Sound Reproduction and a Quick Look at the Changes 30 Years Have Made

Wanting to learn a little more about the nitty gritty of sound recording and reproduction? Sound recording and reproduction has gone through tremendous change in the last 100 years, but the last 30 have been the most important. Here are a few of those details to get you to date and further drive home the importance of relying on sound digital audio and video recording systems in law enforcement.

Word Systems, the Master Distributer of iRecord, offers a great deal of techical information which we have included in detail here on the science of sound recording and reproduction. To see the full description, click here.

To start, what is sound recording and reproduction at its core?

According to the description outlined here, it refers to a mechanical or electrical inscription and a process of sound waves re-creating, comprising sound effects, spoken voice, instrumental music or singing. Sound recording technology may be divided on two major types, which are analog recording and digital recording.


Acoustic Analog Recording is made by means of the application of a microphone diaphragm which indicates atmospheric pressure changes, called acoustic sound waves, and then makes their recordings as a graphic demonstration of a sound wave on a medium (a phonograph).

As for magnetic tape recording, the sound waves set up vibrations in the microphone diaphragm. Then their conversion into a variable electrical current happens. And in turn an electromagnet converts an electrical current to a variable magnet field. It represents the sound as magnetized zones on a plastic tape coated with a magnetic layer.

Analog sound reproduction refers to a reversed process during which a larger loudspeaker diaphragm leads to atmosphere pressure changes creating acoustic sound waves. Also, the sound waves that were formed electronically might be recorded straightforwardly from different devices, comprising a synthesizer or an electric guitar. 

Digital Recording and Reproduction means conversion of the analog sound signal received with the help of the microphone to a digital format during the digitization process. This enables to store and transmit sound using a great number of different media. Digital recording may store audio as multitude of binary numbers which represent the audio signal’s samples of amplitude at equal periods of time and at a sample rate that has to assure conveying of all sounds that can be heard. In comparison with analog recordings, digital recordings provide a higher level of quality. This is possible not due the fact that digital recordings have higher fidelity. However this is possible as the digital form enables to minimize the quality losses peculiar to analog recording because of electromagnetic interference and noise in playback. Digital audio signals need reconversion to analog format during the process of playback and before they are sent to the earphones or loudspeakers.

A Quick History 

In the early 1980s digital sound recording and compact disc were developed. The CD contributed to further development in the consumer music industry. And by the mid 1990s vinyl records became very popular in the small niche market. But at the beginning the record industry severely restrained the development of digital systems, as the record companies were afraid of wide-scale piracy. The matter is that digital systems enabled to make excellent copies of original recordings. But the record companies accepted the digital systems, however applying different protection systems.

The latest and dramatic innovations have been implemented in digital recording. Multiple compressed and uncompressed digital audio file formats have been developed. They enabled the conversion of the digital data to sound in the real time mode and provided cheap mass storage. This contributed to the development of a new kind of portable digital audio player. Long programs of top quality may be recorded on a single disc because of the availability of the technologies that raise the amount of information that might be stored on a one medium. These technologies comprise HD DVD, Super Audio CD, Blu-ray Disc and DVD-A. It’s possible to quickly download sound files from the Internet, as well as from other resources and easily copy them onto digital audio players and personal computers. Digital audio technology is applied in all cases related to the employment of audio. Up-to-date applications, comprising podcasting and Internet radio, have emerged.

Recently, the television, record and movie industries have been totally changed with the technological innovations in editing and recording. Since magnetic tape recording has been developed, audio editing was put into practice. However, cheap mass storage and digital audio makes possible editing of audio files rapid, simple and not costly by means of the computers’ use. Currently, the recording making process is divided onto three stages. They are tracking, mixing and mastering. Multitrack recording allows capturing signals received from a few microphones. And it has numerous advantages, comprising adding different effects, level balancing, limiting and compressing. It also makes mixing and mastering maximally flexible.

Nowadays, it’s possible to find multiple digital audio recording and processing software functioning on a few operating systems applied for computers. The developers worked out software to satisfy any needs of all users, including amateurs and professionals. This type of software had various demands. Flexibility of playback, as well as precision, are the main demands. Highly-qualitative audio and a wide frequency range do not refer to the main demands.

Copyright law began to regulate the use of sound recordings from 1934. This law extends to MP3s embodying recordings, compact discs, vinyl records, digital audiotapes and tapes.

Interested in learning more about the science of sound, sound reproduction and applications? Contact your iRecord representative today!  

Contact Us