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Bit-Depth Issues

Member for

21 years
Hi all,

I have an annoying issue with a bunch of tracks I cut out of a jamb from the other day.

I recorded about 2 hours of jambing into Sonar, I made the mistake of recording two mono tracks, one for each mic, instead of one stereo track. I recorded 2 tracks of 24 bit 44.1k audio.
Anyways, I went through the jamb and cut out the parts I liked and exported them as individual wav files. 2 channel 24bit 44.1k. I just highlight the bits I want, make sure the panning is right, then hit export. Is this kosher?

I then moved the tracks over to the editing computer and found that they wouldn't play in Winamp, a huge amount of noise over the tracks... They work fine in Winamp on my other machine so I figured it was this ones on board sound card or an old version on Winamp.
Anyway, I loaded the tracks into Audition, they sound gold, and saved them as "4-byte PCM (type 1, 32-bit)" Windows PCM WAV files.
These new files now play in Winamp fine. Still sound gold.

Anyways I spend two nights listening through the tracks and doing fade in and fade outs and cutting the crap off the ends... Now they're as polished as I can get them... So I make some mp3s, oh my god do they sound crap. No richness at all, no bass, no stereo image... Nothing... I made about 10 different types, all sound the same, flat as...
Now I'm thinking I'll try putting it on cd, I have to make some 16bit wavs...
I can't get Audition to export any format of 16 bit WAV or anything that doesn't sound just like those mental mp3s...
Usually the mp3s I make sound a whole lot better than these ones. And this is making me think there is something whack.

This is my dumbest question. Is 2 channel the same as stereo?
Some more dumb questions.
What am I doing wrong?
How should one export audio from Sonar?
How can I make 16bit wavs from 32bit ones? I tried Voxengo's R8 but it wont convert unless I want to change the sample rate too.
Is there a program that's better for creating mp3s than Audition?
My burning software (Nero) wont burn anything but 16bit 44.1k PCM WAV.
What do people recommend as burning software?

Thanks for reading, extra thanks for helping if you can.



Member for

16 years 7 months

pr0gr4m Thu, 08/14/2008 - 12:56
To go completely off topic here...

Was that a typo?...the B I mean? People from other places often use different words to describe things and every once an a while I'll come across one I've never heard/seen. In this case it's the word JAMB. I've actually seen this word used in other places for the same thing and I'm just wondering if people actually do use the work jamb in some places. If so, what places are they?


Or is it just some sort of slang?

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Thu, 08/14/2008 - 13:59
Dude, you can do everything you want to do properly in Adobe Audition. Believe me. It's true. You shouldn't be having this problem. The one problem you are experiencing is that Adobe Audition doesn't do 24-bit but 32-bit float. Other programs don't handle 32-bit float but can handle 24-bit. That's why I stick to 16-bit. It's totally perfectly completely adequately fine. Plus, many of these toy player programs can't play anything but stereo, 16-bit tracks. So singular mono tracks won't play or will cause the problems you described, yeah. Your MP3's should nearly sound as good as your .wav files. You've described a peculiar way of saving your files. Within Audition, you merely choose "save as" and select "Windows PCM .wav". You're choosing some kind of highly compressed multimedia format to save to. There's where your problems are starting. You're recording properly. Nothing wrong with taking 2 single mono, 24-bit, 44.1kHz tracks and mixing to stereo, 16-bit, 44.1kHz, in the software that recorded it. What is the problem is that your various software's are not all cross compatible when dealing with greater bit depths. That's why I keep telling people to stick to 16 bit! You get 96 DB of dynamic range & processing. If you can't stay within a 96 DB range, then you should look for another job? All of us professionals only had 16 bit for the past 25 years. So your equipment may be cable of 24-bit but Audition does not handle 24-bit. It takes your 24-bit of data output and adds eight more bits of zeros. And Win-Amp, isn't a professional program. It's a toy kids player. Not even sure why you are using that? It's not a reference. And jumping between your different audio software's is causing the problems. Pick a software and stick with it. If you want to jump between software's, do everything in 16 bit. You won't be getting less quality, you'll get better quality when you get things consistent. 24-bit is just marketing bull crap. It tells you your electronics are a little more capable than earlier versions. This means you get better quality when recording 16-bit with a 24-bit capable device. It's a lot like analog headroom, its digital headroom, which is a good thing but.... Everybody keeps trying to reinvent the wheel and there is no substitute for good technique & making good recordings. So acceptable quality comes in good technique and understanding what you're doing. You don't. It doesn't come with more bits or higher sample rates. I mean most of us don't own Ferraris. We own Chevrolets & Toyotas. So while everybody thinks they need 24-bit & higher sample rates to make good recordings, it's only causing more problems and lower quality levels in the hands of uninformed folks, like yourself. So even if your car is capable of 120 mph, you must generally keep the below 65. So what I'm saying is, CDs can sound adequately stunning and they're only 16-bit 44.1kHz. What's that tell you? I'll stack any of my 16-bit recordings against anybody's 24-bit crappy recordings. So why doesn't Audition handle 24-bit?? I have no idea? Why doesn't Sound Forage handle 32-bit float? I have no idea? What's the matter with these software engineers anyhow? I have no idea? I can tell you, they are not recording engineers, their nerds, geeks, eggheads.

