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audible difference in sample rates (96k - 192k)

hi, i've been reading through threads that debate the difference in recording different sample rates and i have a question. i'm a beginner, so i might be in over my head, so forgive me if this is a dumb question (i know, no dumb questions just dump people ).

it seems most people say you can't hear the difference between 96k and 192k. is this the same thing as when an mp3 says 96k or 192k, because i can easily tell the difference there. i'm guessing this isn't the same thing?

thanks, Reuben


JoeH Sun, 09/24/2006 - 20:43
You are correct, these specs are NOT the same thing: MP3s are data-compressed files, and are "lossy" in that any data that is considered extraneous by the coding is discarded. (And once it's gone, it's gone.)

Depending on the type of music and the amount of data being discarded, (which in the case of MP3's usually determines the size of the compressed file), you can usually hear this, esp if you can A/B it to the original, non-compressed wav file. In general, louder, fuller tracks respond better to data reduction than delicate, quiet songs with musical subtleties.

Non-compressed full resolution wave files can be 44, 48, 96, 128 and more; we're talking no data loss, full bandwidth wave files here, vs. data-compressed MP3 files. A properly recorded wav file at 24bit & 44k sample rate can be difficult to distinguish from a 24/96k file. (Hearing the difference between 96k vs. 128k sample rate is even less likely. I sure don't pretend to hear much, if any difference between them.)

However, it's easy to hear the differences in various MP3 reduction sizes; the numbers refer to the data rate loss, not the sample rate.

Reggie Wed, 09/27/2006 - 07:15
On the other hand, nobody uses a 128K sample rate for wave files.

128 kilo-bits-per-second is a bit-rate that might used to encode an mp3; but 128,000 samples per second is not a valid sample rate for PCM recording as far as I know.

But yes, there is a much bigger difference between 96kbps & 192kbps bit-rates on mp3's than the difference between 96kHz & 192kHz sample rates on wave audio, IMHO.