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Author Topic: 24 bit v 16 bit  (Read 2947 times)

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Offline EmRR

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2018, 02:21:33 PM »
Digital gain is free, sometimes a lower gain setting in a recording path is quieter than a higher one.  I'd be more worried about maxing signal levels if I were transferring out of a recorder in the analog domain. 

24 versus 16 is a real world difference of 25-30dB dynamic range, depending on the converter.  Recording at -20dBFS in 24 is still more dynamic range than 0dBFS in 16.....and ya can't successfully record at 0dBFS, hardly at -6dBFS in unknown situations.   Bring -20 up to -1 with digital gain in post, still more dynamic range than the 16 capture. 

16 versus 24 within a 32float scenario; it's about what the 32float does to the bottom bit of the 16, which is 8 higher than the bottom bit of the 24.  It's where the dither and quantization error lives.  That's further buried in the 24, and therefore is also after processing.  If you get into forensic fixes and noise reduction with something like RX7, there's a lot more in a 24 bit capture for the algorithms to work with.  It keeps the artifacts of the medium much further out of the way, regardless of the dynamic range of the intended capture. 
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Offline DSatz

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2018, 08:21:40 PM »
[message text deleted; I had wrongly contradicted another member of the forum, who then politely pointed out my mistake]
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 09:19:34 AM by DSatz »
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Offline EmRR

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2019, 05:04:00 AM »
I think you're confusing 24 bit with 20 bit, 4 bits is 24.08dB theoretical. 

16 bit theoretical dynamic range 96.33dB
24 bit theoretical dynamic range 144.49dB
48.16dB theoretical difference

The measured input noise of my MOTU 16A AD gives a worst case result in the audible band of -135dBFS at 20kHz, around -143dBFS at 1kHz.  I've looked at it myself, that's not a number from a manual, that number is worse.   It's about 15dB worse in the previous generation MOTU 2408mkIII. 
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Offline DSatz

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2019, 06:42:29 AM »
EmRR, you're right, I was thinking 4 extra bits rather than 8 when I wrote the above. Sorry! Major mistake on my part.

I'll go back and edit my earlier message now to indicate that it was wrong.
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Offline tim in jersey

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2019, 10:32:26 PM »
caitjim, yes. But the "conservative" doesn't mean "anything goes" (its opposite!). You still want your maximum peak levels to be as high as possible without quite touching 0 dB.

You can say that a "conservative" level-setting strategy has worked well if your highest peak levels at the live event were -6 dB, maybe even -8 or -10 depending on your particular equipment. But if the peaks are down around (say) -12 or -15, the original recording will almost certainly contain unnecessary extra noise.

That's because each analog stage of your recorder's circuitry has its own noise floor. If your signal is low enough to expose the noise floor of ANY stage in your recording equipment, some unnecessary noise will be added to your recorded signal. Then when you normalize the levels later on, that noise will be amplified along with the desired signal.

--best regards

I tend to disagree. If you're up at the near -6 range, it is much easier to brickwall. One of my tricks to get optimum levels is ask the musicians, in the soundcheck, to play briefly at the loudest they will be playing that set. If you set to below that, you'll be good as gold. If you don't, and it's a band that starts quiet then builds to a loud crescendo, you're going to go over pretty easy. I amp up from -12 all the time, and it's not noticeable to me....(ymmv).

Agree.

Offline EmRR

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2019, 10:52:17 AM »
EmRR, you're right, I was thinking 4 extra bits rather than 8 when I wrote the above. Sorry! Major mistake on my part.

I'll go back and edit my earlier message now to indicate that it was wrong.

No worries, we all do it sometimes!
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Offline tim in jersey

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2019, 01:41:31 PM »
[message text deleted; I had wrongly contradicted another member of the forum, who then politely pointed out my mistake]

Someone admitting a mistake? And then taking the blame for it? Unheard of.

Cheers to you, DSatz.  :cheers:

Offline John Willett

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2019, 11:50:14 AM »
Will I really miss much quality wise if I record in 16 bit as opposed to 24 bit as I'm going to compress it to MP3 anyhow.

