• Directory of Internet terms
  • Analogue — The basic meaning of analogue is "something that corresponds to something else". For example, in the context of equipment used for recording and playing back sound, analogue refers to the way in which the sound is recorded and reproduced. If you look closely at the groove of a 33 rpm vinyl gramophone record you will see that it is essentially a continuous wave, an undulating series of "hills". These "hills" correspond to the nature and volume of the sound that has been recorded. As the stylus of the record player moves along the wave it produces vibrations that are amplified and converted into sound. A parallel can be drawn with radio transmissions, where the sound signals are transmitted in the form of invisible waves. Early mobile phones worked in a similar way. Older tape recorders and videocassette recorders are based on the same principle, except that the signals representing the sound and moving images are imprinted onto a plastic tape coated with a magnetic powder. All analogue recordings suffer from background noise, and the quality of reproduction gradually degrades as the record or tape wears out. If the recording is copied, the copy will not be as good as the original, regardless of the quality of the equipment used to copy it. See the contrasting term Digital.