This week I think back on 2014 and look forward to 2015, and I discuss something that can absolutely destroy you in the studio if you’re not careful. (And it applies to me, too.)

And in the Q&A section I answer your questions about stuff like:

  • Convincing a drummer to change his snare drum sound
  • Recording active pickups vs passive pickups
  • What is 32-bit floating point? (and does it matter?)
  • Using outboard preamps – doesn’t that mean you’re using two preamps?
  • Why the CreativeLive guy was wrong
  • How I balance improving my musicianship and improving my mixing skills

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2 Responses to “Ask Joe #131 – Boomerang”

  1. Tom

    Joe, I think you mixed up 32/64 bit operating-system (= memory bus width) vs. 32/64 bit floating point audio formats. They are completely distinct things and are NOT AT ALL related, despite the naming. 64-bit floating point audio processing does not make much sense (IMHO) and only may impact the performance negatively (as the double amount of data has to be moved around – which in turn does NOT mean, that computation times are doubled) as compared to 32 bit. For the most part, 64 bit audio processing is marketing only and a lot even “high-end” plugins don’t even support 64 bit audio. So the whole point of 64-bit audio processing will fall apart if you use such a plugin in your signal chain, which would truncate to 32 bit anyway.

    To answer in a more practical way: The difference in 24 vs 32 bit is that with 24 bit you’ll clip at 0dB while 32 bit will clip at only +”a zillion” dBs – as long as no 24-bit plugin is in the chain and if your DAW does mix in floating point format. For recording: Your interface will most likely clip at 0dB even if you set the recording format to 32 bit. It does not save you on the recording side!

    It may be a bit confusing for non-techies to understand all the different 32/64 Bit issues – “thanks” to marketing ;-). Keep in mind that the bit-ness has different impact on:

    OS, DAW, plugin-format (these are memory-bus width and related to your CPU and memory only, has nothing to do with “audible audio data”)

    Mixing and audio processing formats (impact the audio quality, may not even be visible in your DAW. Know your plugins!)

    File formats (here both bit-nesses come into play, the one for the file format itself, the other for the stored audio data).

    To make things even more complicated: Depending on your OS and DAW all those 32/64 bit aspects can be intermixed within a single session.


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