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Question regarding oversampling... DSP Audio Systems
Old 2nd January 2011
  #1
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StephenWiley's Avatar
 

Question regarding oversampling...

I produce electronic music, which is pretty much 100% digital distribution via mp3. Therefore the music automatically converts to 16bit 44khz.

I have started to notice more oversampling in synths and fx plugs. My question is, if I over sample (lets say 8x) Voxengo's Varisaturator, will I hear those results, or will it revert back to 44khz.

I don't really understand oversampling, but I know I like the way it makes things sound better. I've always thought the ears can't hear past 20khz, at least that is what i was told, but running plugs with 8x oversampling has a clear distinction versus that same plug using no oversampling.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #2
Registered User
If you believe you are making music that will stand the test of time, then don't throw away quality today. As technology improves, we will probably see a move towards consumers using uncompressed 24 bit high sample rate music ... it's about bloody time ... the crazy audiophools who buy exotic hifi gear and snake oil power cables are still pissing around with 16 bit 44.1 and unbalanced 'interconnects' ... if only they knew the quality they are missing out on ...

It makes a lot of sense to mix and master your music as though it was going to be a future classic - maybe used in movies and listened too in hifi demonstrations ...

SO unless you are technologically or financially crippled - whatever you do, mix and master in 24 bit 48 MINIMUM. Then - when you have a finished product that sounds good - perform a high quality SRC to make you low quality files. And don't leave the SRC to your typical mp3 creator. Use something good, like Voxengo R8brain for the critical conversion.

MP3's are munted, and most people know this. What happens if in the future somebody remembers your song and wants the HQ version ... and is willing to pay you big dollars for the rights ...
Old 2nd January 2011
  #3
Registered User
As far as oversampling within plugins - don't worry about it. It's the developers choice to handle the maths whatever way gives the best result. They only give you the option to choose to save CPU. But generally, the plugin will sound best if you choose the higher sample rate.

The basic science behind it, as I understand it: The human ear is certainly limited to 20kHz - but the audio signals we record, especially with high end gear and high sample rates, can contain frequencies higher than 20kHz.

when you are creating a saturation effect, basically you are adding harmonics. So this means the mathematic algorithms are adding higher frequencies to the input signal - which may already contain very high frequencies. Inside the plugin mathematical process, the developer must choose to throw away unwanted high frequencies that are generated. This requires a filter of some sort - and filters have a tendency to affect the sound, especially if the resonant frequency is close to the audio range. Filters are much sweeter sounding if they don't have to be extremely sharp. So by oversampling, we can allow the internal maths of the plugin to handle frequencies well above the audio range, and the developer can do all his maths with a higher degree of precision (less rounding errors) and then roll all the crap off with a sweet filter that has a gentle slope and a resonant frequency well above the audio range.

Something like that ... don't worry about it. The fact that you can usually hear an audible difference when oversampling is engaged means that the end result affects frequencies well within the audio range that you can hear. If it sounds good, it IS good. And most of that 'goodness' will still be discernible after a high quality SRC to CD or mp3 rates ...
Old 2nd January 2011
  #4
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thanks for the detailed reply. although ill admit i don't know a lot of what you were talking about. I'm still learning. I've only been at it for 2 years.

But, from I can discern, if it sounds good in Ableton and im operating Ableton at 16/44 then that same sound WILL carry over when the conversion to mp3 is made.

And I didn't know the converter for WAV to mp3 was very important. I have always (like most probably) used LAME. I will check out that Voxengo one though. Would you care to share the differences of the two, and why the Voxengo might be better?

appreciate the replies!
Old 2nd January 2011
  #5
Registered User
You can safely ignore everything I said. I really was addressing your basic philosophy - which seems to be "why should I make quality audio when the market today seems to accept crap".

You might be able to go a long way with crap audio quality, if your songs are good.

But the point i'm making is that - even if you can't hear the difference yourself - there are people who CAN hear the difference and do care about it.

Remember the days of analog TV? The quality was so poor, to a certain extent it didn't matter what you looked like close up. But now with High Def digital TV, people can really see every little detail on your face, and it can be embarrassing what they see. So standards have been raised.

