The fact is that, anyone that is an audiophile will be a sucker for quality because that’s pretty much what the job entails.
You’re always looking to get the best audio quality possible for your clients or yourself and most of the times you have to trust your gear enough.
In this post ill discuss whether 16 bit 44.1 kHz is good enough because that’s basically the sample rate that almost everone works with.
This has been a recurring question in many forums which is why I decided it was a good enough subject to tackle.
With that said, let’s get right into this post.
Is 16 bit 44.1 kHz audio good enough?
16 bit 44.1 KHz is good enough. Higher resolutions can be beneficial in performing editing and mastering functions in audio engineering. But there’s little to no difference that the human ear can note in the final product of Higher resolution audio compared to the standard 16 bit 44.1 kHz.
In essence, 16-bit and 44.1 kHz is able to deliver the best audio quality you can experience, relatively cheaper. Most audiophiles conclude that everything beyond that format tends to be a waste of drive capacity and high-definition recordings can be more expensive.
For mastering in the digital domain, having the extra resolution helps with processing accuracy.
Disadvantages of working with Higher resolutions
Youve probably come across various high sample rates.
Some of these are sample rates of 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, and even 192 kHz that are pretty much available in music and audio production software AKA digital audio workstations.
I know you probably have this question on your mind right now…..
Is there an advantage to working at these higher sample rates?
Well, Higher resolutions are not necessarily all Christmas and rainbows, let’s look into the disadvantages of these Higher sample rates.
1. When sample rates double, so do the file sizes on your drive. If you have limited space on your drive. You’ll probably be forced to either delete stuff on your system to make room for your high resolution audio or simply lower your sample rate.
2. Working with Higher sample rates demand more processing power from your computer. The basic rule is, the higher the sample rate, the higher the CPU cost.
3. Another downside to working with high sample rates is that some plugins and audio tools can’t handle higher sample rates properly and could cause issues.
The important things
Below I’m going to discuss things that matter the most when considering audio quality.
Quality of the audio
Before you even start worrying about the bit rate or sample rate make sure to check that the quality of the audio track you’re playing through your system is of high quality.
Don’t be mistaken, quality always begins from the song itself.
Let me iterate.
It doesn’t matter if you have a million dollar sound system, if you play a poor recorded or mixed track 192 khz or 44.1 khz on it, you won’t get a magical great sounding track.
This leads me to my next point..
Mixing and mastering efforts
Get your mixing and mastering done right in your DAWs. Stop being focused on the sampling rate because your ear won’t even pick up any differences in a higher resolution.
So stick with 16 bit 44.1 kHz because it will get the job done. Focus your efforts in recording your music properly, that is, by using a good microphone, recording at a reasonable distance, sound treating your room etc.
After this, get your mixing done right on a good sound system. Then finish off with your mastering.
Good DAC and ADC
One important thing that influences sound quality is Digital to Analog/ Analog to Digital converter.
Or soundcard for short.
Most sound cards that are on-boarded in most computers by manufacturers are simply meant to be used for casual playback and not intense digital audio work.
Digital Audio work demands not only a good soundcard but a good processor and RAM aswell.
Therefore, one carrying out this kind of work needs a better sound card which is an audio interface as well as a good processor and RAM.
An audio interface works the same as any sound card but it is a more highly optmized sound card that performs Analog to digital and digital to Analog conversion more superior than the average inbuilt sound card that comes preloaded on every PC or laptop these days.
16 bit 44.1 kHz is a good enough sample rate because it won’t take up too much of your disk space but will give you great audio quality.
Higher resolutions are more demanding and could end up causing problems for your computer.