More Bits/Higher sample Rate is not "better"

Plus I have seen sample libraries at 96k where there are inaudible very high gain tones that can damage your gear. Worth thinking about this.

If you do choose to record at higher resolution, a pretty well-known engineer once told me that recording at 88.2 is better than 96 because it’s divisible by 2 when you reduce to 44.1…

An interesting thought at least…

Haven’t thought about that until now but from what I read up and learned about this matter I’d say it doesn’t matter. And as most of us probably work in 48kHz, 96kHz would be the way to go if you want divisible by 2.

Also outdated these days.
Most if not all of the really good SRC use the greatest Common Denominator mode, and only calculate in whole numbers by first upsampling and then going down.
I cannot remember the exact maths, but it works well in integer values.

So, is the bottom line here that you can just stick to 44.1 & 48K 24bit at the initial tracking stage?

There was a study recently though that showed people were aware of far higher frequencies than previously thought - I cant find it now. I was suprised myself - though I am in general agreement with you.

24-bit is better than 16-bits & no amount of straw man arguments from the quoted website will change this (8-bit digital effects are still better than cassette tapes, forsooth!)
Trouble is I have written this reply well over a dozen times & each time it has been deleted because it ended up, well - wandering a little from the initial path which would appear to be impossible to completely avoid. I’ve gone in and out of loudness wars (which are still well on, despite what we want to believe to the contrary) but at the end of the day it all boils down to that 24-bits are better than 16-bits and by a not insignificant amount either.
16-bit dither is an extremely low 12dB SPL. All but inaudible.
Moving to 24-bit. 24-bit dither would be at an inaudible -36dB SPL. The DAC noise at -17dB SPL is well below the threshold of hearing. The difficult part always seeming to need lots of explanation is how a 24-bit system really being 48dB better than a 16-bit system because a 24-bit recording would have to be lowered in level by 48dB in order to reduce it to the SNR of 16-bit, as this takes so many necessary but lengthy detours.

But the numbers do not lie - and I am not talking about magical marketing bits here but real, achievable ones.
24-bit is 48dB better than 16-bit so the video department are perfectly correct to insist on this, especially when they also must now comply with loudness specifications.

From my understanding (I’m a sound designer) it’s not so much about capturing content above the upper threshold of human hearing as it is about having additional samples to play with when manipulating content. If you halve the playback fequency of a 48KHz sample, you’re effectively resampling to 24KHz. Content with higher sample rates tends to be more robust in these kinds of scenarios.

Same goes for bit depth when you’re making radical alterations to dynamics.

That is exactly how I look at it. 96k gives me more slices to work with when I’m doing heavy time domain processing of any material.

You should forward this post to Steinberg. I think they missed it. We now get glorious precision and accuracy and transparency via the new 64-bit floating point mix engine.

You are totaly missing the point.

Any critical process is executed within double precision (64bit). That was so within the old engine, and is still so in the new.
Plugins handling critical processes also upsample to double precision.
Old VST2 standard was 32bit in- and out.
VST 3 is 64bit in- and out.

Making the engine full double precision eliminates the need for upsampling and truncating before and after each insert slot and from each channel to bus/bus/output. So since the plugins are (or can be) 64bit nowadays, there is no reason at all for “converting” before and after the inster slots.

So what happens is that by having a 64 bit engine from start to end, a lot of unnessesairy processing is removed from the audio engine.
Does this make a difference in sound quality: Nope. Only under exotic laboratory conditions you would be able to expose the “gain in quality”.
It does simplify the piping/processing and programming throughout the audio engine?
But indeed, the majority of people still thinks that “more is better”, so even for that reason alone, the change is justified.

Best regards

On the list of things that should have been fixed or improved way earlier I’m not going to find 64-bit processing.

In case it wasn’t clear: I don’t mind a 64-bit engine, but don’t spend time and money moving towards a 64-bit engine while releasing such buggy software as Nuendo 8.

So you think that Steinberg development is a bunch of boyscouts that jump on anything that supposily is urgent at the current time?

There are two developers who are constantly working on the audio engine to keep it up to date, to keep it on par with all un-announced changes in OS’s, to avoid spagetti-code, and to improve the functionality of the Audio engine. So the 64 bit audio engine is the result of work that has been planned and executed years and months before any of the issues you are talking about came to surface. That is their work, nothing else. And they shouldn’t be ashamed to commit their improvements/developments to the latest release, just because it could give some people the weird idea that they have spend their time on something less important than the important things du jour.


Here’s what the creator of Wavelab had to say on the subject, from an unrelated discussion:

The CPU performance boost that VST3 plugins can get from full 64 bit processing is likely the main reason why the Steinberg engineers chose to work on this. This is something that will benefit pretty much every Cubendo user to some extent. Like Fredo said (and everyone ignored) it’s not just about the minuscule improvement in transparency, which is what this thread was originally about.

