32 Bit Integer Recording Resolution Anyone ?

PDP

There once was a note
Steinberg has recently released an affordable line of Interfaces (the UR - C series) that can record in 32 bit Integer bit depth. I currently record in 32 bit floating point. 32 bit Integer to my understanding is a different resolution. I have read that it is overkill because most Microphones and preamps don't have the clarity to take advantage of that bit resolution anyway. Is anyone recording in real 32bit, or want to weigh in on enlightening me on this topic ? Also Steinberg recommends only using Cubase 10.5 to take advantage of the true 32bit depth recording capability.
 

bouldersoundguy

Well-known member
It just means the digital noise floor is substantially lower than 24 bit integer, which is already pretty darn low. I'd say it's at the point where there's not much more meaningful improvement to be had. A 32 bit file is going to take up more space and more read/write bandwidth (though those are fairly cheap and available).
 

PDP

There once was a note
It just means the digital noise floor is substantially lower than 24 bit integer, which is already pretty darn low. I'd say it's at the point where there's not much more meaningful improvement to be had. A 32 bit file is going to take up more space and more read/write bandwidth (though those are fairly cheap and available).

Right, and the article I read was saying the noise floor on analogue gear doesn't go that low anyway. Thanks. So I'm not running out to buy a new interface.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
The noise floor of 24 bit recording is 144dB. Now, I have read reviews of hundreds of AIs and similar systems in the last 15 years and I cannot recall any getting more than a dB or two better than 120dB?

The noise output of the ubiquitous NE5532 (a common but very good IC) configured as a unity gain UNbalanced input is about -120dBu. Configured as a BALanced input it will be some 14dB noisier. Later, MUCH more expensive op amps will only improve that by a dB or two.

It is very difficult to make a balanced line input AS quiet as an unbalanced one.

I understand there are very good reasons for using 32 bits INTERNALLY but for interfacing with the real world, even 24 bits is an overkill.

Dave.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
Thank you Dave

You are very welcome. BTW I would not like to give the impression that we should not USE 24 bits! Definitely should as the extra 'legroom' makes digital recording so easy. We no longer have to worry about cracking up close to 0dBfs and can more less forget about 'fader riding'.

This is often hard for the newb to understand, especially if they come from a tape recording background. (I did but I larned, eventually!)

Dave.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I'm sure there's a really good reason for having an interface that can use 32 bits. Its the same reason to move to 384kHz sample rates. Because we CAN, and because now you will need to buy all new gear to upgrade to the new spec.

I'm sure there are at least 27 people on the planet who can slightly detect an improvement in a blind AB comparison. Its like a racing driver who can feel the difference in a 1/4 degree change in the front wing angle and improves his lap time by .01 seconds. Most of us couldn't feel that difference.

For 99.9999% if the population, its meaningless.
 

ecc83

Well-known member
I'm sure there's a really good reason for having an interface that can use 32 bits. Its the same reason to move to 384kHz sample rates. Because we CAN, and because now you will need to buy all new gear to upgrade to the new spec.

I'm sure there are at least 27 people on the planet who can slightly detect an improvement in a blind AB comparison. Its like a racing driver who can feel the difference in a 1/4 degree change in the front wing angle and improves his lap time by .01 seconds. Most of us couldn't feel that difference.

For 99.9999% if the population, its meaningless.

Yeah, its like triple glazing. They have just about saturated the market with two sheets of glass now they are trying to convince us we need three!

Dave.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
It might be slightly more efficient in the processor/memory part since it's likely all the bits being moved around are 32-bit addressable. I would guess they are using a different chip than used on 24-bit.

Is there a headroom benefit like 32-bit float has? That's [32-bit float feature] what has folks in the field recording area excited about some of the new field recorders, but it's rarely an issue in any home recording situation, assuming you set your levels reasonably to start. Any transient that might exceed a 24-bit fixed capability probably clipped the preamp or distorted at the mic, and you can just do another take, anyway...
 

ecc83

Well-known member
It might be slightly more efficient in the processor/memory part since it's likely all the bits being moved around are 32-bit addressable. I would guess they are using a different chip than used on 24-bit.

Is there a headroom benefit like 32-bit float has? That's [32-bit float feature] what has folks in the field recording area excited about some of the new field recorders, but it's rarely an issue in any home recording situation, assuming you set your levels reasonably to start. Any transient that might exceed a 24-bit fixed capability probably clipped the preamp or distorted at the mic, and you can just do another take, anyway...

Ah yes Keith, you are I think referring to the latest Sound Devices field recorders? These things are just about unburstable but as you say, a 120dB dynamic range is good enough at home!

Dave.
 

snow lizard

Dedicated Slacker
The usefulness of having a discussion on why a 196 dB noise floor is better than a 144 dB noise floor while listening to a file with a 96 dB noise floor on a reproduction system with an 80 dB noise floor is limited unless we consider processing, truncation and the effect of how digital audio can collapse if it's allowed to truncate.

The accumulation of truncation artifacts, even well below the thermal limit can have an effect with certain types of source material like the depth and spatial perception, ambience, punch, separation of instruments, panning width and realism get compromised. Dull, boxy, mushy digital audio. It's not about being able to hear noise or distortion at subsonic levels in a blind listening test. More like what the fuck happened to the reverb tail on the snare?

Increasing dynamic resolution should (and does) make truncation artifacts smaller. Dither prevents those artifacts from remaining in the audio, and it needs to be applied any time the audio gets quantized. The output of your converters, the output of plugins and the output of the mix engine. Throwing more resolution at it makes truncation less of an issue when processing, but if left unchecked, there's no guarantee that it won't bite you in the ass later.

But more is more. Maybe it's a marketing thing.

