Sample Rate

The ‘Sample Rate’ (measured in Hz, or Cycles per Second) refers to the number of samples recorded per second.

Digital audio is recorded from its acoustic or electrical waveforms and assigned a sample at a set rate of time (the sample rate) to represent the audio in the digital realm. This happens in a A/D Converter (Analog to Digital Converter).

The sample rate determines the highest frequency that can be recorded by a system. This is due to a phenomenon called aliasing, where the sample rate causes an inaccurate representation of the signal.

The highest frequency that can be recorded by a sample rate is known as the Nyquist frequency, which can be calculated by halving the sample rate. This is why all common sample rates are above 40kHz, as humans can hear from 20 Hz – 20kHz. The most common sample rates are 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 96 kHz, and 192 kHz.

diagram comparing an anlog sine wave to a digitized sine wave


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