What Sample Rate/Bit Depth do you guys record with?

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by TeddyBullard, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    Sorry if this has been discussed.

    Just curious.What bit depth/SR and why??I just Read the interview in TapeOp (Marc Aubort, nice article!) and it got me thinking..He still records at 16 bit. Ethan Winer does too, if I recall correctly.

    I see the studio guys discussing this a lot, but would like to see what you guys are working with. Ive been really curious about this subject for a long time.

    I normally record at 24/96 because it seems to sound much better to me(but heck, what do I know, I think schoeps omnis sound like they are inside a paper tube :p) I also create DVD-Audio discs from all of my projects for later listening in my newly built playback room.
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I can well understand how someone good could record at 16 bits with no trouble. For a hack like me, 24 bits are like training wheels. I can leave myself a lot of headroom and still have a pretty reasonable signal to noice ratio. For sample rate, I usually just use 48. For me to hear the difference between 48 and 96 I have to listen to the recording rather than listen to the music if you know what I mean.
  3. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    For my music and application (everything I do goes to Avid eventually) I have to use 24/48.

    The reason that people hear a difference in sample rates has long been debated. It is NOT because of the extended frequency response. That is insane. Most microphones, many mic cables and some low-end electronics do not have extended, linear range out to 44.1k, 48k, 96k, 192k, etc. We could not hear those frequencies lienearly anyway. It would require an enormous high f shelf to make those audible. Add that enormous shelf, and you are going to add distortion and bring out some nasty digital artifacts. It is easier for digital to represent bass than highs.

    Since we cannot capture it, we are not recording it, we are hearing some other artifact of increased sample rates. The REAL issue is the bit depth. Increase the dit depth, get a better representation of the wave.

    If I show you high res pictures at a rate of 44,100 times per second on a computer monitor calibrated for 256 colors, or 96,000 pictures per second of the same pic, on the same monitor, will that increase the resolution of the picture? Will that make it more realistic? No. If I change the monitor calibation to one million colors, then you have a better idea of what the high res pic actually is. Then you can determine when you are at the point of diminishing returns by taking up additional storage space on your drive, storing multiple copies of the same pic. That is what you must do with sample rates and audio.

    While 16 bit is fine for some, I hear a difference between 16 and 24.
  4. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    24/88.2 here. I've done some 24/96, but I can't hear a difference between 88.2 and 96 at all... and 88.2 saves a bit of HD space :)

    I definitely hear a difference in 24 vs 16, esp with complex sources like pipe organ.

  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    I'm one of those folks that if given the opportunity to record at 24-bit, I will but usually, I don't! Most of the recordings I make sound perfectly wonderful that people whether I'm rolling at 16-bit 44.1kHz or 24-bit 44.1kHz, so I usually stick with 16-bit. Sure there is a difference in the sound but I generally don't care about that kind of minute nuance. If you are a good engineer, you'll have no problem working within the constraints of a 96 DB dynamic range. I mean heck! In the good old analog days, we only had between 50 and 65 DB usable dynamic range and that never kept any good engineer from producing good hits. It would be much better to own a Rolls-Royce over a Chevrolet but a Chevrolet will still get you from point a to point B. So will 16-bit.

    Practically practical
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    I think that's the key. It's what you're recording. With heavy distorted guitars and scream-o vocals... you're not going to notice a whole lot of difference. A harp or organ? Quite possibly.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Well, it's been a while since a question like this popped up around here, so why not.

    Usually - most projects go 24/44.1 (though I record into Sequoia at 32 bit, the last 8 bits are actually 00000000)

    On higher-end projects, I'll go 88.2. On projects which may eventually go to high-res surround, I'll go 176.4. The reason for the 44.1, 88.2, or 176.4 is mainly b/c there is negligible difference between each of these and their 48kHz related bretheren and they save that little bit of hard-drive space. (Though I'm not usually worried about HD space, it's nice to conserve where one can.)

    I don't use the 24 bit crutch for the extra s/n ratio but for the possibility of adding effects later. When I add a reverb, eq or minor limiting, it just sounds better when I have a higher resolution file to work with.

    Though I'm finding myself using a LOT more outboard lately, so it ain't that much of a big deal.

  8. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Home Page:
    Routine live concerts that don't get much processing, 24/44. For everything else, critical CD sessions, video sessions, special concerts, always 96/24, including multitrack. It can be resampled to 48 for DVD release or 44 for CD release.
  9. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I use 24bit/ 48khz. Maximum occupancy of my studio is 200 people, the rest of the world will have to settle for listening to my recordings at 16 bit unless of course anyone really cares about HD. Or DVD maybe. I know nothing today apparently.
  10. 24/44.1 all the way.
  11. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Nov 3, 2004
    Göteborg, Sweden
    Home Page:
    24/48 for broadcasts (As that's the way it's sent)

    24/88.2 for CD's, mostly for eventual post production effects (ie. reverb).

  12. lk

    lk Guest

    This analogy doesn't really apply because the values you're using aren't comparable. But, it is incorrect anyways.

