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Thanks to high-capacity disks like Blu-ray and even some online sites like HDtracks.com, the demand for high- resolution audio is growing rapidly. While the mastering process is the same as with standard-def material, there are other considerations that apply when it comes to high-resolution. The first is storage. Consider this, we all know that a 44.1/16 stereo minute on a CD needs approximately 10.5 MB of storage. Most of us record in our DAWs at 48/24, and that takes about 17.28 for each minute that we record.
When it comes to high-res, we go to a different league, though, with a minute of 296/24 stereo needing 34.56 MB and a minute of 192/24 needing 69.12 MB. Again, this is just for stereo. If we were dealing with 6-channel 5.1 file at 192K, our storage would be 207 MB. In these days of cheap storage where a terabyte doesn't cost very much, this might not sound like a lot of storage space, but it can really get you in a bind if you haven't planned for it.
But 96/24 operation doesn't just stop at storage. All equipment in a Digital Signal Chain, including A to D and D to A Converters, plug-ins and workstations, must now be able to process at least 96/24 as well. And keep in mind that the higher the resolution, the more processing power that's required from your computer's processor and RAM. Most modern workstations and mastering software is up to the task of working with high-resolution files, but be aware that everything is not always as easy as in the standard-res world.
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