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Chapter 1.  Introducing Cubase  >  About 32-bit Recording

About 32-bit Recording

Most audio hardware available today supports 16-bit resolution. Some better quality sound cards also support 20- and 24-bit resolutions. With the 16-bit resolution (see Figure 1.16), the vertical steps corresponding to voltage values are few and far apart. In the 24-bit resolution, there are many more steps (also called Quantum) than in 16-bit recordings. In the 32-bit, the binary word is twice as long, but as you will see in the Table 1.1, instead of having 65,535 steps, you have more than four billion steps. Finally, in 32-bit floating-point resolution, you still have more than four billion steps; however, they are not fixed but variable points that adjust themselves according to the needs of the audio waveform. This dramatically increases the dynamic range (range between the loudest sound before digital clipping and softest audible sound) of a digital audio recording. On the minus side, it also increases the hard disk space needed to record digital audio as well as processing time when applying changes, such as adding an effect to a sound. Ultimately, to record using precisions higher than 24-bit resolutions, you’ll need a fast computer, fast hard drive, and lots of memory, both in disk space and in RAM.

Figure 1.16. Understanding the importance of bit resolution in digital audio recording.



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