    Replace "times per second" with Hertz. Then go to you monitor settings and actually do this...granted you won't be able to select the same settings, but set it to your lowest frequency then set it to your highest. "See" the difference? Does the image on screen look more realistic?

    I agree that bit depth is more important than SR, but once you've got the highest bit depth why not go for better SR frequency. The object of PCM recording is to make it sound as accurate as possible right?

    I record at 88.2/24bit, but if I had the Horsepower/Storage I'd record everything at the highest possible resolution/format all the time. How about having 24 channels of DSD recording? Its only going to keep getting better.

    Is the difference between 44.1 , 96 , 192 Night and Day?....well no, but there is a difference. I can see why some people don't really care about SR or dont have the most recent gear to use high SR(myself incuded), but to state that there isn't a difference between SR's is ridiculous.
    I can't understand why we still have this debates over SR. The technology is there for a reason and it is well documented. This simplest way to tell the difference is just listen to the different SR's. Its not a conspiracy to make all your gear obsolete. (though if it was its working).

    My ASSumption is that cds will be the last popular media for music distribution. Then what happens when the average Joe's internet connection is so fast that he can download/stream high resolution Audio/Video. BYE BYE format restrictions, file size restrictions, record companies.....ok, back to earth.
  13. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    24 bit 44.1 for all my concert work. 24/96 for commercial projects. I use R8brain for SRC.

    Jeremy- unless you're doing destructive calculations to your audio, you aren't gaining anything by recording at 32 bit. It is a legacy bit rate in Sequoia from the days before they figured out how to make a PC record a 24 bit fixed point waveform. Even if you are doing destructive work, you can save your work as new files and you can have the best of both worlds.

  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    The main reason I actually record in 32 bit is simple - I bounce all of my pre-masters out into 32 bit (which will make a difference when using effects or making level changes). I know that supposedly the Bit Depth Change from 24 to 32 should incur no issues or artifacts, however, I don't trust it unless I can see it.

    SOooooo...I do 32 all the way around.

    Personal preference.
  15. zemlin

    zemlin Distinguished Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    24 bit 44.1 KHz
    I NEVER record at higher sample rates - mainly because my hardware doesn't go there ... well I can do 48, but I don't, 'cuz everything I do is going to end up on a CD.
  16. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    Thanks for all the input folks, keep em comin'.

    Also,I sometimes record in DSD and then convert from DSD to PCM....I dont know why, but PCM that has been converted from DSD *seems* to sound better than PCM that has stayed thus the entire time. Maybe I am losing my mind.

    Here too(well, R8brain pro, though I assume that is what you use too, Ben?)
  17. JoeH

    JoeH Distinguished Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    For quite a long time now, we've settled into 24/44 here, for all the inputting, DSP and master stereo mixes (usually put away for safe-keeping and possible DVD-A work).

    Then of course, we bounce/dither down to 16/44 for CDs like everyone else.

    I've been telling people for years that 16/48 or 48-ANYTHING was a waste of resources (Unless you're doing broadcast and video, of course), but the myths persist - no thanks to all the digital consoles and consumer DAT salesmen who tell people "48K is higher, so it's better!".

    I still believe that any percieved advantages of going at 48K is lost in the gearboxing process back down to 44 for CD work, and as Sheet has already pointed out, the bit-depth is far more important than the sample rate. When resources permit it, it's nice to do 24/88 or 96, so going down to either rate - 44 or 48 - usually works out fine.

    I will also admit that it's far less worrisome to go UP to 48K for most video soundtracks, if we started at 44k. I think most would agree that all but the most fanatic home videophiles don't have a problem with the soundtrack of most DVDs. (It's that extra distraction factor - the picture itself - that seems to keep most folks otherwise occupied.) When making an AC3 Dobly soundtrack, well, we all know what happens to those lost bits and rear speakers, eh? :roll:

    Conversely, I think it's human nature (esp when listening with NO picture present) to be able to focus more on the sound alone, so audio folks are much more tweaky about it all, even with 16/44 CDs.

    I'm VERY VERY happy with 24/44 in my day to day work here, and no one, I mean NO ONE, not one single paying client, has ever complained, or asked for anything higher.
  18. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    Yes, of course...

    Interesting thought process... In my experiences, 24 vs. 32 bit recording makes no difference. Digital zeros are digital zeros. It doesn't change the way that things sum inside the workstation. As I said before, the only place where I've noticed that it can make a difference is if you are doing destructive (offline) processes (especially FFT or denoising). Even then, if you tell Sequoia to make new files, you'll get the benefit.


  19. lell010

    lell010 Guest


    I would be interested in some more details as to how you actually do this.

    Larry Elliott

  20. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    either TASCAM DV-RA1000->Analog XLR Out->Mytek Stereo192 A/D>>

    Or Via the new Discwelder Bronze software which converts from Raw DSD(dff) to PCM. Came free with the DVRA1000.

    I dont know the reasoning behind why it sounds better??maybe psychological?


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