Project Sample Rates - what about the ADC?

I just made my first LP recording with Audacity 2.4.1 on a Windows 10 PC. AUDACITY Recording Tips said set the Project Sample Rate at 96kHz.

If my Parasound Phono USB ADC can only sample at 16/44.1 why set the project rate at a higher value?

AUDACITY Recording Tips said set the Project Sample Rate at 96kHz.

Do you have a link to that?

You’re right! There is nothing to be gained by up-sampling. (By default, Audacity will increase the bit depth to 32-bit floating point and there are good “technical reasons” for “processing” in floating-point. But of course, that doesn’t increase the audio quality or true resolution.)

Often, you don’t even know the capabilities of your hardware. The drivers will “secretly” re-sample so you can record at 24/192 or play a 24/192 file with any cheap soundcard.

“CD quality” (16-bit/44.1kHz) is perfectly adequate. It’s better than human hearing and far better than analog vinyl. :wink:

I was mistaken. The tutorial clearly says 44.1 but I think when I made my recording Audacity defaulted to 96kHz, hence my error. But I assume if you have an ADC that can handle it and you want to record at 24/96 or higher you should set the project rate accordingly.
Not to start an endless audiophile debate but I am not sure I agree that CD quality is good enough for LP copies. I have material in both and have very good playback hardware for both media. The LPs almost always sound better than their commercial CDs. I have also heard demos of 24/96 copies that ARE virtually indistinguishable.
I will be replacing the little Parasound unit with something that can sample higher like the $500 Korg.

But you just have … :sunglasses:

When I transcribed my LPs and tapes I exported at CD Quality 44.1 kHz 16-bit PCM stereo WAV files.

I listen on a hifi jukebox device played through may QUAD 33/QUAD303 amps on to my QUAD ESL-57 speakers (very high-end hi-fi kit) and I can’t hear the difference. In fact the WAV sound better as I processed them through Brian Davies’ excellent ClickRepair to remove the clicks and pops.

Commercial CDs are a different kettle-of-fish - for a start most of the new ones and the re-issues have been remastered to make them as loud as possible - It’s the modern fashion for the “loudness wars” - you can google that,

I had one Emmylou Harris LP that I originally replaced with a “remastered” CD - it was so awful that I spent the time digitizing the original LP. With the the remastering they pushed poor old Emmylou into the background swamped by the sound of the backing band. An atrocious piece of work - but it was “loud”

It’s a good job that Gale Andrews (RIP) is no longer with us - or he’d be jumping in on this :nerd:


You can try “double blind ABX testing” of correctly mastered 44.1 kHz 16-bit against 96 kHz 24-bit. If you can hear the difference, then most likely there’s something wrong with the recordings or the playback.

Double blind ABX testing can be done by exporting two WAV files from the same project, one as 16-bit 44100 Hz, and the other at 24-bit 96000 Hz, then compare using this (free) ABX software:

There’s no harm in higher resolution. The only downside is larger files. Just for reference, the “pro studio standard” is 24/96.

Not to start an endless audiophile debate but I am not sure I agree that CD quality is good enough for LP copies…

…The LPs almost always sound better than their commercial CDs.

They do sound different and sometimes, as with Peter’s Emmylou Harris album, they are mastered differently.* I can’t argue with people who prefer vinyl, and it’s not worth arguing with “audiophiles”. The noise on records is obvious, and obviously missing from CD (even or MP3).

On a “good day” you might get 60dB of dynamic range from vinyl (because of the noise). That’s just good enough to meet ACX audiobook standards. Most records would fail ACX. 16-bits gives you 96dB (or maybe 93dB depending on how you calculate it). MP3 has even more dynamic range (but of course it’s lossy and you can get compression artifacts.)

I grew-up with vinyl. I could live with the constant low-level hiss & hum (before I spoiled by CDs) but the “snap”, “crackle” and “pop” was annoying. Most people didn’t seem bothered by it but I hated it, especially if it was my record and I knew exactly when that nasty “click” was coming… It was hard to enjoy the music when I knew it was coming… "She loves you, yeah, CLICK, yeah, yeah!" :smiley:

And in the vinyl days, most records just didn’t sound that good. At least not the rock & popular records I was listening to. Once in awhile you’d run-across a gem but most were rather “dull” sounding (rolled-off highs) and perhaps there was some audible distortion. I was always upgrading or wanting to upgrade, but really the record itself was the weak link so I could only enjoy the upgrades with those few good-sounding records. I assume modern records are better but I haven’t bought one since I got my 1st CD player.

Even if the record has perfectly-flat frequency response, phono cartridges vary. The frequency range on a record can extend higher than CD into the ultrasonic range but CD frequency response is flatter across the audible range. I could live with minor frequency response variations… You fix that with EQ or bass/treble controls. It’s the noise I can’t live with…

I have also heard demos of 24/96 copies that ARE virtually indistinguishable.

And if you downsample to 16/44.1 or 16/48 the downsampled copy will sound identical to the high resolution copy in a proper-blind ABX test. :wink: A good quality MP3 can often sound identical to a high-resolution original or it can be very hard to hear the difference. Blind listening tests can be humbling!


  • The vinyl cutting and playing process changes the wave shape which leads some people to think different masters were used even when they were the same. It tends to “hide” clipping (without removing the sound of the distortion) and it makes some (short-term) peaks higher and some peaks lower which can give it a higher measured dynamic range (without changing the sound of the dynamics).

I was a vinyl lover - and thought I’d spurn new-fangled CDs possibley forever.

But then back in '84 a photographer friend of mine who did an album photo shoot with Sir Simon Rattle - told me that he had concerted to CDs and was absolutely delighted with them. I thought if that’s good enough for someone who stands in front of live orchestras conducting them, then it’s certainly good enough for me.

The person who was most delighted was my record dealer at 84 Charing Cross Road in London. When I was buying vinyl I was forever taking back cold-pressings to him - sometimes several times for the same album, with CDs there was none of that.

In the pre-CD days I used to protect my vinyl by recording them on TDK Super-Avilyn cassette tapes on my Nakamichi BX-2, a great deck which I still have but seldom use. I had it professionally serviced by B&W before I transcribed my tapes of commercially unavailable off-air recordings. The Nak was built in the factory in Japan with settings for the TDK SA tapes - so the results were (and still are) excellent.


And this led to me going back to my touchstone recording - Sonny Rollin’s “The Bridge” album track 1 “Without a song”.

I had this on vinyl for many years on vinyl, but sadly lost it through divorce. So I had to replace it with a CD - and this is a truly excellent example of remastering. The CD sounds at least as good, I think better, than the LP ever did - it sounds like Sonny is playing in the room with you. The CD (or maybe it’s the player - a Rega Planet) gets a better “grip” on the stereo sound-stage.

But then next I played from the hi-fi Jukebox another album I lost through the same divorce - a Sidney Bechet album which I managed to transcribe before I had to hand it over, The opening track “Sweet Lorraine”, one of my all-time favourites, also sounded truly great.