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Old November 15th 03, 09:26 PM
Rick Powell
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Default 16 bit vs 24 bit, 44.1khz vs 48 khz <-- please explain

"Ric Oliva" > wrote in message m>...
> Ok, so I understand that 44.1k is 44,100 samples per second and 48k is
> 48,000 samples per second. Obviously 48,000 is better. I'm not exactly
> sure what bit rate is though? CDs are 16 bit, DVDs are 24. What exactly
> does that mean though?
> Another question - if I'm recording a project to audio CD, is it better to
> just record at 16/44 since that's what the CD will be anyway, and I can save
> system resources? or should I do 24/48 and then dither it down, essentially
> changing what I originally heard? I read in the ProTools book by Berklee
> Press that its best to record on LE using 24/44 since you won't hear much
> difference between the 48k and 44.1k. Any insights into this?
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Basically speaking, the bit resolution determines the ability to
describe the amplitude of a signal. Having 24 bits available gives
you a safety cushion in digital recording, among other things. The
same input signal that you are slamming to 0 dbfs in 16 bit format
(not a good thing because of the possibility of "overs") can be
recorded in 24 bit format with the same or better resolution while
staying well below the red. In a MIX article years ago, Stephen St.
Croix stated that, sound improvement-wise, he'd rather have 17 bits
vs. 16 instead of 96 kHz sampling rate vs. 48 kHz, if he had to make a

Most pro's would rather work in the higher resolutions until the
absolute last bounce or mix to 16/44.1. This is partly because, with
digital processing (EQ, compression, etc.), the extra headroom yields
real sonic benefits when recording, editing, etc. There are some that
prefer to keep everything in 44.1 all the way through to avoid sample
rate conversion at the end, but there is almost universal use of
higher bit resolutions whenever possible.