Do We Really Need 24-bit Audio?

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

“Apple and other digital retailers are planning to offer 24-bit audio to consumers.

It should be an easy sell; recording studios use 24-bit, it’s how the music was mixed, and it’s how the consumers should hear it. Right? Wrong.

24-bit audio might be the staple of recording studios, but there’s a reason it should stay there. 24-bit has a really low “noise floor” — that hum you hear if you turn a silent amplifier up really high.

With 16-bit, the noise floor is slightly higher. While that might be a problem in a studio where you’re boosting sounds to be clear and loud, it’s irrelevant to the end listener who is given the fully mastered and noise-free version already.

Even CDs are 16-bit, and the sonic quality of a CD is an accepted definition of consumer-worthy HD quality.”


  1. July 3, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Another ignorant person attacking the evolution of audio quality for no good reason, and without having heard the difference himself.

    Anyone with a decent pair of headphones (~$99) and a modern PC soundcard will be able to hear a very clear difference in clarity between 24-bit audio and old-school 16-bit CD audio. To my ears, there’s a massive difference in clarity, attack, transient response, detail, etc. It’s simply much closer to real live musical performance, which is something that 16-bit CD and MP3 audio cannot replicate.

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