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Jakub

Question about bit depth of clips

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Hello. By default in Cakewalk all rendering is done in 32 bit. So frozen tracks created with VST from midi will have 32 bit depth. Recording AFAIK always has the bit depth declared when creating project (the one that is shown in top panel under project sample rate). My question is - should I have all clips in project set to the same bit depth? And, if some have for example 32 bit and other 16 bit and the final depth of mixdown is going to be 16 should i use dithering?

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Mixing clip bit depths is OK.

As a rule record bit depth should be set the same as driver bit depth.

Render bit depth defaults to 32.

Because the render depth (32) is higher than the export depth (16) dither on export.

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23 minutes ago, bdickens said:

I think you are conflating two entirely separate things.

Could You elaborate?

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21 minutes ago, scook said:

Mixing clip bit depths is OK.

As a rule record bit depth should be set the same as driver bit depth.

 

With my interface (using its native asio driver) the driver bit depth is set to 24 and cannot be changed. Is it normal? What can be the problems if I record with different bith depth (either lower or higher)?

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And let's assume that I have some pre recorded audio files in 16 bit as clips in a project and the target master should be red book 44/16 as well. If I plan to add to this pre recorded files some audio tracks rendered from vst instrument is it better to change the default render depth to 16 or leave it at 32 and dither when exporting the whole thing to single track for mastering to be done?

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20 minutes ago, Jakub said:

With my interface (using its native asio driver) the driver bit depth is set to 24 and cannot be changed. Is it normal?

Yes this is pretty common for ASIO drivers.

20 minutes ago, Jakub said:

What can be the problems if I record with different bith depth (either lower or higher)?

None really.

Should clips be created at a higher bit depth than the render depth, the default dither will be used during rendering. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Jakub said:

And let's assume that I have some pre recorded audio files in 16 bit as clips in a project and the target master should be red book 44/16 as well. If I plan to add to this pre recorded files some audio tracks rendered from vst instrument is it better to change the default render depth to 16 or leave it at 32 and dither when exporting the whole thing to single track for mastering to be done?

As a rule,

  • Bring clips in to a project at their original bit depth.
  • Set record and driver bit depth to the same bit depth.
  • Use 32 or 64bit render depth.
  • Dither once on export when exporting to 16bit. Do not dither when exporting at the current render bit depth.

 

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4 minutes ago, scook said:

As a rule,

  • Bring clips in to a project at their original bit depth.
  • Set record and driver bit depth to the same bit depth.
  • Use 32 or 64bit render depth.
  • Dither once on export when exporting to 16bit. Do not dither when exporting at the current render bit depth.

 

Ok, that helps a lot but about" Set record and driver bit depth to the same bit depth." I assume drvier depth  can be higher? I often use 16 bit clips and as I said the driver depth is stuck at 24. Also - if my final master will be a 44/16 one can I record at 16 bit on low level to not exceed the headrom? Also- Did I get it right that when render depth is set to 32 it creates 32 bit wave files while freezing but later they are autho dithered during export, right?

Edited by Jakub

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The DAW can work with a mix of different bit depths.

You can't do anything to improve pre-recorded clips but you should set the record and driver bit depths the same to maintain the best resolution available for your recordings.

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1 minute ago, scook said:

The DAW can work with a mix of different bit depths.

You can't do anything to improve pre-recorded clips but you should set the record and driver bit depths the same to maintain the best resolution available for your recordings.

So in general - using higher resolution and dithering is better than using 16 bit resolution to avoid the dithering at all,?

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S o i think a final question for now :D.  Should I dither multiple times? Consider such situation - I have a project made of different clips - some in 16 bit, some recorded in 24 bit and some from rendering in VST are 32 bit. What would be the best way to handle this:

1. Mix it down to 24 applying dither and then after mastering this 24 bit file export to 16 bit for CD with dither again?

2. Maintain the highest from all clips resolution for mastering, so mix down whole thing to 32 bit file, do a mastering on it and then export to 16 and only then dither.

3. Mix it down to 16 right away, with dithering, do a mastering and then export it to 16 again (of course no dithering this time as bit depth stays the same) .

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Dither is noise. Every time you dither, you add noise. So it's best to avoid it when it's not necessary. In your situation, it's really only necessary for that final 16-bit export. There is no advantage to working in 16 bits throughout, beyond saving some disk space. There are good reasons why we do most of our work on 32-bit files.

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Leave all clips as they are, mix and master then dither on the final 16bit export.

If you decide to master in a new project, export at the render bit depth with no dithering, import at original bit depth into the new project and dither the final 16bit export.

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