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Whether one is producing music, podcasts, game sounds, or film sound effects, Digital Audio Principles provides the tips and techniques that will make the project a success. Author Dave Schroeder explains the basics of digital audio production techniques and covers the essential hardware and software. He also discusses sound theory, frequency response, the range of human hearing, and dynamic range.
Analog-to-digital conversion is probably the single most important reason to use an external audio device. In Chapter 1, we've talked about two factors that figure into the quality of your analog-to-digital conversion. We talked about sample rate and bit depth. If you haven't seen that movie I suggest you go back and review it before you continue on in this section. Audio interfaces are not all created equal, so the first thing you want to look at is the sample rate and the bit depths that your interface is capable of. Because ultimately this can limit the sample rates and bit depths you can use. Now, I say among other things here, because things like processor speed and your computer's ability to push a lot of tracks or heavier tracks is important, because as sample rates and bit depths go up, so does the size of the data.
So, having a computer that can handle it and having software that gives you the options to work with say 24-bit audio or the option to work with audio that was sampled at 96 kHz is important. But if your A/D conversion can't do it, it doesn't matter if your software can or not. It's the main limiter in terms of what kind of sample rates and bit depths you can use and ultimately that means what kind of quality you can get from analog-to-digital conversion. So, let's talk about different qualities and different deliveries. Ultimately, the sample rates and bit depths that you need to be available to you or you want to find in your interface, it can kind of be based on what you're going to do. What are you making? Now, better is always better.
So, whether you're making the record of your lives or a podcast today that just goes out and gets really crunched down. If you want to use the highest rates available, go for it, I encourage it, it's not a problem. It's going to take up a lot of hard drive space and the reality is that you're probably not going to get that much out of the difference from say like 192 to 196 necessarily. So, knowing where you're going to go with stuff is important. On an audio interface you want something with a minimum of 4416-bit capability.
You'll be hard-pressed to find something that doesn't have that actually, you'd have to look kind of hard. More and more 96 kHz and 24-bit is kind of becoming the standard for kind of the home project studio device. It's a great standard, it offers a lot more sonic clarity and the 24-bit gives you a lot more dynamic range. Again, if you didn't see the section on sample rate and bit depth in Chapter 1. I encourage you to go look at those so that you get a sense of the importance of these numbers. Typically, your ultimate objective, and your wallet, will help you find the right match in terms of the sample rate and the bit depth.
If you're doing a lot of music, I encourage to getting up to 96. If you are doing simple stuff that's getting crunched and going out on the web, you can work at 40 for 116 bit and not feel ashamed. It's okay, and it saves a lot of disk space. And if you're tracking orchestras or huge things or doing things for film, by all means look into 192 with 32 bit or even 192 at 24-bit. In general, I'd say trying to use 24-bit for everything and then adjust from there the other things as you need to.
Regardless, of what bit rate you use, in the next movie will look at an audio interface and talk about the different kinds of inputs and options that they come with.
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