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Thread: Advice on Bit Depth for recording

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    Advice on Bit Depth for recording

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    Hi:
    I am using a Sony Acid Music 9.0 Software to record my music. Whenever I start a new song and I go to File > New, in the Audio tab, it gives me a choice of Bit Depth. The program has 8, 16, and 24-bit choices, but its default bit depth is 16, so I have always recorded with 16 bit depth and not bothered to change that. I have two questions.
    1. Is there noticeable difference when a recording is done at 24-bit depth as opposed to 16-bit depth? I am asking because I used to record with a VS-1880 standalone multi-track recorder which was recording at 24-bit, and the vocal tracks seemed to come out much better (i.e. cleaner and more distinct with the "s", "k" and "f" sounds in the lyrics coming out more clearly) than what I am getting with the Acid Music software.

    2. If I have already laid track with the Sony Acid Music software with 16 bit depth, can I continue laying more tracks on the same song with 24-bit, or not?

    Thanks.
    Patrick

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    A lot of people like 24-bit for the reason you describe. Not a real big deal for others.

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    The difference between 16 and 24 bit shouldnt be the difference in clarity, it should just be the difference in noise floor.

    The difference you are hearing is the different mic preamp and converters that you are using.

    24 bit is preferable because of the lower noise floor.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Ya, it's hard to know what is electronics and what is the format. There's 384k pcm and 256DSD and the struggle continues One DAW opens up 16-bit and another open 24-bit by default - I don't really care unless I plan to manipulate the data a lot.

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    The adantage to more bit depth is a lower noise floor. This allows you to record at lower levels without concequence. Also, as you add tracks, the noise floor adds up as well. Lowering the noise floor of each track by recording 24 bit, will lower the noise floor of thd mix.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    That can be an advantage, for sure. It may not be a everyday advantage, though. Plenty of people do their own testing to determine if they need 24-bit. It's quite possible people would rather not do the downsample if the objective is 16-bit, etc..

    Patrick, needs to determine how he wants to go. We don't know how the 16-bit Acid tracks got there (cheap/expensive interface), or if he monitors off the VS outs that might sound better than some other device, etc..

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    The noise of several 16 bit tracks being mixed down to a 16 bit mix will be much greater than 24 bit tracks being mixed down to a 16 bit mix. The noise floor of the 24 bit tracks will be truncated during mixdown.

    No downsampling required. Just mix directly to 16 bit, if it wont be mastered.

    There is no downside to recording 24 bit, other than a little hard drive space.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    My sincere thanks to all of you. This web site is clearly indispensable!

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    So this is a follow-up question. From your responses I understand that 24-bit lowers the noise floor compared to 16-bit, so if I am going to record a lot of tracks for one song then I am better off going with the 24-bit. Now if sound clarity has more to do with the type of PC interface, what PC interface(s) would you suggest for me to use that its noticeably better for sound quality than what I am using now (Tascam US-1641 and Tascam 16X08)? Thank you.

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    Unfortunately, I haven't looked for an interface on that end of the spectrum for quite some time. So everything I know is horribly out of date.

    However, the preamp/converters on the Roland VS series were really thin and bright sounding, compared to higher quality stuff. So chasing that sound might not be the best idea.

    Someone else will have to comment on what is better than the tascam interfaces. (if anything exists in that pricerange that is any better)
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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