Recording Frequency Considerations - Recommendations?

I am setting up to digitize about 300 mono/stereo LPs, and 250 old 78s, with an ION USB turntable. I want to do the “best practices” investigative work up front (I don’t want to be a sound engineer - I only want to go throught the decision making process once). Then create a standardized process by which I can crank out MP3s by rote mechanical procedure (no thinking involved, just assembly-line like work).

My laptop supports recording at 48 KHz, but CDs can only be burned at 44.1 KHz.

Is there anything to be gained, or lost, by recording into Audacity at 48 Khz, and then exporting a 44.1 KHz WAV, which will ultimately be turned into a VBR2 MP3? (The WAV file will be archived, so that various flavors of MP3s can be generated to suit any purpose).

Please remember the objective here is “Best Practices”… It doesn’t matter if I can hear the difference or not. If recording at 48 KHz and exporting at 44.1 KHz produces even slightly technically better results than recording at 44.1 and exporting at 44.1, that’s the way I’ll do it. Especially since the effort involved in setting the recording parameters is a one-time “set 'em and foget 'em” kind of thing.

Oh, and don’t hesitate to include any comments regarding “Best Practices” for other aspects of recording.

Thanks, JP

Unless you may be burning the recordings to DVD at some point in the future I don’t think there is any benefit in recording at 48 kHz. As you say, the audio CD standard is 44.1 kHz, and although 48 kHz can provide slightly better high frequency response, there are also small losses in converting from 48 kHz to 44.1 kHz.

Ideally you should test your equipment and see if there is any quality difference between recording at the two rates. Some audio devices will provide marginally less distortion or less noise at one sample rate than at another, though the real world difference between performance at 44.1 vs. 48 kHz is likely to not be detectable. If there is no detectable improvement at 48 kHz and your high quality destination is CD, then go for 44.1 kHz.

There’s a lot of related information here:


Imported stereo LP “Parkening Plays Bach” (Angel S-36041) into Audacity as 48 KHz raw audio. Exported raw audio as 48KHz WAVs. Converted WAVs to VBR2 MP3s. Copied MP3s into Media Player 12. Used program MP3TAG to view the file attributes. Frequency was listed as 48KHz.

Used Media Player to burn a CD-R with the 48 KHz MP3s as input. Put resulting CD-R into the CD player in my 2005 Dodge Dakota. Also put 48 KHz MP3s on to my Verizon enV Touch phone. Parkening Played Bach just fine.

Conclusion: Media Player automatically downsampled the 48KHz MP3s to 44.1 KHz before burning, or the CD player in my truck just doesn’t care what you feed it. My phone also doesn’t care. Either way I’m a happy camper. I can, according to the discussion about recording from LPs referenced in the link in the post above, get a slight improvement in quality by recording at 48 KHz… and as a bonus I’ll automatically be prepared to burn to DVDs. What’s not to like?


Why did you go to MP3 in the middle? MP3 creates compression distortion – every time and you can’t stop it.
Capturing at 44100, 16-bit, Stereo should give you a WAV file that will drop straight into a Music CD authoring program with no conversion or loss.

Best practices demand that you get a 78 needle if you’re going to play 78s. 78s have a wide groove compared to LPs and using an LP needle will greatly increase the noise level. The LP needle drags along the bottom of the 78 groove picking up all the cat hairs and dandruff.