32 Bit Yea or Nay?

This section is now closed.

Audacity 1.2.x is now obsolete. Please use the current Audacity 2.0.x version.

The final version of Audacity for Windows 98/ME is the legacy 2.0.0 version.

32 Bit Yea or Nay?

Permanent link to this post Posted by bartjy » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:50 pm

Hi Folks.

All it want to do is record into iTunes some cherished cassette tapes. iTunes doesn't play 32 bit, if I use Audacity why would I want it to default to 32 Float? Shouldn't I default Audacity to 16 bit to avoid iTunes from converting it to 16 bit. My concern is that the conversion from 32 to 16 will produce distortion? Is this a concern or am I worrying about nothing.

Your advice will be appreciated.

Bart
Last edited by bartjy on Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
bartjy
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 3:15 am

Re: 32 Bit Yea or Nay?

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:10 pm

Normally you would leave Audacity with the default of 32-bit float in the "Quality" settings. This provides higher quality processing which is of benefit if you do any "processing" (such as Fade-in, Fade-out, Amplify, Normalize, or any other effects). In most cases this will produce less distortion than using 16-bit throughout.
When you Export from Audacity you will probably need to export in a 16 bit format so that iTunes can recognise it.

I would highly recommend upgrading to Audacity 1.3.14 as the 1.2.x series of Audacity is very old and has several known problems, particularly on modern computer systems.
Audacity 1.3.14 is available here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
steve
Senior Forum Staff
 
Posts: 34852
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:43 am

Re: 32 Bit Yea or Nay?

Permanent link to this post Posted by bartjy » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:39 pm

Thanks for the response, but my question is still unanswered: If all I'm doing is digitizing analog music from the cassette to be imported into iTunes, why do I need the 32 Float setting? Why not 16 bit if iTunes would need to convert 32 bit? Aren't I just risking some loss of signal if it'll be converted?

Thanks for the suggestion about the 1.3 Beta.

Thanks
Bart
bartjy
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 3:15 am

Re: 32 Bit Yea or Nay?

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:59 pm

bartjy wrote:my question is still unanswered:

32 bit: Yea.

Converting from 32-bit float to 16 bit integer is no like converting lossy formats (such as MP3). You don't loose any data when converting from 32-bit float to 16 bit integer, neither does it add distortion. For a more detailed and in-depth discussion of this topic, see here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=62355&p=164356#p164356
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
steve
Senior Forum Staff
 
Posts: 34852
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:43 am

Re: 32 Bit Yea or Nay?

Permanent link to this post Posted by bartjy » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:29 pm

All right! Now that's an answer that I was looking for.

Thanks!
bartjy
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 3:15 am

Re: 32 Bit Yea or Nay?

Permanent link to this post Posted by waxcylinder » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:16 am

bartjy wrote:All it want to do is record into iTunes some cherished cassette tapes. iTunes doesn't used 16 bit ..

iTunes most certainly does use 16-bit (and 8-bit)WAVs - the WAV encoder on iTunes import settings can be set to either 16 or 8-bit.

I regularly import 16-bit WAVs made with Audacity into iTunes where I use iTunes to convert them to AAC 256 VBR.

I do note that you can import 32-bit WAVs into iTunes - and iTunes will happily play them - BUT they are huge. I would need a 2TB iPod to accomodate my music library at 32-bit WAV.

Which brings me to the question - just why are you using 32-bit WAVs for iTunes?? :?

32-bit WAVs are twice the size of 16-bit WAVs and a 256 AAC file gives a compression ratio of 8 or 9 to 1 compared with a WAV (meaning that you can get 16-18 times as many songs on your iPod as you would at 32-bit). I listen on high quality speakers and high quality headphones and I find it hard to detect the difference between these 256 AACs and the original CDs unless I listen very carefully - and there most of the difference comes from the quality DAC in my Rega CD deck.

WC
________________________________________FOR INSTANT HELP: (Click on Link below)
* * * * * FAQ * * * * * Tutorials * * * * * Audacity Manual * * * * * Audacity Wiki * * * * *Donate * * * * *
waxcylinder
Forum Staff
 
Posts: 7454
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:03 am
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: 32 Bit Yea or Nay?

Permanent link to this post Posted by bartjy » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:16 pm

waxcylinder wrote:
bartjy wrote:All it want to do is record into iTunes some cherished cassette tapes. iTunes doesn't used 16 bit ..

iTunes most certainly does use 16-bit (and 8-bit)WAVs - the WAV encoder on iTunes import settings can be set to either 16 or 8-bit.


Yes you are correct. I screwed up. I meant to say that iTunes doesn't play 32 bit. My bad.

But, my question has been answered by the good folks that have contributed to this thread. Thanks.
bartjy
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 3:15 am

Re: 32 Bit Yea or Nay?

Permanent link to this post Posted by waxcylinder » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:47 pm

bartjy wrote:... I meant to say that iTunes doesn't play 32 bit.

In fact my testing this morning with iTuneson my XP laptop showed that iTunes will actually handle 32-bit WAVs and play them perfectly well - I didn't extend the test to my iPod yet, so I can't vouch for that.

I was More than somewhat surprised to see that the 32-bit WAV would play - I expected it not to, or even to be rejected by the iTunes import process.

Life's full of surpises ...

BUT I certainly wouldn't recommend using them as they would just eat space unnecessarily, as I doubt that many folk could hear the difference compared to a 16-bit WAV even on good hi-fi kit :geek:

WC
________________________________________FOR INSTANT HELP: (Click on Link below)
* * * * * FAQ * * * * * Tutorials * * * * * Audacity Manual * * * * * Audacity Wiki * * * * *Donate * * * * *
waxcylinder
Forum Staff
 
Posts: 7454
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:03 am
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: 32 Bit Yea or Nay?

Permanent link to this post Posted by waxcylinder » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:51 pm

I work with Audacity set at 32-bit float (and 44.1 klHz) as this gives good headroom for applying effects like amplification and noise removal.

On Export I use Audacity to downsample to 16-bit PCM 44.1 kHz WAVs (part of the Red Book standard for CDs) with my Audacity Preferences set to apply Triangular Dithering on the down-sample (the dithering actually aadds a little "noise" to smooth the artifacts created on downsampling).

WC
________________________________________FOR INSTANT HELP: (Click on Link below)
* * * * * FAQ * * * * * Tutorials * * * * * Audacity Manual * * * * * Audacity Wiki * * * * *Donate * * * * *
waxcylinder
Forum Staff
 
Posts: 7454
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:03 am
Location: Manchester, UK


Return to Windows



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests