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16 bits or 24 bits ?

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Postby drdeft » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:07 am

Hi all !

I just want to know if you are working with 16 or 24 bits .. 44khz or 96khz ?

Is it really important for final quality ?
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Postby Mad_EP » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:21 am

It depends - for recording live instruments, etc ... always go for the highest bit depth/sample rate you can.

For electronic/sample-based music it is a bit more variable. Say one primarily samples from CDs and doesn't use any soft synths or effects... then 16-bit/44.1 is fine. However, even using those same CD samples (which would be at 16/44.1), once you add any VSTs to the signal path, it is better to go up to 24-bit for a higher definition of the changes made to the sound.

I use 24-bit, but I admit I usually still stay at 44.1.
Last edited by Mad_EP on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby futures_untold » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:37 am

The answer lies in the ability of the bit rate selected to describe the audio you hear in naughts and ones.

Imagine a language with only 16 letters from which to create words. Surely a language with 24 letters will allow for more nuance when describing the world and our experiences of it?

24bit encoding gives the producer longer word lengths with which to describe audio.

Even when using VSTs and samples that are not 24bit, your computer/software/soundcard will interpolate the empty points between each sample in the audio stream as it upsamples to 24bit, in theory giving a smoother sound.

That's my interpretation of it, although it may not be entirely accurate! Image

Edit: Okay, this should explain it better than I can ---> http://www.tweakheadz.com/16_vs_24_bit_audio.htm
Last edited by futures_untold on Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby slacknote » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:55 am

futures_untold wrote:Imagine a language with only 16 letters from which to create words. Surely a language with 24 letters will allow for more nuance when describing the world and our experiences of it?


So does that mean that Chinese literature is better than English?
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Postby slacknote » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:58 am

drdeft wrote:Hi all !

I just want to know if you are working with 16 or 24 bits .. 44khz or 96khz ?

Is it really important for final quality ?


As long as you don't understand the difference between sample and bit rate, and even in most cases when you do, the answer is 'no'.

There are numerous cds made in the 80s and even before that, that will put any of my own mixes to shame.
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Postby futures_untold » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:01 pm

slacknote wrote:
futures_untold wrote:Imagine a language with only 16 letters from which to create words. Surely a language with 24 letters will allow for more nuance when describing the world and our experiences of it?


So does that mean that Chinese literature is better than English?


futures_untold wrote:That's my interpretation of it, although it may not be entirely accurate!
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Postby slacknote » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:11 pm

futures_untold wrote:
slacknote wrote:
futures_untold wrote:Imagine a language with only 16 letters from which to create words. Surely a language with 24 letters will allow for more nuance when describing the world and our experiences of it?


So does that mean that Chinese literature is better than English?


futures_untold wrote:That's my interpretation of it, although it may not be entirely accurate!


It's actually pretty simple: the more bits you have the greater the possible difference between quiet and loud in your tracks.
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Postby Bazzle09 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:39 pm

futures_untold wrote:
Imagine a language with only 16 letters from which to create words. Surely a language with 24 letters will allow for more nuance when describing the world and our experiences of it?



Why aren't you teaching professionally yet man. :u:
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Postby 86. » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:38 pm

chinese literature am better than english literature
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Postby slacknote » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:39 pm

Bazzle09 wrote:Why aren't you teaching professionally yet man. :u:

Because I said 'bit rate' and the pros will be so irked, like it says in this link:
http://www.tweakheadz.com/16_vs_24_bit_audio.htm
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Postby macc » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:13 pm

slacknote wrote:It's actually pretty simple: the more bits you have the greater the possible difference between quiet and loud in your tracks.


:z:

futures_untold wrote:Even when using VSTs and samples that are not 24k, your computer/software/soundcard will interpolate the empty points between each sample in the audio stream as it upsamples to 24kbit, in theory giving a smoother sound.


Be careful here as you're mixing terms/axes and confusing things a bit.

There are no 'empty points between each sample' when you're talking about bit depth, as you are there. I know you're referring to sample rate, but talking about 24 bit. Then again you're using 24kbit, which doesn't really mean anything at all in this conversation, unless we're talking the worst mp3s ever :D .

To separate and clarify;

In terms of bit depth, the computer will populate the new, empty bits (y axis, essentially) with zeroes when changing a 16-bit sample to 24-bit. This does not ‘give a smoother sound’. It makes no difference whatsoever to the sound at that point. What it does do is enable subsequent calculations/processing to be done with a lower noise floor, ie more accurately. It doesn’t give you anything back, that’s already lost. It just helps to stop things getting more f#cked up when you process further.

