Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
neuronaut
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Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by neuronaut » Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:38 am

How/when do Freeze/Flatten happen at 96k?

I've been setting the project Sample Rate to 96000 before Freeze and Flatten in the hopes that they are processed at higher resolution. I then switch back to 41000 to handle mixes because of CPU limits. At export, I switch back to 96000.

Am I wasting my time?

Thx!
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Tarekith
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by Tarekith » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:12 am

Yes, just work at 44.1 if you're computer is struggling. Is there a specific reason you want to work at 96k?

jbodango
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by jbodango » Tue Dec 09, 2014 7:14 am

96k Rules! Once you slide down the slippery slope of down sampling, don't bother trying to traverse back up. Those bits are gone and you ain't getting them back :D

neuronaut
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by neuronaut » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:53 pm

Tarekith wrote:Yes, just work at 44.1 if you're computer is struggling. Is there a specific reason you want to work at 96k?
Because it's noticeably better sounding! If you can't tell, you need better monitoring.
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neuronaut
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by neuronaut » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:55 pm

jbodango wrote:96k Rules! Once you slide down the slippery slope of down sampling, don't bother trying to traverse back up. Those bits are gone and you ain't getting them back :D
If I never save, flatten, freeze in 41.1k, then I'm not actually up sampling.

I still need an answer to the question.
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by Tarekith » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:52 pm

Live is one of the few daws that re-samples all audio on the fly, so that noticeably better sounding 96k audio you're hearing while working on your project is actually downsampled 44.1kHz audio. What's worse, the realtime re-sampling engine they use is often criticized for not being very transparent compared to other options. Ableton themselves recommend doing any sample rate conversions in a separate app if sound quality is important to you, it's in the Audio Facts section of the manual.

Note that in Live 9 they added the SOX sample rate conversion during export, but this only works when down sampling. Higher sample rates will still use so so realtime SRC.

Can you recommend some better monitors for me to look into too?

Matt_Quinn
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by Matt_Quinn » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:05 pm

Tarekith wrote:
Can you recommend some better monitors for me to look into too?

:lol:
the_planet wrote:Trap music is not supported in the current version.

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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by tedlogan » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:29 pm

Tarekith wrote: Can you recommend some better monitors for me to look into too?
:lol:

neuronaut - Have you seen his monitors...?

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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by Tarekith » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:49 pm

Also, this is a very interesting discussion on why higher sample-rates might not be better at all:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/masteri ... ssing.html

neuronaut
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by neuronaut » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:10 pm

Tarekith wrote:Live is one of the few daws that re-samples all audio on the fly, so that noticeably better sounding 96k audio you're hearing while working on your project is actually downsampled 44.1kHz audio. What's worse, the realtime re-sampling engine they use is often criticized for not being very transparent compared to other options. Ableton themselves recommend doing any sample rate conversions in a separate app if sound quality is important to you, it's in the Audio Facts section of the manual.

Note that in Live 9 they added the SOX sample rate conversion during export, but this only works when down sampling. Higher sample rates will still use so so realtime SRC.
Good to know - thanks for the details. However, I'm not downsampling. I'm deliberately switching everything to 96k before I commit anything. My hope it to keep it all at 96k the whole time. I drop down to 41.1k so that I can run multiple analyzers, etc. Once I'm happy with my settings in 41.1k, I switch back to 96k and bounce/export/freeze/flatten.
Tarekith wrote:Can you recommend some better monitors for me to look into too?
Audeze headphones
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by Tarekith » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:14 pm

Are you recording the original audio files you're using at 96k too? You said it was 96k before you freeze or flatten, but what about any samples or loops you're using? That's what I was trying to get to when talking about upsampling, if you set the project to 96 and any audio file are actually 44.1, then they will be resampled when you render and then you're using Live's less than optimum SRC.

neuronaut
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by neuronaut » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:26 pm

Tarekith wrote:Also, this is a very interesting discussion on why higher sample-rates might not be better at all:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/masteri ... ssing.html
I'm too busy in my mixdown right now to look up the references... but a lot of Avid users swear by 96k and would go higher if they could.

Also, you can find folks mentioning the benefits of higher resolution when bouncing soft synths, on many forums.

The main feeling among pros who have mentioned the benefits, is that higher resolution is better. At some point all audio will be 96k and everything done in 41.1k will sound out of date. Producing tracks in higher resolution is worth it in order to avoid obsolescence.

After hearing the difference personally, I'm convinced. It's higher resolution and I can tell.

It's like video displays. Everyone thought 1024 x 768 was fine, but now that we have double the pixel density on our phones, MacBook Pros and 4k displays, everything produced in low resolution is doomed to look dated and blurry/pixelated.

CDs were the 41.1k standard setter, but we're moving away from that completely. I'd like to think it's up to the creatives to set the new standard.
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neuronaut
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by neuronaut » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:30 pm

Tarekith wrote:Are you recording the original audio files you're using at 96k too? You said it was 96k before you freeze or flatten, but what about any samples or loops you're using? That's what I was trying to get to when talking about upsampling, if you set the project to 96 and any audio file are actually 44.1, then they will be resampled when you render and then you're using Live's less than optimum SRC.
Yes, I record everything at 96k. I understand up sampling, and I'm not doing that.

My initial question is about what happens to Freeze and Flattened audio if the settings are at 96k. I read the manual before posting. There's no mention of resolution regarding Freeze and Flatten.

I will do my own test session soon to find out.
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neuronaut
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by neuronaut » Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:26 am

Hi there - I wanted to follow up with my findings:

- When you Freeze, Ableton uses the current app Preferences for the Sample Rate of the file. If you are at 96000 when you Freeze a track, your audio will be rendered at 96000.

- It does not matter what the sample rate is when you Flatten. The Sample Rate is determined during Freeze.

- Audio is moved from the Freeze to the Flatten folder. The files isn't modified, so it will be the Sample Rate of the app at Freeze time.

Everything else related to Sample Rate can be found in the docs.

stringtapper
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Re: Freeze/Flatten at 96k? How can I be sure?

Post by stringtapper » Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:53 am

neuronaut wrote:Yes, I record everything at 96k.
A few questions:

1. What microphone are you using to record?

2. What is the upper limit of your microphone's frequency range?

3. What monitors are you using?

4. What is the upper limit of your monitors' frequency range?

Unless you're recording with something like a Sennheiser MKH800 and monitoring through something like Adam A7Xs (both with an upper limit of around 50kHz) then it's likely that you're not even capturing the full range that 96kHz offers, let alone "hearing" it (yes I know about research into how ultrasonic frequencies may be perceived non-aurally through things like bone conduction, but there's still more research to be done on the subject and the point is moot if your monitors don't even approach those high limits anyway).
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