Just tried 88.2kHz for the first time

As the title says. And holy crap, what an amazing difference! I don’t know why it’s actually taken me so long to at least try it out, but wow. I don’t want this to turn into another endless battle about Nyquist or placebo or what’s the “right” way to do things - I just wanted to share that trying this out kinda rocked my world in terms of thinking about live performance. I was under the impression that doing this might make fx and other calculations sound a tiny bit better, at best, but oh my god, it’s like my external gear got a whole new lease on life. It’s like a veil got lifted on my synths and Rytm is punching like nothing else. Just magical. I wouldn’t expect 88.2 to work any magic on the OT though, since it’s just playing back lower res samples, but I don’t know, I haven’t tried it yet. Is it true that most people can’t even hear the difference between 48 and 88.2+? My ears are crap, and it’s like night and day.

Anyway, I’m resigned to the idea that it barely matters for final 44.1 product, but damn if 88.2 won’t be killer for the live show. Now if only my aging laptop can keep up…

EDIT - I should add that I’ve never used my gear direct to a mixer>monitors with no interface in between, so don’t really have a comparison there. I’ve been working in 48k for five years or so and strictly 44.1 for forever before that.

Isn’t it wonderful how expectation changes perception! :slight_smile:


Nobody can.

It is possible that some plug-ins instruments and effects without internal oversampling sound better at higher sample rates because there’s less aliasing, but that’s about it.

But hey, the perception effect is real; if it works for you and it helps you make better music, then go with it!


My expectation was that I would hear no difference at all, actually. I’ve done enough sample rate homework to have a very healthy scepticism.


I think everyone’s right that you might not hear much difference, but when it comes to mixing you might very well feel a difference (more headroom, lower noise floor, etc.).

I know when I moved from 44.1kHz to 44.8kHz there was little difference I noticed, but when I got my TR-8 and had to use 96kHz and thus subsequently recorded everything in 96kHz, I noticed my strategies to mixing changed a lot.

I think there’s definitely an argument to be made for wanting to be as close as possible to the analog domain, but I’ve also read arguments for the limitations as well.


The cool thing about most placebo effects is that they still work even when you’re aware that it’s a placebo.


Increasing the sample rate does not do that. A good explanation of this can be found in https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIQ9IXSUzuM


That’s the limitations I’m refering to. lol

Isn’t he’s mostly refering to listening/playback and not mixing/mastering?

There are so many opinions about this subject, it’s pretty crazy and all over the map. I’ve owned two different small commercial studios in my life with two different (both extremely talented) engineers. One always recorded at 24/88.2 and the other at 24/48. They both made fantastic sounding records.
But my studio that recorded 24/48 had much nicer converters and a very nice master clock. It’s was also a better designed studio, acoustically. All this to say, there’s a lot more at play than the simple bit and depth numbers suggest.

May I ask what interface/conversion/clocking you use?
That’s really more critical than sample and bit rate. In my home studio, I use a pretty good interface, but nothing fancy. It’s a Steinberg…MR16? I think that’s the model. Been in my writing studio for probably 8-10 years. It sounds considerably better at 24/88.2 than say 16/44.1, but it’s a relatively budget minded interface.

And yes, even machines like the OT benefit from being recorded at higher resolutions, I think. The processing, effects, eq, etc used on those tracks will be at higher resolution, which can only help.

Just riffing, but those are a few thoughts off the top of my head

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Yep, just listening to the analog gear going into the interface and through the DAW, then out the monitors. I can’t claim to understand why I’d notice anything. I’m 100% on board with the current scientific opinion and placebo effect and that’s why I’m kind of tripping on this. It’s why I have always stuck to 24/48. Don’t know what’s up - could it possibly relate to my material, or maybe some specific idiosyncrasy of the tech in my interface? (RME UFX, and the gear is all clocked via audio out from the DAW to RME to E-RM multiclock, btw).

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Sure. The reason for using a higher bitrate (e.g. 24-bit) during recording and mixing is that it gives you a lower noise floor, the reasons for using a higher sample rate include reducing aliasing for plugins that don’t do oversampling (like NI Monark), or to reduce latency.


Unlikely. Please note that there’s absolutely no shame in admitting to yourself that it just makes things sound better to you knowing you run things at a higher bitrate. Perception is not objective.

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I’ll do that as soon as I stop hearing it, don’t worry :wink: Besides I don’t think I’d opt for it in my normal recording workflow anyhow. File sizes are huge.

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You’re not crazy. I can definitely hear it as well
The question is whether it is worth the extra processing power, extra drive space etc???
I use to work at 96k but have actually gone back to 44.1 recently just so I can go absolutely mental with plugins etc.
I reckon I’ll jump back up when I eventually replace my computer that’s about 3 yrs old now

That’s bit rate, not sample rate.


After a little more reading on this subject, it seems that people who hear this difference may be reacting to reductions of mid-band distortions introduced by gain, dynamics processing and eq, rather than outright hearing an expanded frequency range - which I agree, is not possible. The result, from what I can tell, is a perceived reduction in muddiness, and improved clarity of the mix (which describes how I’m perceiving it pretty well). If it’s good enough for Bob Katz, it’s good enough for me, I guess.

But yeah, file size and processing overhead sucks, so, trade offs, ya know?

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Yup, sorry I erred.

reverted to 48k after 96, because found the difference just not worth resources overhead for mixing and storing. (actually, because the onboard DSP of Zoom LiveTrack L-12 is not available at 96k).

the difference itself is more the question of DAC design & quality than something else.
and yes, certain converters can work on certaing sampling rates significantly better than on others.

I’ve heard that midrange freq foldback can occur at > 88k, there might be something to it…? However, when I connect a 48kHz DAC to my SQ5 which runs natively at 96kHz, the 48kHz sounds miles more musical. 96kHz sounds stiffer yet clearer somehow in that specifc scenario.

So my take on this: Incocnlusive

There was a nice meta-analysis in 2016 that suggests that normal people probably can (a little), and that trained listeners can much more.


EDIT: Although it talks about “high resolution” it states later in the paper that most of the studies it includes looked purely at sample rate and did not vary bit depth, so I think this is relevant here.

EDITEDIT: I don’t record/whetever at high sample rates; your bold statement just caused me to dig around a bit, playing devils advocate :wink: