96000 Hz is slowly becoming a more wide-spread samplerate. Just as the audio CD caused the 44100 Hz samplerate to become very wide-spread, this rate is slowly becoming the next big standard in pro audio equipment and, perhaps in due time, also in HiFi circles.
It's all about headroom
The benefits of using a samplerate much higher than required becomes apparent in a production environment. A 96000 recording is in itself hard do distinguish from a 44100 recording, but if you need to play them at half speed, the difference becomes clear. Also, all effects involving resampling typically apply a steep lowpass filter just below the nyquist frequency in order to avoid aliasing. Examples of such effects are chorus, pitch shifters, vibrato, FM modulation etc.
Such a lowpass filter is not lossless. It introduces a slight phase shift, mostly audible in the upper octave. Most equalizers also tend to misbehave in the upmost octave, yielding odd results when trying to work with the frequencies close to the nyquist frequency, which is why they also gain from being used at a much higher samplerate. Reverbs tend to "blend in" better at higher samplerates because of the higher precision in time.
These effects may not be easy to hear when tested one by one, but in a complex song where sounds are generated and then manipulated through numerous effects, the difference becomes noticeable. The treble is usually where you notice the biggest change, but even the mid area can gain a lot from this. So to really gain advantage of 96000 hz, the trick is to make sure the entire signal chain is 96000 hz. Use samples recorded at this rate if you can.
The disadvantage of higher samplerates is that when you double the samplerate, you also double the amount of CPU needed.
Who uses it?
DVD-Audio and Blu-Ray audio tracks. The HDMI standard supports it. Historically, most professional digital audio equipment used 48 kHz sampling, but 96 kHz is gaining market here.
Buzz and 96000 hz
Buzz is fully capable of running at high samplerates such as 88200, 96000 and 192000 Hz. Some of the available generators and effects, namely older ones, do not handle these rates entirely correctly. Switching samplerate of an existing .bmx typically requires some manual compensation, especially if such old machines were used. In order to really be "96 KHz compatible" a machine must meet the following criteria:
- Switching between 44100 and 96000 hz should not change the behaviour of the machine more than a few percent.
- Generators must still produce the same (correct) notes no matter the samplerate chosen.
- Filter frequencies and ADSR curve timings should stay at the same frequency despite changing samplerate.
Notice that just because a machine is not 96000 hz compatible, it can typically still be used. You just have to adjust it differently, and sometimes pitch notes down to make it work (-13 semitones and -47 cents to be exact)
List of 96000 Hz compatible Buzz generators
- Matilde Tracker
- Unwieldy Tracker
List of 96000 Hz compatible Buzz effects
- FireSledge ParamEQ
- Polac VST wrapper
- Joachim Mars v2.2
- Joachim Compressor v4
- Joachim ChannelStrip v0.4
- Joachim Multi v2 (except the HP filter, which changes frequency)
- Joachim Saturn v1.1
- Joachim Venus v1.3
- Joachim Tethys v1.2
- Fuzzpilz UnwieldyDelay II
List of 96000 Hz incompatible Buzz generators
- Arguelles TB4004 (changes pitch)
List of 96000 Hz incompatible Buzz effects
- FSM PanzDelay (can only do very short delays at high rates)
- Joachim Neptune (all timings change)
- Joachims Jupiter 2 (all timings change)