All recording devices, both analog and digital, have traits that make them susceptible to noise. Noise can be random or white noise with no coherence, or coherent noise introduced by the device's mechanism or processing algorithms.
In electronic recording devices, a major form of noise is hiss caused by random electrons that, heavily influenced by heat, stray from their designated path. These stray electrons influence the voltage of the output signal and thus create detectable noise.
In the case of photographic film and magnetic tape, noise (both visible and audible) is introduced due to the grain structure of the medium. In photographic film, the size of the grains in the film determines the film's sensitivity, more sensitive film having larger sized grains. In magnetic tape, the larger the grains of the magnetic particles (usually ferric oxide or magnetite), the more prone the medium is to noise.
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