Recording at 44 vs 192

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fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 209
edited June 11 in Guitar
 I've been using cubase 5 for years with reasonable results yet it only goes up to 24 bits and I think 44khz.   I noticed cubase 9.5 offers up to 192khz.  What benefit will this give extra oomph give  me if I upgrade?
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 910
    Absolutely none 
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 18889
    edited June 11
    The higher the sampling rate, the more accurately it will reproduce the analogue input. I’ve compared a 96 KHz download with a 44.1 KHz CD of the same performance and on a high-end hi fi system there was an audible difference.

    The issue about recording at higher rates, is that the format it is ultimately replayed via will limit the quality of what the listener hears. Red Book CDs are 44.1 KHz/16 Bit - MP3 is the same but uses data compression to enable files to be smaller - so the benefits of higher resolution recordings are lost. 
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  • BodBod Frets: 225
    Cubase 5 supports up to 96KHz and 32 bit float format I think.  What's likely to be restricting your options is your interface.  What are you using?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32846
    Admittedly some years ago so the processing power available is different, but I did some comparisons in a recording studio when deciding what rate and depth to use for a project. I’m pretty sure they were using Cubase 5.

    Surprisingly, there was a noticable difference between 44.1KHz and 48, but none that we could hear between 48 and 96. Likewise there was a difference between 16 and 24-bit, but none between 24 and 32. So given that using higher quality slowed the system down drastically when mixing, we used 48KHz/24-bit.

    But that’s for recording, when you need more ‘data headroom’ for processing. On playback media, there’s no evidence that higher than 44.1/16 actually improves the quality, and it could actually make it worse... this is an old article but worth reading:

    https://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

    (Don’t worry, it’s not by Neil Young ;).)
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 209
    Sorry I corrected the typos in my original post ;)

    My version of cubase  seems to be locked at 24bits and 44ghz so I can't experiment.   I have a decent modern new interface and PC.  I think I just need to bit the bullet and upgrade.  

    I have read though than if recording and mixing at higher bit rates and samples that when you export to mp3 you should use a dithering tool on the stereo export channel to convert it to the target playback device capability e.g. 16bit 44.1ghz.  Is that good practice or is it fine to export in 32bit 48ghz and let the playback device sort it out?
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2930
    edited June 11
    Dither does not change the export format  (I never noticed the difference with it anyway) Your DAW does. 

    24/48 is a good medium. Higher sampling rates take up alot more hard drive space and processing power too. Unless you are running a acoustic/classical/jazz session with pristine mics and pres you are just wasting your time. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32846

    I have read though than if recording and mixing at higher bit rates and samples that when you export to mp3 you should use a dithering tool on the stereo export channel to convert it to the target playback device capability e.g. 16bit 44.1ghz.  Is that good practice or is it fine to export in 32bit 48ghz and let the playback device sort it out?
    That's mentioned in the article I linked - it's actively bad to let the playback device sort it out, because it can introduce distortion.

    If you can hear a difference - I don't doubt richardhomer's observation - then it isn't because the higher-rate file sounds better.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • ModellistaModellista Frets: 869
    This doesn't address the OP directly, but just a thought, specifically about bit depth. I always find it difficult to maximise input signal, on the basis that a bit under 0db is a lot better than a bit over. But straight away you're down to 12 bits of resolution or whatever - and that's not really enough. 

    So tracking in 24 bit just makes it easier to obtain a 16 bit signal. In the rand scheme of things I'm never going to distribute anything other than a clean16/44.1 file, but using 24 bits helps me get that. 


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  • ModellistaModellista Frets: 869
    edited June 11
    Same thing - last time I was in a proper studio I was quite surprised how "cool" the input signal was - the trace was not much over halfway up - but the idea being that if you're tracking in 32 bit, as long as you're getting over 16 bits of data you're maximising quality for the output format anyway.  And no risk of overcooking the input signal and generating digital clipping, which is pretty much unrecoverable. 
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  • BodBod Frets: 225
    This is a good vid about levels and clipping...


