Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Scyence
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by Scyence » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:11 pm

crumhorn wrote:With the massive amount of disk space and internet bandwidth available these days, there is really no need for compressed audio formats any more - except maybe for streaming to mobile devices for a little while yet.

But if you have a really great track and the only version you have of it is a 128K MP3 you shouldn't be afraid to play it.

If you're doing your job right the last thing on peoples minds will be audio quality. They'll be to busy dancing and the place will be so busy that you're sound will be competing with the general hubbub of stomping feat, shouted conversations, bar noises, hysterical laughter, ...

The occasional geek who obsesses over the fine details of sound reproduction will be lucky to get past the bouncer's "not the right type of person" radar.
Very well. But is there a rule-of-thumb when it comes to file sizes? Should I focus on having a least 160kbps for all the tracks I use in a set/mix? Or is 128kbps fine?

I know of course that drunken/drugged up adolescents that listen to the music I'll be playing in the clubs (trance, progressive, tech) won't know the audio difference, I just want to present myself as a DJ that still delivers quality sound to even the most disillusioned clubber out there.

Tone Deft
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by Tone Deft » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:41 pm

Scyence wrote:I just want to present myself as a DJ that still delivers quality sound to even the most disillusioned clubber out there.
you think 128 kbps sounds OK? you're lost.

seriously, you have all the tools you need to figure this out for yourself yet you're relying on strangers on the interweb to give you a qualitative judgment on what's acceptable for your profession?

weak sauce. this is why most DJs deserve no respect. where's the respect for your craft? :roll:

make a mix of a track, start with a 128kbps render then every whatever bars fade into an increasingly better render. walk out onto the floor and fucking LISTEN to your craft. maybe even have a friend fade between renders of the same track while you're on the floor. you raise your hand when it sounds good or bad.

sounds like you do enough TALKING about DJing, shut your mouth and use your ears.

again, harsh but deal with it. this is like asking a chef forum which salt tastes the best. fucking-a go taste it!!

2be wrote:I dare anyone to do a double-blind-test with the same audio file as .wav and as a 320 mp3. You can't hear a difference, really.
(That is of course if the encoding was done properly and the source material doesn't sound like shit to begin with :wink: )
I have. in a VERY quiet room with monitors that cost 10s of thousands of dollars. the differences were VERY subtle. at louder club levels it would be much easier to hear the differences. it's pretty rare to go to a club and have the quality of the sound blow me away.

try it yourself. take a .wav, phase cancel it with a 320kbps render. what you'll hear are little swirlies very low in the mix. do this right and you can directly measure the loudness of the differences. throw Spectrum on there and you can see the differences, maybe see how they correlate.

I've settled on 192kbps and buying CDs. for most listening I'm on the bus or in an office or walking around the city, there's way too much ambient noise to hear a subtle difference. 128kbps bugs the shit out of me. I like to have the CD so I have access to a great rip of a song if I want it. 10 years ago I did 128kbps because drives were smaller and more expensive. now I skip or redo those renders, they're unlistenable.

we all have Live, we all have the ability to learn about this stuff and not just pass around hearsay.
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cotdagoo
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by cotdagoo » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:23 pm

IMO I wouldn't DJ with anything below 192kbps, and at most it would be 1 track in a set which I was unable to purchase a decent copy of.

320kbps or WAV is the way to go if you want to present yourself as someone who cares about the quality of sound they output..

But if you can't tell whether a 128kbps is 'fine' to play out - I'd say you really shouldn't be DJing in front of people.. That says volumes to me about how well you can mix, or even if you know when a mix sounds good compared to one that doesn't.. If you think a 128kbps is fine, maybe you think it's fine to run your master into the red, just fade a song out instead of mixing, etc, etc.. So many questions raised when the person presenting the music can't tell if it sounds good, or the difference between good and bad.

128kbps is UNPLAYABLE on any system I own or have listened to in the last 5-7 years compared to a well rendered/converted 320kbps or WAV.. The difference between the two sounds is like you're listening to one track with earplugs in for fuck sakes..

Tone Deft
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by Tone Deft » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:30 pm

he did say he's just starting out. I can understand not knowing but where's the real passion? I love this shit.

