Analogue technology is often seen as old and outdated. However, as this technology has been around for quite some time, manufacturers have had ample opportunity to perfect the manufacturing process. The quality of the components used and the way that they work together also tends to be superior to digital technology, especially in high-end devices. In addition, analogue devices are often cheaper than digital models and last longer.
To understand the advantages of remaining analogue, learn what the difference is between analogue and digital technology. These differences apply to a wide variety of devices, including mobile phones, DVD players, and digital cameras. However, people mostly focus on the advantages of analogue sound reproduction, radio, and television. Learn how analogue signals benefit each of these mediums and whether analogue truly is better than digital. Analogue devices, such as turntables, radios, and televisions, are available from electronics shops and online from sources like eBay.
What is the Difference Between Analogue and Digital?
In simple terms, analogue technology uses a wave in its original form. For example, the sound wave is recorded straight from the microphone to the vinyl for an analogue record: as the sound wave from the microphone is in analogue form, so is the sound wave captured on the record. The sound wave on the record is then read using a turntable, amplified, and sent to speakers, which reproduce the sound.
In digital technology, the analogue wave is sampled at an interval before being changed to numbers that can be stored on a digital device. For example, the sampling rate for a CD is around 44,000 samples per second. This means that there are 44,000 numbers stored for every second of music. When the music is played back, the numbers are turned into a voltage wave that is nearly like the original wave. These numbers can be compressed to allow more data to be recorded onto a single device. These recordings do not degrade.
Advantages of Remaining Analogue
When considering whether to remain analogue, it is important to understand the advantages for each medium. The three primary mediums are sound reproduction, radio, and television.
Advantages of Remaining Analogue for Sound Reproduction
One of the biggest benefits of digital sound recording and reproduction is the ability to compress music by turning snapshots into numbers. However, this is also one of the main disadvantages of digital sound: the wave is not recorded in its true form and many audiophiles feel that digital sound lacks the warmth and quality of analogue. In addition, analogue sound has more texture and a truer sound quality. The warmth spoken of in relation to analogue sound refers to the natural distortion and noise of an analogue recording. Although this may sound counterintuitive, many people feel that the lack of imperfections in digital recordings makes them too clinical.
As digital technology keeps changing, analogue recordings are valued for the stability of the medium. Recordings made twenty years ago can still be played today, provided the listener has the right equipment. Although analogue recordings do tend to degrade if they are not stored properly, digital storage is more fragile. It is far easier to lose an entire music collection through a computer error than it is to lose a collection of vinyl records.
Advantages of Remaining Analogue in Radio
The advantages of analogue radio are similar to those of analogue sound reproduction: analogue radio signals provide a richer sound. Even though the UK is geared towards a complete digital switchover, analogue stations will continue to broadcast, although on a purely local level. Currently, digital signals are not as widely available as analogue. This means that not everyone in the country can change to digital, so analogue remains the only option for some. In addition, analogue radio technology is a great deal simpler than digital and not prone to interruptions.
As the analogue switchover may take years to be complete, it is best to wait before investing in a digital radio. With the constant changes in technology, the radios available are bound to change a great deal before the switchover is final. This may mean that digital radios have to be upgraded and their useful lives shortened considerably.
Advantages of Remaining Analogue in Television
Digital television is becoming increasingly popular, with a number of television broadcasters offering high-definition television (HDTV) packages. Those who do not subscribe to any of these and who do not own a digital television, benefit from the reliability of analogue models. Analogue televisions tend to produce clearer, more accurate colours and last much longer than digital televisions as they are not prone to dead pixels and similar problems.
Advantages of Switching to Digital
Although analogue has several advantages, it is important to know how it compares to digital. There are advantages in all three mediums of sound reproduction, radio, and television. Ultimately, the decision to remain analogue or switch to digital rests with the user of the device.
Advantages of Switching to Digital for Sound Reproduction
When it comes to sound reproduction, the advantages of analogue over digital are largely subjective. Some people prefer the clarity of digital sound or cannot fully distinguish between the two. Most high quality sound systems reproduce sound in such a way that the difference becomes negligible. Digital devices, such as CDs and other storage devices, are more portable and compact, easier to make, and sound reproduction is cheaper. Those who honestly cannot hear the difference between analogue and digital sound reproduction or are not as serious about the quality of music reproduction may be better off with cheaper digital systems.
Advantages of Switching to Digital for Radio
In radio, there are a huge variety of digital stations available and listeners can tune in to stations anywhere in the world. The signal is clearer, with less noise and distortion. For casual listeners who tend to keep the radio playing in the background, digital radio is an attractive option. Listeners who are in two minds should consider investing in a dual analogue and digital radio for the best of both worlds.
Advantages of Switching to Digital for Television
Digital televisions and television signals do have distinct advantages over analogue. As a digital signal can be compressed, the signal received by the television contains more information than one received by an analogue model. This means that the picture received is clearer and is not affected as adversely as analogue by signal degradation. In addition, television stations can broadcast multiple programmes within a single frequency.
How to Buy Analogue Devices on eBay
Analogue devices are easy to find on eBay. Type a phrase, such as "turntable", into the search field, which can be found on every page, to see the items listed by eBay sellers. Choose the most appropriate category and item characteristics to narrow down your search results. For more control over your search, use the advanced search feature.
Before You Buy on eBay
Before you buy on eBay, take a moment to evaluate the item and the seller. Click on an individual listing to view the item listing page. This is where you will find details, such as the full item description, buying options, the seller's accepted payment methods, postage and packaging costs, and the seller's feedback information. If you have any questions about a listing, use the "Ask a question" link to contact the seller.
eBay's seller feedback feature allows you to see what other customers think of a specific seller's products and customer service. Click on the number next to the seller's username to view this information. Detailed seller ratings provide additional information about aspects such as the seller's communication, the accuracy of the item description in the listing, the reasonableness of postage and packaging costs, and how long the seller took to dispatch the item.
When buying bulky items like turntables and televisions, look for local sellers and ask about local collection. This saves on delivery costs and allows you to start using the item as soon as you have bought it.
Digital technology is replacing analogue, but analogue devices still have some advantages. Analogue devices tend to be more durable and of a high quality. They are cheaper than digital models and, in some cases, produce superior results. Audiophiles feel that this is especially true of sound reproduction equipment and is related to the way in which sound is recorded and reproduced. In analogue technology, the sound wave is captured and replayed in its true form. In digital, the sound is transformed into numbers and these are often compressed. It is felt that analogue sound is warmer and closer to the original than digital sound, which is often described as cold and clinical. The same applies to digital radio. While more digital channels are available, the reach of analogue is greater.
Analogue televisions last longer than their digital counterparts as they are less prone to developing dead pixels and similar problems. However, digital television signals tend to produce pictures that are clearer than those of analogue signals. In this case, compression of the signal is more beneficial than in the reproduction of sound. To make an informed decision about remaining analogue, consider the benefits of digital technology. These benefits are, in some cases, subjective and may not be particularly attractive to all users. A wide range of analogue devices are available from eBay sellers.