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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 18889
    edited June 11
    Same thing - last time I was in a proper studio I was quite surprised how "cool" the input signal was - the trace was not much over halfway up - but the idea being that if you're tracking in 32 bit, as long as you're getting over 16 bits of data you're maximising quality for the output format anyway.  And no risk of overcooking the input signal and generating digital clipping, which is pretty much unrecoverable. 
    Exactly - more ‘bits’ allow the amplitude to be more accurately captured from the analogue signal - and the higher the sampling frequency - the more high frequency extension can be achieved before anti-aliasing filters are needed.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 340
    The higher the sampling rate, the more accurately it will reproduce the analogue input.

    This is not cut and dried, because there is a trade-off between the duration of each sample and the accuracy with which it can be measured. In a nutshell, the more times you sample the input per second, the less accurate the measurement of each individual sample can be. There is a well known paper by an expert called Dan Lavry who (if I remember right) argues that the optimal sampling rate would be about 60kHz. If you go much above that, the additional high-frequency response you gain by extending the sample rate is offset by the increasing inaccuracy of the actual sampling process.

    There is almost no point in going to 192kHz in any case. That extends the upper limit of the audio bandwidth to 96kHz, which is way higher than microphones can capture or loudspeakers can reproduce.

    As long as the dynamic range of your signal does not exceed that of the 16-bit medium (which is pretty unlikely) there should actually be no sonic difference between a 16-bit and a 24-bit recording. For typical rock or pop music the dynamic range of a 16-bit system is easily adequate in theory, and significantly higher than that of analogue tape. However, it is worth recording at 24-bit purely for safety's sake as it allows you to leave more headroom on your A-D converters in case of unexpected loud peaks.

    Technologically speaking the recording medium is not the factor that limits the quality of recordings, and has not been for a long time.

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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 910
    If people are listening to each then deciding they heard a difference it is so unreliable.

    The CD standard nulls with the original audio.

    The only way higher sample rates could be different is if you are using some plugin that acts differently due to sample rate.

    Also remember that some plugins have subtle effects that are generated at random so will be different each time regardless of sample rate.

    If you record the same audio at the same time in 44 and any other higher rate, it will null as long as there are no plugins.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 910
    Not sure if it's been mentioned but there's a good reason to record at 24 bit even though the music won't even need 16 for playback - you can leave a large safety buffer and record quietly to make sure you never go over 0 and still have plenty of dynamic range in the level you do record at.
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  • newi123newi123 Frets: 346
    I believe `Borthers In Arms` was a very early digital recording - so 16 bit I assume? Sounds pretty good to me listening on all formats!


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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 18494
    I've done a fair bit of tracking at sample rates of 96khz and higher, because certain artists/bands have insisted on it.
    When I have a choice in the matter I track at 48khz and 24 bit.

    My personal opinion is although some plugins sound better at higher samples rates it is not currently worth the trade off for DSP.

    One thing I have noticed with recording at higher sample rate sis having a reduced amount of DSP means you have to be more careful about instantiating plugins when mixing.
    It could be that it is not the sample rate change that is responsible for the track sounding more open, but just that you have to work more effectively with fewer resources.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 910
    Could definitely be a plus point to use less plugins.

    I've watched a few "mix tips" videos on YouTube and they're doing dozens of processes on each track, no wonder modern pop music sounds like shiny plastic.

    With the newer computers my personal favourite thing is that, when before I'd have to close all programs, even disable services to make sure the daw had all the power not to glitch.

