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Recording, 16 bit or 24?
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Jordan15
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#1
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
  #1
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Recording, 16 bit or 24?

Hey guys, few questions for you regarding recording in 16 vs 24..

1. If I have 16 bit drum samples in my DAW, do I record the analog synth at 16 bit? or 24? and vice versa (most my samples are 24bit)

2. If I have a 16/12bit bit hardware sampler, do I record the sampler at 16 or 24? if I'm using 24 bit drum samples, Or is there no difference (since the sampler is 16 bit)?

3. If I ever have a vocal at say 24bit, but my sampler/samples are 16 bit should I make the vocals 16 bit too?

4. If all the audio tracks are 16 bit, can I bounce the final at 24bit? and should I?

Thanks
#2
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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As I use analogue mixing, I record everything at 24/96, the highest settings possible on my equipment. No matter what the source is, the recording end has to be the highest quality that I can afford.

Say I've got some 12-bit samples. Before they hit the recording machine, they are an analogue signal, so I need to capture it with the best resolution I can. The recording medium should be as transparent as possible. Everything that colours the sound is for an effect and is done before the final recording.
#3
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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Quote:
1. If I have 16 bit drum samples in my DAW, do I record the analog synth at 16 bit? or 24? and vice versa (most my samples are 24bit)
If you're recording an analog source, recording at the highest reasonable resolution (24-bit in this case) is always advisable. If you're working in a DAW, you're probably mixing and processing at 32-bit or 64-bit resolution anyway, so the bit depth of individual samples/tracks is pretty much irrelevant.

Quote:
2. If I have a 16/12bit bit hardware sampler, do I record the sampler at 16 or 24? if I'm using 24 bit drum samples, Or is there no difference (since the sampler is 16 bit)?
Do you mean recording the output of the sampler into the DAW? If a 16/12-bit sampler's output is converted to analog, and then that output is going into the DAW and being re-converted to digital, then the same thing as in question 1 applies. Highest resolution is good.

Quote:
3. If I ever have a vocal at say 24bit, but my sampler/samples are 16 bit should I make the vocals 16 bit too?
Do you mean you're recording a vocal directly from the microphone into the DAW, and you're recording 16-bit samples from a sampler into the DAW? In that case, if everything that hits the DAW is analog and being converted to digital at the computer, then same thing still applies: record at the best quality you have available.

Quote:
4. If all the audio tracks are 16 bit, can I bounce the final at 24bit? and should I?
You can. It won't hurt anything to do so; I'm not sure about the empirical detail of whether or why it would make an audible difference.
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12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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generally, use 24bit on anything that supports it. Regardless of what your sampler can record/playback at, I'd still record on your interface at something like 24/96. Some people would say the khz part doesn't even matter as much compared to the bits. You really do want 24bit if your hardware supports it.
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12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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The amount of bits determines only the level of the noise.
With 16 bit recordings you can have noise 90dB lower than the signal itself.
With 24 bit recordings you can have noise 120dB lower than the signal itself.
Key here is that the signal itself must have lower noise levels than the recorder you use, if not than the signal itself is the bottleneck and using more bits will not make a difference. If you use analogue equipment this noise level is very likely a lot higher than the -90dBfs of 16 bit.
24bit recording is useful if you do not know beforehand the dynamic range of the signal you want to record. For example when recording a life band/orchestra. But when recording analogue synthesizers, witch have a known maximum dynamic range, it does not add any benefits.

That was the theory now the practical.
The DAW uses 32 bit floating point, so just set it to that and forget about it.
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#6
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xero View Post
generally, use 24bit on anything that supports it. Regardless of what your sampler can record/playback at, I'd still record on your interface at something like 24/96. Some people would say the khz part doesn't even matter as much compared to the bits. You really do want 24bit if your hardware supports it.
Good advice for sure.

Also if your retracking stuff make sure to dither your output.

I use the airwindows 24 bit dither when I track my ITB stems through my tube channel strip.

Trust me, it really helps.

Bob Ohlson mentioned it, much prefer it the way he suggested utilizing dither.
#7
30th May 2013
Old 30th May 2013
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What you you do with 16 bit wave files? Import to a 16 bit session, or 24 bit?
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