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16 bit vs. 24 bit

Discussion in 'Recording' started by David French, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to inform you guys that there's an intriguing debate going on over at homerecording.com on the issue of the benefits of 24 bit recording after dithering to 16 bit for CD. Perhaps the discussion should be brought here?

  2. 20db.com

    20db.com Guest

    What is there to discuss. 24 is 8 more that 16 so more is better. :D
  3. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    There are many answers to this one. First, let's not assume the artistic relevance of the hypothetical "art" or "music" in this discussion.
    One person's art is another persons trash. Additionally, it is known that the quality of the recording can be irrelavent if the material is compelling enough. "Jagged Little Pill" recorede and mixed off of black face adats @ 16bit is a good example.

    First, it is my opinion that there is a percievable differrence between 16bit and 24bit. But that's if you have an opportunity to A/B them-consumers do not get a 16bit and 24bit to choose from. Also, things like Apogge's UV encoding (A dithering scheme wherein 24bit resolution is "encoded" so that the resulting 16bit version "sounds" more like 24bit) do work to a good extent (in my opinion).
    Now, I think the decision as to when to worry and/or decide on either 16bit/44.1Khz;16bit/48Khz;24bit/44.1Khz;24bit/48Khz (let's not mention 88.1/96, ect...) has more to do with the context.

    If your doing a demo, 16/44.1 can be great. I t uses less space, and therefore is cheaper...and because of the "Jagged/Pill" rule (let's call it that) can be effectice.
    If your recording/mixing mostly sample based music (samples are typically 16bit/44.1) then the majority of the music (Less vocals and live instruments) is 16bit anyway.
    If your doing, Live Jazz, Classicall, Acoustic...ect. Then an argument can be made towards using 24bit. There is a differrence and the increased word lenght can help. Seriosly though, what makes the biggest differrnce in this argument today (forgetting ALL other production & engineering factors) is the AD/DA converters your using. You can use your brand X sound card @ 24bit and I can use a db Technologies converter @16bit and the 16bit will very likely sound better, because the db converters got it right at a significantly higher quality.
    There's been a zillion records doen @ 16bit (on Sony 3324's nad Mitsubisshi X850's, ect...pre ADAT even) that we all listen to without too much preoccupation about the bit depth.

    I do demo's@ 16bit/44.1....TV@ 16bit/48....and records @ 24bit/44.1.

    I use 44.1 ALOT because I'm constantly making roughs along the project and I hate conversion.

    Good results can be obtained with any and all of the above standards. It's like arguing about particular tires on formula one race cars. Something that in and of itself will not be the deciding factor on winning the race.
  4. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    We all agree that 24 bit audio is superior to 16 bit in the abstract. The debate is over whether or not the benefits of 24 bit recording are lost when converting to 16 bit.
  5. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Thank you for the focus David.

    In short I believe it does.

    There are many more things that affect the outcome; and as everything is so interrelated,it might not be readily noticed; but I believe that - in theory as well as fact -the benefits of 24bit (increased dynamic range, ect) are carried down to 16bit. Especially, as it pertains to the mix being easier to acheive and better sounding, with hypothetically less processing needing to be done.
    If you "shoot" a movie on film and then make a dvd of it...doesn'y the quality of film translate? Or are you better off just doing it to video tape only from the start.....because you believe there's no carry over of the "film" look.
    A rough analogy to be shure...but I believe one that has some merit, and is not far from the truth. :w:

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