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  #1  
Old 12-15-2005, 06:15 PM
r-tyme r-tyme is offline
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Move With the Times: Are MP3 dowloads good enough to play out yet?

Move With the Times: Are MP3 downloads good enough to play out yet?

Okay, there are lots of official MP3 download sites out there, with master sources approved by the labels for e-distribution. Are they any good sound-wise for playing in a club, even a small club?

I have continued with vinyl and don't know the answer to this question. Hopefully someone with experience with MP3s can provide some opinions.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2005, 06:36 PM
clubman5 clubman5 is offline
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From my experience thus far, CD, and files have gotten quite a bit better than what they were! I still think a well recorded piece of vinyl still sounds better at the present time, warmer, bigger bottom, etc, but the digital sources are getting better. We are going to find out if MP3 downloads are good enough to play, because Im going to download some music and see for myself!

I have been told by people, it also has alot to do with HOW you burn your disc, some are better than others and get better sounding discs than others.

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  #3  
Old 12-15-2005, 09:12 PM
Acidtension Acidtension is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by clubman5

I have been told by people, it also has alot to do with HOW you burn your disc, some are better than others and get better sounding discs than others.



Depending on the software or recorder itself ?

I only Use TDK CD-R media... I've read about them being amongst the best CD-R's on the market, maybe 3 or 4 years ago, and since then I've only bought TDK to burn audio in it. So far I'm happy with my choice.

As for software I'm using Nero... If there's any way I can improve the quality of "my burns", I'd love to know how.
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2005, 09:15 PM
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mynameismatt mynameismatt is offline
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Beatport.com is a good source for legal dance downloads. I've heard they are now offering wav downloads too...for a $1 more.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2005, 09:27 PM
clubman5 clubman5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mynameismatt
Beatport.com is a good source for legal dance downloads. I've heard they are now offering wav downloads too...for a $1 more.
I think WAV files sound pretty good.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2005, 11:59 PM
jsd540 jsd540 is offline
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I use 320k bit rate

And the dynamic range is adequate at best, even stuff that I find is well mastered, but it is a necessary evil at times.

Whats been bothering me is the price for some of these downloads. Lets see, no packaging, no sales people, no pysical inventory. A virtual product for 6 bucks, with average sound quality, forgive me if I aint too exited...
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  #7  
Old 12-16-2005, 08:18 AM
calle calle is offline
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Re: I use 320k bit rate

Quote:
Originally posted by jsd540
... A virtual product for 6 bucks, with average sound quality, forgive me if I aint too exited...

Im equally NOT excited with the present downloads, and prefer to buy my CDs and rip them to wav files with help of EAC (www.exactaudiocopy.de). I find CDs second best to vinyl and dont want to go lower in audio quality. But when song downloads holds at least the same quality as CDs and also a reasonable price for the virtual product, Ill start buying downloads.

/Carl
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  #8  
Old 12-16-2005, 09:17 AM
teker teker is offline
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I myself is and has been always a hardcore vinyl fan but with the price being high of 12" I turned to mp3 downloads as of recent...I still buy records but some of it I buy mp3 and save a lot of money and they sound decent on smalll scale systems as I have not had the oppurtunity to play them on a big system yet but I would love to hear scott's opinion on them...
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  #9  
Old 12-16-2005, 10:39 AM
Ravinder Teji Ravinder Teji is offline
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Like Tekker I have always been a die hard Vinyl fan (I have been buying records since 1978) and of course Vinyl does sound better, but If you're buying music on a regular basis you would be crazy (or very well off) to keep buying vinyl. If you can afford vinyl of course buy it but unless you have a disposable income it is becoming increasingly harder for underground D.J's who play for the love of the music rather than for financial reward to continue buying it. If it weren't for digital downloads, MP3's and AIM a lot of good D.J's out there would be unable to continue what they love doing spinning underground music. A few years ago vinyl was the only choice. But now we can buy more music as the downloads are more affordable and I think Labels and Artists will sell more music via online sites such as Traxsource etc than they would through record stores.
I am sure the quality will get better with time but it is the future.
If you use Nero to burn the files onto CD the results are pretty good. If you're in a club yeah you can hear the difference but whether it's MP3 or vinyl you play it doesn't really matter it's quality of the songs that count.

