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Bit Depth

From Chace Audio

In this term, “bit” refers to a "binary digit,” and “depth” refers to the amount of bits recorded for each audio sample, with a “sample” being the number of times an audio signal is sampled per second).

Make sense? No?

Well, try thinking about it like the pixel count on a digital camera; the greater the bit depth (pixel count), the greater the audio resolution (image resolution).

The importance of bit depth only comes into play when dealing with digital (PCM) audio. It determines the maximum possible dynamic range of the signal, or the difference between the loudest possible sounds and the lowest possible noise. Common examples include CD audio (16 bits), and DVD audio (up to 24 bits). So, with greater bit depth, your audio's dynamic range expands and it's signal clarity increases. More bits = better sound.

And in case you were wondering, "Bit Depth" is not the same as "Bit Rate" - the former refers to the above-mentioned clarity of an audio signal, while the latter refers to how fast that signal would be delivered to us.