Originally Posted by rtaylor76
Thanks for the vote of confidence.
I doubt if it was a question of level. The ADC's used have no input level control. Basic plug and play. Many ADC's, especially high end ones, have soft or even hard limiters at 0db, so it dosen't go into digital distortion territory.
And there was no EQ. Nothing plugged up between tape machine and ADC. Only XLR cables. Tape machine -> ADC -> console to stereo input. For the 1/2", the XLR cables going into the converter were then plugged straight into the cables going to the console, bypassing the converter. What I meant by EQ was tonal balance.
One thing I will will bring up that you can feel free to discuss is the theory I have of resolution, detail, and volume level. We all know that digital is "stair steps," and that condition gets worse as the volume level is lower. So technically a 24-bit file could possibly have the same resolution of 16-bit because it is too low, and not taking advantage of the extra dynamic range. In this case, imagine the 24-bit file being just a tad quieter on the recording, but then level matched during playback. The 24-bit file in this case could also take advantage of that extra dynamic range in the peaks, but really it almost the same resolution of the 24-bit file. Make sense?
Now on this same concept, detail is in the quieter parts. This is the area that gets more "stair steppy" and thus distorted, but then masked by dither. I have always thought that digital to me loses it in the finer details. Not because of sampling rate, nyquist theories, filtering, 20Hz cut-off, but more due to the details, the quieter parts, have less resolution. Now the same can be argued against any analog medium, say tape, that it also has noise and loses resolution in quieter passages. And I would say that is true, but it does not introduce distortion and masking the way digital does.
Now back to 24 vs 16 bit per the OP - my question is, does it matter? In stereo files that are congested, maybe not to the extent that we think. Maybe we can't always tell and spot the difference. I do know that almost every recording done today is at 24 bit, but they are tracking everything and need as much detail to fit down to two stereo tracks. Does that track need to be 24 bits? Do we have the system to tell? Do we have the ears to hear it? All questions we must ask ourselves. I know I have several recordings I love that would not benefit me at all in higher resolution. It takes true talent to get and demonstrate something more out of a particular recording. And it is not just one thing, either the medium, format, tracking engineer, producer, mixing, mastering, talent, but all of it. Just as there are many more recordings I would love to hear in a higher resolution format. To me it is not just a comfort thing.
I know I am new here, but as someone involved in audio for awhile, I find it hard to think many break things down to just audio spectrum or high frequencies. It is much more than that. Dimension, space, detail, impact, bandwidth, all come well before say any such high frequency information is there. A good recording should sound 3D and have depth for days. And not just wide, like deep space.