Bits, Freezing, and Dithering

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pdarg
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2007/11/02 14:39:28 (permalink)

Bits, Freezing, and Dithering

Okay folks, I am wondering if we can get the definitive answer from a knowledgeable person (or possibly a Cakewalk person) who can tell us how to set Sonar for maximum sonic quality in terms of bit rate rendering, freezing, and dithering.

Here’s my situation:

I use Sonar 7, and have a Lynx-2 soundcard. I record/mix at 24 bit, but am uncertain as to what to set the rendering bits at. I have my dithering turned off, but use it on mixdown when I export the final mix to 16 bits.

Questions:
1) What should I set my render bit depth at? Does it make any difference if it is being truncated to 16 bits on mixdown?
2) What about Freezing tracks – if they start at 24 bit, are they “frozen” into 24 bit or 32 bit? If frozen to 24 bit, are they truncated from 32 bit float? Do they need a dither setting for freezing? Does the rendering setting make a difference here?
3) Should dither always be turned off except for mixdown to 16 bits, or should it be turned on for freezing?

All intelligent opinions appreciated . . .
#1

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    bitflipper
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    RE: Bits, Freezing, and Dithering 2007/11/02 16:23:21 (permalink)
    Render at 32 bits, only dither on final export to 16-bit files. Your dither setting should have no affect while you're working on a project, not until you export or perform some other function that shortens wordlength.

    I'd have to look and see to make sure, but my guess is that frozen tracks are stored as 32-bit files. That's not hard to verify, but I'm not at my DAW at the moment.

    As a general rule, any 24-bit files that are modified, bounced or generated inside SONAR are saved as 32-bit clips. That's as it should be.

    EDIT: the previous statement may only true if your render depth is set to 32. I have never checked to see if clips are saved as 24-bit files when the render depth is set to 24, because I always set it to 32.


    post edited by bitflipper - 2007/11/02 16:36:28


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    altima_boy_2001
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    RE: Bits, Freezing, and Dithering 2007/11/02 17:20:17 (permalink)
    Render bit depth is the bit depth used for all bouncing and freezing, and is the default setting exporting. Your dither setting is used anytime the bit depth changes to something less than 32- or 64-bit float, including conversion before sending data to your soundcard.

    My suggestion is to use 32-bit render bit depth and turn on triangle dither and never worry about this stuff again. Change the dither to some version of POWR dither when exporting to 16-bit.
    #3
    Noel Borthwick [Cakewalk]
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    RE: Bits, Freezing, and Dithering 2007/11/03 09:03:18 (permalink)
    1. Render bit depth defaults to 32 bits which will capture the result of bounces, freezes and other intermediate processing to a floatint point wave file. i.e. there will be no integer truncation loss so no is dithering required. (you couild even set it to 64 bit but thats overkill for most scenarios)

    2. When you freeze it is converted to the specified render bit depth irrespective of the source bit depth.

    3. If its bouncing to a floating point format dither is not in the circuit. i.e. if the render bit depth is 32 or 64 you dont need to worry about toggling the dither since it wont be applied. In general you can leave dither on unless you really don't want it even applied to integer formats.

    Noel Borthwick
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    #4
    DonM
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    RE: Bits, Freezing, and Dithering 2007/11/03 10:41:47 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: Noel Borthwick [Cakewalk]

    (you couild even set it to 64 bit but thats overkill for most scenarios)



    Noel:

    Thanks for posting on this one. Can you describe a situation where the 64 bit render would be appropriate? Thanks in advance.

    -D

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    #5
    pdarg
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    RE: Bits, Freezing, and Dithering 2007/11/03 12:26:03 (permalink)
    Yes, thanks for the comments - I have set my bits to record at 24, and render at 32 with no dither applied until export/mixdown.
    #6
    Noel Borthwick [Cakewalk]
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    RE: Bits, Freezing, and Dithering 2007/11/03 23:32:43 (permalink)
    If you are using the 64 bit mix engine and want to keep everything 64 bit, you would want to bounce or freeze in 64 bit.
    Of course it only makes sense if the entire signal chain being bounced is 64 bit. If you have a plugin that only does 32 bit you're not really getting anything in the extra bits.

    ORIGINAL: DonM
    Noel:

    Thanks for posting on this one. Can you describe a situation where the 64 bit render would be appropriate? Thanks in advance.

    -D


    Noel Borthwick
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