Note: this post is from 2007, outbound links may be broken.
Sample rate, and the myth of accuracy
Hometracked has an interesting article on optimal sample rates at which to record.
Des McKinney writes:
The optimal sample rate at which to record is a matter of considerable debate. Proponents of recording at sample rates above 44.1 KHz typically claim that the higher frequencies yield greater detail. And while there’s a tradeoff – tracks recorded at 96 KHz need more than twice the storage space of those captured at 44 KHz – we’re assured that the increased detail means listeners hear more accurate recordings.
Don’t believe it. In recorded sound, accuracy is a myth.
Samples per second defines the sampling rate. (© Graham Mitchell)
Des argues that mixing engineers strive to achieve transparency in mixes, in place of perfect accuracy. A mix should sound good on every system (studio monitors, stereo systems, iPod ear buds), not perfect on just one.
Read the article to see why Des thinks recording at sample rates above 44.1 KHz is only for few people.
On a similar note, check this article by Tweakheadz discussing 16 vs. 24-bit audio recording.