Is there a benefit to some sounds having a higher sample rate (ie. 192kHz)?

As I browse around Soundsnap, I notice that some sounds are higher sample rates while others are lower. I can't really hear the difference sometimes in the quality (at least through my current speakers). Is there a reason I would want to have higher sample rate sounds over others?



  • Official comment

    The quick answer is: its higher quality.

    The long answer:

    Higher quality comes with some drawbacks (as many things in life), as it means larger file sizes.

    However, even if you can't hear it, its best practice to always start with the best quality file you can get because its likely you may lose quality down the road when mixing it, adding it to video, or exporting it in a different format etc.

    Higher quality sounds can be manipulated without compromising their quality too much- for example slowing sounds down works much better with a higher bit depth/ rate.


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  • The sample rate determines how many samples per second a digital audio system uses to record the audio signal. The higher the sample rate, the higher frequencies a system can record. CDs, most mp3s and the AAC files sold by the iTunes store all use a sample rate of 44.1 kHz, which means they can reproduce frequencies up to roughly 20 kHz.

    Testing shows that most adults can’t hear much above 16 kHz, so on the face of it, this seems sensible enough. Some can, but not the majority. And examples of people who can hear above 20 kHz are few and far between. And to accurately reproduce everything below 20 kHz, a digital audio system removes everything above 20 kHz – this is the job of the anti-aliasing filter.

    But a fair few musical instruments produce sound well above these frequencies – muted trumpet and percussion instruments like cymbals or chime bars are clear examples.

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