Question About Bit Depth Before Mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by rbf738, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    This is just something I've noticed and wanted to ask about it as I'm about to get my tracks mastered elsewhere.

    So I just checked in my preferences for my DAW and see that my audio recording is set at 24 bit depth. When I've been rendering tracks, I've had it set to 32 bit depth for the rendering without realizing the difference between the two. I know very little about bit depth and would be interested to hear more about it.

    Should I be rendering my tracks to 24 bit to reflect the recording setting? What bit depth should I be rendering to to get the best sound when sending it to the mastering studio?

    Edit: I rendered the same track at both 24 and 32 bit depth in my DAW then checked the "properties" in Windows for both rendered Wave files and noticed that the bit rate is listed at 2116 kbps for the 24 bit depth rendered track and 2822 kbps for the 32 bit depth rendered track. Both sound the same to my untrained ear.

    If someone could give me some advice on what to do here I'd REALLY appreciate it.
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Personally, I'd go with 24-bit. The file "really" is 24-bit -- The arithmetic to get it there may have been 32-bit (floating point). There are also quite a few issues with "one brand" of 32BFP's not opening in another.
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Files rendered at 24 bit are the most widely compatible high quality format. Ignore bit rate as it only matters for streaming audio over a network, which you won't be doing with a 24 bit unmastered mix file.
  4. rbf738

    rbf738 Active Member

    Thanks for the replies. Should I put any attention to the 2116 kbps which shows up as the bit rate when I check the properties for the of Wave file itself? Shouldn't that read 24 or 2400 if I rendered it at a 24 bit depth or do I have no idea what I'm talking about?
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    The bit rate of 2116kbps or whatever is irrelevant. It only matters for streaming audio, which you aren't doing with your files. The bit depth (technically word length) is what matters.
  6. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Word - To the word length.

    The bitrate is just a "it takes (this much space/resources/memory) per (second)" -- Although when you compare that number to a 128kbps MP3, you can probably arrest any surprise when you hear it. :smile:

    It's related, yes -- Any (x-samplerate) at (x-word length) is going to give the same bitrate. At least, the number is related...
  7. Laurend

    Laurend Active Member

    A lossless codec like FLAC doesn't follow the birate related quality rule.

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