After The mix

Have anyone after finishing a mix and then in the session project window switch and listen to your mix in 32bit,24bit and 16bit in the same session. Can you hear any different with your mix at all three bit rate.

Also import a commercial song into a stereo track with no plugins or channel eq and play that song back at 32bit,24bit and 16bit and listen at the difference and which sound close to the commercial track played back on the cd. If someone have time as it would only take 5-10 minutes and let me know your finding.

I know converters is most likely 24 bit would like to know your finding at all three bit rates.


CDs are 16bit anyway, so to convert them up to 24bit or to 32bit will only add zeros. This won’t change a thing.

You’ll only be able to hear a difference if you convert a track originally mastered in 32bit down to 24bit or to 16bit; or a track originally mastered in 24bit down to 16bit. And you’ll need decent DA converters + decent speakers or headphones to hear the difference.

That’s all cool but I import a commercial cd to a stereo track in Cubase with the project at 32bit float. I hear the difference form the imported track compare to the cd. I close the session and open a new session at 24 bit still hear a difference but 24bit is better sounding and a little closer to the original song on the cd.

I close and open a new session at project at 16bit import the song from the cd and the playback sounds true to the cd. I also play the cd with a external cd player connect to central station ,lynx aurora 8 converters and Adam A77X /Yamaha HS50 for monitoring. I clearly hear the difference also my wife and son hear this.

The song at 32bit float sounds narrow with less depth.24bit it’s better but 16bit is true to the cd. I also use my own mixes and I hear with the project at 32bit my mix is narrow and less warmth. Switch the project to 24bit the mix sounds less narrow then 32bit bit when I switch the project to 16bit my mix sounds wide and warm. This is how I hear my mixes when I mixdown and play them else where.

I had to get my wife to listen and she pick the 16bit version as also sounding more like the original playback cd. Today with fresh hears I did the test again but had my son listen and we heard the 16bit imported song as being true to the original song played with the external cd.

That’s why I posted asking if someone would have a try at this and if their finding is the same as mine. I posted this at gearslutz and all I got was the scientific reasons and people telling me I was imagining this after 2 days of testing. No one would test this but would make comments on what I hear. That’s why I’m posting hear hoping someone can take 5-10 to do this and let me know if they hear the same.

Note I’m not saying anything is wrong with Cubase or my converter or monitors I been hearing the narrowness and loss of depth with different Cubase version, adda and monitors at higher bit rate. I know by science this shouldn’t be so but im hear the difference.

Sorry for the long post and poor grammar.
Thanks for your comment.

So just to be clear:

You have a song on CD (so 16 bit, 44.1K)
You import it into Cubase at 16 bit and it sounds the same as the CD
You import it in at 24 bit and it sounds a bit worse than the CD
You import it in at 32 bit and it sounds a lot worse than the CD


If so it does sound a bit odd. I would expect all imports to sound the same.

Well what you have going on is “voodoo math”. You can’t hear something that isn’t there. If you covert from 16 bit to 32 bit there nothing there to hear in the added 16 bits. Silence that’s all she road in on. :slight_smile:


I was thinking the same. But what caught my attention was after I import at 32bit float It didn’t sound as wide and warm as the cd. Then it hit me that this sound narrow like my mixes so I close that session and open a new empty session and imported the song at 24bit and repeat the same,also import to 16bit. To check more I imported the song to 32bit again played it, then I switch the project to 24bit and then 16bit and still 32bit was more narrow and less warm but 16 bit was true to the cd.

To check further I open a session I had at 32bit and switch the project 24 and to 16 bit. I can hear the mix stereo image fill out the speakers and sound warmer at 16bit due to the processing and panning I had on the mix.
My panning sound less wide at 32bit but switching to 16bit I hear the pans fill out the speakers. Switching back to 32bit the mix goes more center and i hear the pans tracks sound thinner in the left and right speakers.

This is what I’m hearing after 2 days of testing this.

Please note I’m not blaming Cubase but I’m just trying to find answers as to why this is so. That’s why am asking someone with a total different setup then I have to check and report their finding.


32bit sounds less wide and narrow compare to the cd.
24bit sound close to the compare to the cd.
16bit sound more true to the cd

None sound worst but I hear the stereo image get narrow and less warmth from 16bit to 32bit. Not worst but less true to the original except the 16bit project file.

This was odd to me also when I listen to the first import at 32bit. So I been testing for 2 days and still hearing the same between the bit rates.

