24 bit soundcard, can I use 32 bit float recording?

Hello. I’m setting up my recording rig for the first time in 4 years. I’ve forgotten a lot about settings. Here are the facts… My soundcard is an M-Audio Delta 1010 which is 24 bit, I’m using it’s native ASIO drivers, I’m using Windows 7 64 bit, and Wavelab Elements 8. I will need to do post recording processing such as normalization, compression, and conversion to MP3 and FLAC formats.

Can I use 32 bit float for recording even though my soundcard maxes out at 24 bit? Should I use 32 bit?

Yes you can.

Thank you Sir.

I post this for future reference… I’ve done a few recordings since posting this. You get a lot of headroom with 32bit float, a lot. Nice.

:slight_smile: You could say that, yes! In a nutshell, your A/D converter will deliver up to 24-bit, so that’s the resolution of your source; it won’t improve any by choosing a higher resolution recording format, so you could record in 24-bit and that would be fine, for example if you just want to keep the recording for posterity, or archival purposes.

It’s when you decide to process the files that the 32-bit float format comes into it’s own; effectively impossible to overload, magnitudes better in terms of resolution etc., and can be converted (“rendered”) to any common format for further use.

The files are a little bit bigger but with today’s technology, there’s no reason to not go 32-bit float all the way.