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Re: Digital Distortion

Subject: Re: Digital Distortion
From: Walter Knapp <>
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 20:39:01 -0400
Clifford Caruthers wrote:
> Not to belabor the point (ok maybe a little bit), but not all of us
> have 50 years of recording experience, Walt.  While I have a solid 10
> under my belt, I make plenty of mistakes.  I think a little extra
> canvas to work on certainly doesn't hurt, and my attitudes, wishes and
> past experience, along with my ears, tell me that the 24bit system I
> have sounds better at low levels....
> Whether this difference is enough to warrant investment in a bunch of
> new gear is another matter....  ;-)

Indeed, on this question I don't think I'll worry until I wear out what
I have. Then I'll see what there is and choose.

I worry more that folks will use 24 bit as a crutch instead of putting
effort into learning to do it right to start with. If that's what
actually happens then experienced recordists with either type of
recorder will do better.

I think before trying to justify the money and other commitments that 24
bit entails, maybe folks should evaluate their entire system. It's a bit
sad to see someone agonizing over the recorder, but recording with some
noisy, poor quality mic. But I see that a fair amount. The part of gear
that seems to get shortchanged the most is the mic.

I guess when I ever eliminate the great variety of more common problems
in getting quality recordings then I might can justify worrying about a
24 bit recorder. Right now I feel like there are far too many other
things that will improve quality more for me for the same money.

Like probably the best equipment investment I could make for improving
sound quality would be a truckload of stinger missiles ;-) Get those
darned airplanes quiet for at least a bit. Anyway, my big problem in
quiet sites is manmade noise. Anything going on for miles around and I
seem to pick it up. The quieter the site the more this becomes a
problem. At the bottom of the quietest site is a background of human
made noise.

>>So, if we just think 24 bit is
>>better, our brain will process sound to reinforce this attitude.
> One could say the same thing in regard to 16 bit.

Certainly on could. Though I don't claim better, just good enough. I'm
not sure I've seen anyone claiming better sound quality out of 16 bit
over 24 bit. It's more like no or minimal difference.

Note our brains do this with every factor. Maybe it's our attitude about
recordist A over recordist B. And both of them are ok folks, but one
reminds us of some unpleasant event back in our lives. Trying to keep
these sorts of bias out of our thinking is tough. Even being aware of it
can be tough.



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