Just because a digital audio workstation or any digital recorder is set to a specific bit depth doesn’t mean that the recording is at that resolution. In order to be at the specified bit depth, the audio must be recorded with levels that are with 6dB of digital zero. For example, if the maximum audio level is 12 dB from digital zero, then the effective resolution of a 24-bit session is only 22 the early days of digital recording, engineers were very conservative with audio levels, since they knew that any signal exceeding digital zero would result in an unusable recording. They would often record with 30 dB or more of headroom, using the early 16 bit recorders. This only yielded an 11-bit recording, and a signal-to-noise ratio of only 66 dB, approximately equal to analog , record as closely to digital zero as is safe and practical, will take full advantage of all the available bits.