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Do you Dither when bouncing to 24 bit?

Eric Wikman

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I watched the MacPro Videos and the guy stated that he always uses Dither , even when bouncing to 24 bit (his project was 24 bit too).

He said this was because the internal 32 bit float of Logic means that you need Dither.

I was not aware that this was the case.

Only when going down to 16 bit, or lower....

Any thoughts, science, theories?


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Check this out: Wikipedia Link if you aren't already familiar with the concept of dither.


It's really fascinating to play around with. Try setting up a project with two audio tracks and an Output Object track.


Put a bitcrusher on the Output Object, set to 0 drive, 6 bit resolution, 1x downsampling, and 0db clip level.


On one of the audio tracks, put a recording of some speech or a solo instrument. On the other audio track, put some white noise.


With both tracks playing through the Output Object's Bitcrusher, try these things:


- mute the noise track and notice the distortion on the quiet parts of the signal.

- adjust the noise track up and down in volume and listen for the "sweet spot" where it makes just the right amount of noise to dither.

- experiment with different bit depths on the Bitcrusher and notice how that sweet spot changes.


You will get a clear sense of exactly what dither does that way. It's a very exaggerated quantization `distortion at 6 bits compared to 16, let alone 24, but the phenomenon is the same.


My theory about dithering to 24 bit vs 16 bit is a Photoshop metaphor. Imagine you've got a high bit-depth color image (16.7 million colors) and want to end up with a 256-color, low bit-depth, dithered GIF. If you have to convert it to medium bit-depth color (32768 colors) along the way, it seems to me you're better off dithering. Ideally you'd stay at the highest bit-depth until the very last step, though.


Likewise, if you convert to 24 bits from 32 without dither, some information is lost. If you convert to 24 bits *with* dither, more information is retained though you do add some noise.

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