I wouldn't put it as being known to DJ quality audio, that shouldn't even be a question. telling that to a promoter would probably just make you sound noobish. if they ask then you can say 'I only play tracks at 320kbps or wav' without question. AFAIK all they care about is how many people you can get into the bar to buy liquor.

maybe we bust this guys balls a bit to get him to level up more quickly. it sounds like he wants it, he needs to do some 'work.' this stuff is fun. I love knowing where the dirty details are and knowing when to worry about them. it usually doesn't matter.
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rydn
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by rydn » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:25 pm

2be wrote:I dare anyone to do a double-blind-test with the same audio file as .wav and as a 320 mp3. You can't hear a difference, really.
(That is of course if the encoding was done properly and the source material doesn't sound like shit to begin with :wink: )
I'm not going to go through the trouble, but with decent source material I am completely confident I can tell the deference. And I don't have perfect ears.

I think a decent comparison is the difference between external audio, like a synth, at 44100 at 16 bit (CD information density) and 96000 at 24 bit. I always figured the difference would be really subtle, but when I finally tried it the difference was really acute, for me. So I've already rejected CD wave quality as good enough (for source material), let alone a bit crushed version of it.

---

Anyways, why even bother with anything less than 320kps or really waves? Hard drive space is not expensive at all. You can get a 2TB drive for like $100ish. I'm not saying that's non-money for everyone, but if that's what it take to be able to use files you can be confident in, then make it happen.

florian_bl
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by florian_bl » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:33 pm

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everybody will hear the difference between certain compression rates and linear files. Not when being forced to do a blind test on speakers or headphones in a controlled environment. They turn on their brain too much to be open to hear it. But a lot more people than we might think will feel a difference in the punch when hearing it on high volume in the club. Especially when the DJ before or after you is playing stuff with better audio quality.

Even between 320 kbps MP3s encoded with the LAME codec and the same file as 44,1 kHz / 16 bit WAV and played back on medium quality converters it is possible to notice a difference. After many years of engineering, especially mastering, it is no problem to spot this in a blind test with most tracks that I have tried (house & techno). Also on medium quality headphones I can still hear it. With low bitrates the artefacts after the transients are most noticable. It's the sound that engineers call "space monkeys". You can't hear this in a well made 320 kbps MP3. But there is a difference in how much impact the sounds can have when everything is full on in the middle of the song. The missing transients in MP3s will make it sound smaller and less punchy compared to the linear file. That's a very simplified way to say it, of course.

What people in before wrote about DJing is a good point. Go to the club before they let people in, have some files prepared in different quality levels and get somebody to do a blind test with you. Maybe you come to the conclusion that what I say doesn't go along with what you experience. Then it's good too because you have an opinion that helps you choose what files to buy. For me, after 15 years of DJing and engineering, discovering that I can hear so much difference made me rebuy all my important digital files as WAV although I payed for them already when I got the MP3s. Quite nerdy, maybe, but it's good to know that you have the best possible sound quality when getting into the DJ booth and it's your job to do something bigger with it for the rest of the night.

cotdagoo
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by cotdagoo » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:39 pm

florian_bl wrote:Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everybody will hear the difference between certain compression rates and linear files. Not when being forced to do a blind test on speakers or headphones in a controlled environment. They turn on their brain too much to be open to hear it. But a lot more people than we might think will feel a difference in the punch when hearing it on high volume in the club. Especially when the DJ before or after you is playing stuff with better audio quality.

..

What people in before wrote about DJing is a good point. Go to the club before they let people in, have some files prepared in different quality levels and get somebody to do a blind test with you. Maybe you come to the conclusion that what I say doesn't go along with what you experience. Then it's good too because you have an opinion that helps you choose what files to buy. For me, after 15 years of DJing and engineering, discovering that I can hear so much difference made me rebuy all my important digital files as WAV although I payed for them already when I got the MP3s. Quite nerdy, maybe, but it's good to know that you have the best possible sound quality when getting into the DJ booth and it's your job to do something bigger with it for the rest of the night.
Can't agree more to both these points, especially the stuff in bold.

