Author Topic: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?  (Read 26922 times)

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Offline japanesebaby

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a stupid question.. belongs in another thread, but forgive me, what is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings? which is better, and suited to my technical abilities, especially as far as burning, etc,...
TIA.. :smth100

i guess it depends on how you listen to your music, do you listen through your computer or do you burn regular audio cds, and what sort of player you use for the playback.

24-bit (48 Hz/24-bit) is simply of higher sound quality as the bit depth and sample rate are at max. just look at the file sizes and you can notice there is a big difference there between 48/24 and 44.1/16 files. meaning that there obviously is more data there in 48/24 files. i suppose 24-bit could be called a "true digital sound" since it utilizes the maximum capabilities for audio recording.

the standards for a regular audio cd are slightly lower though, and that's 16-bit audio (44.1 Hz/16-bit). so if you already know you intend to burn regular audio cds (playable for all standard cd players), then the 16-bit version is the way to go. but if you want to enjoy the maximum quality and you know that your player can support 24-bit playback, then that's a good option to go for. :smth023
anyway, there is a difference there between 16-bit and 24-bit, although some people might try to tell you otherwise. but they simply have wax in their ears (uuuh! ;)).


in general, unless it's being otherwise noted, all lossless audio on cds (available here or elsewhere, official releases included) is usually 44.1 Hz/16-bit. that's the standard. you can see 24-bit used for instance in movies with super-HQ surround sound or with special edition audio releases.
dvds always do have 48 Hz as a standard, but it can often be 48 Hz/16-bit combination.


(in relation to the recordings that are shared here in the audio section in both 16-bit & 24-bit versions:)
in any case, both versions are lossless high quality audio, that means high quality FLAC/.wav.
this bit depth/sample rate difference is not to be confused with other some audio formats that add compression - it's still all .wav in there. meaning that sample rate and bit depth are not to be confused with data transfer rate which is what "kb/s" stands for. (although some time ago i did see someone calling 24-bit audio "24 kb/s" on some retarded forum... dear god. :()

in any case this one here is just pure lossless audio, both 16-bit and 24-bit.


hope this helps!


« Last Edit: March 29, 2008, 11:47:15 by dsanchez »
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Offline lostflower4

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2008, 14:46:48 »
I'll just add that for me the advantages of 24-bit mainly lie in the recording/editing domain. It gives some nice technical advantages there, ones that I won't get into at the moment...

For playback, some will say that 24-bit sounds more lifelike, more warm, etc.

Of course, 24-bit playback won't be any different than 16-bit if you don't have a sound card (or other sound system) that supports it. It will simply be dithered down to 16-bits in these cases.

As for sample rates, this is something that often turns into a endless discussion among audio enthusiasts. Some will claim that there are big advantages to recording at 96K, or even 192K  :shock:, but 48K seems rather adequate for my purposes.

Now, there's also a raging debate about 44K vs. 48K, but since I rarely use CDs anymore I decided to settle with 48K. Plus, it's nice to have in case any of your audio recordings are ever used for a DVD video.  :D

Offline askbill

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2008, 15:23:20 »
Gee, I must have gone to too many Cure concerts; I can still here the difference between .flac and .mp3, but to me, 24 bit just means more download time, more space on my hard drive, and an extra step to run it through dbPoweramp before I can burn it to CD.  :oops:

Offline japanesebaby

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2008, 15:33:05 »
Gee, I must have gone to too many Cure concerts; I can still here the difference between .flac and .mp3, but to me, 24 bit just means more download time, more space on my hard drive, and an extra step to run it through dbPoweramp before I can burn it to CD.  :oops:

well there's nothing wrong with prefering 16-bit if one does not have 24-bit support.
lostflower4 made a really good point there: many people who download 24-bit files and then start comparing them with 16-bit just by listening to them on their computer/media player  often insist they don't notice any difference - BUT that's mostly because they don't have 24-bit support on their soundcard! so when they think they are listening to 24-bit files, they are actually listening to 16-bit (automatically dithered from 16-bit to 24-bit by the soundcard). this is very important to reliaze, before judging which one "sounds better". :!:
so make sure your system does support 24-bit playback, then try again - and the difference is there.

anyway it's prefectly understandable that not everyone prefers 24-bit. like said, nothing bad in that. comparing 16-bit to 24-bit is NOT like comparing lossless with mp3s.
anyway part2, there're still a lot of people out there who actually do prefer 24-bit these days - less and less people even burn audio cds anymore, this is a fact. i personally haven't burned audio cds for years, as i don't need them for anything at all. for me audio cds would be unnecessary waste of space on my shelves. and to think that only some very few  freak audiophiles out there prefer 24-bit is an outdated idea: more and more people actually prefer it, and what comes to both official and unofficial recordings. so the standards are changing (and this time for the better i think!). :!:

and so since 44.1/16-bit is not such a commonly embraced standard anymore, i think it's reasonable to release both 16 and 24-bit versions - just as long as the source files are good enough.
 
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Offline askbill

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2008, 15:52:50 »
Japanesebaby, I just appreciate the fact that people like you still make 16 bit recordings available. I'm certainly not complaining, I'll take what I can get. I have a really good audio hook-up on my computer, I'm just getting old. Thanks again for your time and effort in making as many people happy as you can!

Offline japanesebaby

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2008, 16:07:09 »
ok i see very well what you mean.

i know some people maybe only release 24-bit versions today, but i personally don't really see any problem for putting up both - the difference in file sizes is notable, especially considering bands that play 3+ hour gigs like the cure.
enjoy the recording!
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Offline Steve

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2008, 22:40:31 »
Great recording!

