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October 23, 2012 / Randy Coppinger

High Definition Game Audio?

There were some great follow-up questions and comments to a question from J. S. Gilbert about archiving from Production Milestones.

J. S. Gilbert asked,
Have you worked at 32 bit?

Yes, last Fall I conducted a few experiments with 32 bit after getting ProTools 10. On one hand I believe in working at a higher bandwidth. But if everyone else in the project isn’t using 32 bit, my use of it may offer litte to no sonic benefit.

I believe a production meeting about tools and formats can help sort out these kinds of issues. If every believes that 32 bit, or 96k Hz, or other high bandwidth considerations are important, this can be determined early. Feasibility for high bandwidth can also be discussed. For example, do all collaborators have tools to support 32 bit, including integration? We need both the willingness and the tools to push up the bandwidth.

J. S. Gilbert followed-up with,
A lot of the plug-ins work in 32 bit. Does that make a difference?

In some cases it may. I suspect 32 bit floating point was recently adopted by Avid because newer computers are using 64 bit architecture. Several companies have been committed to 32 bit floating point for years and I’ve heard devotees rave about the improvement in quality. If everyone on a project is using 32 bit, I’m on board. If not, it may be better to stay below it.

Michael Csurics added,
I work at 24 bit, 96k Hz, mono. Just take a file and try and down pitch it. The higher your sample and bit rate the more manipulative you can get with your file. In video games we tend to do a lot of sound design work off of dialog files and post processing in middle-ware like Wwise and so on. The more data you have to work with the more manipulative you can get without stretching it to an unnatural point.

Excellent point. Representing data with more points is going to preserve more information. Better resolution allows crazier DSP before the results become unconvincing.

Then Michael Csurics asked,
Do you tend to work in ProTools or more traditional two track editors like Soundforge?

There are a lot of great software options. Because I am confortable in ProTools, that’s what I use most. But if people prefer other applications, great. Use whatever helps bring out your best sound and efficiency.

Listen to all of the questions and answers… Dialog Editing for Game Audio.

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