Actual Rate

See here:

I do not understand what you want to tell me …
I am only referring to the wording (text) which is not correct from my PoV …

This is what it says in the Manual

I think the nomenclature is correct.


Again, could you please - instead of supplying a link to nowhere - state which exact wording you think is correct, thx.

OK, OK , now I understood. You are using “Actual Rate” on various places. Still the term is not ambigous.

Personally I think that the message is sufficiently clear as it is.
Yes, we could make it more explicit, for example: “Actual sample rate of current recording (Hz)”, but we have opted for brevity over verbosity.

The fact that the other end of the Selection Toolbar says: “Project Rate (Hz) [44100]” (or some other rate) is a pretty good clue that where the Selection Toolbar refers to “Rate”, it is referring to the sample rate in Hz. You obviously understood that it was referring to “Hz” without it explicitly saying “Hz”.
For anyone that is unsure what it means, it is explained in detail in the manual here:

Tip: The big picture of Audacity on the front page of the manual ( is clickable. When you click on an interface element, it takes you to the relevant page of the manual.

Again, please don’t misunderstand me. I do not want to inflate the text for the (sampling) rate displayed during recording/playback in the status bar. For me it is also OK to leave out the unit “Hz” (even if I believe that 3 additional characters would not really hurt).

The only thing I am worried about is the word “actual” because “actual” mainly means “existing in act and not merely potentially”; “existing in fact or reality”; “not false or apparent” and as such is more a synonym of “real” than of “current” (the latter being obsolete according to Webster’s Dictionary).

In contrast, “current” means “presently elapsing” or “occurring in or existing at the present time”, which is what I think would be appropriate here.

Of course, in German “Aktuelle Rate” is perfectly correct.

This poster from 4 years ago seems to agree with you drummer

Sadly Gale, who was dealing with that user at the time died not long after he was posting in that thread - and the OP never got back to him, so the issue ran to ground.

I’m thinking that maybe what Gale proposed might make sense:

Would “Sent Rate” for playback and “Received Rate” when recording be any better?


My German-speaking Swiss wife says “Genau” :sunglasses:


Thanks for linking

Perhaps there could be a Help button to the Manual there. That would help for a number of other places in the interface too.

Would “Sent Rate” for playback and “Received Rate” when recording be any better?

From my PoV the 2nd proposal would violate

I also think the message is OK as long as “Actual” is replaced by “Current” (and maybe " Hz" is appended), same in the documentation.

From my PoV the 1st proposal would absolutely be helpful and I think the most efficient way would be:

  • In the clickable image in “Program Files (x86)/Audacity/help/manual/index.html”, the number “18” should be moved to the right, e.g. to the middle below the two “Selection Position boxes”, so as to avoid the impression that “18” is (only) closely related to the transport status “Stopped.” while it refers to the complete status bar.
  • The image should reflect the transport status “Playing Paused.” as then the current rate display would also be visible.
  • in status_bar.html, “Actual” should be replaced by “Current” in the text and in the images (many occurrences).
  • Closely related: subject_index.html: “Actual Rate” → “Current Rate”.

I have performed a text search for “actual” through all .html files and in the majority the meaning is “real” with the following exceptions:

  • custom_ffmpeg_export_options.html: “The actual formats and codecs available in the lists” → “The current formats and codecs available in the lists”
  • device.html: “the actual physical sound device” → “the current physical sound device”
  • glossary.html: “the notes actually being played” → “the notes currently being played”
  • keyboard_preferences.html: “the actual key bindings themselves” → “the current key bindings themselves”
  • new_features_in_this_release.html: “Move the actual build information” → “Move the current build information”
  • note_tracks.html: “to match the actual notes in the channels” → “to match the current notes in the channels”
  • tutorial_mixing_a_narration_with_background_music.html: “much longer than your actual production” → “much longer than your current production”


Hi Helmuth,

I’ve been discussing this and think about this - and my conclusion is that Gale had the right idea, so I would like to see:

  • Received Rate for Playback

  • Sent Rate when recording

I added a note to this effect on our Wiki>Wording page:
And I raised a GitHub Issue for it to raise visibility with the developers:
And I flagged it our Discord channel for Audacity.

This does not necessarily mean that it will happen, But at least<,as a QA person, I have logged it for attention.

This also led me to make some tweaks to the Status Bar page in the 3.0.3 alpha Manual, not least updating the images with the new(ish) Timer toolbar and I gave it a custom TOC:


What does that mean?

“Actual Rate: 44100 Hz” is very clear - it is the actual (real) sample rate that Audacity is currently running.

I’ve no idea what “Received Rate for Playback” or “Sent Rate when recording” mean - received from where? sent to where?

I don’t find it very clear, Actual Rate for what - it is not clear it is no discoverable, you really need to read the Manual to ascertain what it’s really all about.
It could just as well be, say: the actual rate of the currently selected track.