Have you tried doing blind tests on yourself? e.g. get your wife to randomly play the different versions and see if you spot the 32 bit one

Put some meters and analyzers on the master out and see the difference. You can even measure stereo field withe the proper analyzer. All these meters and tools should be in Cubase. Apples to Apples don’t touch anything.

I did that exact thing with my son today and he picked the 16bit version.

You could try this:
Create a new project in 32 bit.
Import the song (which should be 16 bit as it comes from CD) without changing bit depth.
Import the song a second time but convert it to 32 bit.
Put them on 2 different tracks and in the mixer flip the phase of one track.
Do you hear anything?

Omega Arts,

I did that exact thing yesterday with Paz Analyzer on the stereo bus. I played the import track first with 32bit then 24bit then 16bit. I played the songs from start to finish and snap a picture on my old cell phone and save the pic as 32,24 and 16. I can see that the imaging was different between the different bit rates as well as notice this by ear.

Is it anyway to snap a screenshot of a plugin and post then for you to see. If not i will wait til my son come home and snap some pic and post them. The sound is really obvious as i listen back to the files.

You want to know if they null correct? I will try that the ole null test.


I’m doing more digging. The song from the cd was in MP3 format. Upon importing it into a track it imported as 32bit file and I check this with the statistics. Switching the project bit rate do affect the sound. I found the real cd and imported the song as it is a wave file and it stayed at 16bit and they would not null. I converted the wave track to 32bit and they still will not null.

I open a new session and imported the wave file at 32bit and imported another copy. One copy is 16bit and the other I converted to 32bit and the completely null.

The MP3 import converted to 32bit does affect the sound quality when switching the bit rate. The MP3 wouldn’t null with the wave track at any bit rate.

I can covert the MP3 to 16bit and it bring back the fullness and width of the track.

Since 95% of my clients all sorts of instrumentals that why I was hearing flatness when the mix was at 32 or 24bit. I never had that problem when I use my reel to reel or my adats back in the back because I was actually recording the instrumental on the track.

So its a MP3 thing that do have affect on the sound quality at 24 or 32bit. I know I was hearing this as it is very obvious if its imported in MP3 format at higher bit rate.

No that’s interesting!

Yes it is. I’m willing to send anyone the MP3 song file so they can try it also and then they will hear what in hearing. I don’t know if a MP3 suppose to null with a wave of the same song and the same bit rate but this one will not.

I can send any the MP3 song and the wave file song to test.

Okay, that’s a completely different story. I was assuming a regular 16bit/44.1 kHz track from a commercial CD.

MP3s can come in all sorts of bit rates and sampling frequencies and are compressed relatively to the standard CD format. Importing such a file into Cubase will always require some sort of translation and extrapolation that might differ according to the selected target format.

You should also keep in mind that MP3 players might even do some processing during playback (e.g. high frequencies exciting, or stereo field widening) in order to compensate for the lost information due to compressing. Such a live processing would not be performed by Cubase and this could be a reason why the imported tracks sound poorer than playing the original MP3 on such an MP3 player.

If you really want to test the difference between importing with 16bit, 24bit or 32bit, then you should import an uncompressed file and not an MP3.

MP3 is NOT a format that you would use for any serious production !! (if you can avoid it :wink: )
It was designed as a compromise between file-size and quality at a time when bandwidth was small and any storage (like in a MP3-player, or HD-space) expensive.
MP3s can sound quite good, if you have a good MP3-encoder, but MP3s are compressed and therefore some information of the original is thrown away. They can never be like the original and will never null against the original !
Keep in mind that apart from a good encoder, you need also a decoder to listen to an MP3 or to convert it back to an uncompressed format like wav or aif.
Imagine the encoder as a software that uses all kinds of psychoacoustic voodoo to compress a song to maybe a tenth of the original size. This process does mess with frequencies and panorama and as I mentioned there are good encoders and unfortunately a lot more really bad encoders. I think you get the idea…


This song was a reference track for a song I will be mixing and would be use as a reference only. The song sounds great and I could not hear it sounding funk like most mp3 I hear until I imported it at 32bit rate project. I notice the song sounded narrow then the song played on the cd upon hearing this remember hearing this sound from a lot of my mixes. I’ve been getting a lot of instrumental beats from clients for mixtape cd and importing them at 32bit and notice the instrumental never sound wide when I listen to it before importing.

Man thanks for suggesting me to null test of the files that’s when I notice I was dealing with a mp3. This really open my eyes to the mp3 mixtape stuff. 95% of my clients come with premade instrumental beats so I know how to deal with it now. A real eye opener.

Thank you carlo you been great help. GOD BLESS