Just to satisfy my curiosity about how the sampling rate conversion and
various uploading techniques can change our recordings, I did a simple and=
very unscientific test. I transferred the song of a Fox Sparrow form a
MiniDisc using my Sony MDS-PC3 MD deck, using its "Toslink" optical
interface to my sound card. I transferred it initially at 44,100/32 bit. I=
saved that as the best possible sample I could get.
Next I trimmed a bit of the sparrow's trill out and resampled it to
22,050/16, resampled that to 16,000/16, then resampled that one up to
32,000/16, then back to it's "native" 44,100/32. Then I trimmed just two
notes from the original which I had kept and compared them to the same two=
notes from the sample that I had played with. I expected to see tiny
artifacts in the sounds, the spectrogram, or other "gross" analyses.
Nothing. Nada. I could tell no difference whatever - no matter how I looked=
at it, these samples were the same except for the missing frequencies above=
11,025 caused by the downsample to 22,050.
Now I don't deny for a second that there are differences, as there are
differences in digital vs analog transfers, 32-bit vs 16-bit editing, etc.,=
etc. But I want to impress upon those who are just getting into this
pursuit that the differences in your recordings will rely less upon whether=
you have the right sampling rate and the best possible D/A converters than=
they will on your recording technique in the field. That's where you can
make a huge difference.
Your choice of mics, like a photographer's choice of lenses, where you
position yourself, and your experience in the field will make all the
difference in the world. All of the worry about sampling rates and analog
vs digital transfer may mean something to you in the distant future, but
for now worry about the things that you can easily affect - your recording=
Doug Von Gausig
Clarkdale, Arizona, USA
Nature Recordists e-mail group