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Author Topic: 16 bit still relevant?  (Read 3882 times)

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Online DSatz

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #30 on: January 01, 2018, 09:59:05 PM »
I don't know whether you're being serious or not; no converter (neither A/D nor D/A) has ever been available that is capable of full 24-bit performance.
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Offline furburger

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #31 on: January 07, 2018, 01:19:03 PM »
I don't know whether you're being serious or not; no converter (neither A/D nor D/A) has ever been available that is capable of full 24-bit performance.

exactly my point.


should they ever make a 32-bit, I may look into it.


beyond that, it's an obsolete, unnecessary format.

video games always doubled the bits when they touted an improvement. (8 bit, 16 bit, 32 bit, 64 bit, etc...)


50% of the 'power' (used loosely) of the previous format.....not terribly appealing.

the amount of snatches for each 24 vs. 16 shows I'm far from the only one who feels this way.

24 bit is just a modified DATtitude, nothing more.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 01:21:01 PM by furburger »
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Offline yug du nord

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #32 on: January 07, 2018, 02:12:26 PM »
^I'm not aware of any dedicated recorder that could handle 32 bit...  so I imagine that you'd have to use a computer as a recorder in order to record "32 bit"...  but................

https://mytekdigital.com/brooklyn-adc/

The Stereo192 is fantastic...  and this Brooklyn ADC looks like something that digital dreams are made from!!
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Offline wforwumbo

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #33 on: January 07, 2018, 04:16:05 PM »
It seems some of you guys are confusing recording bit depth with computational load and processing power.

Modern converters very much so can actually capture a full 24 bits of dynamic range as signed integers. The current cutting edge of converters can handle a full 32-bit floating point conversion. This is slightly distinct from 32-bit and 64-bit chipset architectures associated with computer processing power.

I recommend you generate some plots of 24-bit signed integer recordings to see how much info/data is actually stored in a word length of audio data as an exercise in factual scientific data.
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Offline yug du nord

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2018, 12:20:43 AM »
^I am probably confused.....  but I do think that this Mytek Brooklyn ADC claims to output 32 bit.  Not just a floating 32 bit for processing.
I'm also not sure about how many ADC's that can be used in the field actually output a true 24 bit.  I have used ADC's that have been in the 23 bit range I think..  but I honestly don't think I've ever "managed" to get a full 24 bit.  So either my recorder hasn't been capable of capturing a full 24 bit...  or the stand alone ADC's that I've used have not output a full 24 bit.  I've never generated any "plots" though.
Maybe some studio, rack mounted ADC's can output a full 24 bit...  but most here on TS need a field ADC/recorder.
But I very well could be wrong on all of this??...

Can you mention any portable, field ADC's that you've generated plots for that output a full 24 bit?
I am not a scientific recording type of person..  for better or for worse, I tend to trust my ears. 
But I do like to consider "facts" if they are indeed facts. 
Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 12:23:54 AM by yug du nord »
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Offline WiFiJeff

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2018, 09:34:44 AM »
The Mytek manual claims 128 dB of dynamic range, which is better than the 120 dB of many mid-price modern recorders but still only a tad more than 21 bits as I count.

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2018, 11:41:25 AM »
I use 24/48 for everything.   :headphones:

Yeah, I know it's bigger files but hard drives are really cheap, and besides, I FLAC everything except the master WAVs anyhow, so that helps with download bandwidth.

I feel like 48kHz is the standard for video for many years now, and anyone with footage of something I record will have an easier time syncing to my 48k output.

I used to ask folks to post 16-bit because I didn't want to download the 24, now I don't even post 16! Times change!

The archive has lossy derivations so I don't feel like I'm excluding dialup users.

I don't know whether you're being serious or not; no converter (neither A/D nor D/A) has ever been available that is capable of full 24-bit performance.

And no rock and roller has either!
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Offline wforwumbo

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2018, 12:21:07 PM »
The Mytek manual claims 128 dB of dynamic range, which is better than the 120 dB of many mid-price modern recorders but still only a tad more than 21 bits as I count.

Ah, so THIS explains the confusion over "full use of 24/32-bit dynamic range" conundrums some here seem to be facing.

The 6 dB-per-bit "rule" is NOT actually a rule. Rather it's a general trend that holds true for bit depths well below 24 bits (really ~6 to ~18 bits is where this rule holds true), based on a theoretical limit. Really, it's a carryover simplification from back in the day, when going past 16 bits seemed like an impossibility at the time.

The absolute BEST 24-bit converters are capable of producing ~132 dB of dynamic range, and the top-of-the-line-super-expensive 32-bit float converters can stretch that to ~140 dB. Obviously this is mostly in highly-controlled rack mount gear, and it all costs an arm and a leg plus sometimes your firstborn.

Edit: I also want to mention, it is worthwhile to discuss to what level of detail we can distinguish between 16 or 24 (and beyond) bits of dynamic range. At the end of the day, I could understand an argument that we wouldn't take full advantage of 24 bits, and that 16 bits is for the most part "good enough" to pull a solid tape especially when taping live rock music. However, my counterargument to that argument lies with people who do post work; having a larger bit depth will assist in lower errors particularly when using equalizers. As a studio guy, I fully support higher bit depths, with this reason being a strong one.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 01:01:30 PM by wforwumbo »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2018, 01:19:07 PM »
However, my counterargument to that argument lies with people who do post work; having a larger bit depth will assist in lower errors particularly when using equalizers. As a studio guy, I fully support higher bit depths, with this reason being a strong one.

