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Old 14 January 2017, 13:57   #80
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Copenhagen / DK
Age: 37
Posts: 3,274
It can be proven mathematically that 44.1kHz can provide a perfect reproduction of all frequencies from DC to 20 kHz. Since the human hearing does not go beyond this range, 44.1 kHz should be enough for perfect reproduction. The only issue here is that it is impossible to make infinitely steep low-pass filters. In the early days, the filters were very poorly made and allowed high frequencies to fold down into the audible range, known as aliasing. This sounds very bad. Today modern DSP and oversampling techniques means that these filters can be made a lot better and in practice can push aliasing products down below -100dBFS in the audible range so they are no longer a problem. This is a bit harder with 44.1kHz than with 48kHz.

Formats like SACD which samples at MHz is a different process altogether since they only sample with 1 bit but with heavy oversampling. Most 48 kHz samplers also sample in the MHz range but will then decimate the signal to reduce the sampling rate but gaining bit depth.

The reason some people prefer analog is due to the imperfections which can add 'warmth' and 'personality' to the sound. This is also why some people prefer valve amps over transistor-based ones.

Regarding harmonics, they are per definition multiples of the fundamental frequency.
A harmonic of such a wave is a wave with a frequency that is a positive integer multiple of the frequency of the original wave, known as the fundamental frequency. The original wave is also called 1st harmonic, the following harmonics are known as higher harmonics.
You may be thinking of subharmonics but this doesn't really apply with sampled signals.
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