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Thread: Sweet spot for 16bit resolution ?

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    Sweet spot for 16bit resolution ?

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    Hi I've found plenty of information stating that an average of -18db is optimal for recording in 24bit . Most people will be using this or higher resolution. However I can't find any information relating to 16bit. Do I assume -18dB is similarly optimal or otherwise ? Many thanks

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    The noise floor of 16 bit is quite a bit higher than 24 bit, but it's still pretty decent, so -18dBFS is probably okay. I seem to recall that pro converters in the 16 bit era were often calibrated a little higher, perhaps 0dBVU = -14dBFS. The goal is to get a healthy level without clipping.

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    Yes thanks . So more or less hovering around a similar level as a general recording go-to method . My standalone recorder is fairly primitive but I think this is an important aspect I've not really considered . I'd been pretty much just avoiding clipping

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    Is there a reason you're not recording in 24 bit?

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    Not especially . The recorder itself is 16 bit 44.1 as far as I'm aware . All the other standalone recorders on the market seem to have adopted 24 bit . The only trouble with 8 track is I may have to do a couple of bounces . Really a 12 track would be ideal . They don't make them. Zoom make a 16 but you have to switch between 1-8 then 9-16 modes So you can't actually actively mix all at one time . One set has to be kept in position . That's how I understood the review

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    What is the noise floor of the 16 bit recorder? I.e. if you do a "silent" recording with all gains at minimum, where does the noise sit? -85? -90dB? The theoretical dynamic range is 96dB so if you can get around -90dBfs you are doing pretty well and it is very unlikely that the sources you use and the mic pre amps are that good? Even if the pres were that quiet it is likely you could not get the room quiet enough to take advantage of the fact?

    So, bottom line, even if you kept to the -18dB fs level of 24 bits it is likely the converters would be quieter than everything else.

    Dave.

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    Short answer is I don't what the noise floor is for this recorder . The preamp is internal so will be pretty ordinary quality . As long as I'm recording a signal at an optimal level then that's the best I can expect . My confusion trying to research this was that all the existing information out there about recording levels related to 24 bit because that's more standard these days . So the first question which came to my head was whether it's similar for 16bit . Seems I need to be at the same kind of level even though noise floor is inherently greater in 16 bit against 24 bit

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxman65 View Post
    Short answer is I don't what the noise floor is for this recorder . The preamp is internal so will be pretty ordinary quality . As long as I'm recording a signal at an optimal level then that's the best I can expect . My confusion trying to research this was that all the existing information out there about recording levels related to 24 bit because that's more standard these days . So the first question which came to my head was whether it's similar for 16bit . Seems I need to be at the same kind of level even though noise floor is inherently greater in 16 bit against 24 bit
    May we know the make and model of the recorder? We can then try to find a specification (tho' there are "lies, damned lies and specifications"!) . Finding the noise floor is not difficult. As I said, plug nothing in and zero all pots. Run record for say 30 seconds. Export as wav(?) and insert into a PC and Audacity if you have nothing else should give you an idea.

    Note too that the first generation USB mixers were 16 bit*. I have an early 16bit ZED 10. Such mixers were intended I am sure for band work and the record function a bit of a bonus. The noise level at the Mucky Duck from open mics and a couple of DI'ed instruments is way higher than the -90dB fs noise floor of the mixer so set to peak at -8dBfs or so will give all the dynamic range there is to be had in that situation.

    Then there ARE peeps still using tape! Even with Dolby A (and how many have that?) the DR is likely no beter than 65-70dB. Eleven bits-ish!

    *And they all had an inherent problem, noise spikes but these could be pushed into the noise floor and except for very demanding recording, for which the mixers were not intended, all works fine.

    Dave.

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    As I recall from earlier posts.....and please correct me if I'm wrong.......this OP uses a Tascam DP008ex digital stand-alone recorder. It is indeed a 16 bit unit. He is realizing a possible need to have more tracks. He mentions the Zoom R16 but laments that it displays only 8 tracks at a time while mixing. The Zoom R16 is priced significantly lower than many other stand-alone 16 tracks and can be had for a similar cost as the Tascam 8 track unit he has now. The Zoom is currently $299.99 in Sweetwater. I happen to have the R16 and originally used it to record but now use it as an AI and a control surface........for which it does an excellent job. While using it as a stand-alone you need to only push one button to swap which 8 tracks you can adjust. IMO that wasn't really a big issue and certainly was far better than having to bounce tracks only to wish I could make mix adjustments to those tracks later. Perhaps the OP could sell his Tascam to get a few $$$ towards the purchase of the Zoom.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    Yes I am tempted by the zoom r16. That It's good value for money hadn't escaped my notice. Yes bouncing tracks is really not something I ever look forward to either . I may yet go down that road

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