    Now I just use the same amount of plugins and same sample rate but can basically open the daw with all the web browsers etc still running and record without a hiccup. Might sound trivial but it's so nice to just be able to record when the feeling comes rather than having to set everything up.
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  • flying_pieflying_pie Frets: 423
    And the end point of this is that it'll be uploaded to Soundcloud or YouTube and probably listened to on mobile phone speakers, cheap headphones or a generic car stereo 
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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 2421
    And the end point of this is that it'll be uploaded to Soundcloud or YouTube and probably listened to on mobile phone speakers, cheap headphones or a generic car stereo 
    True but garbage in garbage out still applies. The more headroom you give yourself at capture the cleaner the results down the line.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 340
    Well not exactly. The point about headroom is that ideally you don't use it, so adding more headroom beyond what you need will make no difference. Hence why there is no audible benefit in recording at 32-bit, because a 24-bit word length offers a much greater dynamic range than that of any real-world A-D converter.
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  • flying_pieflying_pie Frets: 423
    JezWynd said:
    And the end point of this is that it'll be uploaded to Soundcloud or YouTube and probably listened to on mobile phone speakers, cheap headphones or a generic car stereo 
    True but garbage in garbage out still applies. The more headroom you give yourself at capture the cleaner the results down the line.
    But that's down to the input level and not the sample rate. Think about it:

    You don't need the massive dynamic range to perfectly record a Jew's harp from the end of the street and a maxed out plexi from 1cm away with the same mic at the same input level.

    If you did, and were able to record it perfectly,  then the equipment playing it back wouldn't reproduce that dynamic range. And even if it could it would sound rubbish going from inaudible to painfully loud.

    This "perfect" recording would need seriously compressed in the mix to work when being listened to. So you'd be better off using different input methods to capture them. So you don't need that massive a dynamic range after all. 
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 2131
    ICBM said:
    Admittedly some years ago so the processing power available is different, but I did some comparisons in a recording studio when deciding what rate and depth to use for a project. I’m pretty sure they were using Cubase 5.

    Surprisingly, there was a noticable difference between 44.1KHz and 48, but none that we could hear between 48 and 96. Likewise there was a difference between 16 and 24-bit, but none between 24 and 32. So given that using higher quality slowed the system down drastically when mixing, we used 48KHz/24-bit.

    But that’s for recording, when you need more ‘data headroom’ for processing. On playback media, there’s no evidence that higher than 44.1/16 actually improves the quality, and it could actually make it worse... this is an old article but worth reading:

    https://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

    (Don’t worry, it’s not by Neil Young ;).)
    That article remains superb.
    Warning: this post may contain overtly affectionate references to Mary Spender
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32846
    edited June 11
    darthed1981 said:

    That article remains superb.
    I particularly like this bit

    "With use of shaped dither, which moves quantization noise energy into frequencies where it's harder to hear, the effective dynamic range of 16 bit audio reaches 120dB in practice

    ... 120dB is greater than the difference between a mosquito somewhere in the same room and a jackhammer a foot away."

    Which should illustrate perfectly why anyone who thinks they can hear the difference between 16 and higher bit depths is nuts.

    The only point of recording at higher rates is to allow more headroom and avoid distortion, which *is* audible - and even then 24-bit should be plenty.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 934
    I've been told by my hifi enthusiast mate that, in double blind scientific tests, it shows that very few people (if at all - they could be guessing or just being lucky, the testing can't catch that) can hear the difference between a recording at 96kHz and 44kHz. Nor can they tell the difference between a 16bit recording and a 24bit recording. I'm one of them. A CD at 44.1kHz/16 bit sounds fine to me played back on decent equipment. 

    When recording, I use 24bit just to give me greater dynamic range on the sound I'm recording (as others have said) but I use 44.1kHz sample rate, so there's no rendering to be done when I send my mates a WAV file or cut a CD.
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  • PabloPablo Frets: 21
    Does it make a difference if you are applying effects post recording? Giving the computer more data/information to work with even if some of it is inaudible?
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 18494
    Nor can they tell the difference between a 16bit recording and a 24bit recording. I'm one of them. A CD at 44.1kHz/16 bit sounds fine to me played back on decent equipment. 

