Let's talk about Sound Quality
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard LastOne's Avatar
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    Default Let's talk about Sound Quality

    Last night I get involved in a hot discussion about sound quality. There were four persons around a bar table talking about music, a traditional dj that allways use vinyl records, a musician, a sound technic and a music fanatic (this is me). Then the conversation derivated to the formats, how the industry had been changing them along the years allways to cheap formats, but not for the public, and worst sound quality . How the last created technologies are trying to set the mp3 as a standard, although it has a very bad quality, specially when it's used in professional equipment and high volume levels, like for example in a club.
    It's true, all of us that had been traditional dj's before digital had felt it, and if you didn't there's a thing that you must try and could confirm it playing your favourite release in a good vinyl record or an original cd and the same music in mp3. Let me to set the mp3 example in the best codification anybody can get in order forget the worst (downloaded from any mp3 legal download site or wherever anybody get it). The difference is notable, but today more and more people, like in this site, are playing mp3, with the knowledge that this is not the best sound. (and many people in the crowd don't fell the difference or don't matter about this questions).
    What do you think guys? For me, sound quality is more important than tricks, i feel very bad when I find some VERY GOOD music that is impossible to play in a gig due to its bad sound. At the end this is only a thing to talk about. Don't take me so seriously because I'm only a music fan that appreciate very much sound quality and get very angry with people that not take care in it.
    Thanks anyway.

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor Julio's Avatar
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    IMHO:

    1) They are NOT trying to set the mp3 as a standard... It is already a standard.

    2) There are a few formats that are far superior than MP3, some withe loss-less sound quality. (OGG, FLAC are just some examples)

    3) Professional equipment that utilizes MP3 format, usually (although not always) recommends using the best quality as possible, hence 320kbps. They can really not be blamed for someone using a 64 - 128kbps file.

    4) I agree with you that sound quality is a priority... although there is a LOT more going on with the MP3 format implementation in equipments than many people out there imagine/know about.

    That being said.. I would be on your side in that "musical debate".
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  3. #3
    Tech Mentor Krilikz's Avatar
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    Yea like he said, The High Quality for mp3 is at 320kps.

    Also look at it this way. If mp3s were really that "bad" 1000's of djs would not be using serato, ableton, or traktor in clubs.

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard Moomin_papa's Avatar
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    I have to admit that I used to be a bit obsesed with sound quality in my pre DJ days I was into HI FI ( was a bit of a geek) & I speant a lot of time researching my equipment & buying the right cables & connections etc.
    But since the invent of the internet & the mp3 the quest for quality has been taken over by the quest for quantity.

    I try never to play anything less than a 320kbs mp3 but in a recent set I played with a friend on a 4k system, my freind was using any ol mp3 & the crowd didnt seem to mind, it was more about what the tune was than the quality.

    To me one of the essential things of being a DJ is what you play!

    If the quality of a tune isnt up to scratch (itunes download) I will take it into sound forge & try to get the best out it!

    BTW: to me a good old D&B vinyl on a 1210 still sounds great!
    Last edited by Moomin_papa; 10-27-2008 at 09:01 AM. Reason: Doh!

  5. #5
    DJTT Ninja Mod tekki's Avatar
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    320kbps 44khz is the way for me(or if it encoded well enough 192kbps VBR minimum). If you hear anything wrong with it, I might point to the encoder of the MP3.

    You will not hear the difference between MP3 and CD if LAME was used with the Insane setting.
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  6. #6
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    I think there is a divide here, though.

    As a DJ the sound quality is important, of course, but the standard is set a lot lower. I don't go to clubs to selectively listen to music, I go to clubs to dance. 320kb/ps running through a good interface sound fine. Might need some creative EQ, but that's easy.

    The issue, to me, comes down to casual listening. The entire experience of the 'album' has been destroyed. What used to be dropping a record onto a player and sitting on your couch and listening to it has no become throwing on a pair of shitty ear bud headphones and blasting it with no care for hearing damage or sound quality. There will be people soon who have never listened to music on anything other than crappy headphones and in AAC format.

    That depresses me... a lot.
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  7. #7
    DJTT Ninja Mod tekki's Avatar
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    I agree with you on the last part. Yesterday I was thinking about how long ago it was, I went to a record store and bought me a CD. Nowadays I just purchase downloads... And some this causes me grieve.
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  8. #8
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    it does make a difference to sound quality, but let's face it. 99% of all sound systems in London clubs are bollocks - mix that in with shit sounding rooms and you have a recipe for mush to start off with.

    And your generic clubber isn't really going to be able to tell the difference between a 192 or a 320 k/bits mp3.

    Does it make a difference? Probably not to the average clubber - but there's no denying that a good recording can kick more on a big PA than a shit one.

    Having said that - if you're hyper compressing stuff like most modern mastered dance tracks are, i'm surprised there is such a thing as "kick" - it just becomes a wall of noise. Loudness does not equal more bass.

  9. #9
    Dr. Bento BentoSan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmcpress View Post
    but let's face it. 99% of all sound systems in London clubs are bollocks
    I think that is true for all around the whole world !

    Id like a dollar for every time i have heard that those logitech sound systems are "awesome" or that the buds that come with ipods are "fantastic". Really the average joe doesnt have a qlue about sound quality so in general i wouldnt worry about only playing 320kbps files or files in wav format.

    The minimum i try to mix with is 192kbps VBR recodings, but i try to get 320kbps where ever possible and if availible recently i have been getting flac files - hard drive space is cheap and internet connections are becomming faster and faster so now i think is a good time to start changing over to flac.

    Like has been said before is more about what you play, not the quality of the recording as such.

  10. #10
    DJTT Ninja Mod tekki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BentoSan View Post
    [..]hard drive space is cheap and internet connections are becomming faster and faster[..]
    I will keep that one in mind.
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