Sample Rate of 88.2 Kilohertz-Ouch My Brain Hurts

I don’t know about you, but when I start reading about audio sample rates, and scary numbers with decimal points and symbols like “kHz” start showing up, my brain tries to escape from my skull.  Jeez, I’m a musician, not a tech geek (though not for lack of trying).

Unfortunately if we are going to get into audio recording, we should train our brains to stay still long enough for some fundamentals.  Just as it is not necessary to understand why our iPhones work in order to operate them, we don’t truly need to know what a “kHz” is in order to grasp how it might be important to our recordings.  It stands for kilohertz (or 1,000 cycles per second), and all you really need to know is that the music you listen to on your CDs is 44.1 kHz.  So however you record your audio in your home recording studio, when it’s is finished, it should be 44.1 kHz.

Some folks believe you should record at higher rates, like 88.1 (stay with me!) kHz, converting down to 44.1 at the end.  Personally I don’t see the point (get it?  I made a decimal joke).  Yes technically the audio will be “higher definiton” (pardon the video metaphor), but I don’t think most folks would be able to tell the difference.  Meh, to each their own.

Here is my article on sampling frequency:

Here is an article that tries to make the case for always recording at 88.2 kHz:

0 comments on “Sample Rate of 88.2 Kilohertz-Ouch My Brain Hurts”

  1. A perfect explanation as to why home recordings should be demos of demos and the real deal done in a studio, preferably with an engineer who knows his hertz from his Heinz baked beans!

    1. Wow Jason. So you don’t think professional sounding recordings can be done in a home recording studio?

  2. Ken
    Not really. There’s always going to be something in there that screams out “Home recording” and then dampens the listeners listening pleasure.

    Having been involved with bands who have done both, I’m firmly in the recording studio camp!.

    1. Jason,

      I understand where you’re coming from. But how do you reconcile that with all the “pros” who have been recording in their home studios? One of the best albums of the past year is Wasting Light, by Foo Fighters, which was recorded in Dave Grohl’s garage. There are tons of other examples. The point I try to make with Home Brew Audio is that it isn’t the location or the price of gear, but the knowledge of those using the gear. I understand what you’re saying though. All you have to do is listen to Recording Magazine’s “reader tapes” to hear what amateur sounds like. But I blame the knowledge and skills (more like lack thereof), not the gear. And the “location” piece of the puzzle is really not that important any more, as evidenced by Foo Fighters, The Wailin Jennies, Todd Rundgren, etc. (that list is really long).

      One other part of this equation is that home recording isn’t always about music. A lot of voice-over actors are subscribers here too. And I think it is probably much easier to rival “downtown” studios for single-track voice recordings at home than with music.

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