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Thread: Advice on Bit Depth for recording

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow lizard View Post
    How does that work?
    What don't you understand? More bits, lower noise floor.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Noise comes from things like AC units, 60 cycle hum, tape hiss, bagpipes.

    A wah wah solo.

    What does word length have to do with manipulating that?

    What is it about 16 bit that is inherently noisier than 24 bit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow lizard View Post
    Noise comes from things like AC units, 60 cycle hum, tape hiss, bagpipes.

    A wah wah solo.

    What does word length have to do with manipulating that?

    What is it about 16 bit that is inherently noisier than 24 bit?
    Yeah, It applies [only] to the capture- record/mixing/playback processes. True it's not effecting your source's relative sig-to noise content.

    'bagpipes'
    Flashing on our acoustic band's regular gig playing at the 'farmer's market.
    There's a bagpipe player that hangs' not too far off occasionally..
    Oh and the 'toy balloon lady.. Enough with the pops'?
    Placebo stomps 96k ....... Recent projects
    Ray Catfish Copeland 'Got Love Jim Goodman 'Southern Steel

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    It's amazing what you can see at the farmers market sometimes....

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    The digital noise floor. With 16 bit, the digital noise floor is -96 dbfs, with 24 bit the digital noise floor is -144 dbfs.

    Because the noise floor is so much lower, you can record at lower levels and when that the tracks get summed together, it doesn't add up to as much.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Quote Originally Posted by snow lizard View Post
    Noise comes from things like AC units, 60 cycle hum, tape hiss, bagpipes.

    A wah wah solo.

    What does word length have to do with manipulating that?

    What is it about 16 bit that is inherently noisier than 24 bit?
    Each bit represents 6dB of level difference. When the signal is about as low as the lowest bit it can't be represented accurately (though dithering helps). That inaccuracy is the noise. More bits means a bigger window between the highest and lowest levels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy
    Each bit represents 6dB of level difference.
    Yup.

    When the signal is about as low as the lowest bit it can't be represented accurately (though dithering helps).
    So when the signal can't be represented accurately it gets quantized up to the closest available level. This is called quantization error.

    That inaccuracy is the noise.
    Sort of. That inaccuracy makes an ugly form of harmonic distortion. Dither is noise. It would be intuitive to think that dither is masking the harmonics, but it actually removes them. Harmonic distortion sings in tune with the signal so it's correlated and can have farther reaching effects than the very low signal levels we're talking about here. (given a "superb" or at least "very good" recording and monitor chain) Broadband noise like dither is not correlated to the signal and kills the harmonics. It seems counterintuitive, but adding noise in the form of dither results in a cleaner signal.

    Not so important with 24 bit because low level quantization errors approaching -144 dBfs are outside of the range of the system.

    More bits means a bigger window between the highest and lowest levels.
    That's my understanding of it as well. To put it another way, more bits means higher resolution.

    What I'm not clear on is the noise floor being the LSB of the system. For example if you plug in a mixing board that makes self noise at -80 dBfs at the main outputs, word length won't change that. The noise floor is the sum of everything in the system that makes noise.

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    I meant the digital noise floor, not the noise floor flor the system, room, mics, air-con, earth hum, etc...

    24 bit doesn't really give you more resolution, just more dynamic range with which to put you signal. The inherent noise floor of your signal is what it is and will reside within that 144 dbfs of dynamic range.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    We're going to have to agree to disagree on this Jay.

    What you call "digital noise floor" is what I call "range".

    24 bits is higher resolution than 16 bits. That's the way it works with graphics and audio is the same. That's not to say that 16 bit can't be made to sound very good. Perhaps an old, obsolete 16 bit converter that was made with medical/military/industrial grade transformer coupled electronics designed to keep everything phase coherent could sound better than a cheap, "modern" 24 bit consumer level converter.

    To the OP's question, I agree that if he's hearing a difference in frequency between different recorders it has to do with something other than bit depth.

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    Well, I think he has two recorders - the Roland and the computer. By habit, I'd try to find out if the Roland just has "colored" analog out, etc.., or, is the digital file actually "colored", or, is it just the A/D conversion... hahaha
    Not unlike troubleshooting a circuit - oh it is a circuit.

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