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Old November 16th 03, 06:39 AM
Bob Cain
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Default 16 bit vs 24 bit, 44.1khz vs 48 khz <-- please explain

Peter Gemmell wrote:
> So, what answer is correct? Whiteswan, Rick Powell, and Jay have given
> three answers that sound good but are mutually exclusive. I've been at
> this a few years and I still don't know what is right. Does 24 bit give
> greater resolution than 16 bit or does it merely give a larger dynamic
> range without a finer resolution?

The way that finer resolution manifests is as a larger
signal to noise ratio. The noise is due to quantization and
the wider the sample, the lower the noise is relative to the
maximum representable signal. The noise is an approximately
random error of +-1/2 the value of the low order bit. It is
inescapable. It is intimately related to the dynamic range
because it determines how small the signal can be before it
loses signifigance relative to that error noise limit. The
ratio of how large a signal that can be represented to how
small a signal can be represented is the dynamic range.

In practice, I don't think that yet any front end to a 24
bit ADC is itself nearly as quiet as that quantization noise
so that you will see specifications, if they are honest,
that are signifigantly lower than the theoretical 144 dB SNR
that can be achieved with 24 bits.


"Things should be described as simply as possible, but no

A. Einstein