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Have you ever looked at a .wav file on a CD to see what frequency it was sampled at? If you do, you'll notice that it is sampled at 44.1 kHz. This is a very significant number because most humans have a hearing range of 20Hz to 20kHz, or a band limited range of about 20kHz. According to the Nyquist sampling theorem, if we want to recreate a sampled signal that is band limited to about 20kHz, then we should sample the signal at twice that frequency.

20kHz * 2 = 40kHz

Now if we sample at a slightly higher rate for good measure, we arrive at the 44.1kHz sampling rate, the industry standard for .wav files on CD's.

CD's are also 16-bit audio, which means that each sample will be one of 2^16 or 65,536 different amplitude levels available.

Alumni Liaison

Correspondence Chess Grandmaster and Purdue Alumni

Prof. Dan Fleetwood