Bit Depth Exporting for Mastering

James Hardiman Leave a Comment

Hey Bob!

Ok, so here is the breakdown.  Half of the songs (5 of 10) were recorded 24 bit.  Half are 16 Bit.  all varying sample rates (I was all over the place apparently).  We recorded into Cubase 5 using the RME Fireface preamps going into Cubase.  All Multi track. The 16 bit songs have 16 bit track sources in the session.  No external gear.  Mixed in the box.  I still have the sessions with all the tracks, and the ability to export the songs/sessions/tracks as 24 bit files. (96K too if you like).

I’ll look into plugins for 24 bit dithering on the master bus.  If you have any suggestions, that’d be great!

Keep in touch,


Hi Brian,

Since you are using Cubase, like the new Pro Tools 10, you can export your mixes as 32-bit float and no need to dither for the moment. Send the 32-bit float mixes to me for mastering. It is also important to realize that *all playback is fixed point so *when playing back a 32-bit float file you must dither to 24 bits to get the right resolution to the
DAC. Otherwise the DAC will truncate the lower information and you will hear a degraded sound. So you cannot compare a 24-bit file to a 32-bit file by listening. All DACs accept up to a 24-bit fixed point signal.

Hey Bob,

So, I listened to the album in 24 bit last night. It was like hearing it for the first time.  I can’t really explain why it sounded so much better, but it definitely was a noticeable improvement.  I think maybe clarity is a good way of describing it. I’m definitely a changed man when it comes to exporting files.  No longer shall I shackle my mixes to the binds of 16 bits.

Right now I’m waiting for the final go ahead from the rest of the band.  Once they give me the o.k., I’ll shoot the album your way.

I can’t wait to hear your opinions on the mixes!

Thanks again,
Have a great weekend,
The real key isn’t as much the improved resolution of 24-bit as then it continues to raise the question if the end medium is still 16-bit. Instead, the real key is that you had been truncating information and creating distortion! That’s why your mixes sound bigger, warmer and clearer. Even though your source tracks were 16-bit! I’ve been trying to get this point across to engineers for many years by the way.

Best wishes,

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