I don’t know who makes up the Audio Jungle market. We can speculate, but there’s really no way to tell, barring Audio Jungle doing a useful survey. I assume a large chunk are people looking for music for online-media (youtube videos, websites and the like) where the format is going to end up fairly low-fi anyway, because the end product is going to be streamed. Sound effects are probably amateur/independent filmmakers and occasionally people producing video games across multiple platforms (and also web-content developers). A really talented sound-producer, engineer, someone who knows what they are doing…I’m assuming a lot of these people are probably capable of producing their own stuff and are probably trying to make a living doing it themselves. Movie studios and the like will have dedicated people for this. Independent filmmakers and web-content developers…I’d wager those are the people buying most of the content here, and I’d wager their highest priority is what works or sounds right versus what was encoded in the highest quality. There are probably some television shows with fast production schedules (soap operas come to mind) that need to outsource a bit, but if they are looking for the fast solution, I don’t think they are too concerned about hi-resolution. A film producer with a budget is going to hire someone to score whatever they are doing (or license popular music), large companies and firms might use AudioJungle for online content, but for TV commercials and the like, even if they like an AudioJungle track, they would probably just contact the author and work out an exclusivity deal wherein they outline exactly what they want.
Most of the music here isn’t for people looking to listen to new music for entertainment purposes, but on the flip side there are a few singer/songwriters trying to sell their music here, so I wouldn’t completely discount it. That’s what Trax is all about.
But that’s all just speculation.
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Some thoughts from my head
1) 44100hz is just Ok
2) If I record something (sfx or music) with a high end chain (knowledge -> room -> mic > ->preamp) at 44100Hz 24bit to bounce it at 44100Hz 16 bit, it will be better than something recorded with a crappy chain at 192KHz.
3) Many years ago I was desperately searching for a special sfx, to use it in a dvd project (a short film). When I found the RIGHT one wich was fitting perfectly with images I actually didn’t care if it was 44100 or 48000 or mp3 128Kbps… I oversampled it to 48000Hz without loosing quality and no complaints
4) If there’s a big production that wants the Best for its project, it will hire people without loosing time searching things on an audio microstock, and the first thing to talk about with these people will be the mood, the kind of feelings to communicate etc.
5) We had an example here with Matt Steiner and Sony Mobile. I think that man of Sony just pressed play and listened to a great track without doing maths with bit depht and Hz.
I have a lot of thoughts about a lot of what everyone has written. There are some great points and opinions represented. I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to voice them.
Regarding sample rates vs audio quality, I think that’s a real rabbit hole not worth going down. It’s such a subjective topic. Intelligent, informed papers have been written supporting lower sample rates, and the same for higher sample rates. Lavry’s popular paper on why a particular sample rate is better personally comes to mind (and is a good read).
If you put all of us in a room and let us choose which sample rate sounds best to us, we would undoubtedly all choose differently. Put us in a new room on a new system with the same testing procedures and we would still probably choose differently. There’s just too many factors involved. This thread could reach 100 pages and the majority of us would still hold the same opinions as we did on page 2.
So I would like to focus on the business side of things.
(All CAPS for emphasis…no anger here
This is a MARKETPLACE.
We are SELLERS.
We need to appeal to our BUYERS.
The very first post in the AJ forum is about how to promote your music. Why is that? It’s certainly not to feed our egos. The more you promote yourself, the more you promote AJ and the more sales we all make. This is a MARKETPLACE selling a product attached to a license. (the license terms implying the product is not simply for personally enjoyment) Your are a SELLER trying to sell your product. You make money, the marketplace makes money, the customer gets what he/she wants. At the end of the day, that’s what it all boils down to.
Now the question is, what does the BUYER want? The buyer is ultimately king in this scenario, so we should cater to them.
Now that’s a difficult question, right? We would need to conduct a survey of current AJ buyers to see what they would prefer and could accept. (For example, “I prefer 24/96k, but can accept 24/48k”) But even a survey like this wouldn’t tell the whole picture as it targets CURRENT buyers and not POTENTIAL buyers. How many potential buyers have stopped by only to quickly leave because they were put off by the sample rates? We’ll never know.
So the question is, are we losing sales because of the bit depth and sample rate offered?
Please answer this:
Can you definitively say that NO sales have been lost due to current sample rates and bit depths?
You can’t say that because for one, you know that I would not buy from here for that reason.
No, I’m not an elitist, a hipster of sorts….I’m just a guy who likes higher bit depths and sample rates. I run a voice studio who does a lot of post production-like work. I’ve spent a lot of money on stock music and sound effects for my projects. However, there are times when I just can’t find the right song or sound in my library. So I go to marketplaces like AJ to find them.
I prefer to find the most cost effective music to help keep my client’s budgets down. What I don’t prefer is 16bit 44.1k
As I said before, if I need a very specific sound then I won’t care about sample rates. But AJ won’t nearly be my first stop because I personally want a minimum 24bit 48k. Am I some kind of statistic anomaly? No, I’m YOUR potential customer. I could very well be buying your music on this site. Are there others out there just like me? That’s another question you need to ask yourself.
If we’ve chosen to put our music and sounds on this site for sale, we are engaging in business. We must give the customers what they want or our sales could suffer.
Now, from our point of view (the SELLERS) even one lost sale should be enough to want you to offer higher bit depth and sample rates; but of course AJ would think differently. They’ll need to decide if the extra costs involved would be worth it.
For us though, I honestly see no reason why we WOULDN’T want to offer at least 24bit 48k. If it were 15 years ago, I wouldn’t argue it. But with today’s fast Internet download speeds, cheap storage, cheap memory, fast CPU’s, DAW’s that can handle higher sample rates, and audio interfaces/converters that offer these sample rates, I really see no obstacle. Can your current setup produce 24bit 48k files without a hiccup? Even higher? Is it severely lagging while you’re creating a track? (would have to be a monster song!)
Everything is set up to deliver higher bit depth and sample rate files…so why not? (if we’re possibly losing sales)
That’s it ladies and gentleman. I hope I’ve presented a good argument. Focus on the business aspects of why higher bit depths and sample rates should be instituted in AJ, not the subjective “it sounds better” argument.
Please tell me what you think.
(all of this and I’ve yet to have one item up for sale! hahaha…)
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I actually used to work doing quality control tests on ultrasonic transducers. A lot of what I did was to use a measurement microphone calibrated against a reference level to get accurate ultrasonic sound pressure level measurements. The funny thing is it turns out that people can actually reliably hear a 25 to 26khz sine tone when it’s at 110db (@ 1 meter) on axis. This kind of spits in the face of really limited currently available “data” I’ve seen on proposed hearing sensitivity contours (which typically speculates that hearing sensitivity is totally diminished/non-existent past 20khz unless you’re talking db levels above 130).
However, it’s a moot point even then. You’re still only talking a quarter octave extension above the normally accepted 20hz to 20khz “standard”. The other issue comes when you analyze what information 10khz+ actually contains. Anyone who’s isolated and listened to a band encompassing 10khz+ frequencies from a fully produced track knows that it’s essentially just scratchy “noise” resembling slightly different detectable timbres typically mostly associated with percussion/drums. The higher the fundamental frequency anywhere beyond about 7khz the less the actual waveform (or timbre) matters as the harmonic components are shifted so far out of the sensitive range that it is effectively the same as if they were all just sine waves.
Here’s a fun test to actually see how much impact this idea has. Open your DAW and using any plugin capable of typical synthesis, synthesize a square wave at 15khz (maybe easiest to open up a spectrogram and then just start shifting the pitch up radically to reach that kind of frequency as a fundamental). Now change the oscillator to a sine wave. Do you hear any difference? You won’t, at least if you’re a human. Information beyond about 12khz becomes progressively less and less important the higher up the scale you go as there is less actual “information” that our ears can even decode from the signal. You might be able to ‘detect’ a 25khz sine wave at a high enough volume but good luck telling the difference between that and a 21khz triangle wave. It’s impossible.
