Mp3 or WAV - Best to use on CDJ Decks ?

18
Found 22nd Aug 2012
Hi guys

Just purchased myself a set of CDJ's and was looking on the Beatport website to download some great Trance tunes

At the checkout it gives me the option of MP3 (standard price) then the choice of either WAV or AIFF at an extra cost of £1 on top.
Is it worth the extra £1 for each tune or should I be fine with MP3

Which is the best format to use for bedroom and club mixing?

Thanks

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18 Comments

It depends on how much audio quality actually matters to you. Most people can't really tell between lossless audio and 192/256/320kbps so you should probably be fine with MP3.

Banned

Lossless all the way, but an extra £1/track seems like a lot.

I'm re-ripping my entire collection, a nice upgrade from 256 AAC to Lossless.

If the tracks are available on CD, It may be worth buying the CDs 2nd hand and ripping them yourself, it will save you a fortune.

Original Poster

Lossless ??

Banned

saxo_appeal

Lossless ??



Not lossy (_;)

Depends on the bitrate of the mp3 - the lower the bitrate the less high/low tones but it's down to personal choice/experience

Most people will not hear any difference between 192/256/320kbps mp3 or the original cd

Try this - find a CD an extract one track in wave format and then the same track in mp3 CBR 320 or VBR 320 and listen to both

Put them thru an audio/wavelength editor like Audition and look at the track - u won't see much difference but there is!

Banned

saxo_appeal

Lossless ??



Lossless = True CD quality.

MP3, AAC are lossy compression formats which means you lose some of the original fidelity of the audio.

WAV/FLAC/Apple Lossless (aptly named, I'll call it AL) are lossless.


WAV files are 1:1 in terms of file size ie a CD in WAV format will be around 700mb in size.

FLAC/AL are 2:1, which means they are half the file size but retain all of the quality (around 350mb per CD)

WAV can easily be converted to FLAC/AL and back again with no loss of quality if you so please.


Hope that helps! Have a google around for more info.
Edited by: "KillFelix" 22nd Aug 2012

320kbps MP3's will be fine for the public. I did a survey as part of my uni coursework and you'd be surprised at the results. Basically, high quality MP3s will be fine.

Source: I do sound engineering
Edited by: "JamesClark1991" 22nd Aug 2012

Banned

JamesClark1991

320kbps MP3's will be fine for the public. I did a survey as part of my … 320kbps MP3's will be fine for the public. I did a survey as part of my uni coursework and you'd be surprised at the results. Basically, high quality MP3s will be fine.Source: I do sound engineering



Disagree.

If you are mixing you want to start with the highest possible quality.

If you start with MP3 you will lose even more as you are re-encoding twice if you output your downmix as MP3:
MP3 ---> Mixing ---> MP3

It's like copying a copy.

You're better starting with WAV and ending with WAV.

WAV ---> Mixing ---> WAV

As a fellow sound engineer I am disappointed in your willingness to settle for anything less than the highest possible quality audio


Edited by: "KillFelix" 22nd Aug 2012

KillFelix

Disagree.If you are mixing you want to start with the highest possible … Disagree.If you are mixing you want to start with the highest possible quality.If you start with MP3 you will lose even more as you are re-encoding twice if you output your downmix as MP3:MP3 ---> Mixing ---> MP3It's like copying a copy.You're better starting with WAV and ending with WAV.WAV ---> Mixing ---> WAVAs a fellow sound engineer I am disappointed in your willingness to settle for anything less than the highest possible quality audio



Understand what you are saying but it depends entirely on how much you are earning from it I would say. I've been DJ-ing with 320kbps MP3 and never had a problem. If you're earning top dollar then feel free to buy WAV but at the end of the day all that extra space and money is going to add up for very little noticeable difference.

I may not be a sound engineer but I have practical experience and I've never had anyone come to me and say the sound quality is awful. Or even remark on it at all to be honest. Seems like an unnecessary expense atm.

BTW are you using a DVS system or ripping the tracks back onto CD for playing?

KillFelix

Disagree.If you are mixing you want to start with the highest possible … Disagree.If you are mixing you want to start with the highest possible quality.If you start with MP3 you will lose even more as you are re-encoding twice if you output your downmix as MP3:MP3 ---> Mixing ---> MP3It's like copying a copy.You're better starting with WAV and ending with WAV.WAV ---> Mixing ---> WAVAs a fellow sound engineer I am disappointed in your willingness to settle for anything less than the highest possible quality audio



I totally agree with what you're saying to an extent. But as Edge360 has mentioned, in this particular situation it seems like budget is priority over quality.

