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switching project to 24bit from 16bit, problems?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Scutterflux, Mar 20, 2003.

  1. So let me try to explain the situation. (I hope this is the right thread category)

    We (my bandmates and I) have just finished recording all the drum tracks for our up and comming project at 16 bit. Our drummer insists that we finish recording everything else at 24 bit.

    I'm concerned. Will having the drum tracks at 16bit and everything else at 24bit cause loss of quality in the drum tracks when we dither? Or does the dithering process recognize the 16-bit tracks and only dither the 24-bit tracks?

    We are not going to redo the drum tracks, and I need confirmation on if this is safe before I get started on bass. I don't want to have perfect tacks ruined because we thought the sound quality would improve.

    So if anybody knows the answer, I would like to get started at recording right away!

    Thank you:D
  2. Can you have both 16 and 24 bit tracks on the same project without loss of sound quality?
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Not recommended, because a mixed project will have to be resampled on the fly for playback, for example, which will be not too good in terms of quality.

    I'd say leave the drums tracks as they are and resample the rest for mixdown/mastering.
    You'll have to resample to 44.1 kHz anyway for CD.

    A good resample tool is recommended, e.g. the Apogee plugin of Wavelab.
  4. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I don't think there should be a problem.

    What recorder are you using to do this?

    Presumably, you're going to copy the 16-bit drum tracks into a new 24-bit project (or somesuch) before you record the rest?

    If so, after you've done that - there'll be no 'evidence' that the drums were recorded in 16-bit (I imagine) - so I don't suppose the dithering process would recognize the 16 bit drum tracks.

    I've no idea if you can have 16 & 24 bit tracks on the same project - because you haven't said what equipment you're using to record this! It seems unlikely, however, that you would be able to mix resolutions like that within one project.

    I've never tried what you're suggesting, but I really doubt there'll be a problem. Anyhow - can't you try it out first on a dummy copy to find out?
  5. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yeah - but if you convert the 16-bit tracks to 24-bit tracks, thus levelling the playing field - this won't be an issue. And you've got nothing to lose, as far as I can see.
  6. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i agree - this is what we did for our mixing. our recording was in 16 bit, the mixing was 24 bit - it helped maintain the integrity of the tracks through the mixing process. moving up like that isn't bad, it's moving down that's lossy.
  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You're right here, but mixing sample rates is not recommended, and in most cases even impossible in a single project.
  8. Ok, we used the 16bit ISIS sound card for drums, and now we got the 24 bit Quattro, all going into my PC using Steinberg Nuendo as the software. There is a project settings that allows you to choose 16 or 24 bit. When we accidentally leave the setting on 24 bit and use the ISIS card, and you check the properties of the induvidual track you just recorded, it says it's 16bit. So it seems to recognize a 16bit track in a 24bit project setting.

    What happens when it all has to be put down to 16bit 44,000hz?

    I'm hopeing to find out some concrete yes or no's, but I respect your opinions as well, because more heads are better than one.:bassist:
  9. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Well, aside from the issue of having different resolutions for different tracks (which I don't think I can help you with, because I've never done it)...

    If you copy the 16 bit drums tracks into new 24 bit tracks - and then do no further processing on the drums - it will make no difference at the end, when you dither down. Dithering should only affect the lower 8 bits - and if you do no processing on the drums, these should still be empty, as far as I can see - so it will make no difference.

    Whereas, if you do processing on the drums, those 8 bits will get used, and the drum tracks will be 24-bit tracks, and will need dithering anyway.

    It looks like a good option to make all your tracks 24 bit, I would say.

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