If I read http://www.audacityteam.org/wiki/index.php?title=Bit_Depth#How_Many_Bits_To_Use.3F correctly, I should be fine to record cassette tapes in 16 bits, even if I intend to do some processing (specifically, noise reduction) on them later. I’m fairly sure I have that right but I want to be certain before I start re-saving all my 32-bit files in 16-bits. So really no need to respond to this unless I’m wrong…
If you have files in 32 bit, and you have capacity to keep them in 32 bit, then keep them as 32 bit. You are unlikely to notice the difference between 16 bit and 32 bit, but there is some small loss involved in the conversion from 32 bit to 16 bit, so why do it unless really necessary. If you really need to free up some space, another option would be to compress with FLAC (free lossless audio codec), which is an option in Audacity 1.3.x.
For new recordings of cassette tapes, 16 bit should be fine.
Thanks for the recommendations; I had read about FLAC before but had forgotten. So do you mean that going from 32-bit to 16-bit is worse than recording in 16-bit to begin with? Out of curiosity, why is that? --Allen
so don’t clutter your computer’s hard drive with the files that you create from your projects FLAC/WAV/whatever. Invest in a couple of external USB or firewire disks and store duplicate copies of your exported files there (such disks are relatively cheap these days). This is also a great way of moving those files from computer to computer.
I do this and also burn music CDs as a third backup copy.
BTW: also don’t forget to delete the Audacity projects you created in the production process (they take up an awful lot of space) - but only after you havemade you backup copies of the exported end product files.