Sorry if a noobie question, but I could not find this already answered anywhere.
I archive analogue LPs and tapes to CD. For many years I’ve used a CD recorder (part of my hifi rack), so I’m going directly to CD format (16-bit). I sometimes use Audacity later to cut out gaps and insert track breaks, as it’s easier and more precise than doing these on-the-fly during the live recording, but I don’t do any other processing. This works fine, but the lack of headroom with 16-bit forces me to push recording levels very near to 0db (I usually try to peak at -3db to allow just a little leeway).
I am thinking of replacing my CD recorder with a solid-state recorder capable of 24-bit. This would allow me to set peaks to -18 to -12db - so no chance of going ever over 0db.
What I want to be able to do in Audacity is convert to 16-bit, as I still want the final result to be a standard audio CD, and for it to “map” the levels correctly. For example, let’s say I recorded an LP to 24-bit and I set my levels to aim for -18db peak. The actual peak during recording might have been -14db due to an unforeseen particularly loud drum beat or something. Ideally I’d like Audacity to scan the entire recording to find the loudest peak (-14db) and map that to 0db in the 16-bit output. This would give me a mathematically perfect recording level.
Can Audacity do this?
Would I lose quality due to re-quantisation doing this?
I assume my 24-bit master should be made at 88.2Khz so that at least there wouldn’t be re-sampling errors (you’re just throwing every alternate sample away to get 44.1Khz). Is this correct?
I like to keep recordings faithful to the original, so I don’t want to ‘muck about’ too much in the digital domain.
Many thanks for your help.