Sampling Rate

Discussion in 'Recording' started by djmukilteo, Oct 2, 2009.


What Sampling Rate do you prefer?

  1. 192kHz

  2. 96kHz

  3. 88.2kHz

  4. 48kHz

  5. 44.1kHz

  1. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Rainy Roads WA USA
    Has there been a poll taken on which sample rate is most common among the forum users?
    I wasn't able to create a poll for the topic...maybe someone more familiar with how to do that would make one
  2. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    You can do it djmukilteo,

    Just edit your post, go down to where it says poll question and type "Which sampling rate do you preffer?"

    then in the add option field type your first rate like "96k"
    then hit add option and the next field would be "88.2k"
    then " " " " " " " " " "48k and so forth I think?
  3. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Rainy Roads WA USA
    Thanks jammster, that was easier than I thought
  4. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    You bet, I never tried it myself but could figure it out easy enough.

    As far as sampling rates go, my favorite sound is quality analog tape. Its expensive to buy and requires you to clean and protect your machine from age.

    Digital recording at the rates specified is a PCM process (Pulse Code Modulation)

    There also is now a new format (Direct Stream Digital) which has caught my interest years ago.

    It used to be that I was going to wait to buy a computer until DSD became a multi-channel format that is affordable.

    Well, I don't think its going to be changing that quickly. It seems that the popular vote has gone to HD movies and Blu-ray discs. I really wonder if HD audio will ever become affordable?

    While DSD is brewing in the background for some of us, PCM has become the standard format.

    Or wait, is MP3 the standard?

    What's the world coming to?

    It makes me wonder why ipods are so popular, there a significant degradation in quality compared to the 16bit/44.1k standard, kind of like a plastic sounding cassette tape, only IMO cassette tape sounds way better!

    I guess it unanimous, cheap fidelity for the masses. It's a shame IMO.

    If I remember right, even HD video uses a form of compression.

    I once bought a SanDisk MP3 player for $40. I think I've used it less than a dozen times.

    So, while the world is downgrading their music collection, I personally like to record at a reasonably high rate, not only for the increased fidelity, but also for the slam factor of dynamics.

    The more dynamics you can introduce, the better. Why? because thats how a good record sounds when you crank the volume up. It moves more air around in a musical fasion, think about it.

    So, I choose 96k for the reason of increased dynamics and more headroom for mixdown. Sometimes 96k can be a bit taxing on the computer, but I figure if its a quality recording it will benefit the end product.

    I guess what it all comes down to is asking yourself why your recording and what is your goal. Is your goal to reach a higher standard that may help your music in the future or to save money and conserve resources.
  5. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Rainy Roads WA USA
    As far as standards are concerned, I would think 44.1kHz is the standard. It has been that for all these years as standard audio CD's (redbook) and that's still what most people buy and listen to.
    Now I can still remember when I first heard CD's and being one of the few people in my area "circle of audio/musician crazy's"...I purchased my first CD player for around $700 (as I recall) and in those days it was a pretty amazing sound to us and many of my friends had me bringing my player over with my coveted Supertramp disk....hey don't laugh!! see how it sounded on their Voice of the Theatre speakers and their Dynaco amps.....Ok so we were all impressed....probably the lowest fattest bass sounds and the most dynamic range either of those units had ever sourced....
    Now I don't personally own an MP3 player, I do listen to MP3's on my computer using my RME interface....which I think sounds really good! Not as good as the wav files I produce at 44.1 or 48 but still pretty darn good...
    But like you said the masses are listening more and more to compressed MP3's.
    This is one reason I wanted to know what the more common rates were out there and maybe this should also be a thread for describing the end result of final conversions that most people master down to....CD's for clients to take home?...MP3's?

    I've made samples at 192 thru 44.1 and I mostly wanted to know if it makes more sense to record at a higher rate like "always use 96" or maybe "always use 48" or whatever....
  6. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Sample rate has no effect whatsoever on dynamics, i.e. headroom, as far as I know. Bitrate, i.e. 16 bit vrs 24 bit is what affects headroom (i.e. how many bits are available to capture the audio data - run out of bits, you've run out of headroom). So if you're concerned about headroom, recording at 96kHz or higher isn't going to help you (or hurt you) - it's just a measure of how many times per second the audio stream is sampled at whatever bitrate you use. Some people claim they can hear a difference in quality at 192Khz, or 96, or whatever. I can't. But that could be due to any number of factors - bad ears, bad room, bad monitors, bad A/D converters, who knows. Bottom line for me: I record at 88.2 just because I can, hedging my bets so to speak against the possibility that it actually is better quality and I just can't hear it. I've seen some test charts that seem to indicate that 88.2 downsamples to 44.1 more cleanly than 48 or 96 does, but again that can depend on the equipment that's doing the conversion. But definitely 24 bit.

