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Discrete

Constituting a separate thing, with unconnected distinct parts. In the world of audio, discrete is generally used to signify separate components. This may on the level of describing the system, where one might refer to the mixer and recorder as discrete from one another, but usually this term is used at the electronic component level. In a mic preamp, for example, discrete components is understood to specifically mean that no IC‘s are used. Each element of the preamp is a separate transistor (or tube) stage with its associated discrete components (capacitors, resistors, etc.). Conventional wisdom suggests that discrete designs are better, but like anything else in modern electronics this really depends on a number of other factors. All other things being equal discrete designs do give the designer more flexibility, which can obviously yield favorable results.

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