to a speaker so that individuals can hear the sounds. Many of the earlier audio devices, such as records, cassette recorders, and cassette tapes, utilise analogue technology in both recording and playback.

Brief Explanation of Digital Audio

Digital devices convert audio waves into number, which is what is recorded. When playback is desired, the stored numbers are converted into a voltage wave, which provides an approximation of the original sound wave. While analogue audio signals provide a truer representation than a digital signal, digital audio signals are capable of being compressed, which means more time can be recorded in less space. Additionally, digital signals never degrade over time. The sound or recording sounds the same regardless of how many times it is played back.

 Digital audio quality depends largely on the sampling rate of the recording device. For example, on a standard music CD, the sound signal is sampled 44,000 times per second. Because the sampling rate is high, the audio can be recorded and played back without losing too much of the original recording.

Pros and Cons of Analogue and Digital Sound

Analogue and digital audio devices and recordings both have pros and cons that are worth considering before an individual decides which format best suits his or her needs. Although analogue recordings are rarely used these days, it is still possible to record and playback analogue audio, as well as to reproduce it and convert it to digital.

Analogue Pros

Digital Pros

Plays back the exact audio waves

Recordings do not degrade over time

Produce sound despite minor imperfections on recording

Digital signals can be compressed, so more time fits in the same space


Easier sound editing


Can add to files additional, non-audio, information

One should consider these advantages, as well as the disadvantages, of each type of audio before choosing the best device for his or her audio needs. If a user decides he or she would like to convert existing analogue audio files to digital files, there are a number of devices that can help him or her achieve this goal with ease.

Analogue and Digital Imaging

A photograph is an example of an analogue image. When it is scanned into a computer, the analogue photo is converted to a digital image. Once the image is converted to a digital file, one can view it repeatedly and print it out over and over again without degrading the original digital image file. This is the main reason individuals have adopted digital imaging and digital cameras so readily. There is no film to develop and though a photographic print may degrade over time, a new print can be produced from a digital image at any point in time.

Analogue to Digital Conversion Devices

Before determining which type of analogue to digital conversion device is required, prospective buyers need to determine whether they wish to convert analogue audio, images, or video and whether they want to convert analogue files or actual recordings and photographs. For example, the device needed to convert a photograph to a digital image is different than the device required to convert a VHS recording to a digital video.


When converting audio that is already recorded on cassette tapes or records, individuals need either a device designed specifically for converting cassette tapes or records, or a cord to run from the device used for analogue playback to the digital recorder or converter. If an individual wishes to record sounds or music that is playing live as a digital recording, he or she needs a digital recording device to connect to the sound system or microphone being used to record the live audio.

Which type of audio converter an individual needs depends on what he or she is converting. For converting records to digital, individuals either need a USB turntable or a connector that interfaces between a stereo amplifier and a computer. Using a connector and a computer requires the use of conversion software and requires that the user do some work during the conversion process. A USB turntable can automate the conversion process; however, they are significantly more expensive than the connector and are only good for converting records. A stereo to computer interface connector can convert any audio that can be played back via the stereo system.


For individuals who wish to convert their old VHS recordings into digital files, there are adapters that connect the audio and video outputs on a VCR to a computer via a USB connector so that individuals can use software on the computer to record digital versions of the video from the VHS tapes. These VHS to USB adapters plug into the RCA outputs on a VCR and connect the VCR to a computer through the computer’s USB port.

Photographs and Images

Any images captured with a digital camera are already digital so the only analogue photos or images that might need to be converted to digital are actual photographs, slides, or prints of images. To convert these items to digital files, individuals need a scanner and a computer. The photos are scanned into the computer using the scanner. Once it has been scanned, it can be saved as a digital file on the computer.

Shopping for Analogue to Digital Converters

The first step in shopping for an analogue to digital conversion device is determining which type of device a buyer needs. Once the buyer knows which device he or she needs, shopping for the best device at the lowest price can begin. While individuals may find some analogue to digital conversion devices at local electronics store, they may not find the exact device for their needs. Shoppers may have better luck beginning their search online and then calling local stores to determine if the converter they are looking for is available locally.

For individuals who do not need the converter immediately, buying online may be the better option due to the larger selection of converters online as well as the ability to price shop for the best possible prices. It may take a few days to a week to have the converter delivered, depending on the shipping options, but the prices are usually significantly lower than prices at local stores and some online retailers even offer free shipping, which lowers the price even more. Buyers should be sure to check out the listings for converters on eBay before making a purchasing decision because the auction site offers an unparalleled selection of electronic devices and their prices are usually the lowest.

How to Buy Analogue to Digital Converters on eBay

If you are ready to take a look at the available analogue to digital converters on eBay, type the name of the converter you are looking for into the search box on the homepage. You could also search for 'analogue to digital converter', though this broad of a search may not yield results that include what you are looking for. Choosing a narrower search phrase, such as USB turntable, allows you to only see the converters that are relevant to your needs.

Before making a purchasing decision, you should read each listing carefully to determine what type of analogue to digital converter the seller is offering, as well as shipping prices and what accessories, if any, are included. If buying a device with connectors, buyers should also confirm that the connectors are they correct ones. Prospective buyers should also read each seller’s return policy carefully to determine whether item can be returned if it does not work or is the wrong type of converter.


Converting analogue to digital files results in audio and video that can be stored and viewed forever. Most people have a collection of photographs, audio recordings, and home videos that they may wish to preserve for years to come. Using analogue to digital converters to turn these priceless memories into digital files that last forever is quick and easy, provided one has the correct converters. Digital files allow individuals to safely store these photos, videos, and other memories, as well as share them with the rest of their family members.

Shopping for analogue to digital conversion devices is relatively simple as long as the prospective buyer knows ahead of time which type of device he or she is looking for. From there, it is a matter of finding that device and purchasing it. Shopping for analogue to digital converters on eBay provides a wide variety and an easy shopping experience.

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