32-bit or 64-bit?

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32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by drizzy » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:21 pm

Is WaveLab 9 based on a 32-bit or 64-bit float engine? Looking for an engine that can capture, store, and deliver 32-bit integer (clean) files, such as AIFF32 and WAV32. A 32-bit floating point engine will tend to lose some of the top 8 bits. Tks.

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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by bob99 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:32 pm

If not here, Studio One or Reaper. Although as you probably know Wavelab can make 32 bit integer files.

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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by drizzy » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:03 pm

Bob99, yes I see that Wavelab can "handle" 32-bit integer files, but I'm not sure what that means. It really comes down to the processing engine. If Wavelab has a 64-bit float engine, it can capture, store, process, and deliver lossless 32-bit files. If the engine is 32-bit float (like 98% of all DAWs), then a 32-bit file will probably lose bits. Yes, Reaper has a 64-bit float engine option. I'll check Studio One, thanks.

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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by Justin P » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:14 pm

Maybe the Stillwell Bitter plugin inserted very last in the chain will give you some clues:

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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by PG » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:19 pm

WaveLab 9.5 has a 32 bit float engine, but a 64 bit engine is in the pipeline.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by drizzy » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:35 pm

Philippe, thanks! Any ETA for the 64-bit float engine?

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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by PG » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:47 pm

more short term than long term...
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by drizzy » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:23 pm

bob99 wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:32 pm
If not here, Studio One or Reaper.
Bob99, just checked Studio One. They don't do double-precision (64-bit float) in the mix engine, and they use the mix engine for storing and retrieving data.

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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by bob99 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:13 pm

It was capable and selectable a couple years ago, in the Pro version only I think. Can't imagine they would drop it.

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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by MrTopo » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:10 pm

PG wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:19 pm
WaveLab 9.5 has a 32 bit float engine, but a 64 bit engine is in the pipeline.
I have a doubt. If the WaveLab's engine is 32 bit float, why appears to select the 64 bit float option? :? Thanks.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by MrTopo » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:23 pm

MrTopo wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:10 pm

I have a doubt. If the WaveLab's engine is 32 bit float, why appears to select the 64 bit float option? :? Thanks.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by Justin P » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:46 pm

I suppose there could be a difference between being able to play and write 64-bit WAV files vs. the bit-depth of the mix engine.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by PG » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:00 pm

Justin is right. Btw i am travelling and cant answer all posts.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by MrTopo » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:45 pm

Ahh!! Gracias!
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by Arjan P » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:53 am

Cubase 9.5 just came out with a 64-bit float engine. I fail to see the point, but then, I also don't see it for 192k audio (except when working for bats maybe).
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by Denis van der Velde » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:07 pm

The 32 Float engine is in bit depth really good, in 44.1 Khz more then enough for audio.
The 64 bit engine is supposed to be better, but it will be only very slightly.
For me i would prefer to stay with 32 bit Float.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by toader » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:53 pm

For those who say higher bit rates and higher sample rates are pointless - I suggest a little humility here. Can you make "Wavelab"? Can you make "Cubase"? Can you make Weiss digital processing equipment? Very few people in the world can do these things... despite that, do you really think these people are "stupid"? That they somehow don't know what they're doing and just add pointlessness to everything they do? Or are they more likely striving for the absolute pinnacle of excellence - even if it's only a 1% improvement?

Anyway - with that in mind, I have to say - I have done extensive testing with both higher bit-rates, and higher sample-rates (including 192khz, DSD, etc). While I feel "recording" at higher rates offers VERY little benefit (but "possibly" some), I have come to believe that some digital "processing" can benefit from these higher rates as well. In the context of a software like Wavelab/Cubase/ProTools/etc, that "processing" occurs MANY MANY times throughout a mix... every single fader deviation on each and every track from 0db? Digital Processing. Every single plugin? Digital processing. Every summing occurrence? Every envelope? Digital processing.

Work at low rates if you want, but don't get too arrogant about it. There are others in the world who may disagree with you, and they are not just the "stupid" bottom-of-the-barrel type people. Anyway... just some thoughts on the subject. We all need to trust our instincts and our hearts when making creative, critical decisions... just as the engineers who make our favorite tools do. Maybe put at least a tiny bit of trust in some of the people who make these incredible tools that we use every day.

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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by Justin P » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:09 pm

Yes, to agree with Toader in a shorter manner:

Just because you can't hear it, doesn't mean it's not beneficial to the end result, and now the end user result after lossy encoding.

44.1k is technically enough for the human ear, but I personally feel that working at 96k allows my digital and analog tools to perform better and ultimately achieve a better end result.

Then I use quality SRC (Saracon) to reduce to 44.1k and/or 48k as needed.

