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32-bit vs. 64-bit. My version.

Hello!

Let’s talk about 32-bit vs. 64-bit sound processing in VST plugins (not only talk but also I have [3 plugins to perform audio tests]!)

1. 32-bit single precision floating point format (a.k.a. float)

Used in most DAWs. The main format for VST plugins to process (AudioEffect::processReplacing).

Got:
– Sign bit: 1 bit
– Exponent width: 8 bits
– Significand precision: 24 (23 explicitly stored)

The sample values for 0 dbFS are between -1.0 and 1.0. So it’s actually 24 bits per sample.

2. 64-bit double precision floating point format (a.k.a double)

Optional format for VST plugins to process (AudioEffect::processDoubleReplacing starting from VST 2.4). Some DAWs declare if all plugins in chain use 64-bit processing the whole signal chain has 64-bit processing.

Got:
– Sign bit: 1 bit
– Exponent width: 11 bits
– Significand precision: 53 bits (52 explicitly stored)

The sample values for 0 dbFS are between -1.0 and 1.0. So it actually 53 bits per sample.

There’re 2 main questions to use double instead of float:

  1. How much is performance degradation?
  2. Is it noticable audio quality enhance?

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