I am new to Audacity but so far I love it, especially the simplicity (no knobs and dials) and it works for me. So far!
I am thoroughly confused by the discussions on bit-rate in all the forums and, as I am not a technical person, I have a basic problem understanding the benefits of 32 bit recording/editing if the basic problem seems to be the “throat” through which it must all pass, the on-board soundcard of your computer which in most cases appears to be 16 bit.
My music collection is mostly classical but includes all genres. I have completed converting my CD collection (EAC-Wav-imported to MediaMonkey-Flac) and the 2000 composition 9000 tracks took hundreds of hours to classify, tag and catalogue. now it is the turn of my Vinyl collection which includes many 60’s & 70’s recordings. I accept that many of these were not the “cleanest” even when brand new and do not expect to end up with “pristine” digital conversions. I come from an era when we spoke of “garbage in, garbage out” I use a Graham Slee “Bridge” Gram Amp1 for the turntable signal and then the line input to my Vista based PC. The soundcard is a Realtek High Definition Audio that can be set to 2 channel, 16 bit, 96000Hz. Output is a Cantatis Overture 192 soundcard with dual mono mode Burr Brown PCM1794A DACs and audiophile op-amps (Specs at http://www.cantatis.co.uk/upload/file_15_4.pdf) It was expensive but provides superb sound to my Zennheiser Classic II headphones.
I have checked the soundcard review forum for input soundcards and the two most mentioned are the Behringer UCA202 and the Edirol UA-1EX. I tried the Edirol 18 months ago and was not impressed, I returned it. So I am still stuck with a 16 bit soundcard for converting my LP’s.
Here are two quotes from the forums:
"Steve Aug 2010
It may be worth mentioning here that although Audacity does not currently support 24 bit recording on Windows, it does support 24 bit / 32 bit float for importing, editing, processing and exporting. For anyone that wants to take advantage of 24 bit recording, and use Audacity for editing, they could record with an application that supports ASIO (such as Sonar or Wavosaur), then export the recording as either 24 or 32 bit WAV, then import that file into Audacity."
"Waxcylinder 3 Aug 2010
I record from my old Technics SL-150 deck with SME 3009 Improved tonearm, through an ART phono pre-amp and then on to an Edirol UA-1EX (the pre-cursor the the UA-1G) set at 16-bit using the latest drivers from the Edirol website."
Steve says that Audacity does not support 24 bit recording and elsewhere the team recommends using 32 bit float for all imports. If the recording came through a 16 bit soundcard (the throat) what does Audacity do to upgrade it to 32 bit? What can it do to enhance the quality of the sound?
Waxcylinder (regular contributor to the forum) in the quote above also uses a 16 bit setting on his Edirol.
I am obviously showing just how ignorant I am in technical matters but I do not understand how Audacity can enhance a 16 bit recording by upping the bit bit rate. What do the added bits consist of? What is the benefit of doing this?
If there is no improvement then surely we can just stick to 16 bits particularly if we are going to lose bits when we downsize to 24 bits which is what I would like to use as MediaMonkey does not play 32 bit float.