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Difference between 8-Bit and 16-Bit Music

Difference between 8-Bit and 16-Bit Music

When it comes to music, there are two main types of sound: 8-bit and 16-bit. Both have their own unique qualities, but what is the difference between them? In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the differences between 8-bit and 16-bit music and explore which type is better. Read on to learn more!

What is 8-Bit Music?

8-Bit music is a type of digital music that uses synthesized sounds to create an approximation of an acoustic sound. This type of music was commonly used in video games and early personal computers. The term “8-bit” refers to the number of bits used to represent a single sound sample. 8-bit music is characterized by its simple melodies and lack of harmony.

This type of music often has a nostalgic appeal, as it recalls the early days of video gaming. In recent years, 8-bit music has experienced a resurgence in popularity, as musicians have begun to experiment with its retro sound. 8-bit music often has a playful and lighthearted tone, making it ideal for use in video games and other media.

What is 16-Bit Music?

16-bit music is a type of digital audio that uses a sample size of 16 bits. This is opposed to 8-bit music, which uses a sample size of 8 bits. The higher bit depth of 16-bit audio results in a higher quality sound, with more detail and less noise. While 16-bit audio has been largely replaced by 24-bit audio in recent years, it is still widely used in video games and other applications where file size is a concern. In addition, many older video game consoles are unable to play back 24-bit audio, making 16-bit music the only option for developers who wish to include high-quality audio in their games.

Difference between 8-Bit and 16-Bit Music

  • 8-Bit and 16-bit music are two different types of audio data that are used in video games. 8-bit music is lower quality than 16-bit music, but it takes up less space on a video game cartridge or disc. 16-bit music is of better quality but takes up more space.
  • 8-bit music can be thought of as digital while 16-bit music is CD quality. 8-Bit audio uses square waves while 16-bit audio uses sawtooth waves. The sound quality of 8-Bit vs 16-Bit Music differs mainly in the number of channels and the bit depth used to encode the sound. 8-Bit has four channels and uses a bit depth of four, while 16-bit has six channels and uses a bit depth of eight.
  • This difference in quality is noticeable when listening to 8-bit vs 16-bit audio, with 16-bit sounding richer and fuller. However, both types of audio are still used in video games today, depending on the size restrictions of the game cartridge or disc.


The difference between 8-bit and 16-bit music is more than just the number of bits. With 16-bits, there are 65,536 possible colors compared to 256 with 8-bits. This means that the sounds can be richer and subtler, providing a fuller experience for the listener. Additionally, 16-bit samples can be manipulated to sound like other instruments or voices without becoming distorted.

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