flatmax wrote: ... The threshold of pain varies between people and some people may have a very high threshold.
For this reason, high quality audio requires 24 bits.
I'm not sure why the threshold of pain should be used as the top level.
Also, the perception of pain occurs after
the sound has been converted to neural signals, and a lot of processing has happened in the route from the ear to the brain.
Deepest, darkest Berkshire, an owl hoots, and another answers from across the wood. I can hear both, so they're above my noise floor.
A Boeing 737 goes overhead on route to Heathrow. While that's happening, I can't hear either owl.
That's because, somewhere in my brain, there's an automatic level control operating.
I take that to mean I don't need 32, 24, or even 16 bits.
But then, I'm not sure why I enjoyed listening to Cream in their hay-day, or why that has anything to do with the tinnitus that means my noise floor is higher than average.