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Chart of suggested audio standards for multimedia projects

Jay Rose

These are just suggestions, and are based on the built-in options available on the Macintosh platform. They might not be compatible with DOS/Windows equipment.

This information was posted in 1995 and is now is largely obsolete, with the advent of perceptual coding techniques. For information on newer ways to do things, check Macromedia Shockwave and Telos Audioactive. For samples of what these all sound like, click here.

If you don't agree with what's posted here, at least read the caveats before you flame me.


APPLICATION         |       Sample Rates in kHz       |Compression @ 8bit |
                    |  44.1   32   22   11   7   5    |  3:1   5:1   8:1  |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
CDs, Music Videos   |   X                             | [16b recommended] |
                    |                                 |                   |
Broadcasting (US)   |          X                      | [16b recommended] |
                    |                                 |                   |
Home Video          |          X    v                 |    v              |
                    |                                 |                   |
Desktop presentation|                                 |                   |
  just music        |               X                 |    v              |
  just narration    |               X    v            |    v              |
  just sfx          |                    X    v       |         v         |
  mixed track       |                                 |                   |
                    |                                 |                   |
Computer training or|                    X    v       |    X    v         |
  pop-up audio notes|                                 |                   |
                    |                                 |                   |
Voicemail, phone    |                         X   v   |    X    v      v  |
                    |                                 |                   |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   X - This setting (or higher) recommended.
                                             v - This setting may be usable.
  Broadcasters also use MPEG Layer 2 or 3, Dolby AC-2, or Apt-x compression.
  
NOTE: In Summer 1995, Apple announced IMA compression (4:1) as part of their
QuickTime 2.1 format. It sounds great. In Fall 1995, Apple released an equi-
valent package for Windows. It also sounds great -- but as of this writing,
neither is supported in any software other than the QuickTime utilities.
 

Assumptions

These suggestions are based on professional equipment and software, properly used, with sounds carefully prepared.

For example, 32k s/r yields excellent high frequency response (within .25 dB to 15 kHz) on a good digital audio workstation... more than adequate for US FM radio.

On the other hand, an 8-bit track can be absolutely awful if badly converted from a low-volume 16b signal.

And of course, this was posted in 1995 and is now obsolete.

With that in mind, feel free to send comments.


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November 1995 11