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Word Length

A term used in digital audio to denote the resolution (dynamic accuracy) of the digital sample that has been taken. See also Bit Depth, which means the same thing. Digital words representing audio data are commonly 8-bits to 24-bits long, depending upon their application. Increasing the word length more practically allows for more detailed dynamic range and usually translates into higher quality audio. Where the sampling frequency determines the number of samples that have been taken in one second, and thus the amount of the upper frequency range able to be captured, the word length determines the dynamic accuracy of each of those samples taken per second. Therefore, 16-bit 44.1k audio literally means that a 16-bit dynamically detailed sample has been taken 44,100 times each second. 24/96 means 24-bits taken 96,000 times per second, and so on.

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