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Offlinepontus
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Analog vs. Digital
    #8645709 - 07/17/08 04:10 AM (16 years, 12 days ago)

The advent of modern computer technology has probably changed our lives more than anything else in modern society.
One of the main concepts in  computers is the digital processing of information. Which means that everything is represented in bits and bytes, on and off, voltage or no voltage. By converting analog information to a digital signal we will always lose information. The only reason we think the Compact Disc we listen to sounds perfect is that our senses do no notice the information loss.
So in a digital system there is no in between. Either the information can be translated to a discrete binary number or it is lost.

This underlying principle of computer technology seems to invade our own thoughts as computers become more and more part of our society. It fuels our desire to think in infantile extreme categories. Either she loves me or she loves me not. Either I am sick or I am healthy. Either Bush is the devil or a cowboy saint from heaven.

Nature seems to be more complex. It consists of nuances. Of course I can be sick or healthy. But there is a lot more in between than we like to think.
If life would be adhering  to digital principles we would not be on this planet.


--------------------
"People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed"
Bob Dylan

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InvisibleMiddlemanM

Registered: 07/11/99
Posts: 8,401
Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: pontus]
    #8645758 - 07/17/08 05:02 AM (16 years, 12 days ago)

Nice post. I think analog is digital.

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Offlineocarina
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: Middleman]
    #8645773 - 07/17/08 05:11 AM (16 years, 12 days ago)

Yeah, the duality of things are emphazised a lot in technology. Either it works or not.

We'll be ok though. :mushroom2:

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Offlinezouden
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: pontus]
    #8645828 - 07/17/08 06:08 AM (16 years, 12 days ago)

Great post.

I guess technically even analogue things are digital when you get to the Planck scale? But that's not really in the spirit of your post :smile:


--------------------
I know... that just the smallest
                                                part of the world belongs to me
You know... I'm not a blind man
                                                    but truth is the hardest thing to see

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OfflineSeussA
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: pontus]
    #8645975 - 07/17/08 07:31 AM (16 years, 12 days ago)

> So in a digital system there is no in between

Not true.  There are tristate logic devices.  This is how electronic buses are implemented.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-state_logic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ternary_logic


--------------------
Just another spore in the wind.

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OfflineLethal Dose
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: Seuss]
    #8646379 - 07/17/08 10:28 AM (16 years, 11 days ago)

I think the advantages of making everything digital heavily outweigh the negatives, and there are still ways to escape the digital world if you really want to (instead of listening to a cd, go see a live performance).


--------------------
On the scale of wibble to wobble...

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InvisibleMinstrel
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: Lethal Dose]
    #8647552 - 07/17/08 03:27 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

Analog.  I think in waves.  I'm pretty convinced consciousness is a resonant phenonmenon.

You can go from digital to analog without loss of information, but you can't go the other way around.


--------------------

Edited by Minstrel (07/17/08 03:29 PM)

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InvisibleSophistic Radiance
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: Minstrel]
    #8647627 - 07/17/08 03:39 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

Scientists are currently working their balls off to create a quantum computer; that is, a computer which does not use binary/digital coding, but rather some wacky shit I can't even wrap my head around.

I hear it'll be the most amazing, splendifferous computer ever built once they figure it out, though. :yesnod:


--------------------
Enlil said:
You really are the worst kind of person.


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InvisibleDieCommie


Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 29,258
Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: Minstrel]
    #8647767 - 07/17/08 04:04 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

Quote:

You can go from digital to analog without loss of information, but you can't go the other way around.


 
Really?  How so?  To represent an analog signal completely you would just need alot of bits.

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Offlinezouden
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: DieCommie]
    #8647963 - 07/17/08 04:47 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

You'd need as many bits as your precision demands. But what if you wanted perfect precision? You'd need an infinite number of bits... but perfect precision doesn't exist because you can't go below the Planck length.

Does that seem right?


--------------------
I know... that just the smallest
                                                part of the world belongs to me
You know... I'm not a blind man
                                                    but truth is the hardest thing to see

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InvisibleMinstrel
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: DieCommie]
    #8648102 - 07/17/08 05:37 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

Quote:

DieCommie said:
To represent an analog signal completely you would just need alot of bits.




