General Audio Quality Help
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  1. #1
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    Default General Audio Quality Help

    So I'm brand new to the forum.

    Started DJing as a hobby about a year ago and have since started to become a little more serious about mobile DJing. I've done a couple of gigs, mostly in smaller venues/house parties. I'm trying to get a little more out of my speakers as far as overall quality. I feel like the sound from my speakers isn't what it should be. All my tracks are 320kbps. My gain levels are fine on my controller and nothing is really over-modulated...

    My setup is pretty basic:
    VMS 2 controller
    American Audio VLP1500 Amp
    2 Dual 15" Soundtech Speakers
    -XLR from controller to AMP and 1/4" jacks to speakers from amp...

    Any reccomendations on maybe a signal processor or some kind of accesory to improve audio quality??...I'm not too versed on the techy sound egineering aspect of things.

    Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
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    Honestly, every component you have is low to mid quality... The system is only as strong as the weakest component. I would upgrade to better speakers for the most dramatic improvement. Sound card quality also makes a huge difference.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by brocklambert View Post
    Honestly, every component you have is low to mid quality... The system is only as strong as the weakest component. I would upgrade to better speakers for the most dramatic improvement. Sound card quality also makes a huge difference.
    This is true...I'm hoping to upgrade when I can justify the cost...what would you say is the most important component out of all? I'm leaning towards the controller because that's where the sound card is...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC1 View Post
    Any reccomendations on maybe a signal processor or some kind of accesory to improve audio quality??...I'm not too versed on the techy sound egineering aspect of things.
    Less is more, a signal path is unlikely to increase in quality as you add stuff to it.

    Pretty much what Brocklambert said. A good way to look at things is by going through your signal chain and making the best (quality/financial) upgrades. Regarding your setup I'd go down the list like this:

    1. Songs. It all starts here. The most basic upgrade you can make is by playing WAV files. You can have an amazing sound system, but it will sound crappy if the song is crappy quality. Avoid MP3's if possible. This is honestly one of the easiest upgrades to fund, and is overlooked a lot.

    2. Sound Card. In your case, the VMS 2. Trickier since it's built into the controller. In terms of the overall sound quality, the increase will be marginal compared to your amp and speakers. I would look into upgrading this when you feel like you need a new controller.

    3. Amp. Doesn't look too shabby. Speakers make a bigger difference, but never skimp out on an amp. I would say, upgrade this when you are ready to move onto more powerful and better speakers and need a stronger amp. A good amp is clean and reliable, this is why people stick to certain names like Crown, 'cause they do just that. They may have a bigger price tag but are well worth the investment.

    4. Speakers. You'll see a huge range of quality possible here. Sadly, this is also the most expensive area to invest in. Sort of the same story as amps, it's all about quality and reliability. Hard to go wrong with the big names as they've proved themselves up to the task, at sadly, a higher price point.

    5. For the sake of it, audio transport. Stick to good balanced connections if possible, but it seems like you're already doing that.

    In you case, I'd focus on trying to only play WAV's as an immediate improvement (and a good future habit). Aside from that, it seems you'd benefit the most from some better speakers. Though I realize that's the most expensive upgrade. If you need help understanding anymore of this stuff, don't be shy to ask, I'm a bit more versed on the techy sound engineering aspects.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by R01 View Post
    Less is more, a signal path is unlikely to increase in quality as you add stuff to it.

    Pretty much what Brocklambert said. A good way to look at things is by going through your signal chain and making the best (quality/financial) upgrades. Regarding your setup I'd go down the list like this:

    1. Songs. It all starts here. The most basic upgrade you can make is by playing WAV files. You can have an amazing sound system, but it will sound crappy if the song is crappy quality. Avoid MP3's if possible. This is honestly one of the easiest upgrades to fund, and is overlooked a lot.

    2. Sound Card. In your case, the VMS 2. Trickier since it's built into the controller. In terms of the overall sound quality, the increase will be marginal compared to your amp and speakers. I would look into upgrading this when you feel like you need a new controller.

