If there’s one thing distinguishing digital DJs from DJs working with Vinyl or CD it is the sound quality. This is at least what many people will tell you. We have a quiz for you to tell how well you can hear differences in audio quality.
For all of you who don’t know at all what I’m talking about. Here is a quick introduction to audio files and bitrates. There are two groups of audio files out there. Lossless audio and lossy audio. Lossless audio files are the files that are used as masters. They can be uncompressed or compressed, but their compression retains all of the original data of the recording or final master. The most common types of lossless audio files are WAV, FLAC, and ALAC. Lossy audio files on the other hand are compressed versions where some parts of the data is removed to reduce the size of the file. The most common lossy audio formats are MP3, MP4 and OGG.
Most DJs using digital files have a library of 320 kbps MP3 files. This is because most large club PA systems will still sound good with these compressed files. But in recent years the discussions about which file format to use got bigger and bigger. At the relaunch of Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal it was announced that there will be an option to listen to high-definition audio at double cost. NPR Music created a quiz testing listeners on their ability to determine between lossless audio and compressed MP3s. They cut a clip from each song and then provided that clip as a 128 kbps MP3 file, a 320 kbps MP3 file and a higher-quality lossless WAV file. We can say as much as that the majority of users failed this quiz.
Of course the results of this test not only depend on your ears. First of all get the best audio equipment you have available. A good pair of headphones or good external speakers will do the job. Best would be an amplifier or digital-to-analog converter. Secondly turn up your volume and keep it consistent and last but not least try to focus on the low end and the high end of the frequency spectrum.
Take the test here.