An Analog or analogue signal is any continuous signal for which the time varying feature (variable) of the signal is a representation of some other time varying quantity, i.e analogous to another time varying signal. It differs from a digital signal in that small fluctuations in the signal are meaningful. Analog is usually thought of in an electrical context; however, mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, and other systems may also convey analog signals.
An analog signal uses some property of the medium to convey the signal's information. For example, an aneroid barometer uses rotary position as the signal to convey pressure information. Electrically, the property most commonly used is voltage followed closely by frequency, current, and charge.
Any information may be conveyed by an analog signal; often such a signal is a measured response to changes in physical phenomena, such as sound, light, temperature, position, or pressure, and is achieved using a transducer.
For example, in sound recording, fluctuations in air pressure (that is to say, sound) strike the diaphragm of a microphone which causes corresponding fluctuations in a voltage or the current in an electric circuit. The voltage or the current is said to be an "analog" of the sound.
Any measured analog signal must theoretically have noise and a finite slew rate. Therefore, both analog and digital systems are subject to limitations in resolution and bandwidth. In practice, as analog systems become more complex, effects such as non-linearity and noise ultimately degrade analog resolution to such extent that the performance of digital systems may surpass it. In analog systems, it is difficult to detect when such degradation occurs. However, in digital systems, degradation can not only be detected but corrected as well.
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