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96 to 44.1 conversion work around?

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by empire, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. empire

    empire Guest

    I've been recording and mixing 32 track plus sessions at 44.1 24bit for a while now and am considering increasing my sample rate to 96khz. I mix in the box and like many others my final destionation is cd and I'm worried that a sample rate change of that size will actully sound worse than a session kept at 44.1 24bit.
    Using theory I came up with 2 work arounds and am looking for opinions before a dive in head first as their expensive one.
    1.Record at 96khz with decent conversion, 2. mix in protools at 96 with amd quad processors, 3.boune down to 1/2" analog using high end d/a. If the mastering studio doesn't have a 1/2", use a high end a/d to record the outs of the tape machine at 44.1 24 bit (let ME diether)
    Here's another set up without the 1/2". 1. record and mix at 96khz, 2. send the mix spdif out to a high end d/a(still 96khz), 3. then input the analog out of the d/a (96khz) into a high end a/d set at 44.1. This gets the audio to 44.1 without conversion. Would this be higher quality then simply keeping it at 44.1 24bit with high end conversion. I havn't heard of anyone doing this but than again this is my first post anywhere

    As I said this is all theory because I have no way of testing it without buying expensive converters. What I do know is a sample rate conversion of that size will introduce artifacts into the audible range and I'm not interested in my mixes changing that much at the end.
    All help and opinions are appreciated
  2. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    I think this sounds like the most fun:
    Although you will probably want to also save a full 96/24 bounce to disk. It will be the purist format to archive the mix (although the tape version may arguably sound "better.") Are you sure the mastering engineer you work with won't want the 96/24 file to work from? They could play from this through their analog chain and rerecord at 44.1 themselves.

    Although I wouldn't be surprised if a decent SRC hardware box or program like barbabatch was cleaner than your other method:
    I'd be interested if you try both and see what your ears say.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Why bother screwing around with sample rates and bit rates? Learn how to engineer better then, 16 bit 44.1kHz will sound great.

    If you want to hear a real difference stop screwing around with PCM altogether. It sounds like crap. It's segmented audio. It's broken glass glued together. Move up to something better like DSD, 1 bit at 2.53MHz sampling. THAT'S WHERE YOU WILL HEAR THE REAL DIFFERENCE. Everything is just a squirt gun with different sized capacities. You're still wet.

    How dry I am
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

  5. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Other than that, have you tried recording at 24/96, dithering down to 44.1 and listening to what it sounded like? No sense theorizing or trying to re-invent the wheel. LISTEN to it LIKE IT or NOT!

    Say-La-vee(The name of my new 35 year old, 16 foot sailboat, BTW!)


    Or should it be Sail-a-vee? Or possibly - Sink-Like-A-Stone? I don't know.
  6. empire

    empire Guest

    Point taken about the ME. The more I read the second conversion technique the more holes I see in it. It would be more suited for sessions I'm mastering myself. Am I right to think it would be fine to record and mix at 96 and let the ME convert to 44.1 at end.
    In regards to mixing down to 1/2" ATR it would probebly be best to record the analog from the 1/2" at 192khz or dsd not 44.1 like I said.

    The more I think about my conversion work around the more it seems like something to do to the mastered tracks to get them to 44.1. wrong forum my fault. For the conversion work around without the 1/2" would the quality be lost in the analog cables? What if they were highgrade silver xlr . It would be my dream to be able to try this and see for myself but right now that's not an option as I don't have a pro d/a, src or a project I'm willing to experiment with.

    Tracking to DSD is definitly out of our budget and doesn't fit in to our ProTooLs set up.

    I never said my mixes didn't sound great and I'm not sure how you can tell I need to work on my engineering without hearing anything I've done.
    In fact I'm happy enough with the 24 bit 44.1 and that's why I havn't been tracking at 96khz. I definitly think this stuff is worth messing around with because things can always be better. How can you say 44.1 sounds great and in the next paragraph say all pcm sucks?
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    empire, sorry, I don't mean to get too cocky but sometimes even without one, I do.

