What sample rate is enough?

We all own DACs that playback at stupid high sample rates… or DSD… or whatever this is all called.

So let’s be real… put your insatiable desire for MORE! MORE! on ice for a moment.

What is the point that IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE… what is the minimum sample rate you could honestly live with? C’mon, now, be real.

44.1 is an acceptable answer.

Bruce in Philly

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44.1, easily.

I have not downsampled a recording to carefully listen for when the sampling rate is inadequate even though I have a couple of superb SRC’s. . My guess the music would be significantly compromised at rates below 30kHz.

24/96 probably. But wirh the DS 16/44 sounds damn good, too, just not the same.

If you read from the mastering gurus, they don’t think any good of 16/44, not for recording or listening. I think we’re lucky with the DS, as on most other DAC‘s 16/44 fails much more significantly I guess.

DSD trades off resolution in amplitude for resolution in time, hence the higher rate.
With the higher rate you effectively spread the same noise power over the higher frequency range.
That noise can then be removed with a filter of lower bandwidth, keeping only audio frequencies to whatever accuracy you like.

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Mastering quality is so much more important than sample rate. What I can’t live with is crappy masterings. Redbook (44.1) is more than fine if it is a great mastering.


The industry has followed the megapixel road of cameras and the mpg of cars, when it’s only a small relevant piece of the experience. I can’t humanly hear anything better from 24/96.

Agreed. My belief is that the two most significant determinants of SQ are (a) the care taken in recording and mastering, and (b) the response of the room your speakers are set up in.

I purchased some hi-res downloads and a couple of 2X DSD downloads of Bill Evans. The latter are stunning, but I get 99.9% of the SQ satisfaction from well-produced Redbook.

Mastering =99%

24/44.1, anything above is icing.