It would never be completely replicated.  You approach the exact function as the number of bits approaches infinity.  It will get more accurate with each iteration, but you will still have discontinuities.

It's like comparing perfect integration to a Riemann sum.


--------------------

Edited by Minstrel (07/17/08 05:38 PM)

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Offlinebackfromthedead
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: zouden]
    #8648173 - 07/17/08 05:57 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

You'd need as many bits as your precision demands.

Sample rate, mane.  Super Audio CD introduced in '99 has a sample rate of 2.8224 MHz, yes fuckin MHz, compared to a Red Book CD at 44,100 kHz...  And the resolution (bit depth) is 16 times smaller than industry standard digital audio.  Industry Standard is 16 bits per sample, thats one bit per sample for SACD.  You still end up with an approximation.  A stair-stepping square wave...  But then its all run through a lo-pass filter at 20K, the limit of human hearing, and you rid the signal of any harmonic artifacts created by the sampling process.  Some say that the inaudible harmonics are important and this is what digital lacks.  And hitting analog tape colors sound in a way that digital is constantly trying emulate.  Mostly by sampling each cycle as many times as you can to create a more round/natural wave.  And writing algorithms that produce a tape saturation effect.  Technically you could sample in between every sample until the digital representation is as close to the original wave form as you can get.  But shit...  People will jam Mp3s, sounding like shit, like nobodies business.  Who cares about quality audio anymore...??


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InvisibleDieCommie


Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 29,258
Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: Minstrel]
    #8648189 - 07/17/08 06:07 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

I was thinking about this at the pool, and of course it comes down to fourier series.  Well, some fourier series converge.  So for those analog signals a closed form, finite solution exists.  For the ones that diverge, your scenario holds true.

I would bet though, that most if not all analog signals and information in nature have a convergent fourier series, so they could be represented by a finite number of bits.

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Offlinezouden
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: backfromthedead]
    #8648499 - 07/17/08 08:10 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

It's easy to decide where you want to put your precision limit (sample rate) when you're dealing with sound that is intended to be listened to by human ears. But even with a very high sample rate like SACD there is still a loss of information, though it would make no practical difference.

As a general statement, it is still true to say that converting from analogue -> digital incurs a loss of information.


--------------------
I know... that just the smallest
                                                part of the world belongs to me
You know... I'm not a blind man
                                                    but truth is the hardest thing to see

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InvisibleDieCommie


Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 29,258
Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: zouden]
    #8648535 - 07/17/08 08:19 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

Quote:

As a general statement, it is still true to say that converting from analogue -> digital incurs a loss of information.




You are just talking about audio technology here though, not the philosophy of information theory.

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Offlinebackfromthedead
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: DieCommie]
    #8648587 - 07/17/08 08:30 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

digital incurs a loss of information.

Agreed.:thumbup:


--------------------

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Offlinewyldeman007
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: pontus]
    #8648655 - 07/17/08 08:44 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

If we evolved to perceive movement at 90 frames per second and to hear sounds between 20 and 20K Hz, I feel that if the medium is within these limits, there essentially is no information loss as far as we're concerned. To say that a digital culture has corrupted our intuitive thought process in this way is to me, absurd. Humans have always raveled in the so called dualities of all things, we innately induce patterns onto our surroundings. I believe that technology itself, in tandem with our highly evolved consciousness, is what actually helps us detect these analogous properties.

A very thought provoking post...
---------------------------------
(Off subject: is it conceivable to change our measuring system to something more universal than metric? What if we created a system in 10^2+n successively from Plank length??? Would that not be something?)


--------------------

"We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here." - Richard Dawkins

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Offlinezouden
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: DieCommie]
    #8649366 - 07/17/08 11:49 PM (16 years, 11 days ago)

Quote:

DieCommie said:
Quote:

As a general statement, it is still true to say that converting from analogue -> digital incurs a loss of information.