Love Peace and Respect to all the underground D.J's
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2005, 11:21 AM
mattytko mattytko is offline
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Serato!!!!!!!!

Serato Serato Serato!!!! Rane can't make them fast enough. I am installing them in all of my customers consoles. When I first started using it a couple of years ago I was blown away. It actually got me excited to want to DJ again. Serato is putting a hurting on Stanton's Final Scratch. So yes the Digital DJ is here to stay. And you know what else? It is the one thing that is saving turntables.
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  #11  
Old 12-16-2005, 12:18 PM
clubman5 clubman5 is offline
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Re: Serato!!!!!!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by mattytko
Serato Serato Serato!!!! Rane can't make them fast enough. I am installing them in all of my customers consoles. When I first started using it a couple of years ago I was blown away. It actually got me excited to want to DJ again. Serato is putting a hurting on Stanton's Final Scratch. So yes the Digital DJ is here to stay. And you know what else? It is the one thing that is saving turntables.
Compare Serrato to Ableton.

I hear good and bad about both, but, I agree, the DigiDJ is here to stay. I like the idea of the things you can do with these things, though!

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  #12  
Old 12-16-2005, 01:09 PM
mattytko mattytko is offline
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Most Dj's are coming in and using Serato. Ableton is great as well but, Serato is very stable and very user freiendly. Also the newer version of the software sounds alot better than the first edition. I am installing them first because it is just an awesome product. Second, I am tired of putting nice DJ booths back together everytime a dj comes in and decides to hook it up himself and rips all the wiring out and leaves it for when they open the next night and don't realize everything is unplugged. This way You just give them a USB cable and be done with it.
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  #13  
Old 12-16-2005, 01:49 PM
mattytko mattytko is offline
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Most Dj's are coming in and using Serato. Ableton is great as well but, Serato is very stable and very user freiendly. Also the newer version of the software sounds alot better than the first edition. I am installing them first because it is just an awesome product. Second, I am tired of putting nice DJ booths back together everytime a dj comes in and decides to hook it up himself and rips all the wiring out and leaves it for when they open the next night and don't realize everything is unplugged. This way You just give them a USB cable and be done with it.
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  #14  
Old 12-16-2005, 06:28 PM
benjaminb benjaminb is offline
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Re: Re: Serato!!!!!!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by clubman5
Compare Serrato to Ableton.

I hear good and bad about both, but, I agree, the DigiDJ is here to stay. I like the idea of the things you can do with these things, though!




Ableton has evolved into a pretty complete studio package, oriented around loops and live triggering.
i've ended up using for everything you'd use cubase/logic/protools/ect.
i run my VST synths, effects, and record audio all internally.
after that, it's very easy to make an arrangement in real-time.

the four songs on my myspace site are all composed completely on ableton - http://www.myspace.com/benjaminboles

you can use it to 'DJ', but that's not really it's primary purpose, or what i feel it's best for.
it's pretty good at figuring out BPM, and stretches quite well automatically, but to get best results you really need to trim your loops well, and it helps to go in and set your warp markers before hand.

Serrato is purely a DJ tool, similar to Final Scratch.
uses two (or one) vinyl record with time code instead of audio. you connect your decks into it, and it uses the record to control your audio file. cueing, mixing, and scratching are all the same, but you can use any crappy needle and tons of weight if you want, since it's not providing the sound.
one guy i know uses it and only one turntable, as once you've got the track going you can 'detach' it from the record, take the needle off and cue up another file while the first is playing.

the advantages are being able to take a huge amount of music, and it gives you a way to search through that music very efficiently.
not sure of the title, search for artist.
not sure of the artist, search for label.
still not sure, search by genre.
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  #15  
Old 12-16-2005, 08:56 PM
clubman5 clubman5 is offline
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So theres no way around running your turntables through the Serrato, laptop, etc, instead of straight into the mixer?

