Keith Everette Smith

Producer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist

DITHER!!!! What you need to know

OK, so here’s the deal. I know many of you just want to make music and care very little for the hyper-technical side of recording. I think that’s great! I think it’s better to error on the side of musicianship that technician any day.

BUT there are some things you MUST know before you press record. In this case, this is something you must know before you bounce your audio.

DITHER is somewhat complicated. I struggle for words to explain it simply. I’ll let Wikipedia handle the nitty-gritty. I’ll say this…

- Dither allows audio being recorded that is lower than the bit rate allows to be recorded audibly.
- Dither is noise (that can’t really be heard) that is added to the noise floor to “BUMP UP” audio into the recordable bit range.
- Dither is compensates for the rounding of numbers inside the digital world.
- when downward bit rate conversion is performed (AKA bouncing audio recorded from 24bit to 16bit), numbers are rounded and DITHER is required.
- Even when audio is not down-sampled, dither is required because AUDIO in most cases is processed in 24bit, 32bit or 48bit processing within your DAW.

OK OK OK… maybe you don’t get it yet. That’s fine. What I’m telling you is this, when you bounce audio from programs like Pro Tools you NEED TO PUT A DITHER PROGRAM ON YOUR MASTER BUS. This will ensure that the audio is smooth and crisp… it will otherwise be harsh and “chopped off.”

Take a look at this page from Pro Tools’ Reference Guide. It mentions the reason for needing DITHER on the master bus in pro tools.

SUMMARY (because I’m positive that 98% of you are lost, lost, lost) USE DITHER ON YOUR MASTER BUS WHEN BOUNCING AUDIO!!!!