I would welcome a 64-bit audio engine from WaveLab but I don't think WaveLab is behind in adding this. REAPER has a 64-bit audio engine but since RX6 is still 32-bit float and I heavily use RX6 as REAPER's external editor, I still save processed audio files as 32-bit float rather than 64-bit.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by Arjan P » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:36 pm

toader wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:53 pm
For those who say higher bit rates and higher sample rates are pointless - I suggest a little humility here. Can you make "Wavelab"? Can you make "Cubase"? Can you make Weiss digital processing equipment? Very few people in the world can do these things... despite that, do you really think these people are "stupid"? That they somehow don't know what they're doing and just add pointlessness to everything they do? Or are they more likely striving for the absolute pinnacle of excellence - even if it's only a 1% improvement?
This has nothing to do with arogance, but with science versus marketing. Try some articles by Dan Lavry (not the average audio nono), in which he suggests, backed by data, that 192 kHz is possibly worse than 96 kHz - especially in AD converters. I'm not even going into the massive dynamic range 32bit float has, and to which 64bit float adds nothing useful - simple maths. Marketing has its own rules though: 'If everyone else has it, so must we', and 'If 96k is so much better than 44.1, can we go and double that?'.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by toader » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:54 pm

Arjan P wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:36 pm
This has nothing to do with arogance, but with science versus marketing. Try some articles by Dan Lavry (not the average audio nono), in which he suggests, backed by data, that 192 kHz is possibly worse than 96 kHz - especially in AD converters. I'm not even going into the massive dynamic range 32bit float has, and to which 64bit float adds nothing useful - simple maths. Marketing has its own rules though: 'If everyone else has it, so must we', and 'If 96k is so much better than 44.1, can we go and double that?'.
Although Dan Lavry discusses the optimal sample rate for "recording", he doesn't speak much about "processing" at higher rates - but even he recommends 88k or 96k. Here is a quote from one of his papers:

At 60 KHz sampling rate, the contribution of AD and DA to any attenuation in the audible range is negligible. Although 60 KHz would be closer to the ideal; given the existing standards, 88.2 KHz and 96 KHz are closest to the optimal sample rate.. http://www.lavryengineering.com/pdfs/la ... _audio.pdf

Anyway, regarding sample rates, I know what I hear. Regarding 64-bit processing, the designers have decided to add it for some reason. I’m assuming they’re striving for excellence. I look forward to testing to see if I can actually tell a difference
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by Rat » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:30 am

My guess is that 64 bit float processing is more about systems compatibility and future proofing than "sound". It's unlikely to make a difference between whether the record goes platinum or not.

I work at 96kHz now mainly because it's typically the deliverable for MFiT and for some processing (eg DMG EQ which does not apparently upsample internally) there is a case to make that it also "sounds better". I do accept that a lot depends on your SRC in terms of the subjective test of what it sounds like at 44.1kHz.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by Raphie » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:25 am

the only thing that is relevant to safety is monitoring volume, this has NOTHING to do with dynamic range or 64bit accuracy
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by PG » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:54 am

The interest of 64 bit float is not about "headroom" / "dynamic range"...

pro:
  • no need to convert between 32 bit and 64 bit float: 64 bit is needed by some plugins for their internal computations. 64 bit then means: small performance gain and no precision lost between succeeding 64 bit plugins.
  • Better audio precision when mixing audio signals. I explain this at the end of this message.
  • If audio devices ever go beyond 24 bit precision, 64 bit float will be needed (because 32 bit float means, in fact, 24 bit precision)
con:
  • requires more memory, which can mean a performance lost (more memory to move). But as soon as a sophisticated plugin is used, this one is likely to become the bottleneck, compared to the memory overhead. Therefore, this is a "relative con".
  • 64 bit CPU instructions are as fast as 32 bit instructions, because the CPUs are 64 bit today. But certain rare instructions are faster with 32 bit float, because the CPU can conjugate 2 of them while in the same time, only one 64 bit instruction is performed (SIMD).
Now, an explanation about 32 bit float vs 64 bit float, for mixing.
While 32 bit float means in fact 24 bit precision, 64 bit float means in fact 48 bit precision. This means, far more precision.
I can illustrate this difference with elementary school maths (this is an analogy of what happens in reality).
  • Let's say samples can have only values 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,...
  • Let's start with a sample that has value "3"
  • An audio gain of "divide by 2", is applied. We get the value "1.5", but this value is not allowed hence must be rounded, eg. the new value becomes 1.
  • Later another gain "multiply by 2" is applied. The new sample becomes "2".
Consequence: we started from value "3" and ended up with value "2", while the two gains should have cancelled each other.

When this kind of loss is performed multiple of times (complex mixing), then errors stack up.
The consequence is not dramatic, because some errors are (randomly) compensated by others (round-down / round-up), but this compensation actually means "digital fog" aka noise.

64 bit float processing pushes the digital fog far from the 24 bit domain. Hence a cleaner result at the end of the audio chain.

The difference 32/64 is therefore about "audio definition", if your ears can sensible enough. But that's another topic!
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by Justin P » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:01 pm

Thanks for the great explanation PG. I wonder if this is why years ago people thought that SoundBlade by Sonic Solutions had a better playback engine sound?

I had a feeling that the reason would be more about the bigger picture. Just because you can't hear something directly doesn't mean it won't have a bigger affect down the line adding some "digital fog" as you say.
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Re: 32-bit or 64-bit?

Post by StevenW » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:03 pm

Hi Philippe

very good explanation. When you go for the highest quality, you have to go to 64 b. We work with acoustical music and there is it a must to try to reach the highest result. Wavelab could be a very high quality DAW

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