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Sample Rate Quality.
Old 22nd March 2019
  #1
Sample Rate Quality.

Hey guys, question:

Im currently using Ableton Live 9. All stock plug-ins, soft synths, everything etc. Does upping the sample rate before rendering/bouncing down improve to final render?

Thanks.
Old 23rd March 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rallycapmusic View Post
Hey guys, question:

Im currently using Ableton Live 9. All stock plug-ins, soft synths, everything etc. Does upping the sample rate before rendering/bouncing down improve to final render?

Thanks.
In many cases yes, provided any of the instruments you use handle aliasing better with a higher sample rate. I've done tests with the same set with project set to 44.1 kHz vs 88.2 followed by conversion to 44.1. These do not null that much at all in my experience, but as the last conversion step involves either truncation distortion or dithering (at a very low volume) they really can't. If you reverse the polarity of one of these in 44.1, and play them back at the same volume, you might be able hear the difference (if there is partial cancellation you may need to add gain to be able to hear). My guess is that this varies with the project though. Some sets may null completely.

A better test would be to check aliasing per instrument by playing single notes with a stable sawtooth at the high range, checking in an analyzer what happens when overtones hit the Nyquist frequency (22k), If they "fold back" down into the audible frequency range that's aliasing. If this doesn't happen in 88.2 kHz you know that this instrument could benefit from oversampling. Of course you should listen as well. Not all aliasing is noticeable in the musical context.

The effects in the Live set are of course also affected by sample rate, but some of them can already be set to run in oversampled mode. If these add dither or truncate when going back to 44.1 I don't know, but I'd assume the former.

Last edited by Mikael B; 29th March 2019 at 08:41 PM..
Old 29th March 2019
  #3
I've worked in 88.2 in the context of a recording session and I've heard the difference. It definitely sounds better however I don't know how that applies to ableton Live's instruments and soft synths in Live. Anyway it's probably better if you work in 88.2 and then export in 88.2 rather than work in 44.1 and export in 88.2 so you can avoid extra conversion ....
Old 29th March 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caton View Post
…rather than work in 44.1 and export in 88.2…
You can of course build a up a song in 44.1 and then switch to 88.2 when exporting. Is that what you meant? As long as you're not recording/flattening when in 44.1 that's a workable model, isn't it? Of course, Live lends itself to recordings and processing these, so if one records one'd probably switch to 88.2 at that point.

Last edited by Mikael B; 30th March 2019 at 04:22 AM..
Old 29th March 2019
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikael B View Post
You can of course build a up a song in 44.1 and then switch to 88.2 when exporting. Is that what you meant? As long as you're not recording/flattening when in 44.1 that's a workable model, isn't it? Of course, Live lends itself to recording and processing these, so if one do that one'd switch to 88,2 at that point.
Yes definitely
I was just saying that one might as well work in 88.2 all the way instead of switching back and forth unless you want to save CPU power.
Live manages SRC "on the fly". I just don't know if switching several times from 88.2 to 44.1 and the other way round wouldn't end up being destructive for your files (because of successive conversions ?).
However, I've just read that Live's got a very efficient SRC so maybe I'm just getting worried over nothing

Last edited by caton; 29th March 2019 at 10:38 PM.. Reason: phrasing
Old 1st April 2019
  #6
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poshook's Avatar
I have great results even at 48kHz compared to 44.1. Aliasing goes away by a margin
Old 1st April 2019
  #7
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poshook's Avatar
If you use 44100 before mixdown and then change to 88200 or 96k, it is huge difference but keep in mind that your mix might sound different and you will have to make some corrections within the mix (EQ, compression, volume)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caton View Post
I just don't know if switching several times from 88.2 to 44.1 and the other way round wouldn't end up being destructive for your files (because of successive conversions ?).
I just want to make it crystal clear for future readers that I definitely advocate making the switch to a higher final project sample rate at the very first recording. You can record in a higher SR and go back to a lower project SR in many circumstances, but make sure all recordings are of the same SR. As long as you do this there are no conversions that affect the final product.
Don't mix sample rates if you can avoid it. I've mixed SRs and gotten away with it, but I cant count on that always working as I hope.

If your machine is struggling playing back at a higher sample rate, while you're still building MIDI tracks, then you can look to see if the instruments themselves can be run at a lower rate even as the project is using the higher. Live can probably take the real time conversion better than the performance impact of the plug-in itself.

Just remember to up the sample rate again when recording!

Obviously using a higher SR all the way trough is the easiest. Some of my softsynths however are very demanding and some other plug-ins too so I often can't choose a high SR until I've recorded these. I seldom compromise the final recordings, if I can avoid it. I really feel double SR sounds amazingly better.

Up to recently I ran synths in HQ double (or quadruple if available) sample rate and recorded in 44.1. This does indeed sound pretty good until it meets sweet saturation and distortion in 44.1.

Last edited by Mikael B; 2 weeks ago at 02:38 PM..
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