How is sound quality when your really playing a record? Or can you have two normal tables into your mixer, and a third through Serrato, only used for playing files?
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  #16  
Old 12-16-2005, 09:30 PM
pbellsound pbellsound is offline
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Yes, I too have seen the influx of Serato and the like. And while Rane makes the best/most often used product, I do not like the end result on the sound quality. You see, the old school record shops have taken a big hit these past few months and its because DJs (and anybody whos computer savvy trying to be a DJ) is downloading music (mostly MP3's at best mediocre bit rates) from home, at their convenience, for free or almost free. (Read: LAZY AND CHEEP) This is having a detrimental effect on sound everywhere. I often get calls concerning poor sound only to test with my real CDs or records and the sound systems are just fine. Owners/managers are slowly realizing that certain DJs have poor sound when they come to play.

And another thing, Mattytko said this too, these guys are pulling out plugs from mixers, switching inputs from phono to line on the mixers (EG: MP44 & MP2016) and creating havoc for the next DJ. Very inconsiderate, some of these guys!

Not all DJs are this bad but the scale skews towards mostly more bad than good.

Id love to sell all my installs the SSL system so all they have to do is USB it in. I understand that Rane has a TTM5x mixer coming out with Serato Scratch Live built right in it. Just plug that USB and youre in. I think itll have some pretty cool features.

I suppose we all have to embrace the technologies chosen by the masses. We can just throw up our hands when a recording is beyond clipping yet has no musical information above 10K.

I have seen guys that show up with two IPODs and than plug them into the mixer. HUH.

My preference? A well recorded store bought factory pressed CD.

PB

Last edited by pbellsound : 12-16-2005 at 09:37 PM.
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  #17  
Old 12-16-2005, 09:44 PM
benjaminb benjaminb is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by clubman5
So theres no way around running your turntables through the Serrato, laptop, etc, instead of straight into the mixer?

How is sound quality when your really playing a record? Or can you have two normal tables into your mixer, and a third through Serrato, only used for playing files?



if it's the same as final scratch, the cables go 1200-serratobox-laptop-mixer, with another set of cables going straight from the serrato box to the mixer so that you can bypass it for playing real records.
the sound quality would be determined by your soundcard, and by the quality of the file. i'm not sure if it supports formats above 16/44.1 yet, but obviously it will soon if it doesn't.

i would hope that when it's bypassed it doesn't colour the phono signal, but i don't know anyone who's done a serious test.
if that was a concern, you could just run your 'real' records on a third (and/or fourth) into their own channels on the mixer.

have you looked at the traktor software? i thought it worked with serrato, but apparently i was wrong and it may end up interfacing with final scratch.
it's for internal mixing and beatmatching, without using any vinyl control or even DJ mixer.




does all of that make sense?

Last edited by benjaminb : 12-16-2005 at 09:53 PM.
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  #18  
Old 12-16-2005, 09:45 PM
clubman5 clubman5 is offline
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I do agree Paul, and I still like a good, well pressed, well engineered record, BUT, no matter what, this is where its going! I look at it like this: it will take a minute or two for things like MP3, iPod mixing, and Serrato, and others to have sound quality thats on a par with CD, but hopefully, they will get it there! Because, this is the stuff DJ,s will be using.

Of course, I remember the first time I heard CD in what was it? mid 80,s? They were TERRIBLE! No one was EVER going to play CD,s, remember? CD,s made now sound really good compared to their 80,s ancestors!

Like digital audios infancy of ten years ago, and even further back, this new era of iPod, MP3, and other digital forms of source material are really in their early stages!

If I can like a digital xover, they will get the rest of this stuff to work too!