    3. Amp. Doesn't look too shabby. Speakers make a bigger difference, but never skimp out on an amp. I would say, upgrade this when you are ready to move onto more powerful and better speakers and need a stronger amp. A good amp is clean and reliable, this is why people stick to certain names like Crown, 'cause they do just that. They may have a bigger price tag but are well worth the investment.

    4. Speakers. You'll see a huge range of quality possible here. Sadly, this is also the most expensive area to invest in. Sort of the same story as amps, it's all about quality and reliability. Hard to go wrong with the big names as they've proved themselves up to the task, at sadly, a higher price point.

    5. For the sake of it, audio transport. Stick to good balanced connections if possible, but it seems like you're already doing that.

    In you case, I'd focus on trying to only play WAV's as an immediate improvement (and a good future habit). Aside from that, it seems you'd benefit the most from some better speakers. Though I realize that's the most expensive upgrade. If you need help understanding anymore of this stuff, don't be shy to ask, I'm a bit more versed on the techy sound engineering aspects.
    Great information man, I'm really impressed with the time you took to address that.

    It's funny you mentioned .wav files, I've been thinking about that for a while now...I'll be converting my main party playlists to .wav format using Audition after reading your post.

    Thanks alot

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC1 View Post
    I'll be converting my main party playlists to .wav format using Audition after reading your post.
    Afraid you can't upsample. WAV = CD Quality, 44.1 Khz/16 Bit. MP3's, even at 320kbps MP3's have undergone some form of compression in comparison to a normal WAV file. Though it might not seem apparent, you lose a small form of dynamic, as well as definition in primarily the ends of the frequency spectrum, the lows/highs. People use MP3's because they are good enough while being 10 times smaller in size than a WAV file (especially online, cuts down download times). Nobody in the pro audio business uses MP3's, they are truly a consumer grade format. That being said, you can't go from a MP3 to a WAV. You can't undo MP3 compression. That's why I said it's a habit, like setting iTunes to rip CD's in WAV even though that requires more space, or only buying WAV's off Beatport. If you make an effort to only use WAV's it gives you the piece of mind that you are playing a song at the highest quality possible, eliminating that problem from the rest of your audio chain.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by R01 View Post
    Afraid you can't upsample. WAV = CD Quality, 44.1 Khz/16 Bit. MP3's, even at 320kbps MP3's have undergone some form of compression in comparison to a normal WAV file. Though it might not seem apparent, you lose a small form of dynamic, as well as definition in primarily the ends of the frequency spectrum, the lows/highs. People use MP3's because they are good enough while being 10 times smaller in size than a WAV file (especially online, cuts down download times). Nobody in the pro audio business uses MP3's, they are truly a consumer grade format. That being said, you can't go from a MP3 to a WAV. You can't undo MP3 compression. That's why I said it's a habit, like setting iTunes to rip CD's in WAV even though that requires more space, or only buying WAV's off Beatport. If you make an effort to only use WAV's it gives you the piece of mind that you are playing a song at the highest quality possible, eliminating that problem from the rest of your audio chain.
    Very interesting, thanks again...is there any way to imporve the audio on my 320kbps mp3's?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JC1 View Post
    Very interesting, thanks again...is there any way to imporve the audio on my 320kbps mp3's?
    Afraid not.

  9. #9
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    Honestly the 320mp3 vs WAV thing will be the least noticeable issue I your sound quality dilemma.

    I'd say probs speakers, soundcard, amp, wav is the order of importance interms of hat to upgrade to hear a difference.

    Also u might want to consider aiff instead of WAV, still lossless but acts more like an mp3 in terms of id3 tags, artwork etc. it's what BeatPort sell now
    CLUB OF JACKS - RELEASES >>TRAXSOURCE
    Club of Jacks are a London based House & Garage production / DJ duo with releases on a number of underground labels including Plastik People Recordings, Blockhead Recordings, Hi Energy!, Pocket Jacks Trax, Soul Revolution Records and their own Club of Jacks imprint.

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