Here’s an update, or a rethink, of an old post that claimed that a high-resolution sample rate is better for audio quality.
Well, it’s wrong.
192 kHz digital music files offer no advantages over 48 kHz. Sampling rates over 48 kHz have some nasty side effects, like ultrasonics that cause intermodulation distortion. You still get all the fidelity benefits – smooth frequency response, low aliasing – at the 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz rates.
But do go ahead and set your music project in 24-bit. Though 24-bit is irrelevant to playback, this bit depth does offer a larger dynamic range, is useful for multiple processing in series, headroom and noise floor. 16-bit linear PCM audio doesn’t cover the entire theoretical dynamic range.
It’s useless to distribute music as 24-bit (remember the dynamic range of most types of music is usually less than 12 dB). But nowadays most players can handle 24-bit files, and they don’t harm fidelity. Therefore it’s possible to skip dither solutions to reduce your music project to fit distribution at 16-bit files.