You only hnow

it is the actual (real) sample rate that Audacity is currently running.

beacuse you happen to know - not all users will be so insightful.

Alternative suggestions

  • Sound Card Rate


  • Recording Rate

  • Playback Rate


It’s the actual rate of the digital audio that is being recorded or played.

When transport is stopped, the status bar shows:


When recording, something like:

Recording.                  Actual Rate: 44100

When playing, something like:

Playing.                  Actual Rate: 48000

This really seems like a non-issue to me, backed up by the fact that it has been years since it got so much as a mention on this forum, but if anyone thinks it’s worth the effort, perhaps it could be changed to:

Recording Rate: 44100 Hz.
Playback Rate: 48000 Hz.

The only problem that I see with that, is that if you select a different track to record into, then the “Recording Rate” may change, which may cause a user to wonder what the actual rate is.

Thanks Steve, personally I do think it’s worthwhile and I’m glad that we seem to reached a consensus on this. :slight_smile:

Accordingly I have updated (and pruned) Wiki>Wording

And now you really have go me confused - my understanding is (was) that the “Actual Rate” is the current rate that the sound card/device is working at, is set to work at.

Now you’re telling me here that it depends on the track :confused:


It depends.

On record, Audacity will request an audio stream from the computer sound system at the sample rate of the track.

If the audio device native sample rate does not match that sample rate, then some sound systems (such as PulseAudio) will resample the data from the sound card on the fly, and deliver an audio stream at the requested rate. I think that Windows also does this, but don’t quote me on that :wink:

Here we see the Project Rate is 44100, the track sample rate is 22050, the native sample rate for my sound card is 48000, and PulseAudio is resampling the 48000 Hz data from the sound card to 22050 Hz to match the track rate. The actual sample rate of the audio stream received by Audacity is 22050 Hz:

If the sound system is not able to resample the audio stream (such as Jack on Linux, or ASIO on Windows), then Audacity receives audio samples at the rate supplied by the sound system, and Audacity resamples the audio to the track rate. To be able to do that, the sound system must accurately report the actual sample rate of the audio stream that is being sent to Audacity [*1].

Here we see the Project Rate is 44100, the track sample rate is 22050, the native sample rate for my sound card is 48000. I’m using Jack Audio System this time, which is running at a fixed rate of 48000 Hz. The actual sample rate of the audio stream received by Audacity is 48000 Hz:
The way that an Audacity user can know the actual sample rate of the audio stream, is to look in the status bar during recording.

*1 When the sound system does not accurately report the actual sample rate, we will see problems such as the track being recorded too fast or too slow when the sample rates don’t match. Setting all sample rates to the same value will (usually) work around that problem.

Hi Steve,

thanks for that lucid and clear explanation. :slight_smile:

On the basis of that I have withdrawn my change request in Wiki>Wording and this will remain as "“Actual Rate”.

BTW our OP here, Helmuth drummer, was originally pointing out a mismatch between German and English here in the Status bar.
“Aktuelle Rate” in German translates to “Current Rate” in English.

Having read your explanation I think “actual” in English is just fine.

My German-speaking Swiss wife says

Don’t mess with the German, leave it as "> Aktuelle Rate> "


I don’t speak or read German, so I’ll leave that to the experts.
I note that Google Translate suggests: “Tatsächliche Rate” but I’ve no idea if that’s better or worse.

OMG. I never thought things are that complicated.
I am a native German speaker with a (mostly technical) English background of more than 40 years. Wherever possible I use English as GUI language because I hate ridiculous translations to German as e.g. the notorious “Eigenschaften von Arbeitsplatz” for “Properties of desktop” (in German we have the genitive for this and “Arbeitsplatz” would be “job”)…

I came across the topic only because during the pandemic our 3 piece band was not allowed to rehearse personally and we found an alternative using Jamulus. I have set up a Jamulus server on GCP with the ability to record, download the 3 personal WAV files to my PC and mix them to MP3 with Audacity. Jamulus only works with 48kHz sample rate so - previously having used Audacity with 44.1kHz recordings - I noticed 48000 in the status bar without surprise because all tracks also displayed 48000Hz. Therefore I thought the status bar reflects something like an overall “current” rate (“Aktuelle Rate” in German).
Thanks to the good explanation by Steve I know now that it reflects the sound interface rate, so “actual” is perfectly correct and the German translation is wrong - contrary to what I have written earlier.

Therefore my new proposal is to replace “Actual Rate” by “Interface Rate” (with the same wording in German) which would immediately explain what the number is referring to. The documentation could explain things a bit more, e.g. “Actual sample rate of the audio stream at the computer’s sound interface to Audacity, taking into account any necessary sample rate conversions required to match the track rate.”

What do you think?


We wrote nothing because we don’t think it’s going to change, sorry Helmuth.