Advantages & Disadvantages of Analog & Digital Systems

Written by steve johnson
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Advantages & Disadvantages of Analog & Digital Systems
Technology is shifting from analogue to digital. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Living in the digital age means many common daily tasks have become easier and faster to accomplish. Despite this efficiency, there are still individuals who cling to the "old-school way" of doing things and favour typewriters over computers, turntables over DJ laptops and landlines over mobile phones. This only underlines the fact that both systems have their advantages and disadvantages.

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Telephones

Many communication systems still remain analogue, as of 2011. With telephones, an analogue system means less complicated and cheaper use; however, digital systems allow better clarity and more features. Analogue phones -- contrary to popular belief -- deliver richer sound quality overall, but as digital technology develops and improves, digital phones may soon match their analogue counterparts' quality and low cost.

Recording System

In terms of recording, analogue can outperform digital and vice versa; it depends on the quality of the equipment used. The advantages of an analogue recording system are the absence of aliasing distortion and quantisation noise; the wide dynamic range; and performance in overload conditions. Digital systems, meanwhile, have better audio recording quality and an easier integration to personal computers and software applications.

Photocopier

Generally speaking, the foremost advantage of digital over analogue is the provision for multiple features. The same is true for copiers. The main virtues of an analogue photocopier are simplicity and a cheap price. Other than that, digital copiers offer a more comprehensive service, as well as better reliability. Analogue copiers also have a higher breakdown possibility with all their moving parts. Since many manufacturers have stopped producing them, replacement parts can be harder to come by.

Interface

When it comes to computing, there are a few ways in which digital interfaces are better than analogue versions. For starters, they are easier to use since geometry and clock and phase settings are unnecessary. With an analogue interface, these factors have to be synchronised with the signal to avoid pixel problems. There are also no signals lost due to digital-to-analogue (DA) and analogue-to-digital (AD) conversions with a digital interface. Analogue interfaces are compatible with the standard VGA boards, and there is no need to acquire a new graphics board.

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