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-   -   44,1KHz or any other, 16-bit or 24-bit? (http://www.linux-archive.org/64-studio-user/143829-44-1khz-any-other-16-bit-24-bit.html)

Ralf Mardorf 08-16-2008 07:03 AM

44,1KHz or any other, 16-bit or 24-bit?
 
Hi :)

I'm fine with the quality of DAT, 48KHz 16-bit, but I've no experience
with recording using Linux. 44.1KHz 16-bit seems to be not fine while
producing with Linux.

What might be a good quality with less load for the CPU and soundcard?
And how can I convert the mastering to CD quality, resp. master directly
in CD quality?

The card is a TerraTec EWX 24/96 (ICE1712 Envy microchip). The CPU is an
AMD Athlon BE-2350 (2x 2.1GHz) and I have 1GB + 896MB RAM (128MB are
used for the integrated graphics).

I'm using 64 Studio 64-bit and Suse 64-bit. Can it be that the audio
output of some Linux has got different qualities? Definitive Reaper has
a better quality in sound using 64 Studio instead of Suse, but that
might has to do with the emulation and I now only will use Linux
applications and no Reaper any more.

I was thinking of recording in 48KHz 24-bit first, but now I guess it
might be better to record in 48KHz 16-bit.

I'm interested what you will use to produce for CD. I don't think
44.1KHz 16-bit will do "you get what you hear", because even virtual
synth recorded to an audio track in this case will have a lower quality
in sound, than the not recorded virtual synth, so maybe I will run into
trouble when doing the master mix, because some instruments maybe are in
CD quality and other instruments maybe are in a better quality. To do
the final mix I guess it would be better to have a homogenous quality,
even if the mastering will be converted from a better quality to CD. But
I don't know. Okay, I have to do some songs my self to find out what's
the best way for me, but maybe your experiences can be a guideline for me.

Cheers,
Ralf

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Daniel James 08-18-2008 10:49 AM

44,1KHz or any other, 16-bit or 24-bit?
 
Hi Ralf,

> I'm fine with the quality of DAT, 48KHz 16-bit, but I've no experience
> with recording using Linux. 44.1KHz 16-bit seems to be not fine while
> producing with Linux.

Your sound card can do better. Check the messages window in Jack
Control, because Jack will try 32-bit I/O first, then if that fails,
fall back to 24-bit, and if that fails, finally try 16-bit. As for
sample rate, it's practical to record at 96KHz if you have the disc
space, but depending on the material you're recording, you may not hear
a big improvement over 48KHz.

> And how can I convert the mastering to CD quality

I strongly recommend that you reduce and dither to 16-bit at the very
last stage in the mastering process, rather than at any point before.
You can do this by connecting your Jack application to Jamin, then
bit-reducing and dithering the audio returned from Jamin. If you bit
reduce before sending the audio to Jamin, then all those extra bits will
be wasted, because you'll be doing DSP on the 16-bit audio.

The way I do this is to create a bus in Ardour called 'jamin return'.
The Ardour session for mastering is made up of 32-bit stereo mixes, one
per track, which have been exported from earlier Ardour multitrack
sessions. In the mastering session, the stereo output of Ardour's master
bus is connected to Jamin's inputs, and the outputs of Jamin are
connected to the inputs of Ardour's 'jamin return' bus, as well as the
hardware output for the studio monitors. That way, I get to listen to
Jamin's output via the 24-bit hardware of the sound card.

When I choose Export in Ardour, I export a wav file only from the 'jamin
return' bus, which is reduced to 16-bit with a shaped noise dither,
ready for burning to CD in Gnome CD Master. See Quentin's tutorial at:

http://www.64studio.com/manual/audio/ardour/cdmarkers

Cheers!

Daniel

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Ralf Mardorf 08-18-2008 02:02 PM

44,1KHz or any other, 16-bit or 24-bit?
 
Hi Daniel :)

this is the most important email for me at the moment. Thank you.

> Hi Ralf,
>
>> I'm fine with the quality of DAT, 48KHz 16-bit, but I've no experience
>> with recording using Linux. 44.1KHz 16-bit seems to be not fine while
>> producing with Linux.
>
> Your sound card can do better. Check the messages window in Jack
> Control, because Jack will try 32-bit I/O first, then if that fails,
> fall back to 24-bit, and if that fails, finally try 16-bit. As for
> sample rate, it's practical to record at 96KHz if you have the disc
> space, but depending on the material you're recording, you may not
> hear a big improvement over 48KHz.

Disc space is no problem any more. Before reading your email I started a
song with 48KHz 16-bit. Fluidsynth seems to be limited to 16-bits, but I
decided to choose 16-bit because Rosegarden only submits 16-bit and
32-bit, but not 24-bit and 24-bit is what the Envy microchip can do.
Maybe I should use Ardour for recording, but I prefer to have all Tracks
in one application, resp. in one window. Until now I didn't record
anything (for the song I'm working on), I only played Fluidsynth via
MIDI data. Fluidsynth's sound quality is as good as the sound quality of
the Alesis D4, resp. the quality of Fluidsynth is better, because there
is nearly no background noise. I have some instruments with better and
some with less good sound quality but the D4 and also Fluidsynth are
absolutely okay.