Audio is a little like this. Many people are listening on low quality devices, and quality doesn't matter as much to them. But there are people with very good listening systems, and if you are trying to sell them music that contains defects, they will hear them and it could be embarrassing for you.

You probably have far bigger concerns than quality of sample rate conversion - so don't worry about. I'm just trying to educate you for the future. Sowing a few seeds ...

Is this electronic music that might be played in a club? Probably a far greater area of concern is how your music might translate in a club setting ...

Mixing is one thing, and Mastering is another. You are probably trying to do both, but there is a reason that professionals don't usually do this, except for rough mixes.

A basic concept about recording music is that everybody will hear your music through different sound systems. Just because something you have mixed sounds great on your speakers or headphones, doesn't mean it will sound great for everyone else. Bass in particular is very hard to judge. The basic idea of mastering is getting your musical product to conform to the industry expectations of level and spectral content, so that it will sound as best as it can on the majority of sound systems.

Whatever work you are doing now, very probably, won't sound that good on a lot of systems. But if you are keeping undamaged original copies of high resolution wave files, a good Mastering Engineer could probably salvage them. But if all you have are low res MP3 files, there is not much that could be done.

Why plan to associate your name with low quality product? There are some easy decisions that can be made now that can raise the quality of your product and retain options into the future.

Or you could just accept that you are on a learning curve right now, and if you happen to make any good tunes, you could plan on re-recording them later.

I suspect that you do care about quality, or you wouldn't be asking these sorts of questions.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #6
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well i dont really look at it from any other perspective than what my ears tell me. if its 8bit nintendo sounds, or 192khz percussion, whatever sounds good pleases me.

Whenever I use the Voxengo Varisaturater on 8x as a send I hear a very distinct sound. It presses on the high's very well. The 4x is nearly as good. And 2x and below is a completely different sound.

My concern is, if I mix a track down with a bunch of high quality oversampling, will all of that quality be wiped away when its converted down to various media formats?
Old 2nd January 2011
  #7
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I agree about Mastering and Mixing. Unfortunately, there is no money in dance music right now, so people like me are left to learn to master on their own. To be honest, I don't think I'm that bad (with electronic music) - I have had big jocks play my tunes that I composed AND mastered, as well as other tunes from my label that I mastered (I have UAD + all plugs) - As an electronic artist you are kinda forced to learn things that you would normally pass off to an engineer. It sucks because it requires so much more time and effort, but in the end it's really worth it. It helps to see the big picture and how to create a good mix from the beginning to end.
Old 7th May 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenWiley View Post
I agree about Mastering and Mixing. Unfortunately, there is no money in dance music right now, so people like me are left to learn to master on their own. To be honest, I don't think I'm that bad (with electronic music) - I have had big jocks play my tunes that I composed AND mastered, as well as other tunes from my label that I mastered (I have UAD + all plugs) - As an electronic artist you are kinda forced to learn things that you would normally pass off to an engineer. It sucks because it requires so much more time and effort, but in the end it's really worth it. It helps to see the big picture and how to create a good mix from the beginning to end.
I'm in the same situation, I can't afford mastering, I'm flat broke. I managed to scrimp together the money to treat my room with acoustic panels, if you're attempting mastering yourself, it's a must. Then I bought Bob Katz book, and I'm slowly digesting that as questions come up.

I've done A/Bing of a project at 44.1KHz, with no plugin oversampling, one at 96KHz, again no plugin oversampling, again both sample rates with oversampling on the plugins, and the 44.1KHz with oversampling came out tops. My only question now is are my Powercore reverbs oversampling automatically, or do they go by the project sample rate. This I need to know to get the best from it I suppose.

EDIT: Just for the record, all sources were recorded at 44.1KHz 24bit..

EDIT 2: Nah, the 96KHz with oversampling sounds better after a rest and a coffee..lol
Old 7th May 2013
  #9
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catawbawine's Avatar
 

OP: You might find this article interesting!

24/192 Music Downloads are Very Silly Indeed
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