DJ- CDs vs MP3 - Technical question

We've narrowed our DJ's down to two and one difference between them is that one uses MP3s and the other uses CDs, claiming that the compressed MP3 files are inferior in sound quality when played at high volume through professional speakers. 

I'm looking for someone who has the technical experience to advise whether there is a legitimate difference, not just "my DJ used CD's and it sounded fine".

Thanks in advance-

Re: DJ- CDs vs MP3 - Technical question

  • This is not necessarily true. It gets into a discussion about the bitrate of the MP3 file. There is a lot of debate about it, but in a nut shell, an MP3 at 256kbs is going to sound close enough to CD quality that only a trained audiophile will be able to tell the difference .Remember, CD's are a digital format too, and some will argue that vinyl sounds better than CD. 

    When MP3 files first came on the scene, they were generally at 128 bit, which sounded OK through headphones but a little tinny when played through loud speakers. But now, MP3 files at higher quality bitrates are available through consumer retailers like iTunes. So, it depends on where the DJ is buying their music, or at what bitrate they are ripping their CDs. 

    Also, the quality of the sound card, the mixer, the amp and the speakers all make a difference in the quality of the sound reproduced. 

    I think your DJ is just being a little stubborn about switching to MP3, possibly because they are not too computer savvy, and afraid of the new tech. Most DJs today are using MP3's and pro software like virtual DJ, or Serato. The truth is that digital DJs can carry much more music with them than CD DJs do. The DJ you're talking to might say "laptops can die and then what?" But, it's just like anything else..always bring back up. 

    P.S. I'm a DJ that has been through just about every iteration of media. I started with vinyl, then CDs, and now MP3. I can find songs faster, bring more with me, and mix better with digital media. 
  • @fraffa Many thanks!  This is exactly the type of feedback I was seeking.   Maybe I should just hire you lol.  I'm inclined to choose the DJ using MP3, because as you said he will have a greater selection. I appreicate the details about bitrate and software, which will help me ask a few more questions when finalizing the contract.  Thanks again-
  • @Fraffa is right - nobody will notice a difference in sound quality. 
    Just pick the dj you like best!
  • Posters so far are right, that there should be no noticeable difference in sound quality *if* the MP3/digital DJ in question is using high-bit rate MP3 files or lossless adio formats.

    That being said, perhaps a question to ask is where they source their new music from just to be sure that the MP3 DJ is using high quality files from reputable sources.  P truly professional provider will get new music in the form of monthly or weekly subscription services with music made available to radio stations, ensuring not only high quality files, but an up-to-date library that spans all genres and can handle a wide variety of requests for new music on the spot, etc.

    Also important is that music from these sources are CLEAN radio edits, and not explicit versions - which can't always be said for versions gotten off of Amazon, iTunes, etc.

    Primarily though, your goal in asking about the source of their digital music is ruling out a DJ using illegal or stolen music from a bunch of unverifiable sources that can have varying quality, unedited content, etc.

    Some names of the industry standard sources for these types of subscriptions include Promo Only, PrimeCuts/TM Century, ERG Music group, and a few others.

    I DJ'd with CD's, and now with MP3, and there are definitely pros to using digital, as long as your DJ sources everything from high quality suppliers ensuring a sizable and quality library appropriate for your event, and your guests.

    Hope this helps!
  • Sounds To Go   thanks that is very helpful!
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