Normally I shouldn't be able to hear any difference between 48KHz 16-bit
and the original sound when working with my home equipment. When my DAT
recorders were fine, the Aiwa HD-S1 and the Sony DTC-670 were good
enough at 48KHz.

If it should be that Linux or the Envy sound card won't be fine at 48KHz
and 16-bit, I'll try a higher sample rate and more depth of bit.

44,1 and 16-bit aren't fine with Linux and the Envy sound card. In some
cases 32KHz and 12-bit (non linear instead of regular linear) the Sony
DAT was fine for some audio material. An astonishing thing is, that if
32KHz 12bit were not fine with the audio sources, it were not the highs,
but the bases that won't be fine.

>> And how can I convert the mastering to CD quality
>
> I strongly recommend that you reduce and dither to 16-bit at the very
> last stage in the mastering process, rather than at any point before.
> You can do this by connecting your Jack application to Jamin, then
> bit-reducing and dithering the audio returned from Jamin. If you bit
> reduce before sending the audio to Jamin, then all those extra bits
> will be wasted, because you'll be doing DSP on the 16-bit audio.
>
> The way I do this is to create a bus in Ardour called 'jamin return'.
> The Ardour session for mastering is made up of 32-bit stereo mixes,
> one per track, which have been exported from earlier Ardour multitrack
> sessions. In the mastering session, the stereo output of Ardour's
> master bus is connected to Jamin's inputs, and the outputs of Jamin
> are connected to the inputs of Ardour's 'jamin return' bus, as well as
> the hardware output for the studio monitors. That way, I get to listen
> to Jamin's output via the 24-bit hardware of the sound card.
>
> When I choose Export in Ardour, I export a wav file only from the
> 'jamin return' bus, which is reduced to 16-bit with a shaped noise
> dither, ready for burning to CD in Gnome CD Master. See Quentin's
> tutorial at:
>
> http://www.64studio.com/manual/audio/ardour/cdmarkers
>
> Cheers!
>
> Daniel

I will use JAMin either way, to compress the stereo sum. JAMin is one of
the best compressors I know, apart from the week point, the TerraTec
sound card. The quality of the compression is as good, as the one of the
best studio compressors I've heard (and I worked for Brauner), only the
audio quality of my sound card isn't as good as studio tube compressors
are ;), for home recording there isn't a better compressor.

Hm, when working with 16-bits instead of more, than also the unneeded
bits will be in the signal flow and take resources?

At the moment I would prefer to record with Rosegarden, not only because
of one window for all tracks. I will use Rosegarden with plugins and
maybe QSynth too and by all means JAMin too, not only when doing the
mastering, I'll use JAMin while composing and recording, not to record
any thing by JAMin, but for the monitoring.

Maybe I should use Ardour, to see if sync and jitter will be fine on my
system. Soon or later I will have to use Ardour, because Rosegarden
isn't really a hard disk recorder and as far as I have heard, Ardour
has some of the functions I'm missing for Rosegarden, e.g. to mute
single segments and maybe different pre-roll and punch functions.

As wave editor I'm using Audacity. I can't say much about Audacity, but
it seems to be fine for me.

I don't let Jack force 16-bit, but I don't know how to make Rosegarden
use 24-bit.

I have forgotten to write that I not only will use Rosegarden with
plugins, QSynth and JAMin, maybe I will use a reverb too and maybe
Hydrogen too, that means Ardour will cause extra CPU load, that my CPU
might not have.

Cheers,
Ralf

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Daniel James 08-20-2008 10:04 AM

44,1KHz or any other, 16-bit or 24-bit?
 
Hi Ralf,

> I
> decided to choose 16-bit because Rosegarden only submits 16-bit and
> 32-bit, but not 24-bit and 24-bit is what the Envy microchip can do.

Jack uses 32-bit float samples internally. This setting in Rosegarden
(Settings -> Configure Rosegarden -> Audio -> Record audio files as...)
is for people who want to save disc space, it doesn't affect Jack's bit
rate. Ardour has a preference to save 24-bit instead of 32-bit float
files in sessions, but personally I've never needed to use that setting.
On your machine, you should use Rosegarden's 32-bit float setting.

The bit reduction at the soundcard ports happens because most soundcards
don't support the 32-bit rate. This doesn't matter if you are doing
all-digital mastering 'inside the box', but it does matter if you are
taking your mastering chain out of the computer and into an external
device. If that's the case, you might want to dither the Jack output
(the setting for this is just below Interface in Jack Control -> Setup).

Cheers!

Daniel



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Ralf Mardorf 08-20-2008 12:04 PM

44,1KHz or any other, 16-bit or 24-bit?
 
