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Andreas
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Since I’m (currently) focusing on video, I’m very happy with the 48khz, but sometime I’ll come back to CDs and then I wish to have 44.1 too…
Operating a project on higher samplingrates may make sense, since virtual instruments can easier operate inside the safe-area in terms of Nyquist and filters have a somewhat higher precision. Of course you need to come down to 44.1/48kHz finally.
Downsampling from 96/192 to 48 resp. 88.2/176.4 to 44.1 isn’t that big deal as well, since this basically requires a brickwall filter and dropping of unneeded samples. Odd conversions (i.e. 96 to 44.1) require additional math (interpolation) to generate samples at time locations not contained in the original material.
Regarding bit-depth its indeed easy to drop bits at the end (downmix), but for recording I really recommend to pick at least 24 Bits since it allows to record with some headroom and still allowing larger gain manipulation (compressors) without sacrificing quality.
The correlation between dB and Bits is simply 6dBfs/Bit, since each additional bit doubles resolution (or output voltage when keeping same resolution). That’s where the 96dB SNR from CD is coming from (16*6=96). So 8 Bits more provide about 48dB more flexibility.