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Author Topic: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view  (Read 6116 times)

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Offline aaronji

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Re: 32Bit Float recording
« Reply #45 on: October 02, 2019, 07:54:15 AM »
It's like knowing how to navigate a boat with paper charts and dead reckoning turned into a quaint ability no longer needed once GPS technology became well established.

You would have to be an idiot as a sailor (or pilot) not to learn old-fashioned navigation skills and have the correct charts and gear around in case your GPS fails. The sea (and sky) are unforgiving masters. Definitely some worse potential outcomes than a clipped recording...

Offline jerryfreak

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #46 on: October 02, 2019, 08:08:55 AM »
one thing to consider, from a marketing perspective, is that its a relatively easy-to-implement feature that can be hyped

it costs a lot of money to improve analog front ends significantly

it likely costs a lot less to use multiple (relatively) cheap ADC chips in parallel

even the $200 sony A10 uses dual ADCs for higher dynamic range

realistically while 32bit float may save a recording or two, for most people who are familiar enough with the their gear to get levels within 20 dB of where they should be, it actually offers zero improvement to the end product
« Last Edit: October 02, 2019, 08:11:41 AM by jerryfreak »
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Offline adrianb

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Gotcha. But further to the conversion itself, I think it is kind of curious that SD doesn't offer 32-bit float on their new pro-level recorders (the Scorpio and 833). Perhaps they were already too far down the development/testing pipeline to add that feature and there will be II versions of those in the near future as well. Or maybe it is not in demand by professional customers. Or some other reason. In any event, I would be interested in hearing why this highly-touted feature isn't on those recorders...

I thought I'd read somewhere that 32-bit float was going to be available on the 833 with a future firmware upgrade.
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Offline aaronji

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #48 on: October 02, 2019, 10:34:16 AM »
^ Interesting. Do you recall where you saw that? On SD's FAQ, it says, "The ability to record in 32-bit float is a future possibility." Whether or not that can be done in firmware was left unsaid (i.e. are all of the necessary ADCs already in there)...

Offline adrianb

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #49 on: October 02, 2019, 10:53:47 AM »
^ Interesting. Do you recall where you saw that? On SD's FAQ, it says, "The ability to record in 32-bit float is a future possibility." Whether or not that can be done in firmware was left unsaid (i.e. are all of the necessary ADCs already in there)...

It's annoying me because I'm sure I've read it somewhere, but can't find it now.  :shrug:
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Offline DATBRAD

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Re: 32Bit Float recording
« Reply #50 on: October 02, 2019, 02:41:58 PM »
It's like knowing how to navigate a boat with paper charts and dead reckoning turned into a quaint ability no longer needed once GPS technology became well established.

You would have to be an idiot as a sailor (or pilot) not to learn old-fashioned navigation skills and have the correct charts and gear around in case your GPS fails. The sea (and sky) are unforgiving masters. Definitely some worse potential outcomes than a clipped recording...

I wasn't talking about celestial navigation, I was talking about Dead Reckoning which is all worked out on the chart itself, and is absolutely an obsolete skill. It was dropped from the USCG Master and Pilot commercial license requirements around 2014, about a year after NOAA issued the last printed navigational charts. I don't know about where you are, but if you relied on a paper chart last updated in 2014 sailing near the Eastern Shore or at the mouth of the York or Rappahanock Rivers, you would run hard aground in no time.
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Offline aaronji

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #51 on: October 02, 2019, 04:19:05 PM »
^ I didn't say "dead reckoning" specifically; I said "old-fashioned navigation skills and have the correct charts and gear". In aviation, it is required to have the right charts and a magnetic compass and both pilotage and dead reckoning are a part of the tested body of knowledge. I am less familiar with sailing, but I am pretty sure a magnetic compass and charts are required for anything more than a few miles from the coast almost everywhere. Also, it is kind of disingenuous to say that charts aren't printed anymore, as both aeronautical and nautical charts are constantly updated and can be obtained electronically and used either on an electronic device or printed and, at least in the case of FAA charts, can be obtained on paper from "approved print providers". This is pretty off-topic, though, so if you would like to further discuss the wisdom of relying solely on GPS without some old-school redundancy, feel free to PM me...

By the way, I say this as someone who has hundreds of hours of pilot in command time and has private, commercial, instrument, multi-engine and seaplane ratings.