More of an audio thing would be to design a digital system that runs at whatever resolution you want, and carefully counteracts truncation properly at every stage necessary. I think this is the line of reasoning behind Harrison Mixbus.

The next step would be to have a reproduction system more like a mid to high end stereo from 30 or 40 years ago, capable of better reproduction than Youtube or an iPhone. Not sure how much people actually care about that these days.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
When I was a kid, we had a single channel record player, then we got stereo. That served us a long time, but eventually we had to get a subwoofer. For a while we had quadraphonic, but it didn't last. But they eventually got their way with 5.1 surround sound. That wasn't enough, so we got 7.1. Still not enough, lets go for Dolby 9.1. Finally we hit the ultimate... Dolby Atmos. It can handle 34 speakers.

How much data storage do you need to do 34 audio channels at 32 bit and 384kHz.

Why do we do it? Because we can....

Do we need it? Who knows?
 

Ruptor

New member
Steinberg has recently released an affordable line of Interfaces (the UR - C series) that can record in 32 bit Integer bit depth. I currently record in 32 bit floating point.
I see everybody has moved on to talking about 24 bit so do you mean 24 instead of 32 bit floating? 32 bits means you have 4294967296 levels so 32 bit integer or 32 bit floating have the same resolution. I am confused by the question.:confused: The advantage of holding a number as integer over floating point is that it takes fewer bytes so 32 bit integer is 4 bytes but 32 bit floating is 4 bytes for the number and more bytes to hold the exponent. The arm chips and many medium power processors are 32 bit so it is convenient to move 32 bit numbers around but I suppose that applies to any number of bits less bits than 32. Analogue devices like microphones don't have digital levels so the more bits you have the closer to reality any recording will be then it just comes down to your noise levels as already have discussed. If Cubase was using floating point numbers and has gone to integer the gain would be a massive increase in speed of processing allowing more channels and/or reduced memory requirements. Probably 64 bit integers on a 32 bit processor would be similar to 32 bit floating point in terms of speed but with twice the resolution.:listeningmusic:
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
I see everybody has moved on to talking about 24 bit so do you mean 24 instead of 32 bit floating? 32 bits means you have 4294967296 levels so 32 bit integer or 32 bit floating have the same resolution. I am confused by the question.:confused: The advantage of holding a number as integer over floating point is that it takes fewer bytes so 32 bit integer is 4 bytes but 32 bit floating is 4 bytes for the number and more bytes to hold the exponent. The arm chips and many medium power processors are 32 bit so it is convenient to move 32 bit numbers around but I suppose that applies to any number of bits less bits than 32. Analogue devices like microphones don't have digital levels so the more bits you have the closer to reality any recording will be then it just comes down to your noise levels as already have discussed. If Cubase was using floating point numbers and has gone to integer the gain would be a massive increase in speed of processing allowing more channels and/or reduced memory requirements. Probably 64 bit integers on a 32 bit processor would be similar to 32 bit floating point in terms of speed but with twice the resolution.:listeningmusic:
It may be that the 32 bit integer is faster than 24 because of the data movement - probably no packing/unpacking, and certainly faster than floating point (possibly why it's only available in the recording mode of the Zoom F6, not interface?). The speed-up, if there, may help with taking advantage of USB 3 speeds, but I don't know.

I have a UR44-C. I think another consequence (32-bitness) may be that it doesn't work as a class compliant device on OS X. The Steinberg/Yamaha driver seems stable, but there are quirks where the interface stops working sometimes after being unused, and I have to power off/on or do some kind of poking it with a stick to get it back. I mean, the OS sees it, and thinks it's using it, but it seems to be in a "lights are on..." kind of state. Doesn't happen all the time, and I haven't checked for a firmware or driver update in a month or so. Certainly usable as is, but not quite the rock the old Focusrite Firewire piece was and still is.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Does the UR44-C have a sleep mode? I found out that my Tascam will go into standby mode if it doesn't receive at least one signal above -60dB for 30 minutes. They do have a switch on the unit to bypass the low power setting. I thought my unit had gone belly up one evening, when I went upstairs to eat dinner and watch the news, and then came back down to do some more recording. I had turned down the mic preamp volume to keep from getting feedback when I was doing some monitoring, so all was quiet. The darn thing wouldn't work, WTF??? I cycled the interface and all came back. Then I found that there's a switch on the back for low power mode.

Maybe its part of the "Energy Star" program to save $0.25 of energy per year.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
There is a usb sleep mode that can be shut off.
I'll check that out.

If it would simply sleep when the computer sleeps, and not otherwise, that would be the proper way to behave for that kind of device (vs. deciding on some other input - means I have to keep a mic on all the time?). It does get a power state change signal from the OS, or should, unless their driver doesn't send it, maybe.
 

GONZO-X

Well-known member
seems nobody listens on good enough playback systems anymore,
and that the quality of the recording hardly matters.
 

keith.rogers

Bobby'); DROP TABLE USER
seems nobody listens on good enough playback systems anymore,
and that the quality of the recording hardly matters.
Well, some people do, but it's one of those "niche" markets. I see HD audio releases in digital format from artists occasionally. Just got Molly Tuttle's latest release as 96kHz/24-bit flac files. (I'm not a 96kHz believer, but that was the option if I wanted 24-bit. Just a curiosity purchase, as I got both MP3 and HD - finding out how bad my old ears really are :)).

There are some old releases being reissued, but I'm not sure how many of those are coming off HD digital remix/remaster sessions, or are just upsamples trying to capitalize. In any case, somebody must be buying this stuff.

(My old college roommate has a pretty nice stereo and has digitized everything to non-lossy, but not HD, format. Sounds amazing. I know I don't hear the difference with HD, but I probably can't taste the difference between $15 and $200 wine, either. I don't feel like I'm missing out.)
 
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