audacity-logo

How To Change Audacity’s Sampling Rate to 48,000 Hz

Hey, there!

Got this note from a client today:

David,

I’m working with a producer on an audiobook (outside of ACX) and he wants me to send him the raw audio in what he calls 48000. What does that mean and how do I do that?

K-E

My first urge is to tell K-E to find another producer. But I won’t. Here’s the answer.

First off, never change your sampling rate for audiobook work. There’s no upside to it, because that’s not what the rest of the world wants (they want the standard 44100 sampling rate, which is more than adequate for reproducing the entire range of human hearing). It’s also ACX’s and Audible’s standard.

Anything above that is for the high end video and audio producers who make really complex music, or who have to map audio to existing video.

That’s not you.

But what does that number even mean? Turns out, it’s all about the data.

It’s the number of individual chunks your sound software slices each second of sound into, when recording. Your software (Audacity) then assigns each slice a certain value that describes the sound of that sample 1/41000 of a second (or 1/48000 if you slice it up even finer) and stores all those values in order on your hard drive.

44,100 (you might sometimes see this as 44.1k Hz) is the standard for compact discs. 48,000 (48k Hz) is the standard for video production. 96,000 (96k Hz) is the high-definition standard for professional music producers.

Let’s look at how that plays out. Or, more accurately, plays back.

So a standard CD will contain 44,100 pieces of data on its surface for each second of sound. That means that a 3 minute and 30 second song will contain 3.5 x 60 (seconds in a minute) x 44100 (samples per second) or 9,261,000 individual values that will be reconstructed into the song as you listen.

The CD spins, the laser reads all the data (very quickly), the electronics of the CD player runs the data through a Digital-to-Analog converter, and out the speakers the sound comes.

When your sound software plays back the audio you’ve recorded, it lines up each slice in order and very quickly plays them all back so you can hear your continuous sound.

So then, how does sample rate matter when you’re recording? It’s the same process, but in reverse.

When you record your voice, your AT2020 USB Plus microphone’s Analog-to-Digital electronics (which are, amazingly, packed into the bottom half of the mic itself) splits your voice up into 44,100 slices per second as you speak, and continuously delivers that data, via the microphone’s USB cable, to Audacity.

Audacity not only cleanly and efficiently stores all that sound data for further processing later, it shows a visual wave form representation on the screen as you record.

Back to K-E’s question.

If you switch your sampling rate to 48,000, you’ll get finer slices of the data, which is useful for more demanding quality jobs.

But because you’re only recording your voice, even 44,100 is overkill for audiobooks.

So, I wanted to tell K-E to suggest to the producer she’s working with that even though he is used to 48000, the audiobook industry has standardized on 44,100. And there could be potential issues down the line if the final audio isn’t produced to Audible’s standards.

However, with all those caveats, it’s actually pretty easy to set Audacity to 48000:

48000-cropped
(click on the image to make it larger)

Just open a New project in Audacity (File >> New) then use the drop down menu in the lower left hand corner labeled Project Rate (Hz) to choose 48000.

Boom.

You cannot use this drop down menu to change the sampling rate of an existing project. If you’re trying to re-sample a track of audio, select the track, then go to Tracks >> Resample… and then choose 48,000:

resample

Then export as your newly resampled 48,000 WAV. And play the exported WAV file to make sure it sounds right.

Or, as I suggest, push back on the producer, and don’t do this at all.

I hope this helps. But I also hope you are never asked to use it when recording audiobooks.

David

10 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    David

    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    David,
    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!
    Shirley

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

  9. Bernard Prame July 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

    extremely helpful demo. Thank you!

Leave a Reply