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Audio quality vs sample rate


sjasz
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Apologies if this is out of the scope of this forum. I am only using an audio interface for monitoring. Everything is generated using software instruments within logic. The final mix is created by bouncing and then converting to the required delivery format. Is there an advantage to working at 96K as far as audio quality?

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I broadly agree with @analogika .

There are benefits and tradeoffs with any quality settings, and you really need to understand what they are to make the best decisions. 96K has (some) audio quality benefits, but it also comes at quite a high cost of basically halving your available resources - which may or may not be a deal breaker, depending on the project at hand.

The easy answer is "not really", the more realistic answer is "it depends"...

Edited by des99
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mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio | Legacy Logic Project Conversion | Logic 10.7.4, MBP 16" M1pro

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The essential principles here are really exactly like video (or even, physical photography): you need to capture the signal – whatever it is – at a higher-or-equal resolution to what you must finally deliver.

The key idea is:  "you can never 'sample' up."  The computer ... or, the photographic film ... or, the audio recorder ... cannot create detail where none exists. You can't make a silk purse out of a 16-bit CD input track. It is what it is: there is no more grain to harvest.

But, at the same time ... "the final physical playback also cannot express 'additional detail.'"  As long as you are "down-sampling," you don't need to "down-sample" much. Mathematically speaking, it is going to be "rounded down" to fit the deliverable target.

Edited by MikeRobinson
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Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.

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des99 - I have a pretty decent 12core Mac Pro and at 48K some songs are already using 50% of processing power. One of the reasons I asked the question is to find if it is worth going through the process of making things more efficient buy using effects buses and freezing tracks in order to run those songs at 96K. Having to be concerned with processor bandwidth really takes the fun out of making music for me.

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3 hours ago, sjasz said:

Delivery format would be typical for streaming services which can be 44.1 or 48k aiff or wave as well as MP3.

Then I wouldn't worry about 96kHz. You can be much more rewarded by spending your time, energy and resources improving the quality of your mixes in other ways than upping the sample rate. 

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Also remember that your final deliverable (MP3) is going to be compressed – "perhaps horribly."

They say that in the Beatles' early days, they had an "AM radio speaker" in their mixing booth, with an appropriate set of filters behind it, so that they could hear what the mix would sound like for much of their actual audience, in their cars.  For this same reason, it's a good idea to listen to your final recording on a phone – or on the cheapest MP3 player that you can find at Wal-Mart.  Because, "that's what your customer is finally going to hear."

"Nuances," very simply stated, "do not survive the cut."  If you plan to release in multiple formats, listen to each.  "SoundCloud?"  Upload it to a private channel and listen.  (SoundCloud butchers most things ...)  Then, go back to your mix and work out the best available compromise.

Edited by MikeRobinson

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.

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35 minutes ago, MikeRobinson said:

Also remember that your final deliverable (MP3) is going to be compressed – "perhaps horribly."

They say that in the Beatles' early days, they had an "AM radio speaker" in their mixing booth, with an appropriate set of filters behind it, so that they could hear what the mix would sound like for much of their actual audience, in their cars.  For this same reason, it's a good idea to listen to your final recording on a phone – or on the cheapest MP3 player that you can find at Wal-Mart.  Because, "that's what your customer is finally going to hear."

"Nuances," very simply stated, "do not survive the cut."  If you plan to release in multiple formats, listen to each.  "SoundCloud?"  Upload it to a private channel and listen.  (SoundCloud butchers most things ...)  Then, go back to your mix and work out the best available compromise.

i dunno. i uploade 44/24 to tunecore, and it goes out to spotify, apple, etc. and listening on spotify (apple does have a higher quality playback) sounds pretty good; there's not obvious loss in quality (or nothing significant).

streaming is what it is, but it's not terrible. anyway, i don't think it's as bad as you say. but (fwiw) does anyone even make 'cheap' mp3 players anymore? i imagine ppl listen mostly on their phones.

i am happy with the process (from mix to tunecore to spotify), and never compromise anything...

LP10.7.4 • os13b • 3.2GHz i7 imac • one plugin short of perfection  upstatebrooklyn

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4 minutes ago, fisherking said:

 

streaming is what it is, but it's not terrible. anyway, i don't think it's as bad as you say. but (fwiw) does anyone even make 'cheap' mp3 players anymore? i imagine ppl listen mostly on their phones.

i am happy with the process (from mix to tunecore to spotify), and never compromise anything...

I took it as "listen on the crappiest system you can find, because that is the status quo for a lot of listeners". 

But that's just standard mix check procedure and really has nothing to with the resolution you work in. 

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16 minutes ago, analogika said:

I took it as "listen on the crappiest system you can find, because that is the status quo for a lot of listeners". 

But that's just standard mix check procedure and really has nothing to with the resolution you work in. 

i would say, always mix for the best possible outcome, and let the listener deal with whatever they listen on. a well-mixed song is a well-mixed song. we can't control where & how ppl listen.

LP10.7.4 • os13b • 3.2GHz i7 imac • one plugin short of perfection  upstatebrooklyn

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I always check for compatibility on multiple systems. Checking for compatibility does not equal mixing for the lowest denominator. It basically means that for your mix to transfer to most playback systems you should check to make sure the balance isn't completely skewed when you play your mix in a car or on a MacBook speaker. 

For example let's say you're mixing a basic rock song with guitar bass drums and vocals. When the mix isn't balanced properly, it sounds amazing on your studio reference monitors with deep low bass, punchy full frequency guitar, loud drums and full vocals, but on your MacBook speakers there's no bass at all, the guitar sounds muffled and all you can hear are annoyingly aggressive brittle drums with a nasal singer. That's no good. 

A mix that is compatible will have the same balance on both systems, while obviously the bass will have more lows in your studio, the kick will be deeper in your studio, but you can still hear them on the MacBook speaker, even if they sound different. The guitars may be more mid-range so that they sound equally well on both systems. 

That's the gist of it.

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