Working with higher sample rates in Ableton 10 & Logic X

Firstly, it’s pretty simple to work at higher sample rates if you wish to check it out.

The best way is to set your DAW project and your audio interface to record at a higher sample rate at the very start.

In Ableton 10

In Ableton this is done in the Prefs menu. The highest possible setting is 96kHz, but you can actually export at rates as high as 192,000.

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 14.50.59.png

Ableton seems quite happy with exporting files at different rates than they were originally recorded.

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 14.54.29.png

Due to the unique way Ableton handles audio, you can even change the sampling rate (in Prefs) midway through a session and you’re previously recorded clips will stay in time. Ableton can also handle importing any clip at any sample rate, and play it back properly, no matter what setting has been selected in Prefs.

In Logic X

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 14.52.55.pngLogic can handle audio all the way up to 192khz

Logic’s sample rate settings are found in  ‘Project Settings’ . Again, setting your project to record at a certain rate at the very start is the best practice here.

Changing the sampling rate in ‘Project Settings’ halfway through a session in Logic will skewer the tempo of all existing audio. Things will sound like Alvin & The Chipmunks if you try to switch to a higher rate. If you want to change the rate, you will have to export each stem at the higher rate and then drop it back into the session so that the samples match the project’s sample rate.

Were these musical legends created by a mismatch between a sample and project settings? lol

Logic automatically converts files you freshly import if they don’t fit the sample rate of a session. Beware of that, if your aim is to make a master at 192kHz, importing a 192kHz file into a 44kHz project will downgrade the sample rate of the imported file. If you started at a lower sample rate, but want to ultimately have a larger, 192kHz project, bounce each stem out at the higher rate, change the sample rate in Project Settings, then replace the audio.

Some key points to note

1. Most plugins seem fine with higher quality audio, but some older plugins are seemingly unable to run in higher sample rate environments. 96kHz seems pretty much within the range of all plugins.

If you do have an issue with a plugin not being able to adjust to a higher sampling rate, one workaround is to bounce the stem (with the offending plugin active) running such a plugin at a higher sample rate and then reimport it into the session, thus not needing to run the plugin live at the higher sample rate.

2. If your aim is to write to CD, they tend to be 44.1kHz.

3. Exporting a 48kHz sample (for example) to a higher sample rate like 192kHz won’t magically change anything in the audio, but it will affect any processing on that audio, so plugins may yield more data and higher frequencies in that environment.

4. Higher sample rates mean larger files and cause the CPU to work much harder, so it’s definitely worth considering how that will impact your music making.

Final thoughts 

Ignore the haters lol

Ultimately, you want to find a sound you like and one that complements the style your making. Even just with plugins running in higher sample rate environments sound more open, to my ears anyway. Delays and reverbs extend further harmonically, and that can bring a certain lusciousness and openness to your mixes in my humble opinion. A hell of a lot of hela-loved music has been made at 44.1kHz, but who knows, higher sample rates may help you uncover an aesthetic you like in your music.

Happy music making!