The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
My Theory About Prosumer Audio Audio Interfaces
Old 30th June 2006
  #211
Lives for gear
 
John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Whatever happened to DSD? Would that overcome some of these problems? Is anyone even working on a DAW that uses DSD instead of PCM internally?

Just throwing it out there...
Old 30th June 2006
  #212
Lives for gear
 

Personally I don't find any problems in 24-bit recording. I think it's fine.

I still record most music at 44.1 which sounds fine to me. I'll occasionally do 48k and am thinking about experimenting with 96k for a while to see what it sounds like.

Funny thing is ... a lot of this conversation is moot in the end. If you produce a quality product nobody cares what levels you track at or how many steps are in 24-bits.

Having grown up in the late 60's /early 70's I just love to hear music with dynamics in it. Where a sax goes from a mild passing note to a full blast and it doesn't sound compressed to death.

I'm not a classical music fan per se but damn, hearing those orchestras go from soft to "goddamn!" is wonderful. Impact. It hits you in the face and demands attention like the horn section from Earth Wind & Fire did back in the day.

So much of today's music (mine too) is just lacking that. I suppose that's what's popular now.

Lawrence
Old 2nd July 2006
  #213
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Naren

Well, I'm not Dave, but I'll answer anyway.

Yes, use 32 bit float. Continue to record 24 audio bit files. When they are processed in various ways they will take advantage of the 32 bit resolution. As Dave says, having the DSP at 32 bit could only be a good thing. It doesn't negatively affect the 24 bit files in any way if that is your concern. I'm sure this is how I've worked in Cubase before and I think DP as well. Recently I set up Sonar with the same bit profile - recording 24 bits with 32 bit resolution for DSP. Sonar has 64 bit internal res as an option. I turned it back to 32 because I could hear no difference. What internal resolution have you been using? Cubase maxes at 32 so I assume you have been using 24 bit float?

-Naren
Thanks for the advice! Cubase has 16, 24, and 32 float, i've always used 24 bit during recording/mixing and until my final bounce


Quote:
Originally posted by Lawrence

Cubase SX (and Nuendo) work internally at 32-bit float. They also give you the option of actually recording 32-bit float files. I never really got the point of that when using 24-bit converters but it's there as an option.

I suppose it would be near impossible to clip digital 0 when recording that way?

Everything that comes into the mix engine from disk (or live) is converted to 32-bit float until it hits an output bus. It doesn't really come into play until you move a fader or apply dsp though... until then those extra bits are just zeros filling up space. That includes 16-bit files, mp3's dragged into the timeline, Aiff, whatever. Once you add dsp (math) some of those zeros become active until they're truncated (or dithered) to 24-bits at the output bus so you can hear it.

Now it could be useful to render a mix to 32-bit float IF you plan on doing some additional editing in another 32-bit float application like Wavelab. By doing that you will import the mix into Wavelab exactly as was in the daw without any truncation. Wavelab will directly load 32-bit float audio files from disk.

All of your dsp calculations from the 32-bit float daw would still be 100% intact. Problem is ... it still has to be truncated (or dithered with 24-bit dither) before you hear it from the speakers so I'm not sure how helpful that actually is.

I just keep a 24-bit dither (with no noise shaping) strapped across the last slot of the mix bus during mixing and switch it to 16-bit before printing a CD compatible file.
I'm not sure if it's possible to record in 32 bit, but i'm more than content recording in 24. I was under the impression that switching my internal resolution to 32 bit while mixing would give some extra headroom during mixing. Would it? It seems from your post that switching to 32 bit during mixdown would have no effect because those extra bits would be truncated, but don't all our mixes get truncated to an even larger degree when we go from 24 to 16 during the final bounce?
Old 3rd July 2006
  #214
Lives for gear
 
Nordenstam's Avatar
 

There's recording bits, the once that comes out of your sampling system. A fraction or a few of the top bits, the loudest ones, are not in use on most samples. Then comes the real data of interest, from the peak of the waveform to the inherent noise of the signal being sampled. That's something like 16 to 20 bits of real data. The following bits are just noise, either noise from device being sampled or noise from the sampling system itself. The last four bits in a 24 bit sampler are (almost) always noise. Recording at higher bit rates makes no sense, the lower bits is just noise anyway.

