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Old 15th April 2003
Lives for gear

I would agree about the final mix bit depth. But multitrack, I'm far less sure about there being any worthwhile difference.

Paris is an ideal platform for bit depth comparison, since it's able to accomodate both 16 and 24 bit files in the same session without sonic penalty (unlike Vegas).

Not only have I done back to back tracking passes at both 16 and 24 bits, here's another interesting test I've done.

My Paris system will render tracks to disk contiguously very quickly and en masse. Maybe 6 seconds for a 4 minute file. And since files can rendered at both 16 and 24 bits at will, then using Undo reversed nearly instantly, there is an easy comparison to be made.

I've finished mixes I thought sounded good using 24 bit multitrack files, then simply rendered all of the multitrack files to 16 bits and reprinted the identical mix.

Results? I can't tell which is which on a modern production. Not even. This usually includes some serious plugin use, which is where the supposedly noticeable difference occurs.

Maybe I should do that exact test and find a way to post it online for comparison. The same mix twice at the same mix bit depth, but using 16 vs 24 bits for the multitrack files only. Since I use only Paris for mixing, maybe this is not true in all DAWS. Maybe some other DAWs have a definite bit depth preference for some reason I don't know. Mine does not.

Brian T