First of all because of the price difference (£1 extra per track is extortion imho). That will add up QUICKLY, trust me.
Secondly because he's not doing this for a living just for home use and hobby by the sounds of things. It's like someone getting into skateboarding, you start off with a cheap deck to see if you can get into it, once you've got the basics nailed then you move onto a more expensive deck, if you can't get your head around it you've not wasted your money.
Thirdly, if he's starting off small/hobbying then it would be my guess that his equipment wouldn't be amazing and the clubs that he'd be starting in wouldn't have great gear either, making the additional costs of the tracks even less worthwhile. Then add to that the difference in quality between 320kbps and WAV are very small to the untrained ear (a.k.a. the public).

I'm not questioning that MP3 would be better than WAV, I'm suggesting that in this particular situation 320kbps MP3s would be more than enough at a beginner stage, mainly because of the budget. WAV would be overkill in this scenario imo.

But ofc this is just my opinion, I'm just a beginner so nothing is set in stone.




Edited by: "JamesClark1991" 22nd Aug 2012

Banned

JamesClark1991

I totally agree with what you're saying to an extent. But as Edge360 has … I totally agree with what you're saying to an extent. But as Edge360 has mentioned, in this particular situation it seems like budget is priority over quality. First of all because of the price difference (£1 extra per track is extortion imho). That will add up QUICKLY, trust me.Secondly because he's not doing this for a living just for home use and hobby by the sounds of things. It's like someone getting into skateboarding, you start off with a cheap deck to see if you can get into it, once you've got the basics nailed then you move onto a more expensive deck, if you can't get your head around it you've not wasted your money.Thirdly, if he's starting off small/hobbying then it would be my guess that his equipment wouldn't be amazing and the clubs that he'd be starting in wouldn't have great gear either, making the additional costs of the tracks even less worthwhile. Then add to that the difference in quality between 320kbps and WAV are very small to the untrained ear (a.k.a. the public).I'm not questioning that MP3 would be better than WAV, I'm suggesting that in this particular situation 320kbps MP3s would be more than enough at a beginner stage. WAV would be overkill in this scenario imo.But ofc this is just my opinion, I'm just a beginner so nothing is set in stone.



Budget is unaffected if OP buys the CDs and rips them himself.

Storage cost isn't really an issue these days, it's just so cheap. A 64gb memory stick will set you back £22 and will house you 120 lossless albums (in FLAC or Apple Lossless format, 60 in WAV).

On another note (pun not intended) MP3 cuts off inaudible frequencies, but trance relies on those frequencies you can feel but not hear, if you know what I mean.

£1 is too much per track. Modern music usually has bad dynamic range and is compressed to hell.
You are more likely to hear the distortion caused by clipping before detecting quality deficiencies in a 320kb MP3 version.

Buying CD's and ripping them would be a cheaper way of getting WAV files if you can find the CDs you need. (although very time consuming).

I'd really recommend "What Entertainment" if you do go looking for CDs, it's the only brick and mortar shop I'll buy CDs from because they are so cheap and the disks and cases are ALWAYS mint.

KillFelix

Budget is unaffected if OP buys the CDs and rips them himself.Storage … Budget is unaffected if OP buys the CDs and rips them himself.Storage cost isn't really an issue these days, it's just so cheap. A 64gb memory stick will set you back £22 and will house you 120 lossless albums (in FLAC or Apple Lossless format, 60 in WAV).On another note (pun not intended) MP3 cuts off inaudible frequencies, but trance relies on those frequencies you can feel but not hear, if you know what I mean.



You really don't want to keep your music on an external source. I would always recommend eliminating as many problems as possible and keeping the music on the hard drive is the best way to go. USB ports not working, slower load times or even someone accidentally pulling it out. When you're a DJ you don't want to try to minimise as much as possible going wrong. I'm actually making a web series about this soon.

And like James has said you can't always find the CD and then you'll have to wait for it to be delivered. And alot of the time it can be more expensive buying a physical disc. But you do have the option of selling it on again.

MSE have a TuneChecker which searches all the major sites to see which is the cheapest. It isn't bad.
Edited by: "edge360" 22nd Aug 2012

Original Poster

JamesClark1991

320kbps MP3's will be fine for the public. I did a survey as part of my … 320kbps MP3's will be fine for the public. I did a survey as part of my uni coursework and you'd be surprised at the results. Basically, high quality MP3s will be fine.Source: I do sound engineering




So paying that extra £1 for each track is useless

saxo_appeal

So paying that extra £1 for each track is useless



Unless your doing this as a profession, imho yes.

Original Poster

Ok cheers

Pretty reasonable though I think the prices, considering years ago on proper vinyl (£5-£10 a record)

I used to DJ years ago in clubs using Technics

Great equipment these days its all cd now and the tracks are loads cheaper
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