[MPA] Audio bit depth considerations (was newbie questions)

Scott Jacob Loehr scott.loehr at verizon.net
Tue Feb 18 08:11:52 PST 2003

>Save the conversion to 16 bits for CDs for the very last step. 
>However, I don't have enough experience to know whether this is in 
>fact a practical consideration.

	I'm doing everything 24-bit now... the only thing that's 
really changed for the 'worse' is the file size... my Mac seems to be 
handling everything fine.  I haven't done a test to see how many 
tracks I can actually record and/or play back at once, but I've never 
made the processor meters (or my Ultra 160 SCSI drives) sweat yet. 
The ONLY processor-oriented limitation I've run into so far has been 
with plug-ins... usually AltiVerb.

	Another benefit of 24-bit recording - I spend a lot less time 
worrying about getting mic preamp levels as hot as I can without 
clipping... with a little more headroom, I'm finding myself hardly 
EVER sticking my tail between my legs and asking players and singers 
(and myself) for "one more take for me because we're now playing 
louder than we did during sound check and my peak LEDs are starting 
to blink at me".  The downside of this is that people who work in 16 
bits take a while to get used to the idea of letting something fly 
with levels that average around -24 and peak at around -6.  We're 
STILL exceeding CD's 96dB of dynamic range, and I just LOVE not 
having to face digital distortion the next day when I examine tracks.

	Though it's still fairly new for me, I couldn't be happier 
with archiving to DVD-R.  It took away all my concerns about moving 
up to 24-bit, and it solved my problem of not being able to archive 
audio Image Files onto CD-R that were longer than 70 minutes.  Plus, 
it's drastically reducing the amount of physical space required to 
archive projects.

Scott Jacob Loehr

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