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digital sound recording

method of preserving sound in which audio signals are transformed into a series of pulses that correspond to patterns of binary digits (i.e., 0's and 1's) and are recorded as such on the surface of a magnetic tape or optical disc. A digital system samples a sound's wave form, or value, several thousand times a second and assigns numerical values in the form of binary digits to its amplitude at any given instant. A typical digital recording system is equipped with an analog-to-digital converter that transforms two channels of continuous audio signals into digital information, which is then recorded by a high-speed tape or disc machine. The system uses a digital-to-analog converter that reads the encoded information from the recording medium and changes it back into audio signals that can be used by the amplifier of a conventional stereo sound system.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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