One of my favorite online tools when it comes to audio is this audio calculator from Sound Devices. It's a handy tool that allows you to quickly determine the amount of storage space your recorded audio will use based on format, bit depth, sample rate, and the number of tracks. It's especially useful when recording podcasts with multiple guests remotely without a computer, or when you're out in the field recording ambient sounds. 

The tool has parameter options for Broadcast WAV or mp3, bit depths up to 24-bit, and sample rates up to 192 kHz. Calculations can be done in two different ways. It can calculate the amount of storage needed when inputting a specific time, or, it can calculate how much time you can record based on the amount of storage capacity. 

So, let's say you want to know how much storage space is needed for 60 minutes of a single track of Broadcast WAV audio at 24-bit 48 kHz. All you have to do is input the specs, and it will do the math for you. Which comes out to roughly 500MB. Or, if you have a 100GB drive, and set the recorder at 24-bit 48 kHz, you can record Broadcast WAV audio for about 8 days and 10 hours. This kind of calculation is especially handy when recording ambient environments overnight or are in a set-it-and-forget-it situation.  

Below are a few examples with approximate times:

BWAV, 2 tracks, 24-bit 48 kHz

  • 1GB: 1 hour 
  • 2GB: 2 hours, 1 minute
  • 4GB: 4 hours, 2 minutes
  • 8GB: 8 hours, 5 minutes

BWAV, 6 tracks, 24-bit 48 kHz

  • 1GB: 20 minutes
  • 2GB: 40 minutes 
  • 4GB: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • 8GB: 2 hours, 41 minutes 

MP3, 2 tracks, 192 kb/s

  • 1GB: 12 hours, 8 minutes
  • 2GB: 1 day, 16 minutes 
  • 4GB: 2 days, 32 minutes
  • 8GB: 4 days, 1 hour, 5 minutes 

A good rule of thumb to remember is that 60 minutes of 2 track 24-bit 48 kHz BWAV audio requires about 1 GB of storage. From there, you can easily add or subtract how much storage you need when using the same sample rate. If recording a single track of audio, your storage will double. So 60 minutes of 24-bit 48 kHz BWAV audio will provide 2 hours of runtime. If you can remember that you're already a step ahead out in the field. 

You can check out the calculator here.

Source: Sound Devices

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