All that being said, 24bit is certainly a lot better than 16 but you need to remember that many dedicated CD players won't play 24 bit audio.
Pooters can.
& from an audiopile standpoint, that sucks. :evil:
What you also have to remember is that a dedicated player is just that.
& a pooter does loads of things (mostly well) but isn't a dedicated tool to do just the one job.
So, it follows (& quite rightly) a dedicated player should deliver the source material properly.
@JB.
How does one make a disc from the 24bit audio that will play in a dedicated disc player, be it cd or dvd (including dvda or sacd)?
Cheers
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Offline scatcat

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2008, 23:40:07 »
thanks for this thread!  i can play 24 bit through winamp on my pc.,
but i haven't yet burnt those files to audio.... can they run thru dbpower amp easily enough to produce audio cd? then once converted they should be readable? and also to pop into itunes?

thanks in advance!!
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Offline scatcat

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2008, 00:31:41 »
okay, i just tried a few things with the programs i have here:

i tried dBpoweramp to convert a 24-bit concert to applelossless = not work- only 16-bit.

i then used flacfrontend to convert 24-bit to .wav = yes this worked.

i then tried dBpoweramp to convert .wav to applelossless = not work, only 16-bit.

so, i used dBpoweramp to convert .wav to .wma = this worked ( can now play in windows media player)

i then used itunes to convert .wma to applelossless into itunes = this worked.

why applelossless you ask? well, so i can put in my ipod.
i have winamp that plays 24-bit, but have yet to try to burn these, as i use itunes usually.
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Offline lostflower4

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2008, 01:34:12 »
so, i used dBpoweramp to convert .wav to .wma = this worked ( can now play in windows media player)

i then used itunes to convert .wma to applelossless into itunes = this worked.


Ok, that sounds scary.  :smth087

WMA is lossy, which makes the last FLAC conversion pointless (you might as well just use WMA there).

dBpoweramp is a terrible program to use to convert bit depths and sample rates...


For you I would recommend these options:

1) convert the 24-bit files to WAV and simply put them on your iPod that way

And if that doesn't work,

2) download the 16-bit version available here, convert it to Apple Lossless, and use that for your iPod

or

3) Rockbox your iPod so it can play FLAC

www.rockbox.org

;)


Offline Descent

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2008, 01:38:27 »
Thanks for the technical explanation. I guess I have nothing to play 24-bit but it must be great for those who can.

Offline scatcat

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2008, 01:55:42 »


dBpoweramp is a terrible program to use to convert bit depths and sample rates...


For you I would recommend these options:

1) convert the 24-bit files to WAV and simply put them on your iPod that way


doh!!  :smth011

i thought because once in wav format, itunes would not take converted 24-bit!!

i just tried the straight from wav to itunes and it worked!! silly me!!


3) Rockbox your iPod so it can play FLAC

www.rockbox.org

;)


  :smth023 thanks for this... i never knew !! ... another music converting program  8) i get confused which one does what!!
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Offline Steve

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2008, 10:32:53 »
It still bugs me that itunes will play 24bit & will even convert 24bit wav to 24bit Apple lossless, but the pod won't.
 :evil:
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Offline lostflower4

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2008, 10:43:24 »

3) Rockbox your iPod so it can play FLAC

www.rockbox.org

;)


:smth023 thanks for this... i never knew !! ... another music converting program  8) i get confused which one does what!!

Well, Rockbox isn't a file converting program. It basically replaces the original iPod interface with something that's generally much better, in my opinion.

It adds a whole lot of features, such as FLAC support, more ways to control the sound (channel balance, advanced EQ, etc.) — and a lot more.

And this way you don't even need to have iTunes on your computer. You can just plug your iPod in as if it were an external drive, copy your files over, make your own playlists, and be ready to go.  :D

I found it very complicated to successfully Rockbox my iPod, but I've only had to do it once, and it really paid off in the end!  :smth023



Offline japanesebaby

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Re: What is the difference between 16 bit & 24 bit recordings?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2008, 11:34:25 »
so, i used dBpoweramp to convert .wav to .wma = this worked ( can now play in windows media player)

i then used itunes to convert .wma to applelossless into itunes = this worked.


Ok, that sounds scary.  :smth087

WMA is lossy, which makes the last FLAC conversion pointless (you might as well just use WMA there).

not scary but triple-scary: :smth087 :smth087 :smth087
please, if you convert to lossy for your ipod then do it for yourself (and for yourself only). but please do not start converting such lossy files back to "fake lossless". that makes no sense.
besides, once it's back in this "lossless" (which of course is only fake since it already went through lossy once :( ), people easily forget that the files went through lossy conversion and just look at the end format and start thinking it's just lossless again. and worst of all, then even circulate such a fileset as "lossless". and THAT is exactly what we should all beware, that's the devil that ruins live music sharing. :evil:

so, if you have to convert to lossy in order to listen to it on your ipod, then ok do that -  but then the conversion chain ends there.
and besides, there's no must to convert to lossy even for ipods. you can play .wav and flac there too.

so, if you don't know if you can play 24-bit and you're not really interested to fiddle with all kinds of programs in order to find out, then maybe just download the 16-bit then? 
i bet it's a lot easier. and most importantly, you don't end up with some absolute horror versions like 24-bit flac > wma > 16-bit wav.
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