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Prism Encode

From Chace Audio

A “Prism encode” is a process developed by Prism Sound around the turn of the 21st century that allowed the recording of 20- and 24-bit tracks to 16-bit media such as DTRS tapes. Dubbed DRE (Dynamic Range Enhancement) by Prism, this coding process also became known as “bit-packing.”

In the simplest terms, DRE works by splitting off the additional bits of the higher resolution audio and recording them to the otherwise unused channels of a 16-bit DTRS tape. Using the Prism encoder, a 5.1 track can be recorded at 20-bit, 48kHz to a DTRS tape by using channels seven and eight for the “extra” bits. Encoding a 5.1 track at 24-bit, 48kHz is more complicated, as two DTRS tapes must be run in sync with each other in order to contain the original six 5.1 program channels as well as enough channels for the “extra” bits.

Demand for this technology waned with the introduction of the DA98-HR recorder, which allowed for the recording of 24 bit tracks directly to DTRS tapes without the need for a separate encoder.