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Elk
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How much dynamic range is enough?

16/44 recording provides a dynamic range of ~98dB. This easily exceeds the dynamic range of any performing group, even allowing the loss of some dynamic range to noise floor of the recording and playback equipment, etc.

I keep reading reviews where the writer states that 24-bit/44 recordings sound much better than 16/44. Frankly this makes no sense to me. In fact, I have made direct comparisons in my own recordings and cannot hear a difference. While I always record in 24 bit, this is for the extra headroom and flexibility. (24/96 does sound much better than 16/44 - but this is a totally different comparison).

So what does 24-bit get us? How is the extra bit resolution better than 16 bit?

Anyone know?

dcstep
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Re: How much dynamic range is enough?

Elk, I missed out on 24/44. Where do you find such sources? Are those downloads.

Everything in my library that's 24-bit is either 24/96 or 24/192 and sound fantastic, in general, of course, since some producers can screw up anything.

Dave

Elk
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Re: How much dynamic range is enough?

The most recent reference I saw to 24/44 was in the CES coverage by The Absolute Sound. One of the reviewers wrote that the 24/44 sources at one display room sounded much better than 16/44. This surprises me.

I have never seen a source for 24/44 on-line or otherwise.

When I record knowing that the final product will never see higher resolution playback than CD I record 24/44. This way I enjoy more headroom and do not need to convert the sample rate (the conversion is never going to help the sound, but might hurt).

I can't tell any difference listening to these files as 24/44 or as bit-depth converted to 16/44.

struts
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Re: How much dynamic range is enough?


Quote:
I missed out on 24/44. Where do you find such sources? Are those downloads.

They are few-and-far between but there are some. The 'Studio Masters' versions of Barb Jungr's Walking in the Sun, available as downloads on Linn Records, are 24/44.1.

But it beats me too though. I'll be interested to hear the rationale, assuming there is one.

dcstep
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Re: How much dynamic range is enough?

I wonder if the reviewer was comparing hard drive at 24/44 to optical 16/44. I understand that's supposed to sound better, primarily due to the better read accuracy of the HD. Still, if you got 24-bit word length, why would you stop at 44 sampling rate??? I don't understand the point of the format.

Dave

Elk
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Re: How much dynamic range is enough?

It was apples to apples as far as I can tell.

Part of the reason for my question is a concern that I may fundamentally misunderstand what bit depth provides.

I don't think that increasing bit depth from 16 to 24 bits increases the resolution of the dynamics at, say, 75dB. If 24-bit allowed much finer dynamic resolution than 16-bit at a given loudness I could understand that it could sound better.

However, I think that 24-bit simply allows one to capture overall greater dynamic range, not better resolution of the dynamics that are captured.

struts
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Re: How much dynamic range is enough?

That's my understanding too Elk. Will be interesting to get it confirmed or debunked.

I sent some questions to Linn Records about their encoding choices for Studio Masters. If I hear anything useful back I'll be sure to post it.

struts
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Re: How much dynamic range is enough?

At the risk of veering slightly OT, I wondered if you had seen Benchmark Audio's Clean Audio Installation Guide, just released on their website. Aimed primarily at professional broadcast and studio recording engineers it contains a complete primer on eradicating noise and interference from audio systems including sections on power, interconnects, RF interference, SNR and operational best practices.

Particularly relevant to this discussion is the section on maximizing SNR in a recording chain (see excerpt below) but the whole piece is really superb and should probably be considered required reading for recording engineers. Many of the principles are of course equally applicable to replay chains as well.

Way to go Benchmark!


Quote:
7.0 SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIOS
It is our recommendation that all audio systems be run at a maximum
Elk
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Re: How much dynamic range is enough?

Good solid advice.

It generally surprises people that speech has such dynamic range. Thus, it is always compressed before broadcast and when recording. In fact, recorded speech is almost uncomfortable without compression.

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