12 or 16 bit

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: Jan 24 2003

what is the best for recording 12 or 16 bit ,
i use an SONY DCR-TRV11E, AVID XPRESS DV 3.5.3 FOR EDITING. is there an advantage in useing one or the other ?

Joined: Apr 11 2001

I'd use 16bit, 12bit is for over dubbing later, as you are using non linear editing you might as well do your sound mixing in your editing package.


Alan Roberts at work
Joined: May 6 1999

It's a swings and roundabouts game.

If you do the sums, you'll find it all fits. The data rate for stereo 16-bit at 48kHz is 2*16*48=1536kb/s. The data rate for 4 channels of 12-bit at 32kHz is 4*12*32=1536kb/s. So the tape transport doesn't care.

The main differences between the two are in the coding rules. 16-bit is strictly linear, every 6dB increase in gain uses an extra bit, normal binary rules. 12-bit is non-linear, the audio signals are predistorted to amplify the low levels more than the high, so that it fits in. Performance is said to be the same, but I've never trusted it. 16-bit is so straightforward and honest that yu might as well use it. 12-bit really only comes into its own if you want to add two extra tracks to an existing recording. And I suspect the number of people who do that on a regular basis could be counted on the fingers of one foot.