Digital Music Quality for DJs – Some truth facts!

Digitalisation has become a way of life. There is digital music, digital videos, and digital photos. It is the world we live in and we have all grown to love it and benefit from it. It has helped us have more media in one place — instead of having hundreds of cd’s, cassettes or printed photos we can have one small USB contains thousands of songs, photos, and any other digital media. The digital era is amazing and it will only evolve more.

DJ’s used vinyl many years ago, some still use it today, and after that, vinyl evolved to CDs, and finally to MP3 format. Personally, I am very happy with digital progression — finding a song to play among 300 CDs during a gig was a mission on its own. So here are some facts on digital music quality that every DJ should know. Read on…

Quality

vinylThe quality of digital music today is simply stunning. Several years ago, that wasn’t the case and it was very hard for a DJ (or personal user) to buy digital music. The quality of CDs and Vinyl was amazing, it still is, but unfortunately, it has become obsolete.

When the digitalization of media started, it shocked the world. You could search the internet for hours on end to find that perfect track and when you would finally found it, it would turn out that it sounds like rubbish as it was a 96kbps or 128kbps track.

You were very lucky if you could find a clean 320kbps track, especially with a 56k modem internet connection. Yes, those were the good old days — a time many millennials will not remember. Today, nearly all music you buy on the internet is in 320kbps quality and it sounds sublime.

Compactness

mp3 playerDigital music can be found in several different formats — MP3 (the most common), Wav, AAC and FLAC. MP3 is the most popular format as it sustains its quality, is compact, portable and easy to share with others.

Most producers use Wav files which are much bigger yet have better sound quality — this is because they are not compressed as MP3. AAC — also known as Advanced Audio Coding and is known for having great quality — better than MP3.

Finally, FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec and is a coding format for digital music — it contains audio samples which are then compressed.

Possibilities

The evolution of digital music has allowed anyone to have access to the music they want — rather than having to buy an entire CD containing the full album — listeners are now able to purchase the exact song they want, download it from their living room and listen right away.

This has been extremely beneficial for DJs — rather than spending time going to the Music Store, they can now research music from home — expanding their collection and having the exact library they want.

This has been extremely beneficial for DJs — rather than spending time going to the Music Store, they can now research music from home — expanding their collection and having the exact library they want.

The Evolution of Sharing Music

Do you remember sharing your Mixtape with others? Burning a CD, writing a cool name on it than sharing it with your best friends — or nightclub promoter to get a gig? This used to be the normal way of life. Let’s go back a little further — do you remember playing a cassette tape?

digital sound formatsThen rewinding it back to the beginning — or to your favorite track? How hard was it to get to the beginning of track three? It would take several attempts to get it to the correct spot. With digital music, we take for granted how easy it is to switch between tracks — no rewinding necessary.

Then rewinding it back to the beginning — or to your favorite track? How hard was it to get to the beginning of track three? It would take several attempts to get it to the correct spot. With digital music, we take for granted how easy it is to switch between tracks — no rewinding necessary.

It’s so easy to make a playlist of your favorite tracks and share it with the world. Rather than handing out a CD or Cassette Mixtape we can now upload our mix or even collection of songs to platforms such as Spotify (www.spotify.com), Mixcloud (www.mixcloud.com) and Soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com) to name a few.

As a producer sending your demo to your favorite label is now just a click away — most labels have the option on their website where you can just share the private SoundCloud link. Thus — it is now possible for anyone with the right attitude to become a DJ or music producer.

Saturation of the Music Market

It wasn’t so long ago making music was a challenge — and essentially only available for the elite or for those who had connections to a recording studio.

If you were a musician, band or producer you would have to hire a studio, studio engineer and spend hours recording your track. Nowadays it has become so easy for anyone to record their own music and create music of great quality.

Due to this ease of creation, there is now a saturation of music being recorded and available online — the quality of music has dropped — as now anyone can be a producer or DJ.

There are many videos on YouTube showing how easy it is to create music using a variety of unique everyday sounds — for instance, the sound of a door slamming, a kitchen pot being hit or the whining of a cat — it is then manipulated, warped and ends up sounding nothing like the original noise which it is considered (in their eyes) a masterpiece.

Has it become too easy to create music? Is this digital age helping us or creating too much noise?

What every DJ should know

Because of this saturation of digital music, it is so important DJs are selective with their music choice — this may mean spending additional time sorting through the rags to find the riches. Yet, as any good DJ knows — your selection of music is vital — this is what makes you stand out from other DJs and become the best in your field.

digital dj at workWith digital music, you now have a choice — do you download a ripped low-quality version of YouTube — or do you spend the extra dollar and purchase a track which is high quality?

Some DJs think listeners cannot tell the difference between those which are ripped verse a good version — yet let me leave you with one piece of advice: Your listeners can hear the difference — if they love your music they will play it loud, and when the track is played loud it is then, the cracks start to show.

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