24 bit export

I don’t see any way to set the bit depth when rendering uncompressed audio. I’d like an option to render 24 bit instead of 16 bit, for processing in a DAW.

(btw I tried searching, but “24 bit” is apparently not a valid search term – the words are too small / too common)

You’re not losing anything if you import 16bit files into the DAW. If your DAW is set to 24bits it will output that after processing (which it probably does at a higher rate anyway). You don’t need the extra dynamic range with the samples.

This is a request to the Dorico dev team. Every modern DAW has 24-bit export for a reason. If you don’t care about that, cool. I do :slight_smile:

There is support internally for 24 and 32 bit export,it’s just that we don’t yet have the UI wired up to offer the option. It’s something that we will consider for a future version.

You are losing the fact that unless your music has no dynamics, most of the time the audio content is significantly less than 16 bits.

There is no way to magically recover the lost data once you have truncated it.

Since most VST hosts work internally with 32bit floating point audio, if you really want lossless transfer from one DAW to another that is the best option, since it avoids any issues with mismatched level settings in mixers etc.

(The “32-bit” name has a touch of marketing hype to it, since the actual audio is only 24 bits, but the floating point data preserves the full 24 bits at any audio level for all practical purposes.)

2^24 = 16,777,216

2^16 = 65,356

Potential loss of dynamic range subtlety with 16-bit files compared to 24-bit = 16,771,680.

24-bit files are essential for high-quality audio.


Oh please. If you are going to use numbers to make a point, use them sensibly.

Some of us DO understand this stuff.

I really understand this stuff. There is no such thing as ‘dynamic range subtlety’, only a lower noise floor, which, dithered correctly, can be 120db+ with a 16-bit file. These samples have no info down there.

The OP isn’t talking about exporting “samples”, but rendered audio.

Taking the minimum bit depth for undistorted audio as about 10, the USEABLE dynamic range of 16 bit audio reproduction is about 36dB, and the useable range for 24 bit is about 84dB. Big difference.

If your figure of “120dB+” is meaningful for a dithered 16-bift file, you must be using a higher sample rate like 96k, not 44.1k, so you can sweep the noise above the human hearing threshold. There is no way to do that with 44.1k sampling, whatever some marketing guy might tell you.

Dithering doesn’t sweep noise above the human hearing threshold. There is no reason that rendered audio (produced from well-recorded samples) should only use 10 bits. Sadly the marketing guys would rather push for 32/384…

Steve, you later state you “really understand this stuff”. This comment, however, seems to indicate otherwise. What you’ve essentially said above is, (to use video as an analogy):

“you’re not losing anything if you import VHS-quality video into a modern video editor because your editor is set to 4k, it will output a 4k file after processing.” …it will indeed output a 4k file… but that file will still only be VHS quality, but scaled to 4k resolution. Now, I’ll grant that the analogy breaks down as there is not nearly the [perceptible] difference in quality between 16 and 24 bit as there is between VHS and 4k video, but it’s still reasonable to want the 24 bit files from Dorico to start with.

I have personally encountered the difference between bit depths of audio files; in particular, one of my sample set environments is noticeably different if you load in 16 bits vs 24 bits (or even 20 bits).

This is all ‘outside my area’, but doesn’t it similarly depend on the bit-depth of the sample library you’re using in Dorico?

All you get with increased bit depth is a lower noisefloor.

Romanos, what I’m saying is closer to: it doesn’t matter if you set your video editor to output at VHS quality if that’s what your original file is. The difference between 4k and VHS is a whole bunch of things (most of which I don’t particularly understand). However, the difference between 16 and 24 bit audio is only increased dynamic range (i.e. a lower noise floor).

Indeed, and most of them aren’t close enough to realistic such that the difference between 16 and 24 is the main issue today. Paul already said the function is there and Dorico will be adding it to the UI. That should be fine. I doubt anybody is being harmed by rendering in 16 bits today, but I’d like to think that as time passes, the quality of the playback will continue to improve to the point that 24 bits (or 32 float) will make a clear difference.

And of course, if a person is really intent on very high quality output, they should be sending their MIDI to a DAW today and rendering it there.

I stand corrected.


I’m thinking you meant 4k above but if I understand you correctly, you meant: “it doesn’t matter if you set Dorico to export at 24bits if the original samples were only recorded 16 bit” in which case you’re absolutely correct. I apologize if I misread your original statement.

Actually, that isn’t quite true. If the original samples were recorded as 16 bit then that specifies the maximum dynamic range and minimum noise floor provided by the samples themselves. If you were to play those samples at exactly 0dB (ie gain of 1.0) then you would get 16-bit resolution in the output regardless of whether you were outputting to 16, 24 or 32 bit. However, that won’t be the case in real world cases. If you play some notes at a pp dynamic level then those samples might be played with a peak of -20dB. If you did a 16-bit export at that level and then turned up the volume, you’ll be turning up the noise by about 20dB as well. However, if you were to export at 24 bit then this will deal much better with those very low level samples so that you can turn them up while keeping them to an acceptable level.

The real utility of a 24-bit output is if you are exporting stems, which may be at a lower level, or if the final output is due to be further processed (eg mastering). If, however, you are producing a final wav/mp3 output directly from Dorico then IMHO I don’t think you’d get any real benefit over 16-bit.

The best way to produce a mp3 from VST is to use a plugin that does it directly from the internal 32-bit audio, not to export a 16-bit WAV file and then process it - e.g. https://www.sonnox.com/plugin/fraunhofer-pro-codec.

Some of my tracks peak as low as -30 dB, and I want to export the stems for mixing, which is why I made the request :slight_smile:

And yes, I know I can export MIDI to the DAW and do everything there. But if the audio coming from Dorico is suitable, why go through that hassle?