This isn’t the only problem, looking at the logical chain of events from a capture (recording) stage to actual playback is riddled with issues when you’re trying to do justice to a sound by using a higher sample rate. If you’re looking at the source, first you have to either synthesize or have program material that actually produces some type of ultrasonic component. Maybe if you exclusively record gamelans, muted trumpets and vacuum cleaners you’re in business but otherwise all you may be doing in the first place is needlessly increasing the noise-floor of your recording. Secondly is the microphone you’re using even capable of picking up ultrasonic sound? This is a difficult question in and of itself and unless you’re exclusively using small-cap condensers or earthworks m30s you can bet the response is mangled past 20khz anyway due to edge diffraction at the diaphragm. Then compounding that problem is the fact that if you can’t tell what type of ultrasonic noise you’re recording because you can’t hear it, how will you even know it’s related to the program material and that you didn’t pick up on broadband ultrasonic noise created by the hvac unit in the building?
Tricky right? Well, lets say you’ve synthesized your sound effect or track to specifically avoid those particular recording-based issues. Well, then the difficulty you’ll meet is in processing. Even now there aren’t necessarily a huge amount of plugins that support sample-rates beyond 44khz for processing. Lets say the plugin supports 384khz and beyond or whatever. How do you know what kind of effect that plugin even had on the ultrasonic frequency components? You don’t. You have no idea what’s going on up there. All you can do is hope that whatever processing you used didn’t negatively affect the ultrasonic sound in your sample.
This isn’t even the end of the problems. Consider how many playback systems can even produce a significant amount of power at frequencies above 18khz. It’s definitely not going to happen with consumer headphones. Not going to happen on a mini-system or even with a lot of reliable reference systems that use soft-dome tweeters to be honest. So at this point you’re effectively trying to ‘listen’ to sound that may or may not even exist and even if it did and even if it had harmonically related ultrasonic content to the program material and even if the speakers could actually produce it at such a high level that it would be perceptible you STILL wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between that and someone using a dog-whistle in the next room. This should pretty clearly illustrate how nearly completely useless high-sample rate recording/playback is. Really, it’s not subjective. It’s pretty much totally pointless unless you’re using it for some type of research purpose.Maybe some of you have heard about the white paper from Ooashi: http://jn.physiology.org/content/83/6/3548.full
Now this is definitely interesting because in a controlled enough environment they were able (and this is the only experiment that I know where this type of thing has even been done) to get a “response” detectable only by eeg measurements. Once you get outside of a controlled environment though (i.e. marketing “24/192 samples” to anyone and everyone because it looks really good) is really just marketing.
Now, here’s something that does make a lot more sense. Offer 32bit float files. This way you never have to induce limiting on the master bus or over-compress a client’s track. No loss of headroom and no possible way to clip the output and the purchaser has infinitely more control over the final re-recording process (if any). Probably would be most helpful to code a dynamic player that would allow for the track to be normalized so that the highest peak equates to digital zero so auditioning doesn’t cause client-side clipping. This would allow for pretty effortless automatic watermarking overlays as well.
Brain explosion actually, it is necessary to think before to answer you)))
It has been a while since I last posted in this thread. Holidays and my work schedule kept me from continuing on with this…but I have some time now…
After reading what joshhunsaker wrote, I have completely and utterly changed my ways. Henceforth, I will only record at 44.1…and maybe even jump to 32 bit float to boot!
But of course, we all know I’m not going to do that. Despite the intelligence of that post and seemingly un-arguable points, I’m still going to record at 96k 24bit. Does that make me an idiot? A product of marketing gurus? Maybe, maybe not.
