What’s that BitRate Quality Like Thou?

My first Experience with it.

Back when I using CDs to go out and DJ, I didn’t know what Bitrate was nor did i think i needed too know.  I had a CD with music, I would press play and that was it however I would just have to make sure that the CD was not scratched and played.

When I first learnt about Bitrate quality it was the hard way, when importing my CDs into iTunes you are given the choice of file type (ACC,MP3) and quality (320,256,128). I noticed that the better quality the bigger the file was, which was a problem as space was not unlimited on my old computer so I choose the lowest quality possible. At this time I was only listening to them in my iPod and you can not hear a difference between the quality chosen and at this time my only concern was to make the songs as loud as possible. I then found the importance of bit-rate quality when putting the songs from iTunes back on to CDs to be played in clubs.

What is Bitrate and is it important? 

The Bitrate is basically the quality of the sound, the higher the number the higher the quality of the sound, for example a MP3 with a bitrate of 320 will sound better than a MP3 with a bitrate of 128. The reason for multi bitrate sound as I have learnt is to save space, better the quality the more space the sound will require. Files are made smaller by compressing the sound which sounds worst than an uncompressed sound.

The quality of sound does not affect your listening experience on smaller speakers for example headphones, Phones, Laptops or some computer speakers. you will find an issue when playing on a bigger system such as Club Systems, PA Systems and higher end home set ups. when songs are compressed into smaller size you will notice that the songs will sound “flat” compared an uncompressed song.

There are also alternative file types that can be used with MP3 being the most Popular, Apple have there own file type AAC with the best quality bitrate is 256 but this is comparable to MP3 of 320. Wav and AIFF are loseless formats which means they have not been compressed at all and are identical to the source martial, which also means they are very big files. FLAC is also a very popular file type and is a lossless file type but it has been compressed so it is not as big as the previous two mentioned.

So whats the answer? 

Being a Digital DJ your file type choice and Bitrate is something to keep an eye on. if your not worried about space and want the best possible sound then Wav or Flac file type is the way you want to go, playing these on a high end club system you will definitely hear the difference compared to compressed file. If your watching space on your device I would say go for MP3 but keep it 320 only go as low as 256 if needs be, 320 will play fine on a high-end club system and will save much more space than loseless file type.

I keep all my music on my home computer which has more than enough space but i only have songs that I am most likely to play on my DJ Laptop, I am a multi genre DJ so I still need to take a lot of songs but I would not have whole albums from an artist on there because I’m not going to play skits from Ja rules albums when a playing out so it is not needed. because of the amount of songs that i take with me I use MP3 as my file type for the majority of my songs, I do have a few lossless file types but only for few select tracks that deserve it.

If your are a digital Dj playing a low quality file will be noticed by your audience if its really bad, I have experienced being out and hearing a DJ play a low quality song and mixing it with better quality songs and it does make you seem unprofessional and amateurish, some times the crowd on the dance floor want notice but an audiophile and other DJs defiantly will.

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