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Audio file formats... which is best?

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8y, 4m agoPosted 8 years, 4 months ago
I'm gonna digitise my DJ vinyls because it would save me soo much hassle in the long run. Gonna start with an initial 200 or so, but i need help with choosing a file format to convert them into. I was gonna use mp3 as its the most obvious and widely used but apparently normal 128kbs or even 192kbs sound horrible on quality PA systems. What i need is a file format thats widely supported that preferably has mininal quality losses. Preferably I would love to use *.wav but the files end up being massive. I know other formats such as ogg and flac seem to be getting a lot of attention lately so was wondering if anyone else had any advice.

TIA
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8y, 4m agoPosted 8 years, 4 months ago
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1 Like #1
AAC or MP4 are a great format and widely used by modern players :)
1 Like #2
All depends on your storage capacity I guess. If you've got the space to go .wav or ogg or flac then definitley do it.

As for mp3, 320kbs on a LAME codec will sound fine on a PA. Anyone who tells you they can hear the difference is lying.
1 Like #3
AAC ftw
1 Like #4
Would say AIFF or WAV format as neither use compression..almost CD quality without loss of audio quality..most musicians use these formats when recording direct to disk audio / sequencing..head over to [url]www.sospubs.co.uk[/url] Sound On Sound magazine forum, many pro musicians will give you more info and advice.
1 Like #5
I'd have said MP3 at 320kbs would ge good enough, but you may want to make it hight using the LAME encoder (which takes you up to 640kbs if you really want to) - if your equipment will support it (ISO says that decoders are only required to decode upto 320kbs).

A sample rate of 44.1 kHz is used as standard, as that's the sample rate for an Audio CD. As you're recording from vinyls, you might want to use a rate of 48 kHz. :thumbsup:
#6
bod emrys
What's a LAME codec?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LAME :thumbsup:
1 Like #7
No point using lossy, proprietary formats. They sound rubbish,and at some point in the future, you may well find yourself unable to play them without transcoding. This makes them sound worse.

Wav files might be relatively large compared to MP3s, but they're miniscule relative to the storage medium these days. MP3s are as popular as they are now because P2P made them easy to transfer over slow dial-up connections, and they didn't easily overload harddisks, which cost around £80 for 20GB at the time. Time's moved on. Now, you can buy a 500GB drive for £40, or for £50 if you prefer external drives. This works out at 8p/GB, which works out at about 4p/album encoded at 44.1KHz in 16bit. That compares to about 0.7p/album, which is the cost of an album compressed to 256kbit MP3. Your music isn't worth 3.3p extra per album? Even at minimum wage, that's only the money you earn by sitting at your desk for 2.1 seconds. Compare that 2.1 seconds of money to the 50 minutes it'll take you to re-record the album if you change your mind in maybe a few years time.

Go for the uncompressed WAV. And make it 48KHz in 24bit. You know it makes sense.
1 Like #8
I used MP3 sounds great
1 Like #9
I agree that the better formats are great for CD's etc but unless your vinyls are completely free of crackles and static (and I know mine arnt) you wont know the difference from an MP3.

and you have to say that mp3 is the most widely accepted format for playing the files later on.
#10
Wav all the way if you are ripping vinyls mate, storage space is so cheap these days. Currently doing a lot of my collection which is gonna take a loooong time
#11
dcx_badass
Or Apple Lossless, same quality as wav but half the file size.


interesting, cheers i will be checking it out after work, is it a free encoder?
#12
I would say FLAC, it's a lossless format - i.e. no loss of quality.
#13
Thanks all. Rep given to all
I think yea i'll go for wav and just buy a 1TB hard drive. Need to make sure i got back up tho dont wanna end up losing hours of recording cause of a power outage lol.

48,000 & 24bit will make a difference compared to 44,100 &16bit or not?
#14
Go for .wav if you have plenty of harddrive space.

you can always convert them from .wav to mp3 or whatever later if you choose to put them on a player.

give the needle and the record a good clean with an antistatic / microfibre cloth to get rid of any dust etc

good luck :thumbsup:
#15
dxx
No point using lossy, proprietary formats. They sound rubbish,and at some point in the future, you may well find yourself unable to play them without transcoding. This makes them sound worse.

