Recording and Export Mixdown Using 32 Bit Float

Is recording in 32 bit Float CPU Intensive.
Can an average PC using Windows 10 handle this.
I understand that recording in 32 bit Float reduces clipping.
Also if I record in 32 bit Float,what rate should I mix down to if I wish to create a cd or upload to Spotify,many thanks

Yes, sort of, but there’s normally no reason to do that. Internal to Cubase all of the audio processing happens in 32-bit floating. This provides a huge amount of headroom - which means you can have your audio signals hitting waaaay into the red without damaging the signal (but don’t do that for a bunch of other reasons).

But that’s independent of a Project’s Bit Depth which controls the Audio Files created by the Project. For these 24-bit will give you more than enough dynamic range.

The most common place where clipping occurs is at your audio interface’s A to D converter being overdriven. So keeping your analog levels under control is more important than Bit Depth.

The export settings are more based on where it will be used, e.g. mp3, CD, Soundcloud, etc.

So that’s the long way of saying don’t use 32-bit float.

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Oh I forgot

No, it isn’t. It might actually be less CPU intensive compared to 24 bit.

When you record, your audio interface usually can deliver only a 24bit integer (24i) audio stream. What happens if you set Cubase to record in 32 bit float (32f) is that the stream is converted on the fly, which uses up some CPU cycles.

When you then actually use that file in Cubase and have set Cubase to use the 32f audio engine, no further conversions will happen.
Compare that to recording to 24i: Everytime the file is used and enters the engine it will get converted from 24i to 32f. Every single time.
The rest of the processing (volume, plugins, etc.) is identical.

So, outside from that, does your computer have a better time handling 24bit files, clearly 32bit files are 133% of the size of 24bit?
The answer is no. There is no data format inside a computer to handle exactly 24bit. What happens is that the computer uses 32bit anyway but 8 bit just remain empty. This applies to fetching data from the hard drive as well moving data around in memory.

Contrary to what @raino wrote: There is actually no benefit using 24bit integer file format over 32bit float other than it uses less disk space.

Fogot what lol

Thanks for the explanation,interesting stuff

Yes it was the appeal of no clipping this was attracting me to 32 bit, I find it difficult to stop clipping on my hardware desk and still be able to have enough signal to input a strong audio signal in cubase,
I see having more headroom as an advantage,what are the disadvantages that you talk of,thanks

To give a very simple statement: Whether you use 24 bit integer or 32 bit float you are not doing anything wrong. It is not a question to worry about.
Just don’t use 16 bit integer anymore (other than delivering the final product to the consumer) and also 64 bit float has not convinced me of have any benefit whatsoever.

That’s great,thankyou

Oh, no disadvantages in having headroom. I was only saying, probably not that clearly. that while internal to Cubase you can have your levels hitting +10dB (or more!) and still not clip - you still shouldn’t run that hot for other reasons. The most significant being that many plug-ins, especially emulations of classic hardware, have sweet-spots on their Input Levels.

Once you’ve converted from Analog to Digital you’ll always have enough headroom in a modern DAW to not risk clipping. Generally you want to aim for a Channel to have a signal level in the -12 to -16dB range (pick your number and use that) with the Fader set to 0dB. Use the Track’s Pre-Gain control to set the basic level. The reason to have the Fader at 0 is because that’s where the control has the best resolution - giving you the finest control. For example if the Fader is near 0 and you move it an 1/8 inch it will only change by a few dB, but if the Fader was down near -20dB that same 1/8 inch movement would change the level by a bunch.

Actually it doesn’t need to be all that strong since the noise floor is also lower.

Raino many thanks for your advice on how to set input levels,I recently recorded a accoustic guitar and I just couldn’t seem to get the wav to look as full as I would have liked,then when I’m mixing I feel that I’m having to bring volume fader up to near max.
Is it ok to use a little bit of compression from my desk when recording vocals and accoustic guitar

Absolutely. That will let you increase the loudness while reducing maximum signal level - which helps avoid clipping on your audio interface. You might consider a limiter for that too.

If, like me, you grew up on analog tape the reality of how signal levels work in the digital domain can be counter-intuitive. With analog there’s a never ending quest to get a hot signal to avoid tape-hiss.And then it turns out saturating the tape distorts the signal in an often pleasant manner. While over in digital there’s no hiss and also a very low noise floor - meaning there’s no need for a hot signal. So you’re looking at the meters bouncing around at what visually seems very low and it just feels wrong at a gut level. Except it’s really quite fine.

Do you use the Control Room? It let’s you separate the control of your listening environment from your mixing environment - so you can hear stuff loud even with modest signal levels. Plus it’s got other useful stuff like the Loudness Meter.

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That’s good news about using compression,that should help,to be honest I’m a bit unsure about using limiter at recording input stage,as you have sussed out I’m from analog days,Im not so experienced, so I am wary about me over using comp and limiting to destroy a track before it even gets going.
Modern day audio seems to be obsessed with getting the final product at as high a dB as possible.
You mentioned

Yes I do use the control room,it’s great,I especially like the cue sends using settings from mixer.
Could you possibly explain
It let’s you separate the control of your listening environment from your mixing environment
I think I’m missing something really important here.
Many thanks

That is an atrocious mastering trend that thankfully is starting to go away.
I also come for the olden days of analog recording and also have had some trouble getting it through my head that recording levels do not matter as much anymore with today’s high bit depth in digital audio as long as you don’t clip your converters.

Most basically, the Stereo Out in the MixConsole always controls your mix level. But without the Control Room it also controls your speaker’s level. While with the Control Room your speaker’s level is independent of the mix level. Also stuff like room correction software belongs in the CR since you want to hear it while mixing but not have it process the mix’s signal.

I think the effort has largely been a success. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to jump for the TV remote when a commercial came on.

@raino It certainly have made an improvement and created awareness (shout out to Ian Shepherd).
When it comes to film and TV, I wish the standard was based on dialog volume rather than overall LUFS. If dialog volume was standardized, then the rest would just naturally fall in place.

I like that one

Thanks for the explanation Raino,very well explained,much appreciated