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Hi-res question

Discussion in 'Recording' started by OTRjkl, Mar 21, 2002.

  1. OTRjkl

    OTRjkl Guest

    I'm pretty new to this hi-res digital audio thing so please bear with me:

    A guy wants to send me a song to have me master it for him. He says that he will send it to me on a CD-R as a 32-bit float .wav file. I will be using Sonic Foundry Vegas 3.0 to master - it supports 24/96 as well as does my soundcard (DAL CardDeluxe).

    OK. I know that within the PC, certain DXplug-insprocess the material in that format (or higher) before converting back to 24-bit, 16-bit or whatever it is stored at on the HD. (Am I correct so far?) As far as I know, the highest bit depth for storing audio on a PC is 24-bit (?).
    :confused:

    Do either of us know what we're talking about?

    Sorry if this sounds confusing, but I'm still learning about all the little 1's & 0's (I cut my teeth on 2" tape).

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    OK..first of all if you dont know what 32bit float point is how can you master? :p just kidding!
    Ok, there are certain programs that record in 32bit which is actually true 24bit..its a floating based integer system that adds 8 extra bits and rounds em out and algorythmically adjusts the bits to make it 24bits..make sense yet? Basically..if you have a 24bit audio card..you are only recording at 20bits..the last 4 bits are junk data..so companies like Steinberg add in the 32bit float recording system to actually get 24bits!!! Amazing isnt it? So...since they are only 24bit files it should not be a problem as long as you use UV22 to dither it down to 16bit...Programs like T-Racks, Cubase, Nuendo, Wavelab 4.0 can use those 32bit files...not sure what other programs can...
    Opus
     
  3. OTRjkl

    OTRjkl Guest

    I have just discovered that Sound Forge 5.0 supports the 32-bit IEEE float format. Sound Forge tells me that my DAL CardDeluxe does not support that when I attempt to record such a file. Should I convert the 32-bit file to 24-bit and work on it there? (I only have the SF 5.0 demo so I can't really use the 32-bit file out right (or can I? Will my sound card still play it? or no.?) Apparently, Vegas does NOT support the 32-bit files. I have the latest & greatest version so I don't know why they haven't added that feature (?). Hmmmmm, what to do.....

    BTW - since I'm not rich or anything (I can't afford a UV22), is there such a thing as a good yet inexpensive software based dithering plug-in of the DX or VST type that can be inserted at the end of a processing chain? (Is that blasphemy?) :eek:

    Thanks for the help.
     
  4. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Not sure on the Demo of Sound Forge...never played around with it..I have a copy of it somewhere but never installed it since I'm a wavelab user.
    I would definately convert them to 24 bit if Vegas doesnt support 32bit float files..but I'm not really sure on that one to be honest..dont get many 32bit files sent to me in the first place and if I did get them I can use them in Nuendo and or Wavelab 4.0(Dont have my own copy yet but getting it very soon!)

    Other dithering programs....hmm..not sure about that one actually..would be nice if Apogee made a VST version that could be installed into any program..Steinberg has exclusive rights to use it so I dont know if it's allowed for Apogee to develop one or not..something I can check into tho!
    Otherwise most programs have a dithering algorythm installed..how good it is? That's a different story alltogether...
    Opus
     
  5. OTRjkl

    OTRjkl Guest

    For what it's worth.....

    This guy tells me that he (at least) mixed this tune on FASoft nTrack. He has saved the mix in nTrack as a 32-bit IEEE float .wav file. No idea how the material got into nTrack in the first place (recorded in as 32-bit, only saved as 32-bit?....no idea). If the SF demo will let me do a bit conversion down to 24-bit, do you think that's the route I ought to take?

    Thanks again.
     
  6. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Jeff, if you want a copy of N-track, here is a link -

    http://www.pcrecording.com/software.htm

    it's shareware, $35-50 according to the page the link is on - However, I think the page may be a little old, they have SEKD as the page for Samplitude, and it's now handled by Magix. If you want cheap, and can live with it going away after 90 days, here is a link to Samplitude 2496 demo -

    http://magixus.magix.net/magixII/e/home.nsf/index1.html?OPEN&country=US

    It is a FULLY functional package that gets crippled after 90 days, and you can't remove and re-install for another 90, although you CAN just remove it) because it hides some files elsewhere on your PC to know when the time is up. However, for 90 days you can ROCK for free! By that time, you may go rob 20 convenience stores so you can buy the real thing ($399 at SoundChaser.com last time I looked)

    On 32-bit float - All the programs Opus mentioned plus Samplitude do it. Whether it is really 24 bit or 32 bit is immaterial for your purposes. The main thing is this: You can use any sound card to record with, just tell the SW what the hardware's maximum capabilities are (16/44, whatever) and when you enable 32 bit float mode the SW converts incoming/outgoing bit streams to be compatible with your hardware - the upside is that all internal DSP, etc, is done at the higher bit depth. Sample rate must match the hardware though... Speaking for Samplitude, the individual .WAV files are stored on disk at 32 bit depth, so they would be twice as large as 16 bit files for a given sample rate. So, with any program that handles IEEE 32 bit float, you should be able to import your friend's files into the SW, do whatever mastering, (Samplitude works well on this too) then either save the files back to 32 bit float (best if they will be going to an outside mastering house and they can handle it) or mix them down to any format your hardware supports. All monitoring takes place at hardware limits, so unless you have high end converters, etc, the sound of the project may not be the same as you hear on your system. It may be better or worse or the same, but it will probably be different.

    An example: I have a P2-233 laptop that I use Samplitude on for small/remote stuff. The internal sound card is crap (16/44, only half-duplex) I have a Roland UA-100 that adds EFX and 20 bit capability, which improves things very noticeably. All I do to change between the two, is tell Samplitude which hardware to use and what its max capability is - done. If you like, download a free 90-day demo here, and start saving your pop bottles/beer cans - you're not gonna want to quit...

    Samplitude doesn't do Midi any better than Nuendo, but for audio it kicks ass.

    Hope that helps clear up the 32bit thing some more... Steve
     

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