Browse Definitions:

analog-to-digital conversion (ADC)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Digital transformation strategy guide: From e-fax to AI

Analog-to-digital conversion is an electronic process in which a continuously variable (analog) signal is changed, without altering its essential content, into a multi-level (digital) signal.

The input to an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) consists of a voltage that varies among a theoretically infinite number of values. Examples are sine waves, the waveforms representing human speech, and the signals from a conventional television camera. The output of the ADC, in contrast, has defined levels or states. The number of states is almost always a power of two -- that is, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. The simplest digital signals have only two states, and are called binary. All whole numbers can be represented in binary form as strings of ones and zeros.

Digital signals propagate more efficiently than analog signals, largely because digital impulses, which are well-defined and orderly, are easier for electronic circuits to distinguish from noise, which is chaotic. This is the chief advantage of digital modes in communications. Computers "talk" and "think" in terms of binary digital data; while a microprocessor can analyze analog data, it must be converted into digital form for the computer to make sense of it.

A typical telephone modem makes use of an ADC to convert the incoming audio from a twisted-pair line into signals the computer can understand. In a digital signal processing system, an ADC is required if the signal input is analog.

This was last updated in April 2005

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

what is the Single Slope & Dual Slope Integration Methods and the difference between them ?
what is the Single Slope & Dual Slope Integration Methods and defference between them ?


File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...




  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

  • all-flash array (AFA)

    An all-flash array (AFA), also known as a solid-state storage disk system, is an external storage array that uses only flash ...

  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.