What resolution should I record in when submitting audio for online mixing and mastering?
When submitting your audio for online mixing and mastering, it’s best to to use a sample rate of at least 48khz and a bit rate of 24 bit. This level of resolution means that your are taking advantage of the highest quality specification for Video and HQ streaming services. It also represents a sweet spot in audio resolution where file size and quality are at an excellence balance.
Some engineers prefer high sample rates such as 96khz for the initial recording, and this can be great of you have the processing power and hard drive space. The differences in quality definitely becomes subjective at these higher sample rates though and its definitely not essential to record at these higher rates.
Do I need to record at 32bit float? A lot of DAW’s have the capability to record at even higher bit depth’s but should you do so? This can be very subjectively and is hotly debated by many engineers. 32 bit float effectively gives you vast amounts more headroom than 24 bit which is even way beyond human hearing! The perceived advantage though is found in the processing that goes on by your DAW, having such a huge dynamic range means that headroom distortion is no longer an issue. Its worth pointing out though that your interface’s physical recording bit depth is most likely 24bit anyway so this is where the debate comes in.
After having mixed and mastered thousands of songs over the years in many different genres, 24bit, 48khz is a great resolution to record at and will get the job done and definitely will not get in the way of a great performance and great song!