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24b to 16b, let me count the ways?!


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  • 24b to 16b, let me count the ways?!

    I record, mix, edit and process in 24b sound.
    I am using: DP4.6, DSP Quattro, and iTunes.
    I ultimately burn to a CD, usually using iTunes.
    I have heard that some programs dither from 24b to 16b.
    Other programs cut off the lower 8bits.
    I assume that dithering is better.
    How can I tell which method the program is applying.
    Is not this step important?
    How do I accomplish the conversion of 24-16b so that I retain my audio quality?
    Thank you,

  • #3
    Haven't read the article above, but here's my take:

    After your last stage of processing, apply dither before rendering a 16 bit file to burn to CD.

    That raises an interesting question...if MP3 is your delivery format, should you encode directly from a 24 bit file? DSP Quattro appears to allow it when using the LAME encoder but I don't know if it offers any audible advantages. For all I know, it's truncating to 16 bit before encoding. It would be interesting to have an answer, though.


    • #4
      Thank you for your responses. The Web Links are very useful Ken.
      I suspect that DSP Quattro is just truncating. Maybe the export function does more? I will write to their tech support.
      Yours, ES


      • #5
        The articles are great. They doubtless contain all the info, and then some.
        I will study the articles some more, but in the half brain dead state I find myself in after a frustrating day at work (not audio work), I ask, could someone explain this to me in simple language, and tell me how you go from 24b to 16b for a CD?
        Yours, ES


        • #6
          There are many, many workflows, but here's what I do:

          Track and mix at 24 bit. Create 24 bit stereo mix, no dither.

          Import 24 bit stereo mix into DSP Quattro for further processing.

          Enable 16 bit dither in iZotope Ozone and process the file. At that point, I have a 24 bit file that has 16 bit dither applied. Then I save that as 16 bit WAV. Lots of steps...

          Some programs will allow you to add dither and save as 16 bit in a single step. Others have you add dither with a plug-in on the master fader.


          • #7
            Thank you Zooey,
            Should I consider Isotop?
            I will look into my two applications (DP4.6 and DSPQuattro) and try to figure out how they make the conversion.
            Often, it is iTunes, which is making the conversion for me; I have no idea what iTunes does?
            Yours, ES


            • #8
              PS. I have been careful to not allow my cat to view your icon, lest she become inspired by a bad example!


              • #9
                It's too late for my cat...he's already seen it!

                I doubt iTunes is dithering 24 bit files before burning. I'm kind of flabbergasted you can import them at all. I think it's just too much to expect that iTunes has a built-in dither algorithm.

                There are lots of dither options in iZotope Ozone, but I wouldn't buy it if that's all you wanted it for.

                DSP Quattro has dither. I forget exactly what the options are, but you'll find it under the preferences menu.


                • #10
                  Dear Zooey,
                  I discovered that DSPQ dithers on creating a CD image, and can be set to dither for export by using the Preferences menu.
                  DP4.6 has multiple dither algorithms, which I am trying to understand how to access (export function in Soundbites module) with approximately 8 different dither algorithms (which baffle me). To do the dithering export it appears that I must use AIFC format? (whatever that is).
                  Is there an easier way?
                  Can someone explain these different dither algorithms to me (I don't want to know more than I have to right now).
                  Thank you,


                  • #11
                    There's a link to a dither plug shootout on The Listening Sessions page. I think it was awhile ago so I don't know how relevant it is to the plugs you'll be looking at.

                    Here's the link:

                    You may also want to read Bob Katz' articles here:


                    • #12
                      Help, help, help!
                      Great links, great info, but what does it all mean?
                      Per B. Katz

                      ? Keep digital editing events to a minimum, because every time I apply an effect in digital domain be it normalize, equalize, reverberize, compress/limit, I introduce digital artifact, the more edit events, the more digital artifact/noise?

                      ? Don't dither until the very end, and then only once?

                      ???? I record, equalize and mix in Digital Performer.
                      Should I dither when I sum.
                      DP works with 32b sound internally. I do much of my editing and (my version of) mastering in another applcation (DSP Quattro). Should I try to stay in DP? If I exit DP, should I convert to 32b sound, 24b sound, or 16b sound, until my final master and export in 16b sound?

                      I am very confused about how to do this? How do you work in digital domain?

                      I perceive that my sound becomes increasing shrill by the time I have it on CD.

                      Advice is appreciated.
                      Yours, ES