The description on the Cubase 9.5 page is just the marketing team doing its job. They simply say that it’s more transparent, but they’re intentionally vague about how much difference it makes. That’s the easiest way to sell the feature to people who may not know much about audio, and make them try it.

One thing that some Nuendo users seem to constantly forget is that Steinberg isn’t a one man show, they have almost 100 people working on both Cubase and Nuendo and just because they introduced one feature you think you wont need, that doesn’t mean that no work is being done on bug fixes and other features and improvements.

On-topic, because it responds directly to the Steinberg employee/moderator’s thread topic. So it’s not “hijacking” and won’t be deleted, right? :smiley:

Fredo, I’ve read your words in this thread several times, but I didn’t see where you explained why you are apparently contradicting Steinberg’s prose regarding the 64-bit engine. Apologies if I’m missing that … could you address that again please? As I see it, there is a discrepancy between what you write and what Steinberg on its website does:

  1. You write in your thread title and the OP of this thread, “more bits is not better”, and you also write a few posts up:

  2. “Nope, 64-bit doesn’t make a difference in sound quality”.

    But Steinberg writes ( ):

  3. … the 64-bit engine will “take your sounds to new heights

  4. Get your mixing down the line — with the new pristine 64-bit floating-point mixing engine you will no longer need to compromise when it comes to quality, precision and realism. The advanced audio engine calculates your summing, mixing and effects processing with double-precision accuracy, performing each task with the utmost level of detail, dynamics and transparency”.

Those seemingly contradictory group of statements is what is confusing me. I’m interested in buying Cubase 9.5 (with the brand new 64-bit engine), but as there is the possibility of taking a CPU hit compared to a 32-bit engine, I need to be sure I understand what is actually being sold. (If it helps you to know, I am not an engineer or professional. Though I’ve been buying Steinberg software and hardware for 10-15 years, I’m just a self/internet-taught home hobbyist. So I understand it’s very possible you have explained all this, just in a way too complicated for me to understand, and if so, I apologize for this post).

(BTW, my post of last night saying roughly the same thing seems to have disappeared without a trace, I could have sworn I hit send. I’m sure even a Steinberg moderator wouldn’t delete a post without noting so, so I guess it’s my error somehow. It was a big long one also, probably unecessarily so, the silver lining of it’s have gone missing is I probably communicated the same idea in less words!)



There are different things at play; first of all the “more bits = better”.
Technically, on paper and in laboratory tets, the 64-bit engine will indeed show an improvement in quality.
In real life however, it won’t make a difference. Unless you set up some exotic test that does +90dB in volume/processing/lower 90dB/processing/ + 90dB, etc …
An analogy …A 32bit calculator has 192 digits after the comma, a 64 calculator has 384 digits after the comma. That doesn’t change a single thing for adding and substracting numbers. (which is exatly what a audio engine does, adding and substracting)

It does make a difference for multiplying & deviding numbers … But that is not part of the engine, we are talking plugins & processes now.
Critical processes already use double precision (64bit)

The “old” engine was 32 bit from start to end. So whenever a process was executed in double precision, the output of the engine needed to be “upgraded” to 64 bit, and after the process being truncated to 32bit again. There might be a tad of precision-loss in that process.
With a 64bit engine, no need for converting from 32 bit to 64 bit anymore. So we go from “might be” a precision-loss to absolutely no precision loss.

Now that most of the third party developers have comitted to VST3, the in- and output of any plugin now is 64 bit.
So going in- and out of the engine doesn’t need any converting anymore (same as above)

In short, the additional advantages (say, the side-effects) of the engine-upgrade to 64bit bring more benefits and improvements than the precision that is gained within the engine itself.
It is very difficult to explain something complicated in a non-complicated way, and there is also no point in trying to explain these nuances to the public.

Hope this explains it a bit. (pun intended)


Thank you, Fredo. I’m am checking my plugins to see which are 64-bit (they almost all are VST3).

I asked in another thread, but perhaps it’s ok to ask here also …? I was wondering why there is a toggle to 32-bit engine in Cubase 9.5. Does its presence suggest there are circumstances where the 32-bit engine may be a better choice?

Thank you -

64bit all over does require a bit more memory and memory management from your computer.
So if your machine can’t handle it, you can switch back to the old 32bit.

I was not aware that they left the switch in, I thought it only was for betatesting purposes.
(I focus more on Nuendo, so I am not really up-to-date with Cubase details)
Anyway … that gives you a chance to compare a 64bit mix and a 32-bit mix.
Render both out in 48/24 and flip phase to hear what the differences are.


Not expecting to hear any from what you’ve posted, and others.

Thanks again for the explanation.

I’m pretty sure for many of us this is going to be the hot subject for some time. One which will never truly be put to bed.