    For rock/pop music uses 6db of dynamic range a lot of of the time anyway.
    Classical recordings can be a slightly different case but a different set of problems develop.

    For example, a common complaint of London Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski recording of Holst's 'The Planets' is that the dynamic range is too excessive, even on CD (which has a theoretical dynamic range of 96db undithered and about 120db with noise shaping).

    That recording has such a huge dynamic range (for a CD) that you find yourself having to choose between not hearing the very quiet moments that well or having your head ripped off when the loud bits kick in.
    A 24 bit recording would be, in theory, even worse.

    I get a lot of tracks recorded by other people to mix.
    My most common complaint is that they are recording too hot.
    Quite often I get clipped drums, vocals or guitars that I then have to spend hours fixing in Izotope RX.
    I prefer recordings to be averaging around -18dbFS with peaks no louder than -6dbFS.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 18494
    Pablo said:
    Does it make a difference if you are applying effects post recording? Giving the computer more data/information to work with even if some of it is inaudible?
    Well I certainly think that things like reverb tails sound more realistic in 24 bit when you solo them and listen closely, but does it matter in the context of a finished track with all other elements sounding at once?
    The reality is though that if you are doing label work then you simply cannot deliver 16 bit masters.

    Something else that has not been mentioned (I don't think) is all audio interfaces are not equal.
    You will get prosumer audio interfaces that capture at 24 bit/192khz that will sound obviously worse than 20 year old Lavry/Prism converters that are only 16 bit, 48khz capable. 
    That said, the entry level interfaces sound much better than the entry level interfaces of 20 years ago.
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  • fastonebazfastonebaz Frets: 209
    ICBM said:
    Admittedly some years ago so the processing power available is different, but I did some comparisons in a recording studio when deciding what rate and depth to use for a project. I’m pretty sure they were using Cubase 5.

    Surprisingly, there was a noticable difference between 44.1KHz and 48, but none that we could hear between 48 and 96. Likewise there was a difference between 16 and 24-bit, but none between 24 and 32. So given that using higher quality slowed the system down drastically when mixing, we used 48KHz/24-bit.

    But that’s for recording, when you need more ‘data headroom’ for processing. On playback media, there’s no evidence that higher than 44.1/16 actually improves the quality, and it could actually make it worse... this is an old article but worth reading:

    https://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

    (Don’t worry, it’s not by Neil Young ;).)
    Excellent and interesting article @ICBM. Cheers
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 910
    Something I'd recommend to people who are doing mixing - next time you're sitting tweaking something really subtle like a half db eq adjustment or an emulation of a clean console channel, render a "with" and "without" version and use software to blind abx test it. You might be surprised that what seems obviously different when you know it's changing is suddenly unnoticeable.

    Some people might dislike discovering they can't hear certain things so those people shouldn't do it but for me it allowed me to forget about certain minute details and focus on the important things.

    Same can be applied to the sample rate idea - if you really want to know for yourself if you can hear a difference it has to be blind abx, it's just not possible to judge it reliably when you're aware of what you're hearing.

    There's a common story that I've heard many big time engineers confess as well as experienced for myself - they sit tweaking a compressor or something for ages until it's just right and sounds perfect only to find that it's been in bypass the whole time.
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3521
    edited June 11
    The higher the sampling rate, the more accurately it will reproduce the analogue input.;
    Technically maybe, but... All sample rates will *perfectly* reproduce any signal of less than half the sample rate ie below the nyquist frequency. So if all you care about is the part of the signal that isn't ultrasonic - you only need to record the stuff below ~20kHz - both 44.1 and 96k will reproduce the signal in the audible range *perfectly*, all else being equal - unless you can hear over 22kHz (you can't). For example, a 15khz harmonic will be recorded exactly the same at 44.1 as it is at 96k sample rate - The latter won't be *higher quality*, it'll just be a bigger file.
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