But again, my point has nothing to do with sample rates being better or not. It’s about whether our customers’ do and us being able to supply them with what they want.
I feel like nobody is listening to the above point I’ve been continuously trying to make. I guess we should just put a link on the front page saying “Do you want a higher sample rate? Click here”. Then we can take them to a page explaining all the above post’s reasons of why higher sample rates have no value. We can even have a hotline so staff members can explain it to them further.
I say all that tongue in cheek. Of course someone wanting a higher sample rate will just move on. They, like me, will be ‘convinced’ that it’s better. Whether rooted in truth or not.
At any rate, I still don’t want to get into the sample rate war. However, I’d like for the casual reader to have a good representation of both sides of the argument. It’s not about the frequencies we can’t hear. Of course we can’t hear frequencies that high. So why in the world would we want to record that high? We must be fools, right?
There’s more to it than that. And I’m hardly the person to explain it. I remember a great post at gearslutz that summarized the reasons for a higher sample rate. It gives a good representation of that side of the argument. The thread was recently revived and I happened upon it. I’ll re-post it in the next post for all to read. I highly recommend everyone take the time to read it.
As promised, below is a post from gearslutz regarding higher sample rates. joshunsaker gave a very good argument against them, which may or may not sway some people. In the interest of keeping things balanced, I submit the below.
I have no idea the qualifications of the poster. He may be a shill for a converter manufacturer for all I know. Take it for what it is.
I’m not saying I agree with all of his points or if they are even valid, (thought I found some contradictory info) that is up to you to decide. We’re all adults and we can all make up our own minds. No need for someone to make up or minds for us. Please have a read. The original thread on gearslutz is linked below for you to research more into it. There are plenty of folks for and against it there.
1. THE DOG EARS MYTH. While in theory the 192KHz audio spec might seem to suggest that all audio up to 192KHz is recorded, in practice most 192KHz converters employ low pass filters somewhere just over 20KHz to prevent aliasing artifacts (figuring the human ear can’t hear up there anyway so nothing is lost), so 192KHz converters generally wouldn’t even let your dog hear anything above about 23KHz or so.
So why do 192?
2. THE ALIASING THANG. All converters have to issue a pulse for each clock cycle. That pulse, while very quiet, disturbs the waveform in ways that are not necessarily musical or desirable (noise). 192KHz allows that pulse to be moved way up above the audio spectrum to get most of the noise out of the way.
3. THE RESOLUTION THANG. Neil Young, at the height of his anti-digital days, used to rant about square waves. The fact is that, the all-important subjective experience aside for a moment, a waveform at 44.1 does look like a staircase compared to the same waveform at 192 (especially at lower signal levels, where resolution deteriorates even further), and 96 is in the middle (Loony Toons?), while DSD (2.8MHz sampling frequency) looks more than twice as smooth as 192. Comparing 44.1 to 192 is like comparing South Park animation to Pixar…. some people might subjectively prefer the choppy animation style of South Park over the silky smooth kinda-realism of Pixar animations, but people who are into “realism” are obviously gonna prefer Pixar. 192 has twice as many “frames” per second as 96, so the digital audio “cartoon” is going to be smoother and more realistic – there’s more information there, so it better approximates the original waveform (assuming the waveform hasn’t been mangled by processing somewhere along the line).
4. THE TRANSIENT RESPONSE THANG. Back in the real world, one place where 192 (or, better yet, DSD) really makes a difference is with transients (very, very brief sound events). The lower the sample rate, the more distorted the transients, because the slower sample rates don’t react quickly enough to accurately represent very short-lived events. Since higher frequencies have shorter lives, this transient response is more noticeable at higher frequencies – try listening to a triangle or high-pitched bell recorded clearly at 44.1, 96, 192, and DSD, and see if you can’t hear the difference. Are most of you gearslutz recording a lot of triangles these days? I dunno, but personally i like to capture all the shimmer of cymbals and the magical sparkling transients from my Matchless amp, too, through high-end mics and preamps that actually register all those transients, and higher sample rates clearly do a better job of preserving that glorious detail. But if you earn your living recording fart noises through an SM57 (nice work if you can get it), you might or might not notice much of a difference at 192 vs 44.1 or 96, knowamsayn?