Along those lines, what about use of editing software which works internally at higher bit depths?  This has to be the common methodology of DAWs and editing software these days.  I use Samplitude, which regardless of the native bit-depth of the source files, does all its mathematical manipulations at the 32-bit float level, then dithers the the internal 32-bit representations back down to whatever is specified upon export.  Call it digital head-room avoiding rounding errors or whatever, equalization math is occuring in a 32 bit space "within the machine" regardless of the bit depth of the source files, which simply get padded with zeros as necessary below their original LSB (least significant bit) to bring the word-length of all sources up to 32bits prior to any manipulation.

That's the way I understand it anyway, which would seem to counter the "important for post-production" argument. 
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Offline wforwumbo

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #39 on: January 09, 2018, 01:41:09 PM »
However, my counterargument to that argument lies with people who do post work; having a larger bit depth will assist in lower errors particularly when using equalizers. As a studio guy, I fully support higher bit depths, with this reason being a strong one.

Along those lines, what about use of editing software which works internally at higher bit depths?  This has to be the common methodology of DAWs and editing software these days.  I use Samplitude, which regardless of the native bit-depth of the source files, does all its mathematical manipulations at the 32-bit float level, then dithers the the internal 32-bit representations back down to whatever is specified upon export.  Call it digital head-room avoiding rounding errors or whatever, equalization math is occuring in a 32 bit space "within the machine" regardless of the bit depth of the source files, which simply get padded with zeros as necessary below their original LSB (least significant bit) to bring the word-length of all sources up to 32bits prior to any manipulation.

That's the way I understand it anyway, which would seem to counter the "important for post-production" argument.

This still provides the argument for 24-bit; you're effectively capturing more bits for the software to work with, and therefore the output computation is more accurate.

For a simple example, let's say I had a system that wanted to add two numbers. The numbers are 1571 and 0448. The result for any human adding these two numbers together is 2019. The effect of a 16-bit system would be having the two numbers as 1500 and 0400, which adds up to 1900. SOME 16-bit systems can try and adjust this during recording as 1600 and 0400, which gives us 2000 and is a bit closer, but that requires some additional processing power on the A/D converter, most of which doesn't occur except in more expensive 16-bit recorders. If your converter is capable of 24-bit or 32-bit float and you're recording in 16-bit mode or manually converting to 16-bit in post, you're probably getting the former. A 24-bit system is the same as going to 1570 and 440, which adds up to 2010 - a lot closer than 1900.Your Samplitdue system, at 32-bit float and importing in 24-bit files, would be similar to having 1570.00 and 0440.00, which allows for decimal rounding at the end after processing - not of note during recording, but DEFINITELY useful in post, particularly pre-bit reduction and dither, as the equalizers can come MUCH MUCH closer to what the real values should be.

This is obviously an imperfect example, and a touch exaggerated. But it gets the point across.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2018, 04:31:08 PM »
I see the argument above as essentially being- "the entire system is more accurate", which is different than what I'm getting at.  I'm talking about "preserving the degree of accuracy we start with".

Let's assume someone is fine with direct 16-bit recording without any additional processing.  The relevant question then becomes "what is required to preserve the accuracy of that 16 bit source during processing"

Given a 16 bit input*, I grant that processing in a 16-bit workspace will not provide sufficient calculation headroom due to rounding errors as you describe above.  Yet processing that 16 bit input in a "mathematical workspace" large enough to avoid rounding errors during the calculations does preserve accuracy within that workspace.  In the course of the calculations, the word-length will increase somewhat (more decimal places are needed to prevent rounding errors).  We can then output a file that has sufficient bit-depth to retain that increase, say writing a 24bit output file, or we can reduce the word-length back to 16 bits again.  In doing that we lose the additional decimal places generated during the processing, but it avoids introducing error during proccessing (except for that final word-reduction step, which is arguably not part of the processing we are concerned with).

In that way, more bits are needed during processing, but if one is fine with the 16 bit original to start with, there should be no concern about processing that.

I remain to be convinced this is not the case.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 04:34:37 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 16 bit still relevant?
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2018, 04:40:20 PM »
^ That's my "mathematical" argument. 


*In a real world situation, the dynamic range of what tapers are recording will most-likely fit easily within 16-bits.  The noise-floor of a taper's recording is typically pretty high, with lots of room at the bottom where the least-significant-bits will be representing randomized noise, and at least a few of the most significant bits will hopefully be vacant unless the recording clipped the ADC.  So there is room to spare within the digital representation envelope represented by 16-bits.  Let's say the meaningful recorded signal uses more or less 11 bits, and we include a few bits of noise included at the bottom for 14 bits total so as not to loose detail beneath the noise-floor.   A cleverly designed DAW constrained to work within a 16 bit workspace could shift that 14bit content up or down within that workspace to provide calculation space needed prior to doing the calculations which produce a 15 or 16 bit result, normalizing the signal prior to doing the calculation.  I've no idea if that's how things used to work back in the 16-bit processing days, but that kind of work-around is rendered moot by increased processing power using sufficient floating-point internal calculation space that can easily contain the accuracy of the source including any calculations done on it. 

The bottle-necks are the input and output bit depths to the editing system, not the calculation space any longer.
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