    From all I've read, and I'm certainly no expert, 44.1 or if you really feel like it, 88.2 is absolutely fine for anything destined for CD; 48 or 96 for video work since 48 is the standard resolution for that format. But hey, if you can hear the difference, more power to you.
  7. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Rainy Roads WA USA
    I agree....bit rate is the headroom/dynamic range your gonna notice and 24bit is where my converters are maybe I should have prefaced that in the poll?!! :roll:
    I do like this idea of the 88.2 downconverting nicely to 44.1...that actually makes alot of sense to you I have a difficult time hearing a difference using my RME at 192 vs's very hard to tell....I did some test samples of piano and vocal and compared them both with monitors and headphones....when i listened on the headphones (ATH-M50's) I would say the 192 sample had a bit more "air" in was different but pretty vague...It didn't make me go...WOW...big difference was just a subtle difference and kinda hard to define..and like you said it could be my ears, my headphones, my monitors, my room....I'm sure there will be someone who has a definite opinion on that topic which I would love to hear about....
    I think I will try a couple samples at 88.2 and then export to 44.1 and see what I think.....thanks for that insight!
    One main reason I leave my RME at 44.1 is all sound produced on my computer playback is typically 44.1 so if I change it to some other higher rate and go to play something back like an MP3 it sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks....which is fine, kinda funny watching a YouTube video at 192 but like the actual Alvin and the Chipmunks it gets annoying after about 30 seconds....
  8. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    To be honest, I have a difficult time explaining my reasoning.

    Perhaps it has more to do with the interface itself.

    I know that you get what you pay for, a presonus firestudio is going to be inferior to a RME FF800.

    Something strange happens with my system, when I kick it in to 88.2/96 the hiss from the speakers get much lower and also I've noticed the fidelity of certain plugins sound much clearer and more defined.

    I know that the computer is working much harder at producing a wave at the higher rates, I don't know how much better it sounds on the other interfaces.

    My feeling is that presonus designed the firestudio to be used with the central station, which is a much better D/A as far as I know. I don't have a central station yet, so I really don't know, just a guess.

    But anyway, I'm thinking of the future when I use a better interface. I want to record at the higher rate, now if I had the ability to record at 192 I probably would not most of the time.
  9. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Rainy Roads WA USA
    jammster: What do you use for your analog tape setup?
    I started playing around with my Tascam 32 and 38 and had some disappointing results....looks like I need to tear both of them apart and do some repairs if I want to actually use them...The 32 is slipping and stops in playback and the 38 has a speed pitch problem going on during playback...crap...I'm afraid they will have to become the relics they are and take there place along side my tube radio and recording lathe....they sure look cool though...not that I need to use them anymore but it was something I had considered....oh well...

    I agree that if your PreSonus system runs well at 96k then by all means that's what you should do and it will certainly create higher quality samples than 44.1k.
    I just did some 192k sample tests...5 minutes/5 tracks and the audio files were 100Mb each so there's that to consider too....500Mb audio folder for one project file!!
    When the ZED16R gets here I'm definitely going to run it at 96k and see how that compares to the RME. Part of what I want to experiment with is mixing down to the RME @ 192k from the ZED @ 96k... either as a stereo master or 4 bus....I'm also want to try some surround work....which is a whole other topic!
  10. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    I have an Otari MX 5050 1/2inch 8track along with an Otari MX-55 1/4 master deck. I got them both used many years ago. I have not really set the 8track up for use in my system.

    Truth is that digital has become affordable and analog is a much more expensive format..

    I've got a fair amount of 1/2" tape to use but at $50.00 a reel, its much more expensive now, minute per minute that is, than an external drive.

    Besides, I'm afraid my two kittens would ruin it if I use it or had left it out. Anyway, I do have a couple of projects from around 1989/91 that I am planing on getting digitized on the computer pretty soon.

    I got a friend of mine who rebuilt his Tascam 38 and he never used it after the rebuild. Now, does that make any sense?

    Well come to think of it I've hardly used my 5050 after I had it rebuilt as well.

    Its time to get those projects digitized!

    Take it with a grain of salt. Tape still just sounds great IMHO. I'll post those songs up when I get the time to work on them.
  11. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Rainy Roads WA USA
    That is a much nicer deck than the 38, I've heard those are very good machines.
    I'm afraid I've gone down the new path now and the energy I would need to put into repairing the 32 or 38 probably isn't worth the effort...maybe someday I will put the scope on em and tear into it, they're finicky but not impossible to set up...but just another one of those projects that gets put off...
    I can turn on a few switches and go to town with my setup as is....and it's like you said the digital is less expensive, faster and so much easier to run...
    Grain of Salt....sounds like a song title
    Movin on 8)
  12. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    So, if you would like to tell us, how do you run both the Zed R-16 and the FF800? Do you use two computers or is there some fancy way of running them on your computer?

    That should probably work well.

    I believe that the Zed R16 only has a master bus, the four black faders are midi fades. Zed R16 is a 16x2 format as far as I can tell. Its made more for recording than for live mixing.

    Thats really not a big deal, you could use the aux sends 1-4 as a bus, or you can get direct outs.

    Personally, I really like external effects boxes so having aux sends is a must for me.