For example, if you get a great 24-bit drum loop, resample it at 8-bit, and then resample that at 24-bit, you don’t get the initial drum loop back. You have an 8-bit sounding version, but at 24-bit resolution. This principle is one reason why most plugins work at a higher internal resolution than the native resolution, it reduces the noise floor for that stage of processing.

When it comes to sample rate, it’s not dissimilar when over/upsampling – here the gaps between samples are filled with zeroes, and it doesn’t do anything inherently to the sound. Loads of higher frequencies that were lost at 44.1kHz don’t come flooding back. But computers don’t do this by default, they work at a native/host sample rate and any upsampling etc is handled internally by plugins (when a plugin upsamples). The purpose is much the same as with the bit depth case, better accuracy, but in this case it matters more at the high end of the spectrum, be it for the purpose of HF decramping in eqs, or for better compression response/handling etc. Point being it still comes down to the native sample rate before being passed back to the host, just with potentially less inaccurate results.


All this bollocks is kind of missing the point of the OP’s question though… :D
Perrrrrrrsonally I feel that if you work 100% in the box, unless you’re going to DVD or another hi-res output then it is better to avoid any sample rate conversion and work at 24/44.1. I’m just a big one for avoiding any unnecessary sample rate conversions, cos it’s a damaging process unless you use the absolute premium SRC ( = £££££).

If you’re recording real stuff a lot then you should experiment and find out what sounds best. Bigger numbers don’t necessarily mean better performance. A cheap soundcard with high jitter will not sound any better at 96kHz, it will be even more wobbly and less accurate on a per sample basis. A well-designed, high quality convertor will sound better at 44.1 than a cheap one at 96kHz, despite what the numbers say. Accuracy is equally (if not more) important as number of samples taken, ie . Therefore experiment and see what works best for you with your equipment.

Anyway, back to work…

:)
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Postby futures_untold » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:20 pm

Thanks Macc. Yeah upon rereading my post, I can see it isn't accurate at all. Shout out to Slacknote for pointing that out.

Futures quasi-knowledge in action haha. :mrgreen:

I need to go away and revise! ;) (starting with that link I post maybe> :))

Peace
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Postby macc » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:41 pm

Sorry being pedantic as ever - it was a good post but you know what I'm like :oops:
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Postby futures_untold » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:50 pm

macc wrote:Sorry being pedantic as ever - it was a good post but you know what I'm like :oops:


It's all good! Imgine a heart surgeon with quasi-knowledge during an operation...

Being pedantic in our knowledge and understanding of things is how we achieve better results in life.

Or something :6:
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Postby slacknote » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:52 pm

futures_untold wrote:
macc wrote:Sorry being pedantic as ever - it was a good post but you know what I'm like :oops:


It's all good! Imgine a heart surgeon with quasi-knowledge during an operation...

Being pedantic in our knowledge and understanding of things is how we achieve better results in life.

Or something :6:


That made me smile!
Big up for being such a good sport.
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Postby futures_untold » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:01 pm

slacknote wrote:
futures_untold wrote:
macc wrote:Sorry being pedantic as ever - it was a good post but you know what I'm like :oops:


It's all good! Imgine a heart surgeon with quasi-knowledge during an operation...

Being pedantic in our knowledge and understanding of things is how we achieve better results in life.

Or something :6:


That made me smile!
Big up for being such a good sport.


I recently read a hefty chapter on sampling and another on bit depths. But I haven't spent enough time reading about this stuff and actually using the knowledge in a practical setting to have fully internalised what everything means!

and there's so much to learn about music tech! electronics, digital + analogue, the internal workins of effects, sound design, synthesis types etc etc Arrg! :mrgreen:

To the OP, have ya sussed whether you want to use 16bit or 24bit yet???
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Postby macc » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:41 pm

USE 24/44.1 AND GET ON WITH MAKING TUNES

:6:
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Postby Depone » Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:57 pm

macc wrote:USE 24/44.1 AND GET ON WITH MAKING TUNES

:6:

:z:

Still, it does help to have the technical knowledge.
Large ups macc again!
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Postby slacknote » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:01 pm

macc wrote:USE 24/44.1 AND GET ON WITH MAKING TUNES:6:

:e:

One question though: will you sound card strap a different anti aliasing filter across the input when you switch to another sampling frequency?
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Postby futures_untold » Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:03 pm

macc wrote:USE 24/44.1 AND GET ON WITH MAKING TUNES

:6:

Male pms??? :o

:lol:
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