Wav files might be relatively large compared to MP3s, but they're miniscule relative to the storage medium these days. MP3s are as popular as they are now because P2P made them easy to transfer over slow dial-up connections, and they didn't easily overload harddisks, which cost around £80 for 20GB at the time. Time's moved on. Now, you can buy a 500GB drive for £40, or for £50 if you prefer external drives. This works out at 8p/GB, which works out at about 4p/album encoded at 44.1KHz in 16bit. That compares to about 0.7p/album, which is the cost of an album compressed to 256kbit MP3. Your music isn't worth 3.3p extra per album? Even at minimum wage, that's only the money you earn by sitting at your desk for 2.1 seconds. Compare that 2.1 seconds of money to the 50 minutes it'll take you to re-record the album if you change your mind in maybe a few years time.

Go for the uncompressed WAV. And make it 48KHz in 24bit. You know it makes sense.



Very good advice.
:thumbsup:
#16
As for codec look at either a lossless compression or a very high bit-rate (320kbps+), but as said above record them all in wav to begin with and use something to batch convert them to a compress format (keep both copies if you have the space!). Even at 44k-16bit-stereo wav you will be able to fit 100mins per GB (so 200 12"s should be around 20GB)

More important is the setup for recording - are you using a DJ deck? What are you using for the pre-amp - a mixer? What cartridge, what cables, what sound-card on PC etc...?

If you have access to one your best bet is to use a quality belt-drive hi-fi deck instead of a DJ deck (to remove motor noise and give better sound quality) and a hi-fi quality pre-amp stage, along with a decent interconnect between preamp and soundcard (and this is one area where a dedicated soundcard will perform a lot better than a cheap on-board one with minimal analogue componentry). Do some test recordings, make sure you are happy with the equalization and levels before recording them all. ;-)
#17
4Site
Thanks all. Rep given to all
I think yea i'll go for wav and just buy a 1TB hard drive. Need to make sure i got back up tho dont wanna end up losing hours of recording cause of a power outage lol.

48,000 & 24bit will make a difference compared to 44,100 &16bit or not?


A wise choice :)

And, yeah, go for 24bit. The cool thing about 24bit recording is that it gives you much more headroom and a much lower noise floor than 16bit. It has a much, much greater dynamic range. What this means in practical terms is that you can record at lower volume levels, so that you can preserve the loudest parts of a track without clipping, distorting, or compressing, and the quieter parts of the track can be recorded more cleanly. You get a much more realistic reproduction of the original vinyl.

The sampling rate is what determines how smooth and how detailed the sound is. To be honest, it's unlikely that you're going to noticed much difference between 44.1 and any of the higher frequencies (they commonly go all the way up to 192KHz), but 48KHz would be my preference on the grounds that there's a slight difference (even if it's just on an unconcious level), and it doesn't cost much more disk space, and 48KHz is compatible with practically everything. Higher frequencies can cause all sorts of compatability issues with music apps, soundcards, and MP3 players, and the added quality doesn't justify it imo.
#18
Go for some sort of lossless audio compression like FLAC, half the size of WAV but with all the quality. The only disadvantage is that for non-computer equipment it's not going to be as widely compatible with it currently.
#19
oh, my decks have a digital out (stanton str8150's) so can hook that straight to the audigy for no loss of quality like when going thru the mixer, would possibly be worth getting one deck to do it with off ebay, they go cheap now
#20
kungfu;2559279
oh, my decks have a digital out (stanton str8150's) so can hook that straight to the audigy for no loss of quality like when going thru the mixer, would possibly be worth getting one deck to do it with off ebay, they go cheap now


Still would suffer from motor noise - for sound quality a proper hi-fi belt drive deck with high quality MC/MM cartridge into a hi-fi phono stage really is the best you'll get :thumbsup:

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