Originally Posted by Iostream
24 bits in recording is certainly not overkill...
The Brownian motion of air at STP makes a noise just below 0 dB SPL. 24 bits gets you 144 dB of dynamic range above that - just about right for making:
(1) Nice recordings of natural music with the Brownian Motion of air rendered with 6 bit resolution.
(2) Nice recordings of sounds that it takes high explosives to create with a noise floor at 0 dB SPL.
(3) Unclipped recordings of thermonuclear blasts miced at a few feet with a normal quiet room's noise floor.
I wouldn't dare record or produce in anything less than 24 bits,
That would appear to be personal angst operating.
There is a lot going on when you are recording and mixing,
IME mixing is always based on tracking and your raw tracks are what they are and ever will be and perfectly knowable and defined.
the extra headroom in the dynamic range is particularly helpful in keeping the noise floor out of the signal.
I don't know how a person can call himself a professional recordist if he can't set levels within 20 dB. : -)
One of the most telling events of history was the roll out of SACD and DVD-A around Y2K. It turns out that something like half of all releases had masters with 16 bits or less resolution in their provenance. Yet, not even on high end audio reviewer that I have heard of or has been pointed out to me was able to pinpoint even just one recording as being based on a substandard master.
In the end the whistle was blown by geeks with FFTs.
A typical example of a so called high rez recording that was obviously upsampled from a low rez master: