Sample rates

Here’s something I’ve wondered about but have felt too foolish to ask…

A standard CD is 44.1k. Only a very few high res albums are 88.2, which is twice 44.1. Most are 96k, which is double 48. I have only very few that are 48. Then there is 192k, which of course is double 96, and four times 48. I think from memory that I have an album or two in 176k, which is twice 88 and four times 44.

So, if 44 is standard I wonder why we don’t see much 88 and 176, but instead they are nearly all 96 an 192, yet we don’t see many in 48?

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Good question, I’ve always just accepted it & never thought about asking.
As I understand it 44.1kHz is a legacy sample rate that goes back to the early PCM days,
it has enough head room to include the 21kHz pilot tone filter (just)
I believe video sound is 48kHz & it might be the 44.1 & 48 rates expanded from there.
But I’m just assuming & should be asking

Hi HH,

My understanding is that many top end DACs have a 44.1 and 48khz master clock allowing them to handle files of either type without having to resample them. So they use the correct clock for the relevant sample rate, or its multiple.

Again, I believe that whilst 44.1 was agreed for Redbook CD 48khz became the video/broadcast standard.

The DVD standard is also 48khz. And so if you want to push to higher sample rates 96 and 192 make sense.

DVD-A can take either sample rate, but like you I found relatively few that followed the 44.1 family.

Then files started to be streamed, and the media was more readily available in the 48/96/192 formats; and mastering in these rates today hits a bigger number of potential uses.

My guess!


Yup, think my Auralic streamer/dac has one clock for 44.1khz and multiples and the other for 48khz and multiples.

When folk compare hires vs standard cd versions of the same album, I wonder if having multiple clocks makes a difference and may, in part, account for different views on relative SQ.


I think 44.1 multiples really comes from content mastered for CDs… this less and less now. I understand 48 multiples are now more prevalent because of alignment with video codecs and video audio sample rates and less reliance on CD.
It might however explain why 44.1/16 can sound somewhat more inferior than it otherwise should if has come from a modern 48 multiple master.

If you go back to the early days of consumer PCM the common sample rates were 32, 44.1 and 48… with 48 being common for DAT

As far as DVD audio, there are a whole host of sample rates it can use.

It is my experience that the bit rate matters more than the sample rate. Thus, in general, 24 bit recordings (available mainly as downloads) are better than their 16 bit (CD) equivalents.
However, there is a horde of exemptions, and I am currently listening to a rip of Pentangle’s ‘Basket of Light’ (1969) from CD at 44.1/16 which is among the finest musical treats in my collection.

I don’t think you really mean bit rate vs sample rate, but commenting on sample size… and yes I tend to agree 24 bit tends to send better than 16 bit.

I assume you mean sound better?


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