16 bit vs 24 bit, 44.1khz vs 48 khz <-- please explain
If sample rate is viewed as resolution over time (horizontal axis),
bit rate is resolution of the amplitude (vertical axis). Each bit
doubles the resolution, or in other words, the smallest increment of
volume possible is hlaved with each additional bit.
The difference between 16 bits and 24 bits is 2 to eighth power, or
256. That means between each volume increment in a 16 bit recording
there are 256 intermediate steps added in a 24 bit recording. This
means that volume changes can be portrayed far more accurately and
smoothly. Also, when you manuipulate tracks with faders and plug-ins,
you are essentially doing mathematical operations, so with much higher
resolution the rounding errors are minimized. In practice, the result
is increased dynamic range, better stereo imaging, smoother less
grainy fades and reverb tails, and less worry about having to track
"hot". There is no reason not to track atr 24 bits if you can. The
only disadvantage is each sound file will be 150% bigger.
The difference between recording at 44.1 and 48k, on the other hand,
is pretty tiny. Many people (myself included) record at 44.1 so that
you don't have to worry about doing a sample rate conversion somewhere
down the line (to a 44.1 CD) which may do more harm than whatever tiny
gain you are getting from the slightly higher sample rate. If you are
concerned with using a higher sample rate, 88.2 seems to make more
sense. If you are going to do all your mixing on an analog board,
however, then you might as well use 48k.