You are just talking about audio technology here though, not the philosophy of information theory.



Not necessarily, actually I specifically wasn't talking about audio until backfromthedead brought it up - I'm saying that with any analogue signal, converting to digital will incur a loss of information unless your sample rate is planck time and your measurements are in planck lengths.

Does that make sense?


--------------------
I know... that just the smallest
                                                part of the world belongs to me
You know... I'm not a blind man
                                                    but truth is the hardest thing to see

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Offlinepontus
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: zouden]
    #8649538 - 07/18/08 12:53 AM (16 years, 11 days ago)

Thanks for all kind remarks.
Let me just make clear that this was not about computer bashing. It was intended more as an  observation how computers influence our way of thinking on a very abstract level. Every tool we work with daily will have an effect on us. A very intelligent physicist once told me he would not like to work daily with a computer, because he would be afraid to become like a computer (fate has it that he now  programs SAP, poor man :smile: )  Maybe that sounds a bit drastic but it conveys the thought that we should reflect how our tools influence us.


--------------------
"People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed"
Bob Dylan

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OfflinexFrockx
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: pontus]
    #8650525 - 07/18/08 10:56 AM (16 years, 10 days ago)

I had this same thought when i was tripping once about digital things chaning human thought patterns, which has changed our behavior to be more selfish and less focused on that "little bit extra" of having children, educating them and raising them well, ect, which has resulted in the degredation of society.

I actually thought that The Dark Crystal was a warning to the future about the digital transition.  The skexis and mystics represented 1s and 0s.  The gelflings, the last of their species, had to overcome the struggle between the equal and opposed forces by fixing the crystal.  The crystal itself, to me, represented the force of life and death.  Broken, separating the divine beings into a pair of enemies, it wasted away the souls of the little creatures that gazed upon it, turning them into mindless slaves (as I saw our culture). 

Reunited though, the two parts showed one whole, and the force of progess and renewed life was restored.

Make sense to anyone? lol

edit:  When you think about it, the Dark crystal was probably the last great all-analogue cartoon/puppeteering movie.  When you watch Labyrinth it seems that the digitized parts in that movie are made with the intent of mocking the modern digital culture that was growing at the time, which David Bowie is used to represent to some extent.

Edited by xFrockx (07/18/08 11:02 AM)

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OfflineSneezingPenis
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: xFrockx]
    #8652166 - 07/18/08 05:49 PM (16 years, 10 days ago)

do you know why 44.1k was picked?

because the rule of sample rates is double the highest frequency. it makes sense this way: lets say you have a 20k sine wave.... you have its rarefaction and its compression... so you would need atleast two sample points to digitally express an analogue sine wave....

as the frequency gets higher, like 20k, the wave is extremely short, so if you only had 36k sample rate, you wouldnt even have a representation of it, you would only catch the rarefaction, or compression.
if you want to represent 100 hertz digitally, you would only need 200 samples per second.

but a few people here claim that digital can never replace analogue... which is false.
I often wonder why this same argument was never made for film. think about it, film is the exact same thing as sample rates.. it just so happens that 24 fps or whatever the standard is now is enough to mimic our analogue perception.
same applies to digital audio... we have already reached a sample rate that mimics our analogue perception of it.

I konw this isnt P&S material post.... but here is one thing I would like to add.
Digital audio will be able to out perform analogue and give way to greater audio quality than analogue could ever hope for.
mono>stereo>5.1>7.1>binaural

with digital advancements we will be able to make your home stereo system replicate live concerts, but allow you to choose wherever you want to be at... like on stage next to pete townsend or behind the drummer... and it wont stop there... make it sound as if the vocals are coming from your head and the kick is emanating from your sternum.

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Offlinezouden
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Re: Analog vs. Digital [Re: SneezingPenis]
    #8652184 - 07/18/08 05:54 PM (16 years, 10 days ago)

Yes, it's called the Nyquist theorem :smile:


--------------------
I know... that just the smallest
                                                part of the world belongs to me
You know... I'm not a blind man
                                                    but truth is the hardest thing to see

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