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Converting 16-bit to 24-bit


I have some older sessions in 16-bit 44.1 kHz. i am going to re-track the vocals for the sessions using newer equipment which is capable of 24-bit up to 96 kHz.

Is there any benefit to converting the 16-bit audio into 24-bit and work in a new 24-bit session (44.1) for recording vocals?

or should i leave it in 16-bit, and record the vocals at 16-bit depth?

If so, what is the best way to do this?

  1. I'm using Pro Tools LE, so i can save the session copy as 24-bit, and it will convert the audio and create a new 24-bit session.
  2.  Should i use a 24-bit Dither plug-in on a master fader and bounce the audio to disk for the new 24-bit session?

Thank you for your wisdom


Pro Audio Guest Tue, 03/07/2006 - 11:55
Let me clarify the situation a little.

I have an old Fostex 8 Track Hard Disk recorder which records at 16-bit, 44.1 kHz. There are an album's worth of songs on there that are the stereo mixdown of drums/bass/guitar without any vocals. I want to import these songs into Pro Tools and record the vocals within Pro Tools.

So i'm using the S/PDIF OUT on the 8 Track to the S/PDIF IN on the Digi002.

1. Since the Fostex is 16-bit, should i set the Pro Tools session to record
the incoming digital audio at 16-bit or at 24-bit ?
What does that do with the extra 8-bits?

2. If i have already recorded the tracks into 16-bit sessions, should i convert the files to 24-bit and then track the vocals in a 24-bit session?
Where do the extra 8 bits come from?

Should i perform #1 or #2 to see the best results?
Or will they be identical?

FYI - Since getting the Digi002 and Pro Tools, every project i've done has been in 24/44.1 format.

Gooch Mon, 03/13/2006 - 15:01
It kinda sucks that we are taking this guy's post off topic, but I wanted to reply just to clarify things. Here's my reason for speaking out against Alécio Costa as I did: In reading other posts at this forum, it seems a lot of people have a bit of a "know it all" attitude, and reply to posts just to tell people they're wrong, and don't answer the poster's question at all. Others just post to say "Get rid of this gear - it sucks, and go get this"...... I have looked for answers to my problems in different posts, and run across this same old thing time and time again. As a forum admin, moderator, or client, i'm sure you've all noticed this here a few times.

In reading Alécio Costa's reply, it seemed he was just stressing "YOU ARE WRONG!!!", and didn't give much of an answer or any solution to the guy's problem. It just came off to me as rude and self righteous, so I thought i'd speak up, as I was also looking for information on the same issue. Trying to get information, and going through hours of unhelpful opinions with no solutions is just frustrating, i'm sure all would agree here??

In closing, my point here was not to stir up a bunch of shit, or cause problems. Alécio Costa's reply was easily misinturpreted, and I guess I did exactly that in reading it, my apologies for that. Yes I threw the foreigner with bad english thing in there, which was uncalled for, but I figured it was just an eye for an eye with how I took his post to be. Just for the record, I am not prejudiced - I HATE EVERYONE EQUALLY!! :) (J/K)

Now, if everyone is done Gooch-bashing, i'll get back to my stupid newb questions i've been posting here, since I know less than nothing and am actually trying to learn something.....

P.S. - Mr. French, my Portugese is excellent thank you, how is your French? lol

David French Fri, 03/10/2006 - 09:56
Damn Gooch, pullin' out the "foreigner' word, eh? Where are you from I wonder? You're a 'foreigner' everywhere but there. Technically, you're probably a 'foreigner' here, too, since RO is based in Canada. And to remark about his English? How's your Portugese? Why don't you test him, Alécio? :D

Where someone is from has nothing to do with the quality of their character. Saying otherwise is basically racism, an I don't want that on my forum.

Gooch Fri, 03/10/2006 - 14:19
Mr. French,

Just for the record, I am in Vancouver - not a foreigner to Canada :p I just happen to live in the city where we'll let anyone through our borders, which is why Delta looks like Pakistan and Richmond is just like a visit to China. It seems you lost sight of the fact that your moderator was ignorant to a poster that was simply looking for some help. Who the hell does he think he is posting "YOU ARE WRONG"!!! in big caps to make an extra little point. I felt taking a little pot shot at him might put him in his place, and knock him down from his throne that it seems he has himself up on above us other meager little non-moderators. A forum moderator's job is to give helpful advice in a polite and friendly manner, and have a mature and professional manner. As he has failed to show that in all areas, I felt someone needed to say something about it. If you want to ban me for speaking my mind here - fill your boots kiddo! I don't want to be part of a community that is rude and insulting to its members anyway. Don't lose sight of the problem - you have a rude little moderator, that made an ignorant reply to a simple post for help. How about writing him a little note?