Sounding worse than the DJ before or after you is a bad situation in any club on any sound system.

willdahbe
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by willdahbe » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:33 am

I don't dj with anything less then 320kbps, well vary rarely do I go lower then that. Even if the sound system isn't up to par, having a shitty sounding 192kbps doesn't really add to the fidelity that could be. Also using higher quality files (320/wav) means that when changing the tempo of a track timestretching will sound much better then that of a 192kbps track.

Scyence
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by Scyence » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:01 am

Guys, jesus, I'm just trying to get some information here. Really no need to shit on me for asking some questions in a field that I am new in. I understand that many (if not all of you) are incredibly experienced DJs and technicians, and I, a mere peon, but cut me some slack. Just trying to get use the forums for they are here for, sharing and contributing information.

cotdagoo
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by cotdagoo » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:35 pm

Scyence wrote:Guys, jesus, I'm just trying to get some information here. Really no need to shit on me for asking some questions in a field that I am new in. I understand that many (if not all of you) are incredibly experienced DJs and technicians, and I, a mere peon, but cut me some slack. Just trying to get use the forums for they are here for, sharing and contributing information.
Dude, jesus, there's oodles of information about this all over the internet and you seemed to ask a very silly question to a bunch of 'experienced DJs and technicians' - how did you think this would go?

What research did you do before coming in here to ask? The reaction you got is because the information is so readily available with a few searches (google or this forum even) that it appeared you did nothing at all to try and answer the question yourself.

As others pointed out, GO TRY STUFF OUT.. Presumably if you're playing at a club, you have the ability to be there early for soundcheck and listen to a few tracks without a room full of people.

And sorry if those who've spent the time & effort LEARNING about their craft don't cut someone slack who seems to have made no effort to figure it out themselves other than posting in a forum.. Instead of getting pissy to those with experience telling you whats up.. maybe you should take the information given and put it to some good use. Afterall.. your question did get answered, plus some.

matthews
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by matthews » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:13 pm

Scyence wrote:
Don't worry about it man, you're just starting off and its a fair question. Maybe try a simple google search first though before making a thread in here (especially for rudimentary info) , you'll get the same answers but without the criticism. Welcome to the forum, for the most part its a great source for information and to have your questions answered. All the best.

Bagatell
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by Bagatell » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:00 pm

matthews wrote:
Welcome to the forum, for the most part its a great source for information and to have your questions answered.

To say nothing of character building and hide toughening.
matthews wrote: All the best.
You'll probably need it! :D

hacktheplanet
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by hacktheplanet » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:04 pm

Once upon a time, when I was but a young music pirate, I remember downloading 112kbps MP3s from Scour and Napster on my trusty 56k connection. They sounded OK to my ears, and 112kpbs was my go-to bitrate. Then I decided to bump it up to 128, and it was like night and day, I tell you! The quality difference was astounding. I had a formidable music library for years and years, all at 128.

After we finally got broadband, I tried 160 and 192. I was addicted at that point. I'd spend days and days making sure my entire music library was carefully organized into folders, with the tracks names appropriately. I even had to buy a few larger hard drives, and started making regular backups to CD. Before with dialup, I could only download singles I really liked. When broadband came about, I was able to download full albums! Much of my time was spent hunting for the albums I had singles for.

It's just gotten worse these days. The majority of my library is 320, but slowly it's transitioning to uncompressed when I can find the track on CD. Help me.
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regretfullySaid
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by regretfullySaid » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:12 pm

Only one person mentioned LAME and this part is getting overlooked. Not all mp3 codecs are the same. LAME has always been superior and you can definitely tell the difference from the Napster days when people were converting with different codecs. A codec at 128 or 192 that wasn't LAME sounded like ass, while LAME did a very impressive job at lower rates.

Either way, take your job seriously and use WAV or vinyl.
Ok, I won't neglect FLAC which never seems to get enough love, if you're that desparate to save hd space.
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mrobare
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Re: Purpose of 320kbps for analog DJing?

Post by mrobare » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:23 pm

with hard drives so cheap why not
just use flac?

(FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec)

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