    By pluging a standard 1/4" tip sleeve jack partially into your insert for the channel you wish to obtain (as a direct out that is) you want to make sure the tip has contact with both the second conductor on the jack, ( this would be the ring conductor for the insert ) and the sleeve conductor for the jack. Inserting a jack halfway has been a standard for getting direct outs for quiet some time. However, you lose the ability to insert any additional processing into the channel by doing it this way. In order to use it with the insert you use an insert cable, obviously.

    You could also use a simple summing type mixer along with the R16 to sum your direct outs into a bus. This makes for a bit more complication but it is possible.

    What is truly amazing to me about the R16 is how they were able to cram all that functionality into such a tight package.

    There is a great deal of thought that went into the R16 and certainly I think Allen and Heath did their homework on this little baby.
  13. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Rainy Roads WA USA
    Well I think I'm going to first setup the ZED with the SonarLE and FW on my main computer.
    After that I will take some time using it standalone and then decide where or if the RME fits might not and I may sell it...or I might not. This is all too typical of a progression with me....I tried all ITB and it's not me....I've tried the control surface and still not doing it for me. (I will still use Kore for my synth control), but I'm a fingers on the fader person....I'm very excited about getting that back into my recording space...
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Well-Known Member

    BC, Canada
    Home Page:

    From an old school analog perspective I kind of say it like this for those in the tape world. The sample rate is like tape speed and the bitrate is like the tape width.

    16 / 44.1 is like 1/4 inch at normal speed and 24 / 88.2 is like 1/2 inch and double speed. 24 / 196 is running quad speed and laying it down but man do you go through the tape fast.

    I'm either at 44.1 or 88.2 and 24 bit but playing with 32bit float.

    Here is a good explanation on sample rate and bit depth:
    Here is a very interesting discussion on analog vs digital and the more in depth debate about quantization and 96k and so on:
  15. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Home Page:
    With analog tape, you have the variables of tape speed and track width, and they are not orthogonal. There are additional influencing factors such as tape material and bias levels, but the point is that these all interact, and it is the engineer's experience that combines them into a workable whole for any given usage.

    By contrast, in the digital realm, the dimensions of sampling rate and wordlength are orthogonal. I design equipment for areas that include both audio and instrumentation, and am often asked for things like 24-bit recording accuracy over temperature with a d.c. - 5Hz bandwidth and 120+ dB of dynamic range. Areas like geophysics sometimes need appreciably higher specs than these.

    Audio is not unique in having extreme engineering requirements, but is unique in having the (dis?)advantage that the results have a subjective factor that cannot be proven or disproven by measurement.
  16. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    JHB, RSA
    Home Page:
    Hello Graham Boswell (I assume?)!

    I attended your Mic to Master seminar in Johannesburg and would like to thank you once again for the great lessons on resolution, dither, and noise shaping. I really learned a lot!

    In addition to all the great info above, I would like to post two links to PDF's by Dan Lavry on sampling theory:

    Introduction to Sampling
    Sampling Theory for Digital Audio

    I found these papers most helpful.

    Cheers :)
  17. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Home Page:
    Not me, I'm sorry to say. I do know Graham, but we're not related.
  18. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    JHB, RSA
    Home Page:
    Ah, well, don't I have egg on my face.

    Cheers :)
  19. jshonuff

    jshonuff Active Member

    Can you say forget the sample rate Bit Rate is more important all the way.
    What I can tell you about the sample rate is that when mixing/mastering at 96 the cuts on the low/high freqs are more sharper to me
  20. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Of course it sounds great. You should hear it on a custom Scully. Everything has its own faults. I just think that the $5000 joke box to connect to your multitrack recorder to have it sync with ProTools is the greatest scam in pro audio today. Bottom line is, you cannot emulate everything in software. It's just genuine artificial imitation. Which is why I also think that people should have 2 inch 16 or 24 track analog machines to track your band through while simultaneously monitoring playback head and transferring directly to digital. Of course, over dubs have to be handled in a different manner. But it's still all immensely simple to do. And after all we have great software these days that has no problems reducing 15 DB of tape noise. Wow & flutter an issue? Get a new pinch roller. Keep it clean and keep it de-magnetized. Have you ever tried to run one of those machines that 30 IPS? Now that's a sound decision.

    Oh yeah about that sample rate stuff... 44.1 kHz but not on my HD 24 'cause, It ain't accurat. So what does everybody think? Is resolution more important than harmonic content? No really... I want to know? Has anybody ever played around with recording at 16-bit, 96 kHz as opposed to 24-bit at 48 kHz? Now that's throwing a monkey into some ointment. Actually, I think 1 bit sounds better than 24 or even 32 bit. So my preferred sample rate is 5.8 MHz. But I don't have that equipment. On my HD 24, I'll go 24-bit at 48 kHz and deal with the downconversion to 44.1 and all of the other inherent problems therein when everything is done ITB. But because I am so hybrid, I mix and match with analog and digital. But you are sort of asking like what is your favorite single malt Scotch? It's either the Catholic one or the Protestant one and I am the Jew that has to decide what I want? And that's easy. Cheap rail Scotch because it's ON SALE at happy hour.

    Don't be a Dolby. Doobie a Dewar.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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