MP3 Dj-ing

Monkey Do

#1 Internet Toughguy
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I'm touching myself as I write this post.
I pretty much ditched vinyl mixing a few years ago (family life and all that) and never really got to grips with mixing CD's but I have been MP3 dj-ing for a couple of years.

I like the ease with which you can perform quick re-edits of tunes, drop in samples, loops, DX/VST effects and all sorts of other creative shit that you can't normally do.

So what do the rest of you think? Is this cheating?
no vinyl is overated im well up for multimedia sets and all sorts of weird and wonderful things, you should be proud :lol:
mixing cd's is easier than vinyl, and mp3 mixing is the easiest of all, especially if you have 2 soundcards
I wouldn't say it was cheating, it's just progress. When a new technology comes along, esecially within an art form, people are going to be suspicious about it, and claim that it's the machines doing the work, and not the artist.

Look at Pink Floyd. They pioneered the use of synthisors and other effects in their music, and at the time, they got some stick from people in the music biz saying that it's the machines doing all the hard work.
Now that that technology is widley used and accepted, I don't think anyone would make such a claim.

Also consider CGI Verses paint and cell animation...

With MP3, the technology is allowing people to do more with the music, but without a huge increase in the effort needed to produce it.

But I think there is another point here as well.

The technology also makes the medium far more accessable, and I am a case in point.
I've been into dance music for more than ten years, and have always thought of learning to DJ. Loads of mates,can mix, most of them very well, because they have been doing it for ages.
I however, could never really be that bothered to learn, and put in the hours of practice needed, so I can't mix vinyl.
After a couple of days, I had the hang of it, and a couple of weeks, found that I could do it reasonably well. Now I have a tonne of music on MP3 anyway, and If I want to, I can mix it together.

I could quite see the point of view from someone who has laboured long and hard to hone his DJing skills, look down upon me as a talentless DJ-come-lately ( which of course, I am ! ), and perhaps resent the technology for making DJing accessable to all and sundried, and not just the elite vinaylists. They would call it cheating because I can do easily some thing that only came hard to them.
Not being a DJ though, I can only speculate!

Monkey Do - What software do you use?
I have used mainly the PCDJ suites, and another ( can't remember what it was called ).

Anyone else used MP3 mixers, or fancy having a go?

Rob - member that bloke at Glasto with the mobile phone? tee hee hee..

God bless the MPfree.. :Grin:
Mate that was *funny*, we were dancing to this guys tunes for a while, then decided to have him up on his mixing..... was he actually playing through a phone?, can't remember, but I remember him holding up a very small device saying along the lines of " but look what i have to work with...."
We let him off in the end!

Stix - we were using that PCDJ on my laptop for my birthday party, do you remember?, I remember Jamie ( a very good DJ mate of ours ) was well surprised, when he realised that we were actually mixing tunes in the PC, and how good it was sounding. I think he just thought we were stood there watching winamp or something!
I am mixing on cds, just tried a couple of times with vinyls. It was the same at the beggining with cdj, a considerable number of confirmed artists accused djs using cds to go for the easiest (what I did...), and nowadays, everybody (even the confirmed vinyl junkies) recognised that mixing with cds is easiest for beat matching but on the other hand offers more possibilities concerning the resources of music, effects, integrating additional elements to the mix...
I estimate vinyl users with a lot of admiratiion as I've never been really able to do so....but I dont underestimate the capacities offered by cd mixing.
Concerning mp3, I only tested this stuff once and I think there is a big capacity growing in this sort of opinion is that djs are always tempted to use the handiest support for their mix and mp3 is defenitely on the way to become the next standard. I think what will make a good dj differrent from another will be the quality of the mix!!!! choosing your best tunes and playing one after the other wont be sufficient anymore...we'll have to perform in melting one track into the other!!!!!
I wont enter the debate about mp3 but I think there is no is the future even if you dont want to accept it. Personnally I am not into it for the moment because I dont own the requiered material (I dont even have a computer!!!!). And vinyls and cds still have a good future.I dont think these supports will desappear, new ones will appear thats all. :Smile3:
I personally won't use mp3, not because it's easy, but because of the sound quality. It needs to be encoded at 256kbps or above to even begin to approach CD quality sound. Then there's the whole quagmire about downloading etc. which I won't go into here. :Smile3:
yea...that is true about the quality though. But as soon as the technology will be improoved, mp3 will equal cdjs and vinyls...another 3 years max.
And I am conscious about the problem caused by the mp3 comment :ph34r:
Did you see the last issue of mushroom mag...there's a 4 pages article abvout mp3 trading and I think some company are going to find a solution: intershroom3
I agree with FL, it's the quality that's the problem. I've heard people try to play MP3's or mp3 rips on a big sound system, and it does sound wrong, cos some of the layering is lost in the compression from wav to mp3.
I don't mind the technology, but the mafia *gem* generation's gotta chill a bit.
Could someone fill me in to what is meant when refering to " mp3 mafia " please?

