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sadicus

Project Bit Depth and Export Audio Preset Bit Depth

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Project is 48Hz / 24bit
is there any advantage to export a track's audio at 32 Bit Depth? (or a higher bit depth than the recorded project audio)
It's not a final mix and it uses plugins and will be used in another 48Hz / 24bit project.
The mixed audio however, will be final rendered to DVD and CD quality.

 

 

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Internally Cakewalk uses 32 or 64bit depending on the 64bit Double Precision Engine setting in preferences and Render Bit Depth.

If the exported file is going to be processed further such as mastering outside the DAW, it is a good idea to leave the project at the higher bit depth. 

Bit depth reduction and dither should happen one time at the end of processing.

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I’ve been doing at lot of track exports for various reasons mostly because I need continuous audio from start to end. There’s things like audio snap and changing the tempo that won’t work with chopped up audio tracks.
 I use Export- Tracks no effects or automation and then use Mono and 48/ 32 no dithering.  
My logic for using 32 bit depth is that Cakewalk is working at that rate so best to maintain it. If it’s a waste of time I’ve got nothing to loose.  

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9 hours ago, sadicus said:

is there any advantage to export a track's audio at 32 Bit Depth? (or a higher bit depth than the recorded project audio)

Two different questions.

When exporting a track at 32 bits, you're just copying it unaltered from its internal format. So if you're sending a file to someone to incorporate into a mix, it makes sense to send them 32-bit files. However, no one would actually notice if you sent them 24-bit files instead, as that's still plenty to push the noise level way below audibility. So  there technically is an advantage, but it's extremely small.

Note that converting to a higher bit depth (e.g. your project is at 24 bits and you import a 16-bit file) just means adding some zeroes to the data. Doesn't actually change anything. Cakewalk uses 32 bits (or 64 bits if you're concerned about not using all the memory you bought) for one reason: to preserve accuracy when performing multiplication on the data within the DAW (which just about everything does, from setting faders to adding reverb to inserting an EQ).

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Be aware that 16 bit and 24 bit are integer based formats, whereas 32 bit / 64 bit are floating point based formats. 

The jump to 32 bit is not the same as the jump from 16 to 24 bit, as being different formats they're not really comparable in the same way.

Generally speaking,  exports should always be 16bit or 24bit unless you're going to be doing additional processing to the exported file. 

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@msmcleod I think you missed the OP’s question which was regarding export of stems, not finished mixes. 

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thanks all for use case. The reason I even asked is, the Default for a track export was already set at 32bit, and my project being 48Hz / 24bit was causing confusion as i thought the export would have defaulted to that. I go long periods of time without recording and forget this info and appreciate going back to the forums for info like this.

Mostly I use Cbb as a musical notepad, a way to record ideas. I am indeed exporting out the track undithered (because I plan to plugin / master at a later time)
I just really want to preserve the quality as much as possible because I'll be using the file in the same or another 48Hz / 24bit Project.

~ Thank you!

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Posted (edited)

What’s not absolutely clear to me and why I use 32 undithered is the even if that audio was 24 bit  it comes out of the project at 32 ( or64)  bit. 
A project can have audio files( tracks) that are all different bit depths. This is especially true of audio dragged from the browser. 
But the audio engine is running at 32 (64)bit as well as all your processing so all audio exports start out being 32 (64) bit. 

So any export below 32(64) bit is being technically truncated so dithering should be used. 
That said there’s probably.006% quality loss if you don’t. 

Edited by John Vere

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