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Thread: Resolution of sound decreases by pulling down faders .....is there any such concept ?

  1. #81
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    Was OP talking about the channel slider in the DAW or the pre-amp pot on the interface?
    If it's the former - as has been said several times - it doesn't matter.
    If it's the latter, turning down his pre-amp would affect his signal's noise floor, wouldn't it?

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    Yes and no. Chances are, as you turn down the preamp level on the interface, you will be turning down the self noise of the preamp. It will bring the peaks closer to the digital noise floor, but at 24 bit, it is so low that it isn't a practical problem.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    "Things are much worse in analog."

    It ultimately depends on the preamp and exactly where in the path the worst of its noise is injected. Some have a baseline noise level that seems to come after the gain element. Others the noise is either before or in the gain stage. In the former, more gain would mean less noise, in the latter it's kind of the opposite. You can't usually know until you plug something in and try it. In most real world situations, it's a bit of both, and you have to find the best balance.

    All that said, I don't often bother with analog gain, and it's not really a problem because the noise in the source is usually louder enough to make the whole thing moot, and in most mixes the noise is masked sufficiently to not be an issue. But then, I started on cassette tape, so my tolerance for a little hiss is probably greater than some.

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    When we listen to anything but dueling Pippers on nearfields, we can get 10-percent distortion. But that has nothing to do with the resolution. You loose resolution from overcoming the motors resistance to movement. Overprinting to tape, generally, increases the resolution if you have usable headroom. Small signal is a reduction of resolution. As we record digital tracks closer and closer to hospital flatline, what is it we can expect to do with them ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by garww View Post
    When we listen to anything but dueling Pippers on nearfields, we can get 10-percent distortion. But that has nothing to do with the resolution. You loose resolution from overcoming the motors resistance to movement. Overprinting to tape, generally, increases the resolution if you have usable headroom. Small signal is a reduction of resolution. As we record digital tracks closer and closer to hospital flatline, what is it we can expect to do with them ?
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 9 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashcat_lt
    It's dynamic range, which is the only real meaningful definition of the term "audio resolution".

    Gotta respectfully disagree. In digital audio, resolution is largely based on the bit depth. To a small extent it can also be based on sample rates, but that has mostly to do with Nyquist level frequency limits and the "stretch" if you will, of the limits of a reconstruction filter slope. Which is not even really the point. The simple observation by many people is that plugins often sound better at certain sample rates. The big tradeoff with sample rates is drive space and overall processing power.

    Bit depth is easier on both, and often used as a synonym of resolution with PCM audio.

    In theory, 16 bit fixed point provides 96 dB range. This is better than an Ampex or Studer. With a super clean system and good dithering practice the range can be extended to around 108 dB. This would be equivalent to the theoretical range of 18 bit. At 20 bits you have 120 dB range. And a physical barrier at the thermal limit. Nothing we can make can surpass this range.

    And yet we have converters that can record in typically 16 or 24 bit. Why would we need the resolution of 24 bits when the range is outside the thermal limit? There is more going on than dynamic range, perhaps.

    Add to that the ADC/DAC processes typically ONLY operate at 16 or 24 fixed bit depths. This is different than processing.

    I can get a 16 bit mix going with a bunch of compression, some reverb, maybe some EQ or M/S processing or whatever, and throw a dither plugin on the 2 buss. We know that quantization errors in 16 bit (or any bit depth for that matter) cause distortion, and dither kills the distortion but adds noise. But when I toggle the dither on and off, I can't hear any noise or distortion at either setting. What I can hear is the snare. With dither on, it sounds full and I can hear the whole reverb tail. It has its own distinct place in the mix. As does everything else. When I bypass the dither, half the decay of the snare is gone. The stereo image collapses. Things sound less distinct and more like cardboard. This is the onset of harsh digital crap from artifacts and the only difference is a plugin at the end of the chain that you barely have to pay attention to.

    It's been described as laziness to avoid it. The Pro Tools manual I have doesn't help either. It says don't dither 24 bit tracks. What it doesn't say is that you might not be able to notice for a while, but the artifacts left behind could stack up after multiple processes and come back to bite you in the ass.

    At the extreme end of the scale you have MP3's that have been invaded by the swarming space goblins. Same problem, left unchecked through multiple stages. The sonic decimation remix.

    A DAW will run its internal processes at higher resolution to both the source and target formats for processing. Typically 32 bit float, but could also be 48 bit fixed, like Pro Tools HD systems before version 10, or 64 bit double precision as is becoming more popular now. This helps a lot with applying gain changes. If all you do in a DAW mix engine is change a level, you're forcing the audio to be requantized. 32 bit float doesn't matter so much, it's basically the same as 24 fixed, but with 8 bits that can scale the resolution up or down as needed for volume changes. If the change in volume is precisely 1 bit or 6 dB, dither isn't necessary because the samples will line up in the same spot. No quantization error. Anything else will cause problems unless your DAC can work with 32 bit float.

    Add to that any plugins you might be running will probably not be using a floating point system for processing as it becomes difficult to impliment. So they might change the incoming signal to 64 bit fixed on the fly. When it's done, dither should be applied when it goes back to the mix engine. It just happens (or not), they don't tell you. It's just that some plugins sound better than others.

    If I want I can quantize Pi to an interger value of 3. Couldn't possibly affect the circumference of a circle, could it?

    Data resolution from bit depth is real, and it has a real effect on the processing capability of your audio. It's EASY to have errors in the math downstream and while in any practical sense the dynamic range is still governed by the thermal limits, there is just more going on than dynamic range. I've never heard of a 20 bit fixed point mix engine, but that's the practical limit of dynamic range we have to deal with.

    There's a reason.

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    I disagree that you're actually disagreeing with me.

    I do think that some of that information is old, that most decent plugs nowadays run floating point just like the DAWs that host them, but that's kind of an ancillary point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashcat_lt View Post
    I disagree that you're actually disagreeing with me.
    Well we've seen popcorn in this thread but no beer. That's kind of sad, really.

    Cheers.

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    If resolution is largely based on bit depth, and bit depth is linked to dynamic range, then you are actually agreeing with him.

    Sometimes plugs will sound better at higher sample rates because of of things like pitch shifting and time stretching, which manipulate the speed of, or the number of samples. So more samples will help in that regard. Either way, the audio ends up truncated post pricessing.
    Jay Walsh
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farview
    If resolution is largely based on bit depth, and bit depth is linked to dynamic range, then you are actually agreeing with him.

    Sometimes plugs will sound better at higher sample rates because of of things like pitch shifting and time stretching, which manipulate the speed of, or the number of samples. So more samples will help in that regard. Either way, the audio ends up truncated post pricessing.

    Sometimes plugs will sound better at higher sample rates because of attention to detail in the code. Could be that if they're written to work at 96kHz or whatever then you're eliminating an extra scaling factor by running that rate. Above that you hit a wall of diminishing returns. I'm inclined to think of 192 kHz rates as marketing fluff that does more harm than good.

    Given a 20 bit practical limit of dynamic range and real world benefits of higher level processing, I'd say there's more going on with resolution than simply dynamic range.

    You say you wanna resolution, well, you know...

    (ba-oom shoo be doo wap, ba-oom shoo be doo wap)

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