16 vs 24 bit recording?

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.

16 vs 24 bit recording?

Postby Dennis » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:09 am

I'm looking to invest in an Akai EIE for recording my synths, but it comes in 16 and 24 bit.

Now the 24 bit is just a little out of my budget, but I might buy a used one on eBay.

So is there a real difference in 24 and 16 bit recording, because with recording synths I want a really clean sound, will 16 bit be enough to satisfy my needs?

What do you think?

Thanks
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Re: 16 vs 24 bit recording?

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:28 am

I've never noticed a difference in 16-bit vs. 24-bit sound, but for recording it never hurts to have and work with a higher resolution than you need for the final result, because it keeps any noise induced by processing to a minimum - in a 24-bit signal, you've got a whole eight bits for potential rounding errors/etc. before you even touch the lowest level of a 16-bit signal.
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Re: 16 vs 24 bit recording?

Postby Dennis » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:42 am

Thanks John, I'll try to bid on a 24 on eBay.
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Re: 16 vs 24 bit recording?

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:46 am

Though of course that does presume that your signal is itself clean down to whatever threshold the lowest bits of the 24-bit recorder cover, so take that with a grain of salt. But still, yeah.
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Re: 16 vs 24 bit recording?

Postby meatballfulton » Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:18 am

You want to record at 24 bit for the extra headroom both in volume levels (no need to push everything close to 0 dB) and the DSP processing headroom.

Read this for more info.
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Re: 16 vs 24 bit recording?

Postby Solderman » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:57 pm

Remember that for every reduction in gain(db) digitally, you lose resolution.
With 24 bit, you can reduce 18 db of gain and have lost nothing in detail that even a 1 db gain drop at 16 bit would have. So 24 bit for processing and mixing. 16 bit will suffice for the final master for playback only, which is why there is usually some limiter compression done just before this final conversion. This naturally includes sample playback, but most samplers also process and reduce gain, so there would be loss of minute details.

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