What Bit Depth Should I Use

By | 29/10/2022

I often get questions about what is the best sample charge per unit and bit depth to employ. So allow me break information technology down in a elementary way.

This article is updated in October 2021.

What Sample Rate Should I Apply?

The sample charge per unit and bit depth you should use depend on the awarding.

For most music applications, 44.1 kHz is the all-time sample charge per unit to go for. 48 kHz is common when creating music or other audio for video. Higher sample rates can have advantages for professional music and audio production work, merely many professionals work at 44.1 kHz. Using college sample rates can have disadvantages and should only be considered in professional person applications.

What Chip Depth Should I Use?

For consumer/end-user applications, a bit depth of sixteen $.25 is perfectly fine. For professional employ (recording, mixing, mastering or professional video editing) a bit depth of 24 $.25 is amend. This ensures a better dynamic range (the difference between serenity and loud parts o the audio) and ameliorate precision when editing. A 32-fleck floating point bit depth tin can take some advantages for professional applications, just the files take upward 50% more space compared to 24-bit audio.

Sample Rate

44.1 kHz is the current playback standard for well-nigh consumer music applications. In video, 48 kHz is mutual.

The disadvantages of working at higher sample rates

Higher sample rates of 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, and fifty-fifty 192 kHz are available in music and audio production software. Is at that place an reward to working at these college sample rates? Why not just just employ the maximum sample rate your setup allows?

  • When sample rates double, and so do the file sizes on your bulldoze.
  • Information technology requires more than processing power from your figurer. The higher the sample rate, the higher the CPU cost.
  • Some plugins and audio tools tin’t handle higher sample rates properly and could cause issues.

I am referring you to this article by Monty at Xiph.org. He explains this in great detail. The commodity approaches the question from the bespeak of view of music downloads. Just the theory behind digital audio is no different when talking about music production.

I also advise you lot check this page on the Infinite Moving ridge website. Information technology allows you to inspect how well your DAW handles resampling from a higher sample charge per unit (96 kHz) downwards to 44.1 kHz. You might be surprised by the poor performance of some DAWs!

For these reasons, my conclusion is that for about people and near applications, 44.ane kHz is the all-time sample rate to go for. It provides skillful fidelity, is safe to work with and is not also taxing on your arrangement.

The advantages of working at college sample rates


Going for higher sample rates can offer some advantages. This is provided you have the right tools and the feel to handle any conversions properly. Especially, you may avoid fold-back aliasing issues (audible artifacts) when eventually converting college sample rate material dorsum to 44.1 kHz.

Here is a smashing article on the topic past Ryan Schwabe.

Most music professionals I know work at sample rates of 44.one kHz or 48 kHz.

With my own music, I am currently working at 88 kHz. For mastering, I usually work at the sample rate of the submitted source files and catechumen to the destination sample charge per unit (usually 44.1 kHz) at the end of the project. To ensure best fidelity, I am using iZotope RX to handle all conversions.

Different Sample Rates in a Single Projection?

What if you are working on a project at a sample rate of 48 kHz and decide to drop in a sample that is at 44.1 kHz, or vice versa?

It depends on the DAW you are using and it’south settings. Many modern DAWs will be fine with this.

Ableton Live, for case, will automatically resample (convert) any imported audio to the projection sample rate. The project sample rate tin can be prepare at
“Preferences -> Audio -> Sample Rate”.
It all happens behind the scenes and yous won’t actually notice annihilation happening. The same is also the case for most virtual musical instrument samplers – they will sort out any required conversions for you lot.

Some DAWs won’t do this automatically. In those cases, you will get audio playing dorsum at wrong speeds. Y’all should e’er be mindful of 3 things:

  • What sample charge per unit yous are working in.
  • What sample rates you lot are importing into the project.
  • How your specific DAW deals with dissimilar sample rates.

Generally it’s practiced practice to avoid resampling when you can every bit it can potentially degrade quality. But I wouldn’t worry if you lot sometimes take to do it in a artistic setting. Yous don’t want things like that to get too much in the style of your artistic catamenia.

Chip Depth

Now, the question about bit depth is more simple to answer.

24-bit audio gives you a theoretical dynamic range of 144 dB, every bit opposed to 96 dB with xvi-bit audio. More than dynamic range means three things:

  • Better signal-to-racket ratio.
  • Better precision when mixing.
  • Less worrying near headroom, as you don’t have to run your levels and then hot.

32-bit floating indicate depth is fifty-fifty better, but the benefits at that place over 24-bit sound seem to be pretty much indifferent in most applications.

For consumer/end-user -type applications, a chip depth of 16 bits is fine. For annihilation more professional, 24-bit sound should be used. Information technology’south good to annotation that all professional DAWs are using an internal bit depth of 32 or 64 bits these days.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Allow me know where you lot stand on this. Drop a comment with your thoughts.

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Source: https://resoundsound.com/sample-rate-bit-depth/#:~:text=What%20Bit%20Depth%20Should%20I,of%2024%20bits%20is%20better.