Never record in 16-bit if you can record in 24-bit.

16-bit is fine as a delivery format, but 24-bit is far better for a master recording.

You have a much better headroom with 24-bits - ie: you set 0VU as -18dBFS (or -20dBFS) with 24-bit recording, but only -12dBFS with 16-bit recording. You need a good headroom to avoid any problems with inter-sample peaks that could cause problems, but may nit register on the meters.

You will then have the best available master and the end result, even if MP3 (yuk) will be the final result.

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2019, 05:21:07 PM »

Never record in 16-bit if you can record in 24-bit.

16-bit is fine as a delivery format, but 24-bit is far better for a master recording.
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Offline Chuck

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2019, 01:24:28 PM »
Before I started doing mostly SBD/AUD mixed recordings, I almost always used just one source and I recorded strictly to 16 bits. I watched the levels the whole time, just to keep them as high as possible without hitting 0db. Now that I usually mix two sources together in post production I record in 24 bit trying to peak at -8 to -6 db. That way I can enjoy the show (not looking at the meters the whole time) and still make great easily edited recordings.

That also gives the added benefit of being able to mix the two sources together more easily in post production. In 16 bit I had issues when mixing two sources synced together in post that were peaking at -3db or 0db. With that scenario I'd typically have to lower the gain on one or both sources before mixing, because when added together with EQ etc... the two -3db sources combined would sometimes run over 0db.
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Offline DSatz

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2019, 05:10:47 PM »
John, have you ever seen (or heard of) an actual intersample peak of 3 dB or more? Any studies that I've ever seen of this phenomenon, the worst-case examples were on the order of 2 dB, and typical examples were less. The authors of those studies had to look pretty hard for any examples of it at all.

Plus, any equipment or software that clips with such peaks is inadequate by definition. Some CD players in the 1980s did have such problems, but I've never seen any evidence of it in modern equipment or software (not that it couldn't exist; I'm just saying that I don't know of any reason to believe that it's prevalent).

--best regards
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2019, 05:27:24 PM »
Isn't the issue with intersample peaks confined to playback?  Specifically DACs with insufficient output-stage headroom to accommodate an intersample peak if and when it occurs?  If so most all folks will adjust level in post, which is where that would be addressed, either by monitoring with a meter or app which indicates intersample peaks or simply normalizing to a slightly lower maximum level, say -2dBfs?

It's not a problem in the digital representation, as the sample points to either side of the peak remain at or below full-scale by definition.
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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2019, 06:53:39 AM »
John, have you ever seen (or heard of) an actual intersample peak of 3 dB or more? Any studies that I've ever seen of this phenomenon, the worst-case examples were on the order of 2 dB, and typical examples were less. The authors of those studies had to look pretty hard for any examples of it at all.

Plus, any equipment or software that clips with such peaks is inadequate by definition. Some CD players in the 1980s did have such problems, but I've never seen any evidence of it in modern equipment or software (not that it couldn't exist; I'm just saying that I don't know of any reason to believe that it's prevalent).

--best regards

No, not come across inter-sample peaks, but then I do not squash up to 0dBFS.

The -18dBFS is the EBU standard and the -20dBFS the SMPTE standard to set for 0VU as I understand it - which is why I quoted those figures.

I leave headroom as you do not know what will actually happen in a performance and performers nearly always play louder in performance than they do in practice.

Offline Chuck

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2019, 08:03:49 AM »
I leave headroom as you do not know what will actually happen in a performance and performers nearly always play louder in performance than they do in practice.

Agreed.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

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Re: 24 bit v 16 bit
« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2019, 10:11:13 AM »
I was always a 16 guy simply on the premise that "we're recording live performances, how much dynamic range do we need?".

I took a side gig working for Pittsburgh Digital (in fact, I think I'll bring that up elsewhere) and Michael and I have had a bunch a chats about it and I'm learning more about audio than I'd ever need to know. I'm now sold on a high bit depth knowing what it buys you when it comes to the dithering stage.
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