Incredibly practical marvelous engineer.
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

21 years

Member Thu, 08/14/2008 - 21:52
Mam, that was helpful!

The reason I use Winamp is because that's what everyone I know plays the tracks I make in. No point making something I can't share with my friends.

You have totally sold me on 16bit now. The reason I was using 24bit was because it seemed like I could have more gain on the mic before it would hit the conversion limiter when I hit the snare or kick. Meaning I could record a tighter sound, with the amps closer to the kit.

"Within Audition, you merely choose "save as" and select "Windows PCM .wav". You're choosing some kind of highly compressed multimedia format to save to."

Just to clarify, Windows PCM .wav is the one I should be using?

Jam is for toast. :P

Member for

19 years 9 months

Thomas W. Bethel Fri, 08/15/2008 - 04:57

Your post brought back memories of a mastering project I just completed. It was of some harpsichord music. The original recording engineer recorded it using some software that became obsolete. He transfered it to another program and then did all kinds of bit manipulation while he went from one program to yet another program and finally worked in Pro Tools. The problem was that all this bit manipulation caused the recording to sound flat and lifeless. I had to master it and make it sound better.

Take RemyRads advice and find a program and stick to it. When you are finally done and you have a stereo 44.1K 16 bit file then you can listen to it on other playback systems and use other programs like WINAMP to sample what it will sound like to the people you are trying to reach.

Best of luck!

Member for

13 years

jordy Sat, 11/22/2008 - 01:24
thanks, i don't mean to keep this dithering debate going, but.....i'm interested in why you are saying that fades in a song would require dithering the track.....while editing a 24 or 32 bit before converting to 16 would not require a dither....?

A/D converters eliminate the need for dithering????? how? :?

i've read what everybody has had to say about this subject....and i think i would now dither everytime i convert a finished mixdown.... why do you think this is unneccesary?

Member for

13 years

jordy Tue, 11/11/2008 - 23:04
RemyRAD wrote: That's why I keep telling people to stick to 16 bit! You get 96 DB of dynamic range & processing. If you can't stay within a 96 DB range, then you should look for another job? All of us professionals only had 16 bit for the past 25 years.

Remy....this may be a dumb question. -i don't know.....but, if you record everything in 16 bit to start with, do you dither at the end or not? -would dithering a 16 bit to a 16 bit still have any purpose? -does the noise shaping still help out with getting the most frequency out of the audio.....or do i still need to learn alot more about what dithering does???i'm just trying not to get too confused here.

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Fri, 08/15/2008 - 12:18
We all love polishing turds! Yeah, changing bit depth & sample rates can get pretty gnarly sounding.

Yeah, Win-Amp is a fun player. I used it when it first came out, actually packaging it with a job I did. I actually contacted the company (before it was sold) and asked for the permission to bundle it with the 70 hours of Ayn Rand interviews all delivered at 16-bit, mono, 11.5kHz sampling. All on a single CD back in 1996. Now you're thinking, "11.5kHz sampling?" Yup, gives you response to 5kHz like AM radio. Coming from crappy archives of all sorts, that really cleaned up a lot by limiting the bandwidth that way. Not something I recommend for music however. Unless you like AM radio sound? Then you can sample back up to 44.1kHz. Response would still be limited to 5kHz because of the early sampling rate.

Talk talk talk. That's all I do.
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 08/17/2008 - 09:46

I went to follow your advice and export all formats from Sonar 6 LE...
The license for converting mp3s that came with the software that came with my hardware which I paid cash for was only for 3 months...
What gets me down is I've never had an issue like this with pirated software.

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 08/17/2008 - 10:32
Space wrote: Converting to mp3 is overrated, that is why you pay for an additional piece of software.

Damn, that was fast. I know people who can be in the room and take longer to reply.

I agree with your sentiments however, if my tracks aren't Ipuke compatible my potential audience is reduced.