I was wondering lately about differences in samplerates of wellknown sound libraries. Why does Sound Ideas, or other sound sellers, still deliver their libraries at 44.1 kHz instead of 48 kHz, even when delivering on a HardDrive? When importing a Sea Wash Calm.wav from the BBC series into Protools it needs to do samplerate conversion (besides splitting it into .L and .R).

I've worked in several studios as a freelancer and noticed that nobody really seems to care about this. All the audio in the libraries is converted on the fly which:
a. Costs more time compared to batch converting on a separate system (which might take a long time, admittedly).
b. Normally is done with 'low' settings due to waiting times (instead of tweakhead settings) and sounds less good.

Or is it just not necessary 'because nobody will hear it anyway..' ?

Dear SSD sound editors/designers: What is your opinion on this matter?



6 Answers 6


I'd suspect the 44.1kHz sounds are 'historical' sounds ie sounds recorded 3-5 years ago, so to uprez them would require either accessing & re-editing/mastering original recordings or re-recording them... While it might be handy to deliver sounds in the format you want, uprezzing them would mean the buyer thinks they have bought 48k or 96k sounds, which would be highly dubious....

  • 2
    +1 ... I agree, re-sampling the sounds to 48k or 96k is a moot point, much to the same vain is thinking that converting an mp3 to wav will bring back full fidelity. As you said Tim, it's about going back to the masters Aug 9, 2011 at 19:44
  • Tim nailed it. Not too long ago it was inconceivable to record at 192K let alone 96K.
    – Utopia
    Aug 9, 2011 at 20:25
  • First of all, thanks all for your responses!! Tim's point sounds logical. It would indeed be dubious to get a library that was 'uprezzed' tot modern standard, whilst not actually becoming better in the process. I would feel f%cked if i would find out later. Which leaves me wondering what I should do with my recordings from 44.1 era's, batch converting at highest possible quality or just on the fly 'like everyone else'. Aug 9, 2011 at 21:37
  • 1
    i've got plenty of 44.1k fx in my library & it doesn't seem at all slow or time consuming to convert when i need them.... I'd rather put spare time into new sounds than converting lots of sounds up for minimal time saving... if I was going to do that I'd also want to add metadata, tidy up edits etc = rather record new sounds
    – user49
    Aug 10, 2011 at 0:59
  • good point, especially about just going out to record new stuff and add metadata. Aug 10, 2011 at 19:52

Short answer:

Because people still buy them, and it's not worth the cost to convert.

Longer Answer:

Those are the native settings of their existing files. It would cost them time (man hours) and storage space to convert all of those files to 48k for "convenience" on hard disk based delivery for the end user. Both mean more money spent. Note that these new files wouldn't naturally be 48k, they're still 44.1k files that have been resampled (just like you're doing on your system). I'm sure there are some "false advertising" legal concerns associated with that idea. Not to mention one other simple idea, "Is that the format that the end user wants it in?"

Not everyone using sound effects are looking for high res. audio. Internet, radio, mobile applications, and a whole lot of games can't even use those 44.1 files in their native sample rate. They're going to be converted down to 22k, 8bit, or whatever else may be needed.

The costs weighed against the various ways these libraries could be used just doesn't balance out for these companies. Many have been working on building their high res. libraries over the last few years, and we're starting to see those released. It's just not in their financial interest to update an older product that people are still happily buying.


businesses respond to market demands.

some customers still request 44.1 because that's "cd quality" and takes up the least hard drive space while still being full rez. If an sfx company were to only offer 192k sfx they'd almost certainly be costing themselves some sales on the lower ends of the market, and they'd be doing it for no reason.

  • Hi, i understand that some people think drive space is more important than audio quality (mp3!), but if you're selling hard drives anyway (sound ideas), why bother? 192K is not always very usefull, besides size, the difference is mostly interesting for pitching shifting concerns. Aug 9, 2011 at 12:42

Not all sound design is for picture. Plenty of audio-only projects are 44.1 - music, art, theatre etc.

  • +1 on the theatre point. And radio commercials, which account for 70% of my day-job work, certainly don't need 96k SFX. Mind you, I'm still doing the lion's share of my new SFX recording at 96k, but the library stuff that I have at 44.1 works fine for what I'm doing much of the time. Aug 10, 2011 at 7:25
  • i could have thought of that ofcourse, especially radio. then again, i've always worked in 48 for theatre because of video elements and same goes for art in most cases for me at least. but i can imagine different needs for different media. Aug 10, 2011 at 19:51

One thing I think it's probably important to remember as well is that not everyone who needs sound effect libraries is a sound mangling maniac like the rest of us. While freakazoids like us spend our time Paul's Stretching goose farts out to infinity and back just to see what kind of artifacts it'll pick up on re-compression, most people only need a collection of reasonably accurate sounds to drop into a scene at a moments' notice.

Sound Designer: "But at 44.1 I can only stretch it to twice its lenght cuz it'll get all gross and artifacty, and then reversing it will only make it worse. And then pitching it down will make it unlistenable."

Normal Person: "So?"

  • haha very true ofcourse, but in the business of film making, a little freakness is necessary :) Aug 10, 2011 at 19:49
  • @g.a.harry I've been looking for some decent goose fart recordings - perhaps you could hook me up... some info on the mics you used and the distance from the subject would also be helpful
    – Bluesman69
    Aug 11, 2011 at 13:22

To echo some of the above; depends on the use case. I make the bulk of my living creeating libraries and virtual instruments, some are for video artists, some are for musicians, some are for iOS app developers. All of my source material starts at 24/96. Not for any particular reason, just what I've settled on for consistency.

Anything I make which is marketed toward musicians is released at 24/44. Not sure why, but that's where that market has settled over the past for years. I remember in the early 2000's when 24/96 hardware was becoming widely available for bedroom musicians, and for a few years people were all over it, then over the past several years the musicians have been sticking to 24/44. Anything I do for video artists goes out at 24/48, or 24/96 if they want it.

The thing that makes the least sense to me is that the musician market is the one that has settled on the lowest sample rate, yet they are some of the biggest users of time stretching and general sound mangling. All anyone in that market seems to care about is the "24 bit" part. Heck, maybe I'll start selling musician material at 24/96. Give them some more room for destruction.

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