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16 vs 24 bit ? Playback settings ?


SuPeR_HaNs
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Just wondering, if my files are 16 bit am I going to loose anything or lower the quality of the sound if Playback bit depth is set at 24 ?

If the files are 16 bit, is there any reason to have bit depth set to 24 ?

Do you set it for 24 bit playback Only for 24 bit files ?

 

I've read a little and there seems to be a debate about 24 bit vs 16 bit. I don't want to start that. I just hooked this laptop to dac to stereo up and haven't had much time to really toggle all the options and give a serious listen.

 

Thanks

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Just wondering, if my files are 16 bit am I going to loose anything or lower the quality of the sound if Playback bit depth is set at 24 ?

If the files are 16 bit, is there any reason to have bit depth set to 24 ?

Do you set it for 24 bit playback Only for 24 bit files ?

 

I've read a little and there seems to be a debate about 24 bit vs 16 bit. I don't want to start that. I just hooked this laptop to dac to stereo up and haven't had much time to really toggle all the options and give a serious listen.

 

Thanks

 

It depends. Listen to them; if they sound good to you, then that should be the determining factor. I used to be concerned of it, but now I just let my player make that determination with "default" setting. What player do your have?

 

That said bit rate is but one factor of a slew of factors, chief of which are mastering and production qualities.

 

I've several CD rips that sound much better that some SA-CD in my collection that should sound great, but they don't.

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...

 

That said bit rate is but one factor of a slew of factors, chief of which are mastering and production qualities.

 

...

 

This should read:

That said bit rate is but one factor of a slew of factors, chief of which are mastering and production qualities that determine sound quality.

 

BTW, why can't I edit original post within a few hours of posting?

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It depends.

 

Converting into higher bit width does not change noticeable sound quality. It's very unlikely that DACs have 16 bit circuit along with 24 bit circuit. 24 bit DACs will normally convert 16-bit input into 24-bit and feed into the 24-bit converter circuit.

 

Just set your media player output bit-width to that of your DAC. This will minimize conversions and thus sound quality.

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Converting into higher bit width does not change noticeable sound quality. It's very unlikely that DACs have 16 bit circuit along with 24 bit circuit. 24 bit DACs will normally convert 16-bit input into 24-bit and feed into the 24-bit converter circuit.

 

Just set your media player output bit-width to that of your DAC. This will minimize conversions and thus sound quality.

This is the right answer. You don't want to output higher bit files at lower bit rates (like 24-bit files output at 16-bit). And you generally want to avoid awkward sample rate conversions (like outputting 44.1kHz CD files at 96kHz).

 

But as hdo notes, outputting 16 bit files at 24 bit not only is harmless (will just pad the samples with eight extra zeros), it's also what your DAC likely is doing anyway.

 

In fact, I use BitPerfect with my iTunes setup, and BitPerect's claim to fame is that will output all your files in their exact original resolution - but even BitPerfect sends out my 16/44.1 CD-quality files to my DAC as 24/44.1 files, because the DAC doesn't have a native 16-bit mode.

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