    I also enjoy pushing the envelope but there is a side of practicality where for most purposes, it ends up being a series of extras steps one has to take just to get back to the beginning again, 16-bit, 44.1kHz CD's. What's the old saying?? "What goes up, must come down". It seems to also apply to PCM recording. Unless you are simply trying to make more money on an hourly basis, why bother? Maybe, if you are producing something that has a substantial budget involved along with contracts, residuals, etc. then it's cool to have the highest quality archival master you can afford to produce. A goodly amount of people here are basically garage bands. I keep seeing posts from people that want a high-quality multitrack audio interface along with an automated digitally controlled Mackie like "HUI" interface for $300. So generally, I recommend practical recording philosophies.

    Why are some of my comments contradictory?? I say 16-bit 44.1kHz sounds great, even though its PCM, since I know what PCM sounds like. PCM sounds like PCM sounds like PCM and so in that respect, anything from 16-bit 44.1kHz to 32-bit 192kHz sounds great, as PCM can sound. Great, if you like PCM (which I don't but I use it like everybody else) and since most of us don't have the huge budgets to afford a decent 24 track DSD recording system, PCM is what we are stuck with. So PCM's analogy to me is like.... like the Chevrolet Impala, Biscayne and Bel Air. They are really all the same asChevrolets and really cannot be confused with Rolls-Royce's, as there is virtually no similarity except 4 tires.

    I didn't really mean to imply that you were not a good recording engineer as that good engineering sound like good engineering, regardless of the medium employed. The less experienced people here need to learn how to make good recordings with mediocre equipment before they can reap the benefits of the high-priced spread.

    I can't believe it's not butter!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  8. alimoniack

    alimoniack Guest

    I'd run stuff through the 1/2" regardless of what format the ME requires. If they don't have a tape machine they ain't got the full rig as far as I'm concerned, but if you're tracking digital I reckon for a lot of styles it'll benefit from some "colour" from the tape.

    If the ME needs digital or you're mastering stuff yourself you'll only be making a couple of conversions by re-recording off repro on the 1/2", I reckon you gain more than you lose if your converters are decent. It makes down-sampling a lot more fun too, not just a disappointment.

    Bit depth counts more than rate to most ears, but I will certainly never accept that 16/44 sounds great. Even the greatest mixes of all time lose a lot on CD. Compared with analog sound 16 bit is passable at best. 24 bit is "OK", 96k is subtly better but I only ever use it if tracking only a few tracks (eg. solo/2 piece acoustic stuff, jazz or whatever) but with a high track count on a rock album it's not worth the hassle. You're talking 32+ tracks, I doubt you'd hear much difference in a mix that dense, while using masses of disk space.

    I would never work at 16-bit anymore as has been suggested because one has to think of the future, people may want to come back to the project years from now...call me paranoid. Re-mastering, re-mixing etc - this is the only excuse I can think of for using 96 khz on a record with a moderate or high track-count. I hope more people will start caring about how things sound soon, and more consumers will want a higher-quality digital audio format. Until then it's never going to be heard at 96 khz.
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Again my take is slightly different. Even if you record at the lower bit rate and sample rates, sometime in the future, someone may have created a software algorithm and/or device to improve the sound and apparent resolution of older recordings just as older 78 rpm, early analog tape has been restored via computer techniques in the recent past. What's the matter with the terrible sound of 16-bit 44.1kHz sampling? It's terrible! But, usable, workable and won't keep you from making a hit recording because it's the content and execution that makes the difference.

    If one has the tools and ability before them to record in higher resolution formats, there is no reason not to. But higher resolution does not guarantee anything. If you polish a turd, it will always be a turd no matter how shiny you make it. Twisted Sister, in high-definition will still sound like Twisted Sister which won't necessarily make them sound any better.

    Old-fashioned and proud of it
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  10. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    My take on this. I am only an amateur though.

