You may already be a DJ digital mixing meister, or a vinyl and CD expert, or you might have seen people playing with an MP3 digital DJ controller.
Today, the compressed audio method suffers from a major drawback; that of the variable sound quality in the compressed audio file. However, using higher compression rates and better equipment that is more adapted to playing digital sound has helped to counter this to some extent. Furthermore, sounds are being remastered for digital play and new releases are made by engineers aware that their sound will be played in digital format first.
Tomorrow, we’ll have a new format of digital file, capable of delivering the same sound quality as vinyl and with similar properties to MP3s.
The reality is that MP3s are taking over the DJ world as people find ways to overcome its drawbacks. Traditionalists are obviously going mental barfing into their beer of couse, but there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it.
Advantages of playing with MP3s:
1. Size – your whole music collection fits into one hard drive
2. Locating music – your sets are improved by easier organisation and quicker searches for that elusive tune you want to put on next
3. Mixing – great functionalities such as looping, sampling, effects, BPM matching
4. Own remixes – you can easily remix your own tracks and play them, unlike with other formats. Remixing on the fly is also possible
5. Cheaper prices of tracks and equipment
6. Releases are often out first on MP3 (although not always)
7. Tracks are never out of stock, very easy to find with a multitude to choose from
Disadvantages of DJing with MP3s:
1. Variable sound quality – sometimes, a disc jockey can experience a sudden drop in volume and/or quality from one track to the next. Compensating by increasing the volume can just overload the wrong sound frequencies and hurt people’s ears.
2. Not so cool – doesn’t look as cool as vinyl and mixing is far easier, with auto-syncing of BPM available.
3. Anyone can access the tunes you are playing, no limited editions. People can just copy you. Digital DJing may not look that smart, but can be countered by external timecoded vinyl control.
What do I use?
As we said before, the best is to learn all types. However, if your music collection is heavily loaded with vinyl you’ll want to learn about mixing records first.
If your collection is mainly digital, you may choose digital equipment first to learn with, followed by vinyl mixing later.
A good disc jockey will know how to use all of these medium to mix.