IMP Homework Episode 2: The Analog to Digital Conversion Process
Monday, March 18, 2013 at 03:55AM


This is episode two of my series on music production for my Coursera class Introduction to Music Production.


To the reviewer

The content of last week's assignment was easy, as I know my audio equipment fairly well.

I thought this week's assignment was also going to be fairly straightforward, since I understand the basics of analog to digital and digital to analog converters. As I started to research this subject, I realized how wrong I was. I gradually be came overwhelmed by the subject, as I did not have the time this week to adequately research the subject and present a thorough summary of this surprisingly deep topic.

In lieu of the summary I'd like to present, I present you with this brief summary and a good list of references for further exploration.

Soundtrack for preparation of this assignment

All new music this week. Sound track for this assignment:

Reset - EP by Flying Lotus
Chaos Theory by Amon Tobin
Chaos Theory Remixed (The Soundtrack to Splinter Cell 3D by Amon Tobin
The Bible (The Official Score Soundtrack) by Lorne Balfe & Hans Zimmer
The Remixes by Pongá

Key terms

ADC: Analog to digital converter

analog to digital converter: converts analog audio signal to digital

sample rate: In an ADC, the frequency the analog signal is sampled

bit depth: In an ADC, the number of bits used to describe the amplitude of a sample

analog audio signal: sound represented as voltage in an electrical signal

digital audio signal: audio signal represented as binary data stream - a stream of 1s and 0s


Farnell, Andy. Designing Sound, MIT Press, 2010. See Chapter 7: Digital Signals.

Analog Devices. Data Conversion Handbook, Elsevier, 2005. The whole book is relevant, but the first chapter on data converter history is interesting, as is section 8.4 on digital audio.

Analog-to-digital converter, Wikipedia.

Article originally appeared on Wes Perdue's Journal of Geekery (
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