[pulseaudio-discuss] 24 bit sound

Tanu Kaskinen tanuk at iki.fi
Thu May 6 19:38:34 PDT 2010

On Fri, 2010-05-07 at 00:22 +0200, David Björkevik wrote:
> I'm in the process of buying a new soundcard. For a little more money I
> can get a 24-bit one, which I figure would be nice for things like
> software mixing.

What's your use case? You don't mention recording / audio production, so
I'm assuming that you are mainly interested in the sound quality for
music listening. I'm extremely skeptical about 24 bit making any
perceivable difference for mixing multiple output streams together, and
in the case where quality really matters, i.e. music listening, you tend
not to have multiple output streams in the first place.

> However, I can't find anything on how PulseAudio handles audio above 16
> bit / 48KHz. Will my 24-bit upgrade be lost in software?

Pulseaudio should handle 24-bit hardware just fine.

> Also, what about higher frequencies, 96KHz and upwards?

Pulseaudio should handle any sample rate just fine. Again, I don't
believe you actually gain anything from higher sample rate, all other
things being equal. Now, when comparing a higher-spec sound card to the
cheapest available consumer card, all things might not be equal - the
bit depth and sample rate don't determine the sound quality, but other
aspects might very well make the higher-specced card sound better.


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