Changing bit rate BEFORE recording

Is it possible to change the bit rate before recording? I am currently set at 44,000 32 bit, but have had a request to “Record at 44,100 Hertz 16 bit mono and SAVE final recording in .wav PCM 44,100 Hertz 16 bit mono”. I have no problem with the saving and exporting or even converting part, it’s just I can’t figure out how to change the bit rate before recording. Any help would be very much appreciated.

Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Quality > Sampling
Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Devices > Recording

We hope you’re not doing anything where the client is going to start counting digital samples or surgically taking the sound file apart. That’s not going to work. Audacity always works in super high quality internally and so almost always has a conversion in there somewhere.

If all you do is capture and export with no editing, you can turn Dithering off in Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Quality.

If you do cutting and editing before Export, then it’s very important to use the Dithering setting in Audacity 2.0.5.


I’m wondering why that is,
44100 Hz is a standard sample rate (as used by all normal audio CDs) 44000 is close but not standard for anything - are you sure that you are using 44000 Hz?

Need to be a bit careful here about the terminology because it can get confusing,
When talking about “uncompressed” audio format such as WAV and AIFF, the term “sample rate” is used to define how many “samples” (“dots” on the waveform) there are per second.

When talking about “compressed” audio formats (such as MP3 or WMA) the term “bit rate” is used to define how much data there is per second (“bits per second”).

Not wanting to go into the fine detail, but “sample rate” and “bit rate” are quite different and the difference is quite important.

Taking about WAV files, the important figure is “sample rate”.
The default sample rate in Audacity is 44100. This is set in “Edit > Preferences > Quality”.

The overriding setting concerning sample rate is the “Project Rate”. Mostly this will be the same as the default sample rate.
The “Project Rate” sets the sample rate for recording and for exporting. It is set in the lower left corner of the main Audacity screen,

The default sample rate is set in “Edit > Preferences > Quality”. but you can override that if you want, by changing the “Project Rate”.

Thanks for your replies. I’m sorry I meant to write that it’s currently set at 44100, where the bit float defaults to 32 and I’m wondering whether that can be changed to 16 prior to recording or only afterwards when exporting.
Thanks again.

Audacity works internally with 32 bit floating point numbers, and processes audio as 32 bit float audio. This allows Audacity to work with hugely more accuracy than if it were 16 bit. That is not really important if you are just editing and perhaps making a fade out at the end, but it becomes more important if you are doing more processing, 16 bit rounding errors will gradually add up to produce noticeable deterioration of the sound quality. 32 bit float is so accurate that “rounding errors” in the number crunching are generally insignificant. In other words, processing in 32 bit float format gives better sound quality.

“Exporting” from Audacity is how to create a normal audio file. The default export format is “16 bit (Microsoft) PCM WAV”, which I expect is what you need. To create a 16 bit WAV file, just export in the default “16 bit (Microsoft) PCM WAV” format.