Unfortunately, till they get the bugs out, and the shit your gonna go through with DJ,s and their hookups!
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  #19  
Old 12-16-2005, 09:50 PM
clubman5 clubman5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by benjaminb
if it's the same as final scratch, the cables go 1200-serratobox-laptop-mixer, with another set of cables going straight from the serrato box to the mixer so that you can bypass it for playing real records.
the sound quality would be determined by your soundcard, and by the quality of the file. i'm not sure if it supports formats above 16/44.1 yet, but obviously it will soon if it doesn't.

i would hope that when it's bypassed it doesn't colour the phono signal, but i don't know anyone who's done a serious test.
if that was a concern, you could just run your 'real' records on a third (and/or fourth) into their own channels on the mixer.

i believe if you use traktor with serrato, you can do all your mixing inside the laptop, sending out a single stereo pair to your board.
traktor will also allow you to do some more manipulation, apply effects, and i believe it has some kind of auto-beatmatching thing too.
i don't know much about traktor, but many laptop types swear by it. the compatibility between the two programs is one of the reasons serrato is pushing past final scratch (along with stability).


does all of that make sense?
It makes sense, I understand it, I gotta hear it through my system before I can make any decisions!

Going through the laptop, but using a bypass to play real records? Gotta lose something! If I just had the room for a laptop/turntable system, AND my normal turntables as well directly into the mixer, theres my ultimate setup!
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  #20  
Old 12-16-2005, 10:01 PM
benjaminb benjaminb is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by clubman5
It makes sense, I understand it, I gotta hear it through my system before I can make any decisions!

Going through the laptop, but using a bypass to play real records? Gotta lose something! If I just had the room for a laptop/turntable system, AND my normal turntables as well directly into the mixer, theres my ultimate setup!


looking at photos of the box, the inputs and the thru are right across from each other, which would hopefully mean not much signal loss.
you just switch the input selector on your mixer, meaning that it's going thru all the time (no bypass switch).

on the other hand, i looked closer at the box, and it looks like you're not getting the signal from your soundcard, but rather from the box, which means you're locked to their audio standards.
i could be wrong, but i seem to remember that final scratch ran off your soundcard outputs, which would allow you to determine the quality you want to run at.
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  #21  
Old 12-16-2005, 10:04 PM
benjaminb benjaminb is offline
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man, i keep getting confused by the two formats - watch out for my edits, i've had to correct myself a few times.
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  #22  
Old 12-16-2005, 11:12 PM
mattytko mattytko is offline
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Serato does not utilize the sound card. It has it's own box. Also, the sound quality is great with the newer version and it also depends on if your files suck or not.
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  #23  
Old 12-16-2005, 11:15 PM
benjaminb benjaminb is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mattytko
Serato does not utilize the sound card. It has it's own box. Also, the sound quality is great with the newer version and it also depends on if your files suck or not.


am i right that final scratch does allow you to use your own soundcard?
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  #24  
Old 12-17-2005, 12:53 AM
mattytko mattytko is offline
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Final Scratch also utilizes a USB Hub. Also Serato Supports all types of files from MP3 to WAV. The USB hub takes the the signal from the coded records and manipulates the digital files.

Last edited by mattytko : 12-17-2005 at 12:56 AM.
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  #25  
Old 12-17-2005, 02:04 AM
jmark jmark is offline
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Just to be clear (for those not familiar with these systems)...the phono signals, for the times you want to play a record and hear the sound from the record, go out from a "thru" connection on the Scratchamp/Scratch Live box (which are intended to be connected to the mixer's normal phono inputs). I don't believe the signals going from phono-in to the "thru" outputs gets digitised or (purposely) modified in any way by either unit. It's definitely technically possible for them to do this without damaging the sound quality from records, but...

The Final Scratch 2 box, to my ears definitely does degrade the sound from records. Despite it's marketing hype of "24/96", it appears to be a typical (crappy) neo-Stanton design. The high end on records sounds rolled off played through the Scratchamp, and even on a setup with no groundloops some digital noise is still audible.

I actually just (today) traded in the Final Scratch system for the Scratch Live, after Final Scratch/Traktor pissed me off one time too many. (I'm fortunate enough to have a really good relationship with one of our local dealers). I haven't yet evaluated phono-through quality (just played with the system in internal mode on my kitchen table so far), but (to put this as politely as I can) I have a lot more faith in Rane's ability to handle basic analog circuit design than I do with neo-Stanton.
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