TeddyG Fri, 03/10/2006 - 16:53
AND!!! Oops! Don't want to sound mean, by using BIG LETTERS!!!


Almost any source I put into my audio software to do anything with(Edit, whatever), is converted to 32 bit - by default in Wavelab, though modifiable. I, generally, use 32 bit/48 khz as that's as far as my LynxOne will go in analog(Experts have, long before digital existed, told me to always "bump up" when you can, even if you eventually go back down - they said - you lose less that way...). When I'm done with whatever I'm doing, back down it goes to 44.1/16(Or less), for .wav making or even .mp3's... Far as dithering on the way back down, I sometimes use it, but I only bother if it's "critical" stuff. When the ultimate destination is an .mp3, there is no need - the quality will be long-gone, anyway... I'd go so far as to say dither if you can hear the difference, or just do it anyway, it doesn't take much extra time to hit the dither button. Make sure to try the different methods of dithering, you might find one you think works best...


audiokid Fri, 03/10/2006 - 23:13
Gooch wrote: Alécio Costa, that's a pretty ignorant way to respond to a guy's problem...and you are a moderator here??? How about laying off the "I know everything" trip, and give the guy some help. - And your english is terrible to boot! The nerve of some foreigners...jeez!

Gooch, has zero tolerance for BS. Act better here or walk away.

Carry on Alecio 8-)

Alécio Costa Mon, 03/13/2006 - 05:52

Thanks, CHris!.
Just to remind our members that we are for the love and passion we have for our profession. Generally we are here answering questions and creating new (interesting) subjects quite late at night and there might happen some minor mistyping. I am pretty sure that most have been able to understand what I have been writing thru all these years.
Just take a look at my post count and it is not that bad.

We are not employees or forced to have an answer to every question one might have.

In fact several times I have contacted some developers (Digidesign, Yamaha, etc) about news and also for some bug report as I had the opportunity circa 2002/2004 when I helped beta test some plug-ins for PSP .

There are tons of different gear so it is almost impossible for us moderators to have the best advice in every subject.

I have seen foreign moderators at other forums reporting that sometimes they get misunderstood by the way they write.

I had no intention of offfending the poster, that is why I answered his original question twice but this does not give the right to Mr.Gouch come here and say whatever he thinks. In fact I am looking for some cool useful information he has posted here since his post 1.

Thanks and let us go back to work
Nice week.

Alécio Costa Tue, 03/07/2006 - 10:31

You´ll have several advantages working into a session with a 24bit length.
better S/N ratio, you´ll be able to EQ with more accuracy. Just remind to aplly some dithering process before converting all your stuff back to Red Book CD Audio 44k/16 bits.

Also.. if you choose to work at FS other than 44.1k/24bits:
a) first, if you are working in digital domain, convert the frequency you chose to 44.1k, if a CD Audio is what you are looking for;
b)After the SRC ( frequency conversion)perform the bit reduction (truncation) to 16 bits, with a nice Dither.
Hope it helped ya

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 03/07/2006 - 10:37
Sequencer: Pro Tools LE

Thank you guys. I found the answer to my question.

When going from 24-bit to 16-bit, DITHER should be used, of course.
When Pro Tools converts a file (say you open a 24-bit file in a 16-bit
session) it automatically applies DITHER.

When going from 16-bit to 24-bit, however, DITHER isn't needed.
As such, when converting from 16-bit to 24-bit DITHER isn't automatically applied. The files can simply be converted and used in the 24-bit session with a depth rate of 24-bits for everything recorded subsequently.

They can be converted by saving the 16-bit session as 24-bit or by opening a new 24-bit session and importing the audio files.

I won't be gaining anything by converting the 16-bit tracks to 24-bit, but i will be gaining something by tracking the vox in 24-bit !

I'll be recording vox for these old sessions in 24 bit now!