Personal View site logo
Make sure to join PV Telegram channel! Perfect to keep up with community on your smartphone.
Audio sampling, 44Khz is enough
  • According to a remarkable new study, however, the failure of new audio formats — at least the ones that claim superiority thanks to higher sample rates — to succeed commercially may in reality be meaningless. The study basically says that (with apologies to Firesign Theatre) everything you, I, Moorer and everyone else know about how much better high-sample-rate audio sounds is wrong.

    The study was published in Journal of the Audio Engineering Society under the title “Audibility of a CD-Standard A/D/A Loop Inserted Into High-Resolution Audio Playback.” The study blew me away for a number of reasons. One is that it was almost identical to a study I proposed some years ago at the school where I was teaching, but it never got past the proposal stage. Second, the two authors of the study, David Moran and Brad Meyer, happen to be people whom I've known for several decades (we were all part of the crew covering audio and other technologies at The Boston Phoenix when I was starting out as a writer), but I had little idea what they were up to these days.

    The main reason it knocked the wind out of me was its conclusions. It was designed to show whether real people, with good ears, can hear any differences between “high-resolution” audio and the 44.1kHz/16-bit CD standard. And the answer Moran and Meyer came up with, after hundreds of trials with dozens of subjects using four different top-tier systems playing a wide variety of music, is, “No, they can't.”

    Via:http://mixonline.com/recording/mixing/audio_emperors_new_sampling/

    Check full paper http://www.drewdaniels.com/audible.pdf

  • 9 Replies sorted by
  • Nice. I had read up some stuff on this a few weeks ago. I also remember a theory about how those higher sampling rates can actually produce inaudible sound and negatively affect the frequencies we do hear.

    Either way, I imagine it'll be awhile to get through to people who think they need everything recorded at 192 kHz, and some people call it "HD", but what can ya do.

  • I imagine it'll be awhile to get through to people who think they need everything recorded at 192 kHz, and some people call it "HD", but what can ya do.

    Do not worry, it is not new stuff, so this guys already discussed it. And I think that they concluded that everything below 192Khz/24bits in loseless format is shit :-)

  • Is this for playback, recording or both? I ask because I read the first page of the article and they said the experiement took HD audio and played it back both in HD and then in a 44.1 bottleneck. That implies a focus on playback.

    But maybe recording is different when comparing/contrasting material recorded at 44.1 vs 96, and then playing back at 44.1 and 96.

    The method used by experimenters reminds me of a film like Sacrface shot on 35mm, and then converted to SD DVD for home viewing. The SD DVD still looks great, but had they shot the movie on a camera with 720x480 resolution, I bet it wouldn't have been nearly as good looking. (Of course assuming one could have found 480P cam with filmlike DR, color rendition, etc in 1982).

  • @matt_gh2

    You can check Robert Rozak videos if you are interested in recording stuff - http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/comment/136855#Comment_136855

    In fact it is were I got references :-)

  • @VK Cool-thanks.

  • This issue was tested years, really years ago by AES in a double blind, large sample study. That MIX article is from 2008. However, 48kHz is obviously much better than 44.1 for practical reasons, and 24 bit gives you headroom in post. A number of people argue, and I would agree, that slightly more headroom would be a good idea on the frequency end and propose 60 kHz, which is a nice round number and has plenty of headroom. I don't think it will happen, but who knows? Until then, 48 is certainly a good choice and 44.1 is a bad choice.

  • Until then, 48 is certainly a good choice and 44.1 is a bad choice.

    If you made 44.1k recording due to something you can always resample if you wish. Good resampling algo make it impossible to spot any difference.

    24 bit gives you headroom in post.

    Thing is, most of the time with usual mikes and with usual recorders you just do not have this 24bit, as lower part just consist of noise. Check Robert video. Actual usage can be if you have good recorder and made big level error.

  • I believe Robert was refering to recording of dialogue. With music recording there is a clear difference in the decay tails of things like cymbals when recording 16 vs 24 bit and mic placement allows very close positioning to the instrument. The problem with 44.1 is it is 16 bit, not that 44.1 sample rate is bad. DrDave's argument about the 24 bit recording holds up and is no biggy on data resources vs 16 bit.

    As for the 60khz headroom is only necessary for bats and dogs. This theoretically records details to 30khz. Some worry about aliasing for poor filtering at cuttoff frequency but most decent equip can do a pretty good job at this. Most adults hear 16-18khz.

    It is all moot point for me now as my hearing is starting to decay to the point of constant tinnitus. Shouldn't have spent so much time around amplifiers. :(

  • If you made 44.1k recording due to something you can always resample if you wish. Good resampling algo make it impossible to spot any difference.

    Vitaliy is absolutely right

    Thing is, most of the time with usual mikes and with usual recorders you just do not have this 24bit, as lower part just consist of noise. Check Robert video. Actual usage can be if you have good recorder and made big level error.

    If one needs really good sound (and, correct, has mics and recorder on this level) initial recording in 24bit is indeed better because of the editing, and later bounce the master to 16bit

    the difference between 44.1 and 48kHz is not easy to hear. But the difference between 44.1 kHz/16 bit and 88.2 or 96kHz/24 bit is possible to hear by the top quality productions like in the classical music. For speech, pop/rock or with mics and recorders beyond pro level: no way to hear the difference.

    If someone is interested, here you can read one kind of fantastic master thesis where two students of the recording supervisioning approved that Sony's DSD propaganda of that time (allegedly DSD was audibly better sounding than WAV 24bit/96 kHz) was simply not true (who doesn't understand german must unfortunatelly use translator):

    http://old.hfm-detmold.de/eti/projekte/diplomarbeiten/2004/dsdpcm/xdslindex.htm

    Still, speaking only for my own, I personally regret that neither DVD-A nor SACD have made it to survive on the audio market for longer time. It seems quite sure that the BD also won't.