Recording, replay and editing principles
In the audio workstation the disk can be thought of as a ‘sound store’ in which no one part has any speciﬁc time relationship to any other part – no section can be said to be ‘before’ another or ‘after’ another. This is the nature of random-or direct-access storage (although some forms of optical disk store data contiguously for all or part of their capacity, although they retain random accessibility). It has led to the use of the somewhat confusing description ‘non-linear recording’, which contrasts with the ‘linear’ recording process that takes place on tape. (To many people, the term ‘non-linear’ means that the audio has been quantised nonlinearly, which is not the case in most professional audio systems.)
A disk may accommodate a number of sound ﬁles of different lengths. It is possible that one ﬁle might be a 10 minute music track whilst another might be a 1 second sound effect. As
many sound ﬁles can be kept in the store as will ﬁt in the space available, although some operating systems have upper limits on the number of individual ﬁles that can be handled by the directory structure. Each sound ﬁle is made up of a number of discrete data blocks and normally the block size will limit the minimum size occupied by a ﬁle since systems do not normally write partial blocks (see below).