An analog-to-digital converter (abbreviated ADC, A/D or A to D) is a device that converts the input continuous physical quantity to a digital number that represents the quantity's amplitude. The conversion involves quantization of the input, so it introduces a small amount of error. The inverse operation is performed by a digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Instead of doing a single conversion, an ADC often performs the conversions ("samples" the input) periodically. The result is a sequence of digital values that have converted a continuous-time and continuous-amplitude analog signal to a discrete-time and discrete-amplitude digital signal.
If you are working on a DAW and using analogue gear this is the most essential link in your studio so planning your signal path and working routine is essential to ensure you can include the best possible converters in your system.
Multichannel Audio Digital Interface (MADI) or AES10 is an Audio Engineering Society (AES) standard electronic communications protocol that defines the data format and electrical characteristics of an interface that carries multiple channels of digital audio. The AES first documented the MADI standard in AES10-1991, and updated it in AES10-2003 and AES10-2008. The MADI standard includes a bit-level description and has features in common with the two-channel format of AES3. It supports serial digital transmission over coaxial cable or fibre-optic lines of 28, 56, or 64 channels; and sampling rates of up to 96 kHz with resolution of up to 24 bits per channel. Like AES3 or ADAT it is a Uni-directional interface (one sender and one receiver).
Dante (Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet) is a combination of software, hardware, and network protocols that deliver uncompressed, multi-channel, low-latency digital audio over a standard Ethernet network using Layer 3 IP packets. Developed in 2006 by a Sydney-based company named Audinate, Dante builds and improves on previous audio over Ethernet technologies, such as CobraNet and EtherSound.
Like most other audio over Ethernet technologies, Dante is primarily for professional, commercial applications. Most often, it is used in applications where a large number of audio channels must be transmitted over relatively long distances or to multiple locations.
Digital audio provides several advantages over traditional analog audio distribution. Audio transmitted over analog cables can be adversely affected by signal degradation due to electromagnetic interference, high-frequency attenuation, and voltage drop over long cable runs. Thanks to digital multiplexing, the cabling requirements for digital audio distribution are almost always reduced when compared to analog audio. Dante also provides specific advantages over first-generation audio over Ethernet technologies, such as CobraNet and EtherSound. Technological advancements include native gigabit support, higher channel count, lower latency, and automatic configuration.