16 bit recorder vs 32 bit float recorder

In regards to recording and editing, is there a significant difference in 16 bit and 32 bit recorders? I mean in things like noise floor, clipping, dynamic range, etc?

And please don’t response with something about file size. I think my HD can handle the file size.

What sort of “recorders” are you referring to?

Zoom makes some 32-bit floating-point recorders & interfaces. The advantage is that they can go over 0dB without clipping (you have headroom).

I’d guess that’s going to become standard since floating-point editing has been standard for a long time. But… I’ve never been good at predicting the future. :wink:

They will still clip due to electrical/voltage limitations but as far as I know, Zoom doesn’t publish the limits.

Once you’re in the computer, 32-bit floating point has a range of almost -1000dB to +1000dB. For audio purposes that can be considered infinite dynamic range (greater than anything in the physical world).

In reality, it probably doesn’t increase the usable dynamic range. 24-bit ADCs & interfaces are usually only accurate to around 20 bits because of the noise floor and lifting the top probably lifts the bottom (noise).

For editing & mixing, floating point the DSP (digital signal processing) is “easier” and since it virtually has no upper or lower limits you can mix or boost the bass, etc. , and if it goes over 0dB everything is OK as long as you bring it down before exporting.

Well, i did mean audio recorders. After all, were talking Audacity and audio matters.

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