Then there's processing bits. Doing most any computing(calculations) will give a result with more numbers than the two digits being computed. Say the original number is 1.23 and you lower the level a fraction, multyplying 0.98. The result is 1.2054 - a number with two more digits than the original. To represent those digits the computers need more numbers. In a typical DAW hosts there is thousands of calculations, each of them add to the lenght of the number string in the same way as the calculation above did. A 24 bit host will soon run out of possible numbers and start chopping off the last digits. Small errors that may not be felt on it's own will add up as processing gets intensive. Thus the need for more processing bits. 32 bit float is good but having more is better, in case the processing manage to create really long numbers. It often does.

Try bouncing a complex project in Sonar with the host running at 32 float and take the same project and bounce it with 64 bit processing. Perhaps there's a difference when you null test the files? (reverse phase on one of the tracks and sum it, the sum should be zero if the signal is the same).


Andreas
Old 3rd July 2006
  #215
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swan
I'm not sure if it's possible to record in 32 bit, but i'm more than content recording in 24. I was under the impression that switching my internal resolution to 32 bit while mixing would give some extra headroom during mixing. Would it? It seems from your post that switching to 32 bit during mixdown would have no effect because those extra bits would be truncated, but don't all our mixes get truncated to an even larger degree when we go from 24 to 16 during the final bounce?
Specifically, truncation refers to lopping off the bits with no dither. You of course will use dither when reducing bit rate (definitely when going down to 16 bits). This more or less retains the sonic value of the higher bit rate. Also, yes, you do get "headroom" (mathematical) by using 32 bit. The numbers will be more accurate even after the reduction in bits.

This is what I would do:

1. Enable 32 bit float internal resolution. This will ensure fewer rounding errors during the intensive DSP that occurs in a DAW (see Lupo's post above). These rounding errors will be cumulative so 32 bit is preferable. All your audio files, though recorded at 24 bit, will subseqently be at 32 bit while within your DAW.

2. Enable dither in Cubase so the 32 bit files will be dithered for the 24 bit playback through your soundcard. (You could actually choose to not use dither here because the truncation from 32 to 24 bit will not likely be audible - but, what the heck, do it anyway.)

3. Record at 24 bit. (I don't know of common soundcards that will record at 32 bit anyway.) As mentioned, these 24 bit recordings will actually exist as 32 bit files within the DAW until playback through your soundcard.

4. Do your mixing (without the fadeout at the end of the song) and then bounce down to a 24 bit 44.1 stereo file. If you don't already have dither enabled, it is probably best to enable it for this bounce.

5. Take that 24 bit stereo mix, open it in Cubase or some kind of mastering software (Wavelab or the like) and apply any mastering (including fades). Or, instead, if you are using a mastering service, send this 24 bit stereo mix to them. (This high res mix and its subequent mastered version are your true archives for the mix.) You can assemble several tracks in order at this point for your CD or do the assembly after the next step.

6. Export the mastered 24 bit mix (definitely using dither at this point) to a 16 bit stereo file for CD compatibility. This is the last thing you should do (except possibly for assembling several 16 bit mixes in sequence for your CD). Apply no DSP of any kind (that includes fadeouts) to that 16 bit dithered mix. (It is possible that you assembled your tracks during the previous step (5) in which case, if you have the appropriate software you can dither the whole load of tracks down at once to burn a Red Book CD image file.) Additionally, you could make MP3s - if you need those - during this stage of the process.

It seems you are immediately bouncing down your mix to 16 bits. I would recommend that you save that reduction to 16 bits only prior to CD burning and just apply it to the 24 bit stereo mix file that was created in step 4 above. That is the only reason for a 16 bit file. You want your archived mixes to be 24 bit stereo files. (Especially so if you were to have something mastered subsequently by a mastering service. They would not want to receive 16 bit files especially if they have fades on them already. It is best to present them with high bit mixes with no fades. Also, if you want to make your own mastering changes later, you can do them to that 24 bit stereo file without going back to the whole mix.)

You probably know most of this already, but I thought it would be best to lay it all out in order. I hope this spate of typing is clear enough to be of value to you or someone else. If anyone has any corrections or additions, please contribute!

-Naren
Old 3rd July 2006
  #216
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupo
Try bouncing a complex project in Sonar with the host running at 32 float and take the same project and bounce it with 64 bit processing. Perhaps there's a difference when you null test the files? (reverse phase on one of the tracks and sum it, the sum should be zero if the signal is the same).

Andreas
Andreas, I assume this last paragraph was meant for me since I am the one who mentioned using Sonar (among other DAWs). I had mentioned that I cannot hear any benefit from using the 64 bit float. But the null test is a good idea. I'll give it a shot one of these days. Thanks.

-Naren
Old 4th July 2006
  #217
Gear Head
 

Naren!

AMAZING!

thanks..i'm totally saving that post and referring to it every time i finish up a mix.

i've been sending remixes to mastering in 16/44.1 with fades, which probably miffed the mastering engineer.

Is there a specific dither you use for 32->24?

i usually dither with waves L2 which has dither settings for going to 16 bit and 24 bit, i suppose i would use the 24 bit setting? is another dither preferred? (i also have the UV22HR).

i'm pretty excited to try my next mix in 32 bit, i mix all ITB, usually at least 40 tracks, and it kills me, some more headroom would be a godsend, let's see how it goes....
Old 4th July 2006
  #218
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swan
Naren!

AMAZING!

thanks..i'm totally saving that post and referring to it every time i finish up a mix.
You're totally welcome. It's good to give a little back to this great forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swan
i've been sending remixes to mastering in 16/44.1 with fades, which probably miffed the mastering engineer.
Depends on the engineer! Some care, and some will just churn out product and not give a damn. I always attend mastering sessions. It occurs to me that you are sending your mixes off somewhere. In that case, you'll want to provide reference tracks to indicate your fades to the masterer. (If you send him 24 bit mixes with the fades already in them, it wouldn't be the end of the world though.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by swan
Is there a specific dither you use for 32->24?

i usually dither with waves L2 which has dither settings for going to 16 bit and 24 bit, i suppose i would use the 24 bit setting? is another dither preferred? (i also have the UV22HR).
Knowing the difference between dither types is beyond my scope. I remember not liking UV22 a decade ago, but I believe it has changed. But back then, I was doing a fair amount of vocals and acoustic guitar music and I could HEAR it. It was all I had (on my Apogee hardware) so I used it anyway. I used the Cubase dither (UV22-HR) fairly recently on a rock project, and didn't have a problem with it though. The Waves dither (IDR?) seems fine to me, too. A lot depends on the music you're doing though. If you are doing classical/acoustic type material with a lot of space in it, the dither becomes more critical. Since you are going through the L2, it would be simpler to use the Waves dither. In that case, be sure to turn off the UV-22 dither in Cubase (!) or you will be dithering twice. When I used Waves, btw, I remember it was set to Type II, Normal. There was a big discussion about this, and that's what we ended up with, but I don't remember why. Currently, I am using Pow-R3.

I say this with the assumption that you are doing pop, rock, rap, R&B or the like. If you are doing acoustic music (a capella, solo piano, acoustic gtr), I don't feel comfortable recommending dither types, and I would advise you to listen to your different options because then you can hear the dither working and see which one you prefer. You should probably listen anyway. You can hear dither, for instance towards the end of a fadeout when the music gets really quiet.

When you are going to 16 bit, you could still go through the L2 - using just its dither function - or try the Cubase dither. If you send your 24 bit mix to a mastering service, they will of course do the dither down to 16 bit, and might use a dither such as Pow-R3 or the Weiss proprietary dither.

BTW, since you are using that L2, don't crush your mix to oblivion before sending it to a mastering service. That will limit their options. Let them do the crushing. ;-) But I'm sure you knew that already. Just had to mention it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swan
i'm pretty excited to try my next mix in 32 bit, i mix all ITB, usually at least 40 tracks, and it kills me, some more headroom would be a godsend, let's see how it goes....
Ha, the funny thing is you may not hear a huge difference. But it has been stated many times (and experience confirms this for me) that quality in audio is attained by the cumulative effect of many different, small things such as carefully tuning your guitar, proper gain staging, good gear, etc., and the things we have discussed here. They all add up in the end. Oh, and remember to keep your signals at a reasonable level going in to the computer and while going from plug to plug as mentioned in this thread.

