From the Latin verb audire, which means "to hear and to listen."
Sound comes from vibrating air molecules and can sometimes be felt. A great deal of human communication is done with sounds. Auditory sense play an important part of perception, particularly relating to language, art and education. Information technology is well suited to handle audio data.
It is important to note that humans do not hear many of the available spectrum of sounds, while dogs and birds can hear a much wider selection. It is by this lack of sound awareness that MP3 audio compression in computers functions, by cutting out sounds we do not hear.
This type of compression can decrease overall listening quality as vibrations often interact with each other once leaving a speaker providing a better audio experience. This is why many concert halls are shaped the way they are and why some building materials are better for live performance venues.
To get the best from digital audio in your home, you need good audio hardware.
Investing in a good pair of headphones or speakers goes a long way, as they can make a significant difference in the quality of your compact discs and other high-quality audio sources (FLAC, Digital Audio Tape, etc). Also, some higher-end audio equipment (24-bit audio 96 khz audio) requires speakers also with a better range and quality. Most compact disks and sound cards stop at 16 bit, 44 khz wave-lengths. The depth and quality of sound in with this type of audio can only be heard with high-quality speakers and headphones so be prepared to invest some money if you go into this sound range.
Other audio includes 3-dimensional audio available with Dolby 5.1 surround sound and QSound, a high-frequency audio that tricks your ears into thinking a noise is behind you. Both of these require multiple or good-quality speakers.
Many instruments, speakers, and headphones are all arriving with purely digital interface. One of the benefits of this process is that there is absolutely NO line noise or the hissing sound when you place your speaker wire close to an electrical outlet or exposed electrical wire. This is an enormous problem in major live performances with hundreds of wires laying all atop one another.
Many analogue sound sources still have a much "warmer" quality and older recordings are mixed specifically for analogue (such as vinyl) and sound awkward from digital sources.