Advantages & Disadvantages of Analog & Digital Systems

By Steve Johnson

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 favor typewriters over computers, turntables over DJ laptops and landlines over cellular phones. This only underlines the fact that both systems have their advantages and disadvantages.


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

Recording System

In terms of recording, analog can outperform digital and vice versa; it depends on the quality of the equipment used. The advantages of an analog recording system are the absence of aliasing distortion and quantization 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.


Generally speaking, the foremost advantage of digital over analog is the provision for multiple features. The same is true for copiers. The main virtues of an analog photocopier are simplicity and a cheap price. Other than that, digital copiers offer a more comprehensive service, as well as better reliability. Analog 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.


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