-Naren
Old 4th July 2006
  #219
The Distressor's "daddy"
 
Dave Derr's Avatar
 

Mastering Engineers

Usually, I believe most mastering engineers get either 16 bit 44.1KHz mixes, or analog two track that is to be transfered. So no worries for you Swan! Doing the fades is usually done before mastering unless the producer/engineer has clearly planned it out, and/or plans to attend the mastering session. Some people spend hours on a fade for a song, and wouldn't think of leaving it up to a mastering guy. Also, remember mastering sessions are often $200 - 500/hr at major houses, so agonizing over fades there, can be really really expensive.

Things are changing though, and there are many exceptions!
Old 5th July 2006
  #220
Gear Nut
 

Swan, I stand by what I said in the earlier post.

Any decent mastering engineer given a choice will tell you to submit your mixes in the highest resolution at which you are working. 24 bit is generally preferred. This is especially so when the mastering house is working an all-digital chain (and many do). Sending a dithered 16 bit file to a digital mastering house would be unfortunate considering your options. Admittedly, if they are immediately going to analog in their mastering chain, then it is not as critical - but why send them 16 bit material when you can send 24? Of course, they will take your 16 bit files and probably get good results, but there is no need for you to skimp this way.

So, I humbly submit that you should send a CD-R data disc with 24 bit stereo wave files.

It should also be remembered that DVD audio and SACD are representative of emerging consumer formats which are 24 bit at the end stage.

Bob Katz participates on this forum frequently. Since he is always willing to share info with the unwashed masses, I looked at his website for enlightenment. Please check out the following page where he recommends keeping your resolution high until the very end, and extolls the virtues of 24 bit audio. There is a lot of good info there for you as well, so read the whole page if you have time:

http://www.digido.com/portal/pmodule...er_page_id=38/

Here are some more links:

http://www.masteringcentral.com/
(See the section halfway down entitled, "Tips to Create Good Mixes For Optimal Mastering.")

http://www.terranovamastering.com/mastering/index.html
(Notice how they say "24 bit... preferred.")

Also:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mastering-forum/73742-mastering-cd-help.html

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/ind...ing#msg_125989

Etc.

This post is getting long. I'll address fades in a subsequent post.

-Naren
Old 5th July 2006
  #221
Gear Nut
 

Swan: It is quite common to leave fades to the mastering house. Either you would attend the session or provide reference mixes for the engineer. The following link debates the merits of both. I noticed that Chris Athens ("Masterer") of Sterling Sound and Bob Katz both provide reasons for leaving the fades for the masterer and providing a reference mix. Believe me, it is no big deal for them to match your fades. However, Brad Blackwood mentions that most people do indeed do their fades during the mix, and of course that is obviously true.

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showt...&highlight=mix

Note, however, that I said it wouldn't be that big of a deal if you did the fades yourself. This would be a situation where 24 bit would again be preferable - much better than having the mastering engineer perform DSP on a 16 bit dithered fade. BTW, I don't know of anybody who spends hours on a fade when mixes are typically done in one or two days. But then there are a lot of people I don't know, and I'm sure Dave Derr is better connected than I! Also, I think his suggestion of doing the fades on the mix is probably the practical one and cheaper also if you are paying by the hour (although many masterers charge a fixed rate per project).

Also if you are home-mastering and you have, say, two songs you want to match in apparent loudness, then you can use the 24 bit stereo mixes to perform the operation. This is much better than performing the DSP on dithered 16 bit files, and is more convenient than bringing up the whole mix again. In fact, there is no guarantee that you will be able to bring up your mix in the future. Your computer, software, and plug ins may have changed, and there may be incompatibilities with your old mixes. For instance, one guy here on Gearslutz was complaining that he could not bring up his old mixes on his new installation of Logic. And do you really want to go back to your original multitrack mix sessions when you are assembling your "Best Of" portfolio in two or three years time and need to do some EQ and level matching?

We spent a lot of time on this thread discussing how to get the most bit resolution (to the nth degree!) out of A/D convertors and DAWs. I think that to subsequently send in 16 bit source files to a mastering service (where it will likely undergo additional DSP) seems to negate some of that benefit, and contradict the philosophy of optimal sound practices that was under discussion. So, go 24! Okay I'm getting tired of hearing myself think and I've typed another long post; I'm out for now.

-Naren
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
thejook / So much gear, so little time
15
Ziggy!! / So much gear, so little time
12
DeadPoet / So much gear, so little time
1

Forum Jump
Forum Jump