We define analog as a continuous unbroken stream, while digital means it is built from discrete bits.
But, of course, our definition of analog is not accurate. Sound itself is made from bits called cycles per second.
Like the discrete pixels or grains of silver that make up a photograph or the electrons and quarks that formed those pixels and grains, at some level everything in our world is actually formed from bits.
If everything is made from bits does that suggest that the idea of a continuous stream is but a myth?
Perhaps, but then who cares? There’s the metaphysical argument and then there’s the practical. I may be made up of bits but I feel pretty solid.
For purposes of discussion let’s go with everything’s continuous at some level.
Could we instead suggest that analog is the medium that requires no more conversion when recording it? That we ignore the conversion process of magnets and tape or wiggling needles in plastic because these do not further break down the cycles into smaller bits?
If that’s the case I wonder where DSD fits into all this. The fact we can take a DSD stream and inject it directly into an analog power amplifier and get music out the other end has to mean something other than simply categorizing it as digital or analog.
These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.