Urk (are you the Urk I know IRL? Doubtful I s'pose but ya gotta ask :Wink3: - Smethwick mean anything to you?)- I use Mixmeister software (in fact I am a mod over on their forums, a resident on their radio station and general lad about Mixmeister town). It's very visual to mix with and it bears little or no resemblence to the "crossfader simulation" model used by most of these MP3 apps so it takes a bit of getting used to if you are a trad DJ.

I agree that MP3 makes mixing easy, if all you want to do is emulate the vinyl guys then fine. Personally I like to push it a bit further, there's plenty that you can only do with digital formats and the non-destructive editing that is brings.

The sound quality issue is a problem, but more so for those folks who "steal" their MP3's. If you are ripping them yourself there is a lot you can do to improve things.

I see the voting is fairly even so far...
Rob - I don't remember your birthday.. much anyway - it's all your fault - I asked for a normal cup of tea.. not one laced full of Phsylocibin! (yeah i know i can't spell!) :Grin:

but I do remember you all standing staring at winamp :Wink3:

da da daa da daa da da daa daa daaaa.. it's a small world after all.. :lol:
Monkey do..... WHO ARE YOU????

Yes I lived in Smethwick for a couple of years, so I must be the Urk you know.... Small world indeedy, fill me in....


Stix - When I say " cup of tea?......" and then giggle in mock inocence, you know what to expect by now......
This is a very interesting thread.

I actually develop MP3 hardware and software, and have built a prototype mp3 deck.

At the end of the day, if you are a hobby DJ and the software can help you to mix then that is good, and shouldn't be regarded as cheating. If you are a pro DJ, then you will know exactly how you want your mix to sound, and the automatic mixes provided by various software applications will probably not mix the two tunes exactly as you would like them mixed, so you wouldn't use features like that.

It is interesting to note that the major DJ equipment manufacturers have identified that there are two main areas of DJs as outlined above; the hobbiest or bedroom DJ, and the pro or club DJ. Devices aimed at the pro DJ try to emulate as closely as possible the mixing from vinyl scenario (for example the Stanton Final Scratch) - Currently the market is too immature for manufacturers to have produced an MP3 deck aimed at the bedroom DJ, but the software that is available for PCs gives us an idea of the sorts of features that are possible (auto beat matching, etc)

In short, I reckon that the top end equipment will always give the DJ ultimate control, and will therefore probably not incorporate all of the possible features, and that as and when lower spec. mp3 mixing equipment becomes available at a price point that is attractive to the amateur, it will be these products that contain the features that might be regarded as cheating. It's a bit like those mixers you can get with a built in effects pad; no serious DJ would ever use one, it's a gimmick that helps sell the product to the amateur.

If anybody is interested in testing some real mp3 mixing hardware then please get in touch with me as I am looking for testers for our prototype product. Ideally I'm after a scratch DJ, but I realise that this is the wrong place to look.

The Dan that I have in fact known most of my life?

Arn't co-incidences wonderfull, this conversation is moving to Private messaging.....
Regarding sound quality:

It should be remembered that hard drives are very cheap these days, if you're really bothered by sound quality and don't believe that MP3 compression can provide a good enough quality, then don't compress it. Just use the uncompressed wavs and mix from them, they are in theory as good as the original CD.

The other thing to remember is that the quality of your DACs makes a huge difference to the quality of the sound. If you've got a cheap soundcard in your PC then of course it's not going to sound as good as your high-end CD deck. The best way to go here is to get a soundcard with SPDIF or optical out and use an external high quality DAC - This approach will also eliminate noise from the workings of your computer (CPU, hard drive, etc can all cause noise on your output stages, so can poor grounding of components connected to your PC). An optical connection provides a completely electrically isolated communication channel between your computer and the sound system making it impossible for noise or poor grounding to affect the audio.

Also, don't forget that MP3 is not the only format (although it may be the only format currently supported by whatever hardware or software you are using to mix with) - There are a few alternatives if you don't want to chew up huge amounts of hard disc by not compressing it: Microsoft's WMA is a good format offering superior audio quality and compression ratios compared to MP3 (shame it is from such a nasty company), Ogg Vorbis is an open source compression format meaning that you're not supporting MS by using it, and most recently Flac.
full_lotus said:
I personally won't use mp3, not because it's easy, but because of the sound quality. It needs to be encoded at 256kbps or above to even begin to approach CD quality sound. Then there's the whole quagmire about downloading etc. which I won't go into here. :Smile3:

Word! :Wink3:

even 256kbps is too low; when the file is compressed certain frequencies are taken away, and although a high kbps mp3 won't lose any frequecies you hear, it will lose some of those that you can't hear. Although this doesn't matter at home, it does big time on a large system. I know quite a few people who play mp3 only sets off cd here in a'dam, and however good thir mixing is, or the tracks they play it always feels like there's something missing, like it's a bit soulless.