Analog Summing Mixer and Dither

James Hardiman

Jim P wrote

Jim Prendergast here. My question is: when I’m bringing 24-bit audio stems out of my DAW to a summing mixer (then returning the  resulting stereo mix to the DAW), should I dither the outgoing stem (even everything at this point is staying in 24-bit)?

Hi Jim

Yes, you should dither the outgoing stem to 24 bits IF you have performed any processing (including gain change) prior to sending that stem out. Get a free plugin called “Bitter” from Stillwell Audio and insert it at various places in your chain, manipulate the faders at various places and you’ll see what’s happening. The word length grows from 24 to 32 float when you make a change. BUT as you know, when feeding out to the summing mixer it needs to be 24 bits as there is only a 24 bit path. Hope this helps!

Typically if I’m using a plugin on the feed to an external analog device, I’ll put the 24 bit dither just after the plugin.


Jim wrote

This helps immeasurably. The answer is what I gathered from reading your (wonderful) book, but I needed to make sure I understood correctly.