Last month we talked about the technical aspects of using higher than standard (16/44.1) bit and sample rates when recording. This month let’s discuss what all this stuff sounds like.
Let me start by saying that all of our ears hear things differently so this topic is highly subjective.
When using higher rates your files will be substantially larger (3 to 6 times bigger). However don’t expect your tracks to sound 3 to 6 times better! Many professionals can hear very little difference between 16 and 24 bit recordings. It’s all shades of gray when you get to that level. You can be certain that the average music lover will never know the difference.
Also, certain instruments and styles of music might sound different as well. Sometimes softer or subtler instruments (or styles of music) can benefit from the higher recording standard. Often times these instruments or voices can get lost or sound veiled in a mix. The higher bit rate can sometimes give these problem voices more presence and therefore give the mix more definition.
Finally, let your ears be the judge. Regardless of what technological strides you take put the majority of your time and concentration into writing and recording the best performance possible. In the end, no one (not even producers) cares what bit or sample rate you use if the finished product is bad.