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Over the past 10 years I've been making most of my living doing stock libraries, patches, virtual instruments etc which were geared pretty specifically toward musicians. These days though, I'm doing more and more library works which are designed more for use by video artists, app developers, folks scoring for TV etc.

Most of my third party distributors sell my work at 16/44, some at 24/44. But lately I'm getting custom clientele, and requests from stock customers, who are asking for the libraries at 24/48. I usually record/produce at 24/96, and dither/convert downward from there for various distributions.

I'm about to implement an overhaul to my workflow and want to streamline things, while outputting to a format that best meets the needs of my new growing customer base ie; non-musicians.

So, for those of you working with moving picture; What sample rate and bit depth is generally the one that meets your needs best and fits as easily into your processes as possible?

Thanks for any input.

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Great question. My preference is to always acquire the sounds in their native format, ie. if they were recorded at 24bit 96k, that's how I want them delivered. That being said, if you're going to be recording things for libraries nowadays, I would definitely shoot at the highest available rates, which for most people is 24bit 192k. Recording at these specs will generate pretty large files, but hey, storage is cheap!

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  • Thanks for the feedback, Jay! If it's worth mentioning for anyone else, my libraries aren't (typically) "dry" sound effects collections. There are a few of those, but the bulk are fairly heavily processed sounds, designed motifs, musical elements, ambient soundscapes, etc. Not sure if that makes any difference in the matter but just mentioning. Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 23:51
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Jay's point on cheap storage is actually very relevant. Although higher bit rate / SR files are bigger in size, this is less of a problem than it used to be due to the above mentioned. Personally, I prefer have my effects in 24 Bit, 192K as this gives me the most flexibility. 96k sample rate is acceptable but I'd never compromise on the 24 bit depth.

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  • Thanks. Storage is of no concern for me. And although I distribute via digital download exclusively, I have unlimited storage and bandwidth for that - and my libraries are small enough to keep them manageable for the person downloading it, even at higher qualities. Anyone have any examples of commercial libraries selling at 192K? Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 23:55
  • I only know one 192k [Hart FX][1] [1]: hartfx.net/libraries/industrial001 Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 1:52
  • Oh and a few on here. chuckrussomfx.com/products-page/hd-pro-fx/dogs-hd-pro Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 2:01
  • This is nitpicky, but I wouldn't label either Colin's or Chuck's libraries as "commercial" (correct me if I'm wrong here, guys) - I think they are better referred to as "boutique" since they are usually small and specific in nature. (Although they may like to charge "commercial" library prices on day!!) Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 3:01
  • FWIW my Fireworks library is 192kHz & multichannel/multi mic and the Seal Vocals library is 192kHz hissandaroar.com
    – user49
    Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 19:45
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You'll want 24/48, or at most 24/96. Going as high as 192kHz is utterly pointless for listening. Although there is a little bit of ultrasonic signal that is captured with 96kHz, it is not something that any human can hear, and intermodulation can actually harm fidelity (Releasing at such a high sample rate can actually harm fidelity in practice). Everything above that is just noise.

Recording should be done at 96kHz if you plan on applying any effects. You may also want to record with 32 bit float which gives you more freedom to avoid clipping when you don't set your gain just right. For distribution assuming human listeners, just release as 24/48.

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