Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Help for Audacity on Windows.
Forum rules
ImageThis forum is for Audacity on Windows.
Please state which version of Windows you are using,
and the exact three-section version number of Audacity from "Help menu > About Audacity".


Audacity 1.2.x and 1.3.x are obsolete and no longer supported. If you still have those versions, please upgrade at https://www.audacityteam.org/download/.
The old forums for those versions are now closed, but you can still read the archives of the 1.2.x and 1.3.x forums.
Jonvro
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:07 am
Operating System: Windows 8 or 8.1

Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by Jonvro » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:20 am

Making educational screencasts with Adobe Presenter I record voice-over audio in Audacity with a Blue Yeti microphone. This mic has a sampling frequency of 48,000 Hz and a sampling depth of 16 bits. Now does this mean (as I suspect) that the optimal sampling depth setting in Audacity is also 16 bits, or would a higher setting (such as the default 32 bits float) still bring any benefits.

Audacity 2.0.6 in Windows 8.1 on a PC with an i7 processor and 12 GB RAM. .exe installer.

steve
Site Admin
Posts: 81404
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:43 am
Operating System: Linux *buntu

Re: Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by steve » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:04 pm

The optimal "sample format" ("bit-depth") for Audacity is 32-bit float (always, regardless of the microphone / sound card being used)
32-bit float provides much better processing precision, and because Audacity uses 32-bit float format internally, it avoids unnecessary losses due to converting between formats. Also, modern processors (just about all processors of the last 15 years) handle floating point calculations more efficiently than integer calculations.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69293
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by kozikowski » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:16 am

48000 as a fuzzy generality is a video sound sample rate. 44100 is the Audio CD sample rate. The earth will not stop going around if you cross them. Most video editors will accept 44100 without even blinking.

However the show will be missing one tiny conversion if you get them right.

Most of my sound stuff was shot at 48000 Stereo because I knew the work was going straight to Video Editorial.

Audacity will volunteer to convert the work to 16-bit when you export. You should probably take them up on that.

Koz

Jonvro
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:07 am
Operating System: Windows 8 or 8.1

Re: Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by Jonvro » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:27 pm

Thanks Steve and Koz for your clear answers!

dadofmo
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:54 pm
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by dadofmo » Wed May 12, 2021 4:15 am

kozikowski wrote:
Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:16 am
48000 as a fuzzy generality is a video sound sample rate. 44100 is the Audio CD sample rate. The earth will not stop going around if you cross them. Most video editors will accept 44100 without even blinking.

However the show will be missing one tiny conversion if you get them right.

Most of my sound stuff was shot at 48000 Stereo because I knew the work was going straight to Video Editorial.

Audacity will volunteer to convert the work to 16-bit when you export. You should probably take them up on that.

Koz
Koz, I want to make sure I understand this. With your last statement is it safe to assume when recording for VO I should have my bit rate at 32 but when I export to a wav to send to a client I need to change it to 16-bit? This is all foreign to me so trying to make sure I get it right. Do I record at 16 bit and export the wav keeping it at 16 bit or record at 32 and export the wav keeping it at 32 or change it to 16?

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69293
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by kozikowski » Wed May 12, 2021 11:23 am

I doubt the microphone will let you connect at anything but 16-bit. The up conversion from 16-bit to 32-floating in Audacity is perfect. It's coming back down you have to be careful.

32-bit is different from 32-floating. As Steve above, Audacity works internally at 32-bit floating unless you force it not to. 32-floating doesn't overload and it allows you to do effects, filters, modifications, and corrections without worrying about clipping, peaking, and overload distortion. The only down side to that is the need to convert the show to either 44100, 16-bit or 48000, 16-bit for client delivery.

If you're live recording, it's totally possible to overload the microphone, interface, mixer, or sound card before Audacity. Running red clip or peak lights is never a good idea.

Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 4.14.09 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 4.14.09 AM.png (82.15 KiB) Viewed 188 times

You should find out what the client wants. The most common uncompressed sound format is 44100, 16-bit, WAV and that can be a good starting place if you have no idea what the client wants. We had a production recording engineer do a voice recording and he didn't ask. He delivered in a super-duper high quality format and a simple MP3. Nobody could open the good quality sound file, so we got forced into using the MP3.

MP3 should not be used for production. It's an end-product format you use to put music files on your iPod for running on the beach. MP3 gets its small convenient sound files by leaving out certain sounds and cleverly hiding sound distortion.

WAV (Microsoft) is good.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69293
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by kozikowski » Wed May 12, 2021 11:27 am

You should find out what the client wants.
Write that down.

The ACX audiobook people demand delivery in very high quality MP3, not WAV. Your Archive Edit Master should be in WAV, but their slightly lower quality copy should be MP3.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69293
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by kozikowski » Wed May 12, 2021 11:49 am

Further Audacity oddity. Audacity doesn't save sound files. It saves Projects which are unique, special-purpose products that can save edit timelines and display formats in addition to the actual sounds. Projects are a little odd, only open in Audacity, and they will not save UNDO.

To get a 'real' sound file you have to File > Export one. I export all raw voice work as WAV before I do anything to it. Mistakes, fluffs, repeats and all. There should not be any reshoots if Audacity or the computer stops working during an edit.

That and I occasionally get calls from Producers wanting good quality, unedited copies of sound shoots.

Koz

dadofmo
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:54 pm
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by dadofmo » Wed May 12, 2021 9:26 pm

kozikowski wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 11:23 am
I doubt the microphone will let you connect at anything but 16-bit. The up conversion from 16-bit to 32-floating in Audacity is perfect. It's coming back down you have to be careful.

32-bit is different from 32-floating. As Steve above, Audacity works internally at 32-bit floating unless you force it not to. 32-floating doesn't overload and it allows you to do effects, filters, modifications, and corrections without worrying about clipping, peaking, and overload distortion. The only down side to that is the need to convert the show to either 44100, 16-bit or 48000, 16-bit for client delivery.

If you're live recording, it's totally possible to overload the microphone, interface, mixer, or sound card before Audacity. Running red clip or peak lights is never a good idea.


Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 4.14.09 AM.png


You should find out what the client wants. The most common uncompressed sound format is 44100, 16-bit, WAV and that can be a good starting place if you have no idea what the client wants. We had a production recording engineer do a voice recording and he didn't ask. He delivered in a super-duper high quality format and a simple MP3. Nobody could open the good quality sound file, so we got forced into using the MP3.

MP3 should not be used for production. It's an end-product format you use to put music files on your iPod for running on the beach. MP3 gets its small convenient sound files by leaving out certain sounds and cleverly hiding sound distortion.

WAV (Microsoft) is good.

Koz
Thanks! So to clarify, if a custom wants 16 bit I should record in 32-bit floating and then convert to 16 bit after it is recorded/edited? Or if I know the customer specified 16 bit / 44,100 I should just record from the beginning in 16 bit?

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 69293
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Optimal bit depth setting with Yeti mic?

Post by kozikowski » Wed May 12, 2021 10:35 pm

I don't know how you see this on Windows, but there is a utility on a Mac called Audio MIDI Setup that allows me to see the digital standard that the Mac is using to connect to my USB thing. I don't have a USB microphone, but this is my USB stereo adapter.

Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 15.20.24RedDot.jpg
Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 15.20.24RedDot.jpg (83.85 KiB) Viewed 152 times

Note the standard is Stereo, 16-bit, 44100.

At the same time, Audacity > Preferences > Quality set to 32-float. That's the point where Audacity converts from 16-bit to 32-floating. That's the default and you probably shouldn't change it.

Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 15.09.58.png
Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 15.09.58.png (45.65 KiB) Viewed 152 times

Koz

Post Reply