This has been a problem for the last few versions, and I am now on 3.1.3 (latest). I cannot import anything 24bit to edit or examine without it being force-converted into 32bit. Or at least the program TELLS me it’s 32, to the lower left of the waveform monitor window. Can someone please look into this?
P.S. How many years has it been since I posted? Must be a century
By default, Audacity converts (most) imported files to 32-bit. This is an intended feature, and Audacity has always done this.
The reason is because Audacity works internally in 32-bit float format, which provides extremely high precision processing with “overload protection”.
The conversion from 24-bit to 32-bit float is entirely lossless. The only downside is that projects are a bit bigger than using 24-bit.
It is highly recommended to use 32-bit float format in projects. You can select the required format on Export.
That sounds like a definitive answer. I don’t like it, but what can I do.
Why I want the 24>32 conversion being optional is because very often I do nothing but add/remove pure silence, and combine/cut tracks, with no alteration or FX whatsoever. I frequently do the same with 16bit audio, and importing 16 as 16 is still an option.
One of the developers is working on making that automatic, so that if the 32-bit float track contains only 16-bit or only 24-bit samples, they retain their exact 16 / 24 bit values unless you explicitly modify the sample values (such as by applying effects). It’s not quite ready yet, but it’s getting there.