    So I have checked the stuff I have, trying bit depths and sample rates. With my equipment I have come to the following conclusions.

    24 bit : I always run 24 bits. It allows me to aim for a much more comfortable -10 dBFS peaks when recording. No problems with overs and clipping, and still a lot of distance down to the noise floor. Saves a lazy bastard like me from embaressment, worth it every time.

    44.1 kHz trackin: Yes, I track here. Using my converters I hear very little difference tracking faster. Probably depends a lot on your equipment though, I think you have to test with the actual stuff.

    44.1 mixing: Aah, here it might make a difference. Some plugs really sound different at higher speeds. So I stay off the ones that sounds bad at 44.1. But I have tried, the difference is indeed small with my equipment and my selected plugs. Your stuff may be different though, I think you have to simply try.

    So in the end, I believe the compromises in equipment may show up differently at different speed. I think we have to test with the stuff we use, there probably is no general answer is my guess.

    Well, for what it is worth.

  11. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    I'm with you , Gunnar. I think you are pretty dead-on. More bits are mo-betta; but more samples is just a little better. Of course someday when we all have bionic ears that hear a flat 1Hz-40kHz, we may all be mad that our old nostalgic recordings have all the high-end cut out. :lol:
  12. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    "ya put da lime in da coconut ya drink dem bowl up..."

    i'm with ya hun predictive delta modulation is the way to go...
    makes me long for my old nak deckwhat the hell was that thing... like sony 701 wasn't it???

    on the other hand i'm a 24/96 kinda guy... i feel its always better to start at a rate higher than your target... YMMV
  13. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    Theoretically, DSD is PCM.
  14. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    $ .02

    are you SURE about that i thought DSD was the 1 bit system where esentially it decides if the next value is simply higher or lower then steers the output that way..... if not mistaken.. that was originally called predictive delta modulation or pdm also delta mod...delta of course meaning change..
  15. gnarr

    gnarr Guest

  16. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    It's an interesting read, alright. I've always wondered...why did Sony & Philips blow it with the SACD? Sure seems like a great format, on paper at least.

    Maybe they started it too late in the game?

    Maybe the general public is too lame to appreciate something a little better than "Good enough"? (Witness the MP3 explosion....)

    I have my theories, of course. Sony has a long-standing habit of shooting themselves in the foot, bringing alternate formats to market a little too late, and sticking with them longer than they should. (Anyone remember BETA video decks, and the entire line of MD players/recorders?) I own several Sony DV cameras (love 'em!) but it's clear whenever I fiddle with their products, they always leave SOMETHING out worth having, and seem to be maddening in their approach to screwing the consumer for a few extra bucks; changing (removing) features on certain models in the next gen. It must be a weird scene inside of the company.

    Next battle, of course, is the DVDs Blue VS. HD. Can't wait to see what happens there. (I AM seeing Blue Ray DVDs showing up in ads, and from the consumers point of view, that may be what tips the scales - visibility on the consumer market.)
  17. dterry

    dterry Active Member

    Joe, I think your guesses are as good as any. Lack of marketing probably hasn't helped SACD, but high def formats with little affordable consumer access will never win over "good enough" cheap or free options (mp3) - at best they survive in the much smaller audiophile market. Apple made that happen more than Sony dropping the ball. It's like Tiffany's trying to compete with Walmart - sure, you'll sell a few high end products, but compared to millions of low cost items, it's no contest.

    The difficulty (e.g. added expense) of editing SACD as easily as PCM probably hasn't helped the recording market either, other than having an option to master to SACD. Does seem like a good format, but more than likely destined to go the way of the DAT player.

    I am guessing Blu-Ray will win the HD video battle. I haven't seen anything in HD-DVD yet, but I haven't browsed the DVD isle at Best Buy recently.
  18. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    $ .02

    gnarr.. thnx for the link brother...didn't have a chance to really study it but pg 6-7 seemed to cover it pretty well...

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