What’s bit depth? And the way does it impression music?
Should you’ve began to get into audio, you’ve most likely seen one thing referred to as “bit depth.” The factor is… what the hell is it? Effectively, we’re right here to assist.
First off, bit depth is one in all two metrics concerned in measuring the standard of a chunk of digital music. The primary of those is sampling price. We’ve coated what that is right here, however for a brief abstract it’s the variety of “samples” taken per second from an analog sound wave to show it digital.
Consider it just like the audio model of a TV’s body price: a number of particular person factors performed one after to present the impression of ever-flowing sound. And, if we proceed this metaphor, bit depth is the decision, successfully how a lot knowledge there may be in one in all these factors or samples.
After all, bit depth isn’t the identical as tv decision, however it’s a helpful means of visualizing the time period.
Anyway, let’s dive a bit of deeper. There are a number of bit depths, as this excellent diagram reveals:
The most typical bit depth is 16-bit, that is the CD-standard and what you’ll discover with the bulk FLAC information, that are a lossless music format.
What this implies is the digital audio file has 16 bits of data in each pattern. When that is mixed with the CD pattern price (44.1kHz), which means each second there are 44,100 samples taken and every of them include 16 bits of knowledge. Easy, proper?
What impression does bit depth have on music?
Effectively, if a bit depth is just too low, the standard will undergo. Particularly, you’ll discover a truthful chunk of the quiet sounds shall be misplaced. On information or information with a excessive bit depth, you’ll have a much more correct playback — up to a degree. However we’ll get to that shortly.
One thing bit depth controls is the dynamic vary of a sound. That is the distinction between how quiet and loud respective components of the audio is. And, the upper the bit depth (8-bit, 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit being the commonest), the extra dynamic vary is out there.
However… that is the place we come to the fork within the street.
Apologies, audio nerds, nevertheless it’s extremely unlikely anybody will hear the totally different between a 16-bit bit depth and something increased. There may be an argument to be made for recording audio with a bit depth above 16-bit (that is primarily simply to present the engineer as a lot flexibility as potential), however for listeners? These 24-bit FLAC information are not often definitely worth the house.
Anyway, we’re coming to the tip of this piece, so let’s refresh. Essentially, bit depth describes how a lot knowledge is taken per pattern in an audio file. Take a look at this to assist out:
And the opposite factor to recollect? Bit depth controls the dynamic vary of tracks, which could be understood to be the distinction between the quietest and loudest sounds in a chunk of audio. Phew, haven’t we learnt some stuff?
This piece is a part of a sequence revolving round CDs and yow will discover that Large Beefy Boy put up proper right here. Go on, click on, you’re gonna like it.
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Printed March 8, 2021 — 10:17 UTC