Audio bit depth

24-bitbit depthresolutionbit16-bitaudio depth8-bit sound12-bit audio20-bit24 bit audio
In digital audio using pulse-code modulation (PCM), bit depth is the number of bits of information in each sample, and it directly corresponds to the resolution of each sample.wikipedia
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Digital audio

digital musicdigitalaudio
In digital audio using pulse-code modulation (PCM), bit depth is the number of bits of information in each sample, and it directly corresponds to the resolution of each sample.
For example, in CD audio, samples are taken 44100 times per second each with 16 bit sample depth.

Oversampling

oversampledoverachievingoversample
However, techniques such as dithering, noise shaping and oversampling mitigate these effects without changing the bit depth.
Oversampling is capable of improving resolution and signal-to-noise ratio, and can be helpful in avoiding aliasing and phase distortion by relaxing anti-aliasing filter performance requirements.

Noise shaping

noise-shapedTemporal noise shapingnoise shaper
However, techniques such as dithering, noise shaping and oversampling mitigate these effects without changing the bit depth.
Noise shaping is a technique typically used in digital audio, image, and video processing, usually in combination with dithering, as part of the process of quantization or bit-depth reduction of a digital signal.

DVD-Audio

DVD-ADVD AudioDVD
Examples of bit depth include Compact Disc Digital Audio, which uses 16 bits per sample, and DVD-Audio and Blu-ray Disc which can support up to 24 bits per sample.

Analog-to-digital converter

ADCanalog to digital converteranalog-to-digital conversion
Quantization error introduced during analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) can be modeled as quantization noise.
The SNR of an ADC is influenced by many factors, including the resolution, linearity and accuracy (how well the quantization levels match the true analog signal), aliasing and jitter.

WAV

.wavWAVEwave file
Both the WAV file format and the AIFF file format support floating point representations.
LPCM is also the standard audio coding format for audio CDs, which store two-channel LPCM audio sampled at 44,100 Hz with 16 bits per sample.

Digital-to-analog converter

DACDACsD/A
Because quantization error is assumed to be uniformly distributed with frequency, much of the quantization error is shifted to ultrasonic frequencies, and can be removed by the digital to analog converter during playback.
There are several DAC architectures; the suitability of a DAC for a particular application is determined by figures of merit including: resolution, maximum sampling frequency and others.

Pulse-code modulation

PCMLPCMLinear PCM
In digital audio using pulse-code modulation (PCM), bit depth is the number of bits of information in each sample, and it directly corresponds to the resolution of each sample.
A PCM stream has two basic properties that determine the stream's fidelity to the original analog signal: the sampling rate, which is the number of times per second that samples are taken; and the bit depth, which determines the number of possible digital values that can be used to represent each sample.

Direct Stream Digital

DSDDSD-CD(DSD)
The signal is stored as delta-sigma modulated digital audio, a sequence of single-bit values at a sampling rate of 2.8224 MHz (64 times the CD audio sampling rate of 44.1 kHz, but only at 1⁄32768 of its 16-bit resolution).

Bit rate

bitratedata ratedata transfer rate
Bit depth also affects bit rate and file size.

16-bit

16 bit16-16
Thus, a 16-bit system has a resolution of 65,536 (2 16 ) possible values.

GarageBand

Apple GarageBandGarage BandGarageBand®
GarageBand also offers the ability to record at both 16-bit and 24-bit Audio Resolution, but at a fixed sample rate of 44.1 kHz.

Telephony

digital telephonytelephonedigital
Uncompressed PCM digital audio with 8-bit depth and 8kHz sample rate requires a bit rate of 64kbps, which was impractical for early digital telecommunication networks with limited network bandwidth.

Audio system measurements

Audio quality measurementAudio noise measurementaudio performance
Digitizing adds noise, which is measurable and depends on the audio bit depth of the system, regardless of other quality issues.

Bit

bitsbinary digitbinary digits
In digital audio using pulse-code modulation (PCM), bit depth is the number of bits of information in each sample, and it directly corresponds to the resolution of each sample.

Compact Disc Digital Audio

Audio CDCDCD-DA
Examples of bit depth include Compact Disc Digital Audio, which uses 16 bits per sample, and DVD-Audio and Blu-ray Disc which can support up to 24 bits per sample.

Blu-ray

Blu-ray DiscBDBlu-ray 3D
Examples of bit depth include Compact Disc Digital Audio, which uses 16 bits per sample, and DVD-Audio and Blu-ray Disc which can support up to 24 bits per sample.

Quantization (signal processing)

quantizationquantization errorquantized
In basic implementations, variations in bit depth primarily affect the noise level from quantization error—thus the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and dynamic range.

Signal-to-noise ratio

signal to noise ratioSNRsignal-to-noise
In basic implementations, variations in bit depth primarily affect the noise level from quantization error—thus the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and dynamic range.

Dynamic range

DRdynamicdynamic and tonal range
In basic implementations, variations in bit depth primarily affect the noise level from quantization error—thus the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and dynamic range.

Dither

ditheringditheredAtkinson dithering
However, techniques such as dithering, noise shaping and oversampling mitigate these effects without changing the bit depth.

Digital signal (signal processing)

digital signaldigitaldigital signals
Bit depth is only meaningful in reference to a PCM digital signal.

Lossy compression

lossylossy data compressioncompressed
Non-PCM formats, such as lossy compression formats, do not have associated bit depths.

Signal reconstruction

reconstructreconstructionPixel filtering
A PCM signal is a sequence of digital audio samples containing the data providing the necessary information to reconstruct the original analog signal.