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Recording: digital audio Digital Audio Tutorial: Bit rates and file formats

Digital audio tutorial
Introduction to digital audio
What sounds best?
Music compression
Common computer digital audio formats
Perceptual encoding schemes
Chart 1: bit depth and sampling rate chart
Chart 2: audio file formats
Chart 3: compression schemes
Glossary of common digital audio terms
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musiq.com digital audio
digital audio bit depths and their use
bits computer formats common use
4 .aifc rarely used
8 all formats early soundcards, cheap samplers. When storage was on floppy disc, this was the standard.
12 none found on many 1980's era digital delay units and effects pedals
16 all formats the CD standard, and the current standard for most digital audio equipment, sound cards, and samplers.
20 none used for many A/D converters; also for new line of 20 bit ADAT multitrack machines, and on a few soundcards. See UV22 and HDCD.
24 .au, .aiff, .snd the new "high definition standard," found on new Pro Tools systems, new DAT machines, and on DVD-audio CDs. See UV22.
32 .au, .aiff, .snd not used for recording; used for DSP software, both as an intermediate step when doing processes which might cause distortion under 16 bit, and for spectrum analysis.

sampling rates and their common use
rate (khz) description
7.418-8.192 telephone (low quality)
11.025 20-5,250hz. range; lowest resolution for accurate voice transmission
22.05 20-10,000 hz. range; not very good for music
32 20-15,000 hz. range; used in portable DAT recorders for long, mono field recordings; formerly the broadcast FM standard.
44.1 20-20,000 hz. range; the CD standard, and currently the standard for digital audio cards and most digital audio devices.
48 / 48.3 20-22,000 hz. range; called the DAT standard (though most DAT machines also record at 44.1). Barely distinguishable from 44.1.
96 10-44,000 hz. range; the new DVD-audio standard. Note that frequencies above 24khz. are technically inaudible.

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