5. THE “FEEL” THANG. Some engineers argue compellingly for finding alternatives to the LPF, so as to allow the rest of the spectrum up to 192 to be rendered clearly – not because humans can hear above 20something KHz, but because we can feel it. Whether one is consciously aware of feeling something different at 192 is an entirely different question, but, hey… waves is waves; there’s something physically different going on at 192 – it may be subtle, but it’s objectively real – and who’s to say someone else doesn’t notice or care? It is understandable, then, that both feel-oriented audiophiles and technical purists alike don’t wanna mess with even those parts of the spectrum that can’t be heard but certainly can be felt (at least by some of us, and i count myself among those).
6. THE… ER… SOUND… THANG. Well, folks, we like to say that, in the end, all that matters is what each of us hears and prefers… and some of us, myself included, do hear a difference at 192, and we prefer it. I also hear the difference between well-recorded DSD and 192, and i prefer DSD – it’s indeed the closest digital has come to 2” 16-track. But that’s me… YMMV, etc.
Oh, yeah, and before i go, let me address one more myth… someone mentioned the notion that bit depth (e.g. 16 vs. 24) is more important than sampling rate in determining sound quality. Well, this used to be subjectively true, at least to some folks, when all there was in digitaland was PCM audio. The jump from 8 bit to 16 was a quantum leap, and the hop to 24 didn’t suck either. But DSD turns all that on its arse… it’s one bit, yo. One bit moving at just over 2.8 MegaHertz. At that speed, that lonely little solo bit has more detail than 24 bits at 192KHz – it’s more like good analog tape, because it’s sampling the sound nearly 3 billion times a second… a lovely curvaceous waveform for Neil and the gang…. So, in this case, increasing sampling frequency has a much more dramatic benefit than bit depth.
But humans can’t hear anything over 20-to-23 KHz, right? Right (usually), but clearly music sounds better at 2.8MHz than it does at 44.1 or even 192KHz (1 bit at 192KHz is roughly equivalent in resolution to 24 bit at 384 KHz), all other things equal. So the superiority of DSD is a prime example of how the whole “we can’t hear way up there anyway so what’s the point” argument is founded in misunderstanding – presumably originating from non-techies reading techie threads and misunderstanding them and then passing them along to others until the misunderstaning grows to urban legend proportions.
Fellow gearslutz, higher sample rates are not about hearing higher frequencies; they’re about increased resolution, accuracy, detail, transient response, and subjective and objective realism in the frequency range we can hear, and… also stuff that’s subtler and harder to express in words (and thus harder to “defend” in jousts of naked, ignorant wit) but nonetheless real and powerful and valuable… ya know… the “energy” of a performance.
Whether a given converter box or signal path actually delivers the full picture of purity and energy that the technology theoretically allows for is an engineering issue (and no doubt poor engineering will continue routinely to be paved over by compelling marketing) and, as always, beauty is in the ear of the beholder. But at least let’s talk about the real issues with high sample rates as they apply in real world applications (e.g. the unequivocal benefits on shredding triangle solos vs. the negligible improvents for flatulence tracks).
Take it for what it’s worth. Hope that helps to balance the argument. But again, let’s not argue the merits (or lack thereof) of higher sample rates. Let’s offer higher sample rates to those customers who want them.
And if we really can’t, then let’s at least require everyone to replace their pre-higher sample rate uploads with the current 16bit 44.1 standard. It must be really confusing to new customers to find some content with higher sample rates and others not. Not to mention IMHO it makes the marketplace look a little disorganized and messy. (an apparent lack of standardization…truly a “Jungle” haha…)
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