Offline voltronic

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #52 on: October 02, 2019, 07:47:00 PM »
^ Interesting. Do you recall where you saw that? On SD's FAQ, it says, "The ability to record in 32-bit float is a future possibility." Whether or not that can be done in firmware was left unsaid (i.e. are all of the necessary ADCs already in there)...

It's annoying me because I'm sure I've read it somewhere, but can't find it now.  :shrug:

Looking at the spec sheets for the Scorpio and the 833, both state that they have 32-bit D/A converters, but only record in 16 and 24 bit depths.  32-bit A/D converters have been out and implemented for a bit now, but it's only very recently we're seeing portable recorders doing 32-bit floating point recording.  So the question is: do these top-line SD units have multiple A/D converters in place already?
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #53 on: October 02, 2019, 08:05:09 PM »
I believe any 32-bit A/D must use multiple overlapping converters to achieve that level of performance.

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Offline voltronic

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #54 on: October 02, 2019, 09:26:54 PM »
I believe any 32-bit A/D must use multiple overlapping converters to achieve that level of performance.

Exactly my point.  Having a 32-bit A/D, but only one of them, means you'll never get 32-bit floating point recording.  I mean, I guess you could, but it wouldn't be worth the trouble.

These 32-bit A/D chips have been out for a while now, but it's only these very new MixPre II units and the Zoom F6 that are using them with the multiple-overlapping structure.

There was a poster on GS who pointed out that the Stagetec has been around for a long time doing gain-ranging A/D.  Their Truematch technology in their current converters have been out for a few years now, and they do 32 bits with a 158 dB dynamic range.  I do not know if they ever integrated this with a recording media system though - just outboard converters, consoles, and routers.
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Offline Paul Isaacs

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #55 on: October 02, 2019, 11:33:14 PM »
The Scorpio and 833 have the hardware architecture to support 32-bit float in the future. This includes >1 ADC
As pointed out by someone earlier, use of more than 1 ADC to achieve wider dynamic range is not a new idea - its been around for decades.
We patented our method of multistage ADC because it is a new unique approach which we believe greatly improves handling the transition between ADCs compared to other implementations. If you want to know more about it you can read our patent online. Warning - its complicated and much of the math goes over my head so don't expect further insights from me.

Offline voltronic

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #56 on: October 03, 2019, 07:03:03 PM »
The Scorpio and 833 have the hardware architecture to support 32-bit float in the future. This includes >1 ADC
As pointed out by someone earlier, use of more than 1 ADC to achieve wider dynamic range is not a new idea - its been around for decades.
We patented our method of multistage ADC because it is a new unique approach which we believe greatly improves handling the transition between ADCs compared to other implementations. If you want to know more about it you can read our patent online. Warning - its complicated and much of the math goes over my head so don't expect further insights from me.

Thanks for that info, Paul.  I'm sure people who bought Scorpios just before the MixPre II came out are reassured to know this.

I did try to read the patent a couple weeks ago, but it's way above my comprehension level.
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Offline Ozpeter

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #57 on: October 04, 2019, 08:06:35 AM »
Genuine question - in case anyone can be bother to answer what may be a silly one - what is the difference between using one of these new recorders, compared with recording in 32 bit float on a laptop (with a decent rig in front of it)?  Is the breakthrough that it's all in one box? Was I actually doing this years ago in Audition?

Offline EmRR

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Re: 32Bit Float recording - The Technical view
« Reply #58 on: October 04, 2019, 08:31:48 AM »
The routing bus and capture are 32 but the converters are 24.  My Motu 16A shows up as 32 but that’s just the bus depth. 
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: 32Bit Float recording
« Reply #59 on: October 04, 2019, 09:29:17 AM »
Genuine question - in case anyone can be bother to answer what may be a silly one - what is the difference between using one of these new recorders, compared with recording in 32 bit float on a laptop (with a decent rig in front of it)?  Is the breakthrough that it's all in one box? Was I actually doing this years ago in Audition?

The constraint is not 32bit floating point storage, but real-world bottle-necks prior to it.

One needn't adjust input trim/gain on a recorder if:

1) The total dynamic range of the signal will fit within the available dynamic range of the storage format..
       AND
2) The total dynamic range of the signal will fit within the available dynamic range through the recorder's signal path, up to the point where the signal is stored in that format..
       AND
3) The actual upper and lower dynamic range values of the signal fit comfortably within the upper and lower dynamic range limits of the recorder's signal path, up to the point where the signal is stored.

The laptop is handling part 1
The rest of the rig is responsible for parts 2 & 3


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