The issue over whether DJs (who, of course, still download their music) should still be DJing with good old MP3s or whether it is not time to move to high quality formats has resurfaced, with prominent streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music all introducing lossless alternatives to their offers.
The question to ask first, if the general audience now has the option of listening to "lossless" audio, shouldn't DJs be doing the same? Is the number of lossy old MP3s increasing?
First, what is the difference between MP3 and the original format WAVE?
The distinction between MP3 and WAV is whether the files are “compressed” or “lossless.” WAV files are uncompressed, whereas MP3 files are compressed. The answer is that you need WAV files for editing and MP3 files for dissemination of a podcast (think iTunes).
Images with high and low quality can be used to make a visual comparison. We've all seen stunning photographs with brilliant colors and crisp lines that fill the screen. Pixilated, grainy visuals that resemble a Lego mosaic have also been seen.
When should WAV files be used and when should MP3 files be used?
Use.WAV files in the studio for music or video creation, as well as for TV, radio, DVD, and any other media that requires high-quality audio. WAV files are lossless, uncompressed music files of broadcast CD quality.
MP3 files can be used for streaming podcasts (Mixcloud, Podomatic, Soundcloud etc...), YouTube videos, and anything else on the Internet. An MP3 file is a music file that has been compressed. It loads quickly while maintaining excellent sound quality. There are numerous compression options available, however we still recommend the highest MP3 quality at 320kbps, which is what you get immediately from official digital music outlets like Traxsource, Beatport, and Junodownload to name few.
The benefits and drawbacks of the various formats
Because MP3 files are small, they are cheaper, easier and faster to send, receive, stream, duplicate, and transfer. They can also store additional metadata such as artwork, artist name, title and music genres (WAVs cannot, while AIFFs may).
WAVs and AIFFs, on the other hand, provide the finest sound quality because they haven't been compressed at all. While this may not be important for day-to-day use, they remain the best option if you want to work on the audio, such as remix, bootleg, or sample it, because you'll be dealing with "sharp" copies of the files that haven't been altered.
Is it time to make a change?
It all boils down to the quality of the audio. As DJs, we want to provide the highest possible sound quality. At the end of the day, most people don't even hear the difference with good quality 320kbps MP3s even on the biggest sound systems, and while I know Many professional DJs are certain they can.
Tell us what do you think?