dithering explained

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by mobilelab, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. mobilelab

    mobilelab Active Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    Ok, i am about to prove how novice i am. Several of the programs and hardware i've come across cam process audio at higher sampling rates and bit rates than cd format 44.1/16 bit. I have recorded songs at 48k, and 24 bit, only to find myself unable to "bounce" it back to 44.1/16 bit.
    Is dithering the process i'm out of touch on?
    Confused, and thanks for any help.
  2. pingu

    pingu Guest

    It wont have anything to do with the dither though it is advised to apply dither when reducing the word length from 24 bit to 16 bit, but should not have anything to do with you not being able to bounce the file to 16 bit.

    Tell us what DAW you are using and perhaps we can help.
  3. mobilelab

    mobilelab Active Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    i use sonar 4 and or cakewalk 9, depending on what computer i'm on(which is dependant upon which project i'm working on).
    i can set the bit dept of a song file, but have no idea how to return it to 16 for making cds. i've since read more in this forum, and it seems dithering is where i'm missing the bus
    again, i'm a noob and flying blind here
  4. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    You'll need to do Sample Rate Conversion (SRC) to get from 48k to 44.1k.

    Dither should be added when going from 24 bit to 16 bit.

    Don't know the Sonar program, but surely it'll let you do SRC.

  5. When you burn down your project, you should be albe to select, 48 44.1 etc, and what bit rate.

    if, sonar does not allow this(which would be silly) then, swicth your recordings to 44.1/16, as this is what its going to end up at anyway.

    read your manual, and you will find some help there.

    also, any mastering program like Wavlab,Saw, etc, will allow you to burn down and change the bit//sample rate.

  6. mobilelab

    mobilelab Active Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    thanks guys!
  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    The general rule of thumb for CD projects (at least around here anyway) is to record at 24/44 (and occasionally 24/88 or 24/96 if the project warrants it), and work that way until it's time to make your final mix.

    You can even do a final mix staying at 24/44 up until it's time to make a CD, when you'll do a final bit reduction to 16, using dithering. (Most DAW's have some option to add this for you, although you could add it yourself once you learn about it, understand it, and what it is/does.)

    48k is best used for Video (DVD) production work, unless you're forced to use 48k (older digital consoles, etc). I have never found any benefits of using 48k for CDs, since there has to be a resampling process to get it down to 44k (the jargon term for this is "Gearboxing"). Most agree that any arguable bennies of recording at 48k are lost in the gearboxing process, so it's considered wise to just stick with 44k.

    I don't know what Sonar or Cakewalk has evolved to these days, but I'm guessing their CD burning software will do 24/44k to 16bit 44k conversion on the fly, or at least let you do a bounce down one more time before making the CD burn.

    To restate things: 44 and 88 sample rates will give you the easiest time (and arguably best sound) when re-sampling down for CD format, while using 24 bit resolution to record, mix and edit will keep everything as high quality as possible, until you reduce the bit-depth with good dithering. (Dither only ONCE, at the very end, when making the CDr.)

    Hope that helps.
    audiokid likes this.
  8. CrackBuddha

    CrackBuddha Guest

    Yeah, if its going to cd then sample 44.1 :wink:
    Apply dither right before changing bit-depth.
    You can think of bits as resolution of volume, and sample-rate as resolution of frequency. When reducing bit depth: dither. When reducing sample rate: lo-pass filter (usually automatic).
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