Q. How do I resample my project from 48 to 44.1 kHz?

Published in SOS May 2011
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Sound Advice : Mixing

I have a niggling problem that I need to address once and for all. A sound-design project with several hundred audio files in use has somehow ended up as 48kHz/16‑bit. If I recall correctly, this project was created by opening up OMF files transferred from Final Cut, consisting only of location recordings from a sound recordist.From what I gather, 44.1kHz/16-bit is all that is required for transfer to the mixing studio, so how do I safely resample from 48 to 44.1 kHz? By safely, I mean no 'lossy' conversions.

Via SOS web site

SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: There's a good reason why the audio files from Final Cut are 48kHz files: anything associated with video must have a sample rate of 48kHz, because there must be an integer number of samples per video frame, and 48kHz is the universal format that allows that at all the common frame rates. Your sound recordist obviously knows this and has supplied the source files with the correct and expected sample rate. The Foley studio and dubbing theatre will also both work exclusively at 48kHz.

With this in mind, whether you work in Logic, Pro Tools or any other DAW, you will need to create a project at 48kHz and set up all your associated systems to work at this rate. Personally, I would also run the project and generate the output files at a 24‑bit word length to avoid degrading the 16‑bit source files.

Of course, it's possible to convert 48kHz files to 44.1kHz for your audio project and then convert them back again at the end of the project, but this is a pointless and unnecessary step and — in theory, at least — the conversion would also lose you a little high end. However, if you're importing tracks or samples from audio CD, it's perfectly acceptable to up-sample to 48kHz (which most DAWs would do automatically), because there's no high end there to lose!  

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