64-bit Mixing Available

What’s your “Take”?

Hi n-Trackers:
Under “Settings” Drop-down menu, there is a 64-bit mixing item to check-mark…

Has anyone out there worked on a mixing project with the 64-bit mixing checked?


yes BUT if you only have a couple of tracks in a song it can cause cronic distortion - especially it tracks are 16bit -

Dr J

Quote (DR Jackrabbit @ Feb. 20 2007,01:20)
yes BUT if you only have a couple of tracks in a song it can cause cronic distortion - especially it tracks are 16bit -

Dr J

Errr… WHY? I have not heard this one and don’t think I understand… the other sequencer I have been using ALWAYS runs/mixes at 64 bit. It sounds great, with one track or thirty.

D ???

Must be something else going on. I’ve never had a problem with 64 bit mixdowns.

It can’t possibly hurt, and it would reduce roundoff errors. I suspect it would take amazing ears and a superb mix for the difference to be heard.

Depending on what the switch means, it might not affect CPU much either. If it only affects summation, it wouldn’t affect CPU use much either.

If changes the whole channel strip path to 64 bits, converting to 32 for each plugin that uses 32-bit format (i.e., pretty much all of them), it might increase CPU usage noticeably – though maybe not too significantly.

That’s what I was thinking Jeff… that’s why I asked… I was confused there for a bit.


Ok, noob question: what exactly is 64 bit processing? When does it process? just when mixing down or during playback or what? what would be the advantage of doing it? Do I need to purchase the 64 bit version to do so?

Oh, and an off-topic question: I have a 24 bit soundcard. I purchased the normal version of v. 5. Is this one 24 bit capable, or what? There’s no “24 bit” version of N any more.

All versions of n-Tracks are 16 and 24 bit capable. 24 bit playback and recording is unlocked by a different registration code. The price difference is $25, for the upgrade. The only time you’d have a problem with a 24 bit sound card and the 16 bit version of n-Tracks (for this reason) is if your 24 bit soundcard is lacked at 24 bits and can’t do 16 bits. That’s rare.


64 bit mixing simply (maybe over simplified) means that the mixing is done using 64 bit data internally. Nothing more. Normally, it’s 32 bits. There is some advantages on corner cases (mixing a lot of tracks and having all the data at a given time slice (sample) add up to just the right number at just the right time), but in the end the data is converted back to 32, 24, or 16 bits. This is available on all machines. No need for a 64 bit machine.

Ok, the 24 bit thing makes sence now. My dad upgraded n to V. 5 for me and just emailed me the codes (he was in a generous mood. I guess because I brought my wife over. I’m sure he didn’t care about seeing me! :D ), so I didn’t actually see the registration codes. I had the 24bit version previously, so the reg codes I have should be the 24 bit codes, right?

about 64 bit: Is this only when mixing down, or when playing back too? if it is during playback, wouldn’t that eat up processor speed? Is that what Jeff was saying? What is the benefit, soundwise? am I actually going to hear a difference, or is it simply that the ultimate file is cleaner from a computer persepective or something, so that the file can be later mastered with another proggie? ???

From what I have read and heard, 64 bit mixing/audio engine reduces rounding errors, improves the accuracy of FX processing and in some cases can improve CPU performance. For example a 64 bit processor can grab 64 bits of data in one clock step versus a 32 bit processor which may require two clock steps to cycle in 64 bits of data. I’m not savvy enough on todays processor architectures to really be sure though.

Can you hear the difference? I doubt if I can but I’m sure there are some “golden” ears out there who can otherwise, there wouldn’t be a fuss over it right?


Golden Ears? I think I’ve bought their corn before…

this is what Cakewalk say about 64bit mixing in Sonar -


Dr J

don’t get 24 bit audio and 64 bit processing confused :) bits in audio determine the noise floor level, while bits in processing determine how many numbers the computer is able to use to calculate the math used in doing anything on a computer. Now since we ARE dealing with Audio, the extra bits give us better math at the really really small numbers, most notably in say the tail of a reverbed track where the (insert noise here) has stopped and the reverb is fading out.

The biggest thing I think about 64 bit processing is that you can use a butt load of RAM. 32 bit XP could only really use 1 GB per program (at least that’s what I’m told) while the 64-bit version is open ended and you can use as much RAM for your one application as you can through at it.

I need to upgrade to 64 bit XP… my laptop is a 64 bit chip, but I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t find all the drivers I need for it, notably my Echo Layla 24/96 I plan to connect to this when I find the PCMCIA adapter somewhere… speaking of… anyone got one for sale?

64 bit processing would apply to both playback and mixdown. There’s really very little difference between playback and mixdown – “offline mixdown” is simply playback in non-real-time, and saving the results.

guitar69, you’re confusing DAW 64-bit processing with running applications in 64-bit mode. Huge difference between these two. There is a memory impact for 64-bit DAW processing, though – twice as much space for processing buffers.

Depending on what “64-bit processing” really means for n-Track, it could also slow CPU down if it applies to the whole signal chain, especially due to conversions to 32-bits for plugins that only support 32-bit mode (i.e., most plugins). 64-bit operations are already handled innately by the floating point processor unit, although instruction times are a bit longer than for 32-bit operations. (If anyone knows the actual typical instruction time differences, please post!) However, I expect this difference is not terribly significant. I could be wrong here!

The two possibilities are:

- 64-bit signal chain, including 64-bit EQ processing
- 64-bit summation

The first gives the most potential increase in fidelity, though probably not realizable at this time since few plugins support 64-bit mode. Also, expect more bugs. It also has a bigger CPU and memory impact.

The latter gives a fidelity advantage with minimal change in CPU usage.

I suspect it’s the former, though, since in the long run that’s the best path.

Note that many of the more sophisticated plugins already use 64-bit processing internally anyway, for obscure technical reasons (e.g., avoiding infinites/infinitesimals). For these plugins, if they also support 64-bit I/O, running in 64-bit processing mode would actually reduce CPU usage, since they wouldn’t need to convert between 32- and 64-bit values. However, I don’t know whether any plugins actually take advantage of this yet.

I stand corrected :) I was thinking in terms of 64 bit mode.