Daniel James wrote:
> Hi Ralf,
>
>> I
>> decided to choose 16-bit because Rosegarden only submits 16-bit and
>> 32-bit, but not 24-bit and 24-bit is what the Envy microchip can do.
>
> Jack uses 32-bit float samples internally. This setting in Rosegarden
> (Settings -> Configure Rosegarden -> Audio -> Record audio files
> as...) is for people who want to save disc space, it doesn't affect
> Jack's bit rate. Ardour has a preference to save 24-bit instead of
> 32-bit float files in sessions, but personally I've never needed to
> use that setting. On your machine, you should use Rosegarden's 32-bit
> float setting.
>
> The bit reduction at the soundcard ports happens because most
> soundcards don't support the 32-bit rate. This doesn't matter if you
> are doing all-digital mastering 'inside the box', but it does matter
> if you are taking your mastering chain out of the computer and into an
> external device. If that's the case, you might want to dither the Jack
> output (the setting for this is just below Interface in Jack Control
> -> Setup).
>
> Cheers!
>
> Daniel

Hi Daniel :)

thank you. There's no need for me to do any digital mastering outside
the box, because any interesting home equipment I've got has got
analogous IOs. I will do mastering only in the box, maybe I will record
reverb etc. from my home equipment while doing the mastering, but after
that I would go on mixing in the box. Because I only have 2 analogues
input and 2 output channels, I also can't do the whole mixing by using
my console and analogous FX. The studio in the box for me has to be the
"complete" studio at the moment, so I will follow your advice to work
with 32-bit.

OT:

Is there a technical reason for that 64 Studio comes with GNOME by
default? It seems to be that my actual CPU and RAM are fine with GNOME
and KDE. I prefer KDE, but I also would try any other DE/WM if there
will be technical reasons. For most computer work I only will use KDE,
but when making music I didn't need the advantages of KDE.

I'm getting fine with Rosegarden, I'm not 100% satisfied but the
sequencer will be good enough for most needs. The only problem at the
moment is, that Rosegarden, QJackCtl or Jackd isn't stable, but I'm
running it on Suse and especially on the unstable KDE4. Maybe I will
change to KDE3 today and when my first song produced with Linux is done,
I'll reinstall 64 Studio 2.1 without any critical upgrades to Lenny. The
song I'm working on, at the moment only uses some Fluidsynth-DSSIs, if I
won't use QSynth too, I can change from Suse to my actual 64 Studio.
Unfortunately QSynth isn't fine for my 64 Studio Lenny. After all that
troubles with Linux I will make just one song with Linux, before trying
to fix QSynth for 64 Studio, resp. to install the stable 64 Studio 2.1.

Cheers,
Ralf

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Daniel James 08-20-2008 01:46 PM

44,1KHz or any other, 16-bit or 24-bit?
 
Hi Ralf,

> Is there a technical reason for that 64 Studio comes with GNOME by
> default?

Just that we had to choose one or the other. Most of our key
applications are GTK+, so that informed the decision. The distro for the
Lionstracs Mediastation uses a KDE desktop.

> Maybe I will
> change to KDE3 today and when my first song produced with Linux is done,
> I'll reinstall 64 Studio 2.1 without any critical upgrades to Lenny.

We always recommend a 64 Studio stable release for a production machine :-)

> Unfortunately QSynth isn't fine for my 64 Studio Lenny. After all that
> troubles with Linux I will make just one song with Linux, before trying
> to fix QSynth for 64 Studio, resp. to install the stable 64 Studio 2.1.

You might like to try Qsampler with some .gig files instead.

Cheers!

Daniel

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Ralf Mardorf 08-20-2008 02:29 PM

44,1KHz or any other, 16-bit or 24-bit?
 
> You might like to try Qsampler with some .gig files instead.

A mistake on my part ;). I wrote "QSynth", but I meant "QSampler".

"Fluidsynth" is fine for Suse and 64 Studio, but QSampler isn't fine for
my upgraded 64 Studio and maybe I need QSampler too, so I have to use
Suse or to reinstall 64 Studio. Suse is also a good Linux, but not a
good DAW, because there are to many unnecessary "things" running in the
background.

I would prefer to install 64 Studio 3.0 instead of reinstalling 2.1 ;).
I would like to have 64 Studio, but with KDE 3.5.9. Some people from the
list are running 64 Studio stable with KDE 3.5.9, but for me there got
something wrong, when I did the upgrade.

Anyway, my computer seems to be able to work with Linux as a DAW, for
the moment I'm fine with the Suse DAW and I know that there is a stable
Linux DAW distro called "64 Studio" :). I need holidays from the stress
I had with Linux until now and will enjoy to make music, before I'll do
something like a new installation.

I think 64 Studio 3.0 can be a Linux for all my needs, without the need
to upgrade to a Debian testing. I expect that I have to reinstall 2.1
and that 3.0 won't be published this year. The frozen Debian testing
should become the stable next month, maybe I get pleasantly surprised by
a 64 Studio 3.0 this year.

Free: "[...] the main pending problem is that ardour is not testing due
to a release critical bug. I plan to work on it as soon as rubberband
enters sid [...]"

And maybe Free can't work 24 hours a day ;), so I expect 3.0 not this year.

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