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Old 1st May 2006, 10:40 AM   #1
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Location: Scottish Borders
Default Music PA and MP3 source

Hi all,
many discos are using computer hard discs for their music source now.

The quality coming from them is even poorer than when they used real CDs.

Is the problem to do with the coding they are using?

or more to do with the compression to save space?

or linked to the way computers process the signal before sending the analoque signal out.

or does playing it too loud for the amp/speaker combination exaggerate a problem inherent in the MP3 coding that comes out tizzy and very horrible?

I intend talking to our sound engineer at a ceroc class but would also like to be constructive and help him find a solution that is nice to listen to.
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Old 1st May 2006, 12:00 PM   #2
Ric_LV is offline Ric_LV  Latvia
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Default Compression, I think

I think DJs just want to save space as they probaby want to have thousands of songs stored on a HDD... I am a DJ too, I use only 256kbps and up and I never ever try to save space by loosing quality. I think digital is digital and the sound of the mp3 is the same as the one for a CD. And in a party you really don't care about that little differenece. Sure, if you go lower than 256kbps then it is very bad. I use Rane MP4 and it decodes mp3 to analogue audio in really high quality.
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Old 1st May 2006, 12:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Compression, I think

Quote:
Originally posted by Ric_LV
I think DJs just want to save space as they probaby want to have thousands of songs stored on a HDD... I am a DJ too, I use only 256kbps and up and I never ever try to save space by loosing quality. I think digital is digital and the sound of the mp3 is the same as the one for a CD. And in a party you really don't care about that little differenece. Sure, if you go lower than 256kbps then it is very bad. I use Rane MP4 and it decodes mp3 to analogue audio in really high quality.
MP3 is a format that reduces size by reducing quality, so even by using 256kbps you are still reducing quality, just not by as much.

To be honest though I doubt it matters for disco's?, sound quality isn't much of a real concern - as long as it's 'good enough'.

What is your opinion of the quality of mini-disk?.
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Old 1st May 2006, 01:26 PM   #4
Schaef is offline Schaef  United States
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Default Re: Music PA and MP3 source

Quote:
Originally posted by AndrewT
Hi all,
many discos are using computer hard discs for their music source now.

The quality coming from them is even poorer than when they used real CDs.

Is the problem to do with the coding they are using?

or more to do with the compression to save space?

or linked to the way computers process the signal before sending the analoque signal out.

or does playing it too loud for the amp/speaker combination exaggerate a problem inherent in the MP3 coding that comes out tizzy and very horrible?

I intend talking to our sound engineer at a ceroc class but would also like to be constructive and help him find a solution that is nice to listen to.
The answers to your questions is more than likely yes, to all of them.

First, keep in mind, most discos aren't looking to reproduce audio quality. They want it loud and bassy (is that even a word?). So, typically, strike one against the speakers, crossovers, amps.

Next, they're probably using a low bitrate for two reasons, one, it allows them to put more songs on the HDD, and two, they probably don't know any better.

Finally, they're probably using a cheapish computer/motherboard for the playback. Which means they're more than likely using the analog audio out of the computer. Since its probably cheap, its probably built-in audio, which means, its not going to be the greatest source. (Read hiss, grounding issues, cheap op-amps, noisy power supply, etc)

So, the best answer to your problem is to educate the DJ a little bit, by asking them to up the bit-rate a little bit, and maybe invest in a separate, better quality sound card. I wouldn't think for a disco to go much beyond that. Total additional investment over what they have now, about $100 for a good sound card, and lots of time. Maybe you could offer to help re-encode the songs that are at a low bitrate at a higher one.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas!
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Old 1st May 2006, 01:30 PM   #5
Ric_LV is offline Ric_LV  Latvia
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Riga
Default Haven't used mini-discs in discos

I have no opinion on mini-discs. You gotta hear them at high volumes, that's what I think...

Not all DJs just want it bassy and loud (OK. Loud IS what they want! ) . If you produce too many bass (20-200 Hz) it becomes a real mess which I personaly dont prefer. I like the real low basses (20-50 or 60Hz). I have heard a lot of discos, where the DJ just brings a cool sub, pumps it to the max and thinks it is cool, but people barely dance, because actually it sucks! One thing I have noticed, people don't know the quality once they have heard it! If they hear it, they feel it and enjoy it, if they don't hear it, they blame the music is bad or they are not in the mood, but they never blame the sound reproduction. I am talking about average people who are not into sound engineering at all.
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