16bit trks to 24 for mixing: gain vs. pain?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by kent powell, Jun 11, 2002.

  1. kent powell

    kent powell Active Member

    As a mixing assignment I'm presented with tracks recorded with a so-so 16 bit interface. They're not terrible, but of course they leave something to be desired.

    What I'm asking is would it be benficial for me to convert them (internally via software) to 24 bit files, or perhaps just the stereo mix as a 24 bit file, before they ultimately get dithered back to 16?

    Before you ask, no, these guys are not going to be shelling out the bucks for pro mastering. I believe their aim is a disc they can sell at shows, and they'll expect a finished product from me from which they can burn CDR's.
  2. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Once the tracks are recorded at 16-bit, I don't think there is going to be any benefit to converting to 24-bit, in fact, I think you will actually be hurting the sound quality...the digital information is already recorded, and you will just be adding noise to the end of the file. Any time you convert between bit-rates, you are introducing noice (hence, the term "dithering"). If your goal is to burn it to a CD, you are probably fine leaving it at 16-bits. If you plan on recording some more tracks to the mix, then there might be *some* benefit to converting, then recording all the new tracks at 24-bit. My advice (and I hope one of our more technical gurus will chime in here...), keep the files at 16-bit for the mix.

    Good luck!
  3. kent powell

    kent powell Active Member

    I suspected as much. Thanks for your reply, Mr. Helix. I would still welcome further thoughts anyone cares to share.
  4. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Converting the files isn't going to gain you anything as James mentioned. Indeed you are adding noise to the files as that is what happens..you are adding bits to the files that are basically noise induced bits..if you look at a table of bits added algorythmically you'll notice that bits are added to bring the 16 to 24..the noise induced from these bits will not be noticeable to a common ear but to a mastering engineer..yes. If this is for a sell your own CD at a show..keep it at 16bits to keep it as clean as possible
  5. kent powell

    kent powell Active Member

    Thanks Opus! Not to belabour the point but it sounds like my answer is don't do it in any case because there's no benefit to be had. That's what I call clarity.

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