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Digital sampling
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Digital sampling

Digital sampling is the recording, playback, looping and editing of sound in a musical context using a computer to convert the sound into a series of numbers representing the measurement of the amplitude of the sound. The measurement or "sample" is taken at a regular interval.

For example, CD quality audio is sampled at a frequency of 44100 times per second. With one sample for each stereo channel. Each sample is 16-bits which can represent 2^16 = 65536 unique amplitude values for that point in time.

The highest frequency in the original sound that can be represented by the samples at a given sample rate without a kind of distortion known as aliasing is limited to half the sampling rate. See Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem.

See also: Sampler (musical instrument).