Is one method more lossy?

Is one of the following 2 methods more lossy and less preferred than the other?, I have a 24/96 block that needs to be amplified then split into 20 individual tracks at 16/44.1.

  1. Load 24/96 block into Audacity, amplify, then export downconverting as 16/44.1. I then use a different program to split the tracks as it’s a lot more simple to fill in the box to split tracks in other program.
  2. Load 24/96 block into Audacity, amplify, then export keeping 24/96.
    Then split the block into 20 tracks in other program keeping as 24/96 (I’m pretty sure simply splitting 24/96 tracks is lossless).
    Then running the 24/96 tracks through Audacity macro to downconvert to 16/44.1.

I’m not sure if method 1 means Audacity would process twice eg. dither twice, as I think it would first step when amplifying, then again a second time when I re-load the split tracks into Audacity for downconversion?

Also wondering if it’s best to volume amplify and downconvert all in the 1 session, is the following correct way to export an amplified 24/96 block as well as amplified 16/44.1 block?

  1. load 24/96 block into Audacity and amplify, then export as 24/96.
  2. Then once exported as 24/96 keep Audacity open and change the sample rate box to 44.1 and select to export as 16bit.
    I’m pretty sure this is correct way to amplify my raw block and keep a 24/96 as well as 44.1 version?

As a practical matter it won’t make any difference.

Dither is down around -90dB at 16-bits and around -140dB at 24-bits so you can’t hear dither (or the effects of dither) under any normal circumstances.* It probably makes a difference at 8-bits. And, a copy downsampled to 16/44.1 will sound identical to a high resolution original (in a proper scientific-blind ABX test).

You can turn dither off if you think it’s damaging the audio or turn it off & on if you want to only dither once. (Theoretically, it’s best to dither ONCE whenever you downsample.)

Another option would be save your temporary/intermediate file in 32-bit floating-point, which won’t be dithered.

The Audacity manual is a little confusing to me because it says it only dithers when you downsample. But, Audacity works in 32-bit floating-point by default and as far as I know, it doesn’t “remember” the original bit depth so it’s always downsampling when you export to an integer format (if dither is enabled).


  • Sometimes people use headphones and crank-up the volume to hear the dither effects/improvement on a “reverb tail” as it fades-out. But, if you were to listen to the whole file/song with the volume cranked-up THAT MUCH, you’d probably get distortion and/or you’d get a “temporary threshold shift” (temporary deafness) so you wouldn’t hear the effects of the dither. :wink:

I’d do the whole thing in Audacity.
For splitting the track into 20 parts, just add a “point label” at each split position, then use “Export Multiple”.
Export Multiple: