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andy-e

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Hello. i am Andrew. i am a travelling Turntablist DJ and i use Serato Scratchlive for my performances. The majority of the tracks i use are mp3 format. nothing lower than 256kbs. Almost all are 320. Serato Scratchlive is a great platform for what i do. but it is not perfect! the quality of the sound is often not what i would expect. This sometimes is the case, and sometimes not the case when using the same tracks. But it is the best platform for me and i want to investigate ways to enhance the sound quality using this system. I use a standard MacBook Pro 2011 model. i7, 8gb ram, 1TB Hdisk, Scratchlive SL3 sound card, standard USB and RCA cables, Ortofon Qbert or Shure M447 Stylus. The type of DJ mixer i use depends on the individual venues i am travelling to. but the most common one is a pioneer djm 800 or 900. I am not really sure where to begin, but i have been told it is possible to enhance this systems sound quality to much higher levels! I would appreciate any suggestions or comments from other users.

Thank you

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This site is computer audiophile - you already have the computer, but for the audiophile you may want to use some better quality than crappy mp3.

 

What some call "studio master" is a resolution of 192kHz / 24bit - your tracks in mp3 at 320kbps equal to less than 3.5% of that resolution, means you throw away 96.5% of the music the artist and engineers have captured ...

 

Ever thought about that ?

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It is very encouraging for someone from the pro set taking an interest and actually hearing variations in sound quality for music that's familiar and played on a regular basis.

 

The variations could be due to the signal resolution and software, but more likely the effects of the venue, amplification, reverb and reflections would play a major role in the final outcome and what you hear. Let's say that there would be some correction tool for the venue in place already and it works properly and the distortion at 100db+ is hopefully less than 3% THD from the speaker?

 

As our fellow members have suggested, mp3's are not the way forward and there is little you can do to improve on these as the good bits are already thrown out. You have vinyl, install a trial PureVinyl as an example of vinyl recording software to A/D at least 96fs to uncompressed FLAC and see how the quality improves. You can keep the remaining software for now, to test things out, also give Audirvana + a trial as well, the Izotope SRC is very good at making dramatic improvements to digital playback and it's not EQ based either.

Your Mac is fine for the duty and it works well for you, so keep it, same with the sound card. Small steps to changes instead of major ones here and there. Sound cards for pro environments are based on reliability rather than what they sound like for audiophile use. Something that comes close are the Grace Design products if you want to think about changing the sound card.

 

As for the cartridges, I am the last to be knowledgeable on those and they may as well be apples and oranges to me, clueless.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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thank you all for your feed back . i have tried ripping many of my vinyls before using a simple program called audacity. and the results have been pretty good. however this was very time consuming so i gave up on it. but now a lot of the tracks i use , i don't have on vinyl. i play a lot of new skool edm and its sub genres, hiphop and others. many of these tracks are not available on vinyl now. usually i can only find mp3 versions. i realise mp3 is not ideal and it cuts out a lot of the goodness. but finding other formats isn't easy.i use dj record pools to find music and 320 mp3 is the standard format for most. this is why i am trying to find ways to improve sound quality using mp3. the equipment i use is pretty much top of the range for djs such as myself. ortofon and shure make the best carts out there in my opinion. and serato's sound card is considered to be industry standard. although as mentioned above , this is mostly because of reliability, not because of sound quality.

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Since most of us here do not start out with pro gear, we buy DACs (and/or ADCs) purpose

built for home use. Since you've got a complete chain of hardware, it would be worth trying

some of the high-end music player software. Take a look at the free trial for Audirvana Plus but there are a number of others

Decibel, Pure Music, Amarra, and so forth.

 

Where you have CD versions, you can always rip these to full resolution formats such as AIFF or ALAC (which

are probably the most flexible on MacOS). You might want to compare to mp3 version and see if you

feel anything is lost.

 

But definitely try out some of these software players.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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...The type of DJ mixer i use depends on the individual venues i am travelling to. but the most common one is a pioneer djm 800 or 900.

 

If we'd leave everything it is, have you played the mixer to bring the sound level closer to what you expect? It is true that synchronizing analog tape/vinyl to digital is a very time consuming process. That is the problem I am facing now (even though I am not even close to a professional like you). I think your system should have no problem handling playing back huge AIFF files smoothly for you. (I don't have the experience on this part yet because I use a laptop). Please let me know what your solutions are. I am not a DJ but I do DIY recording/mixing on the go often. :)

A good song finds me even during my sleep.

Thank God for my aging ears. I now can filter out blah blah blah and tune in blue blue blue...

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Since most of us here do not start out with pro gear, we buy DACs (and/or ADCs) purpose

built for home use. Since you've got a complete chain of hardware, it would be worth trying

some of the high-end music player software. Take a look at the free trial for Audirvana Plus but there are a number of others

Decibel, Pure Music, Amarra, and so forth.

 

Where you have CD versions, you can always rip these to full resolution formats such as AIFF or ALAC (which

are probably the most flexible on MacOS). You might want to compare to mp3 version and see if you

feel anything is lost.

 

But definitely try out some of these software players.

thank you for your suggestions. but using any other software player is not an option. i can only use the software designed to work with the hardware i am using.

Serato.com | Serato creates world leading DJ software

i need to be able to manipulate the music files with turntables. as a dj its essential. otherwise i cannot do my job.

so i am looking to improve my current setup's sound quality. not make any major changes.

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If we'd leave everything it is, have you played the mixer to bring the sound level closer to what you expect? It is true that synchronizing analog tape/vinyl to digital is a very time consuming process. That is the problem I am facing now (even though I am not even close to a professional like you). I think your system should have no problem handling playing back huge AIFF files smoothly for you. (I don't have the experience on this part yet because I use a laptop). Please let me know what your solutions are. I am not a DJ but I do DIY recording/mixing on the go often. :)

you are right. the system i use would have no problem playing aiff. its standard recording format is aiff. if i record a mix on the fly for example. i always try to get the mixer sounding as best i can. but no matter how good i get it tweaked, it still needs something... or lacks something.. if you know what i mean...

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thank you for your suggestions. but using any other software player is not an option. i can only use the software designed to work with the hardware i am using.

Serato.com | Serato creates world leading DJ software

i need to be able to manipulate the music files with turntables. as a dj its essential. otherwise i cannot do my job.

so i am looking to improve my current setup's sound quality. not make any major changes.

Alas, if both your software and hardware cannot be changed, it seems like the only thing you might optimize is the sound files themselves. In that case, if I'm understanding properly, I suggest you buy a few CDs of different styles you like and compare the full resolution rips (e.g. in aiff or alac) to the same tracks in mp3. I'd advise to not rush your comparisons, but listen to both lossless and lossy version multiple times when you're in the mood to listen for enjoyment. Then see if there are meaningful differences or not.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Alas, if both your software and hardware cannot be changed, it seems like the only thing you might optimize is the sound files themselves. In that case, if I'm understanding properly, I suggest you buy a few CDs of different styles you like and compare the full resolution rips (e.g. in aiff or alac) to the same tracks in mp3. I'd advise to not rush your comparisons, but listen to both lossless and lossy version multiple times when you're in the mood to listen for enjoyment. Then see if there are meaningful differences or not.

i would probably want to go with aiff format. as its recommended by the manufacturer and supported by the software. I suppose this is something that will need to be done over a long period of time and will mean eventually replacing most of my 50,000 plus track music collection! ... oh God!!! There must be another way! haha

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Hi andy-e

i was looking at the manufacturers link you posted above. amazing software and hardware combo! not overly expensive either. looks like a very in-depth and feature packed program and fun to use i'm sure! i was actually considering purchasing it for home use. i am not a dj but like the idea of mixing music at home. i have asked another dj i know about this and he also uses it. and he is very happy with it. he also commented on the sound quality though. says it could be a little better. please let us know if you do find a way to improve the sound quality :-)

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Hi Andy,

 

A few questions

- how is the audio output from your system sent out from the SL3, digital or analog ?

- how are you usually interfacing with the sound system of your venue ? via a mixer ?

- how many sound channels are you typically sending out, 2 channel stereo, or 4 channel

 

A few comments

 

- Serato software is available for Mac using Core Audio and Windows using ASIO. ASIO usually has a noticeably better sound quality than Mac Core Audio, so you may want to to do a comparison test of the sound quality of your MAC set up with someone who is running Serato in Wíndows to see if you feel it's worth switching to Windows

 

- Digital and analog audio is pretty senstive to how clean the power is. You may want to experiement on various clean power solutions for your DAC and amps

 

- given you are pretty much locked in to your existing source files and mp3 format, the most sound quality improvement potential for your systen and varios playback environment is using DSP for room correction. With DSP correction software you can design your preferred "house" eq curve and save it. When you go to a new venue, you can do so sound test and then create digital filters which will give the amp and speaker system of that venue the same sound EQ curve as you have previouslly designed. Dirac from Sweden has several room correction solutions for PC's and Mac's. Perhaps the most interesting room correction option is the Dirac software and filters which have been implemented for the real time stand alone DSP units made by miniDSP in Hong Kong. A windows laptop is used to do carryout a series of 9 measurements utilizing sound sweeps. The filters created provide time alignment, as well as EQ. Good DSP can be very effective for improving Pace, Rythm, and Timing (PRAT) and improve the foot tapping impact of the playback

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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Hi Andy,

 

A few questions

- how is the audio output from your system sent out from the SL3, digital or analog ?

- how are you usually interfacing with the sound system of your venue ? via a mixer ?

- how many sound channels are you typically sending out, 2 channel stereo, or 4 channel

 

A few comments

 

- Serato software is available for Mac using Core Audio and Windows using ASIO. ASIO usually has a noticeably better sound quality than Mac Core Audio, so you may want to to do a comparison test of the sound quality of your MAC set up with someone who is running Serato in Wíndows to see if you feel it's worth switching to Windows

 

- Digital and analog audio is pretty senstive to how clean the power is. You may want to experiement on various clean power solutions for your DAC and amps

 

- given you are pretty much locked in to your existing source files and mp3 format, the most sound quality improvement potential for your systen and varios playback environment is using DSP for room correction. With DSP correction software you can design your preferred "house" eq curve and save it. When you go to a new venue, you can do so sound test and then create digital filters which will give the amp and speaker system of that venue the same sound EQ curve as you have previouslly designed. Dirac from Sweden has several room correction solutions for PC's and Mac's. Perhaps the most interesting room correction option is the Dirac software and filters which have been implemented for the real time stand alone DSP units made by miniDSP in Hong Kong. A windows laptop is used to do carryout a series of 9 measurements utilizing sound sweeps. The filters created provide time alignment, as well as EQ. Good DSP can be very effective for improving Pace, Rythm, and Timing (PRAT) and improve the foot tapping impact of the playback

well. serato is digital to analog, so from mac to serato box to dj mixer. always interfacing via dj mixer, 2 channels stereo.

i have tried this program before using windows and its not considered a reliable platform for serato, and this has been the case foir me too. i have never had any major issues while using mac, but several crashes while using windows.

DSP room correction sounds very interesting. i have never heard of that before. where can i find this software?

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well. serato is digital to analog, so from mac to serato box to dj mixer. always interfacing via dj mixer, 2 channels stereo.

i have tried this program before using windows and its not considered a reliable platform for serato, and this has been the case foir me too. i have never had any major issues while using mac, but several crashes while using windows.

DSP room correction sounds very interesting. i have never heard of that before. where can i find this software?

 

As you are always outputting 2 Channel stereo, then the Dirac miniDSP solution is an interesting one. I would suggest to take the digital output ( optical Toslink or Coax) from your dj mixer and feed it to a miniDSP DDRC 22DA. The digital signal is resampled to 24 bit 96 KHz and then undergoes DSP processing applying the digital filters you have previously designed and saved. The room corrected 24/96 digital feed is then fed to the onboard DAC which outputs to the balanced audio XLR outputs which can then feed the sound system at your venue

 

here are is the link to the miniDSD line of DSP processors which use Dirac

Product line summary

 

miniDSP has a dealer in the UK who will take care of the MWST documentation which should make for a easier purchase

Purite Audio | in harmony with truth

 

Flavio who is associated with DIRAC, is regularly posting in the DSP forum and is always available to help, and I am in Germany pretty often if you need hands on assistance

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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As you are always outputting 2 Channel stereo, then the Dirac miniDSP solution is an interesting one. I would suggest to take the digital output ( optical Toslink or Coax) from your dj mixer and feed it to a miniDSP DDRC 22DA. The digital signal is resampled to 24 bit 96 KHz and then undergoes DSP processing applying the digital filters you have previously designed and saved. The room corrected 24/96 digital feed is then fed to the onboard DAC which outputs to the balanced audio XLR outputs which can then feed the sound system at your venue

 

here are is the link to the miniDSD line of DSP processors which use Dirac

Product line summary

 

miniDSP has a dealer in the UK who will take care of the MWST documentation which should make for a easier purchase

Purite Audio | in harmony with truth

 

Flavio who is associated with DIRAC, is regularly posting in the DSP forum and is always available to help, and I am in Germany pretty often if you need hands on assistance

Thank you for the information. it is a little over my head technically. but i will ask my buddy to have a look and explain it to me. it seems very complex to achieve a solution to better sound on my serato current system. i think if i was based at one venue regularly it would be easier to implement some of the suggestions here. but i travel around Europe a lot for my dj job. so ideally if there was a transportable solution i could discover that would be perfect. but such a solution still eludes me!

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Thank you for the information. it is a little over my head technically. but i will ask my buddy to have a look and explain it to me. it seems very complex to achieve a solution to better sound on my serato current system. i think if i was based at one venue regularly it would be easier to implement some of the suggestions here. but i travel around Europe a lot for my dj job. so ideally if there was a transportable solution i could discover that would be perfect. but such a solution still eludes me!

my meaning is that, at some venues. getting to the wires or connectors behind the mixer isn't always possible. It is often the case that i don't need to unpack my serato sound card as the venue may already have one connected and ready for use. I can't help thinking there must be some way i can improve the sound before it goes into the dj mixer. somehow between my laptop and the dj mixer .... if that makes sense...

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I have been seeking further advice on this from friends. One guy suggested to me something about fitting a device in the audio chain that will clean the signal. I'm not entirely sure what he meant. he was talking about the audio signal and power signal interfering with each other. and apparently it is somehow possible to prevent this. Can anyone elaborate on this concept?

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he was talking about the audio signal and power signal interfering with each other. and apparently it is somehow possible to prevent this. Can anyone elaborate on this concept?

 

I think (hope) that Purite Audio | in harmony with truth suggested by EuroDriver should work for you. I can only speak from my own armature experience that audio signals and power lines do interfere each other. In recording sessions, I used software filter to mask out unwanted sounds but sometimes my recording ended up noticeably distorted (sounded unnatural to me). The best I could do is to minimize all possible background processes (virus scan?, scheduling?, google, etc) in my laptop, and turn off electric appliances around me. I suspect those interference would be minimized a lot if I have expensive equipment. (Can anyone confirm on this?)

 

Wish you good luck...

A good song finds me even during my sleep.

Thank God for my aging ears. I now can filter out blah blah blah and tune in blue blue blue...

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I have been seeking further advice on this from friends. One guy suggested to me something about fitting a device in the audio chain that will clean the signal. I'm not entirely sure what he meant. he was talking about the audio signal and power signal interfering with each other. and apparently it is somehow possible to prevent this. Can anyone elaborate on this concept?

 

USB cable data cable can also transmit electrical noise from your computer to your next device. Most of the noise is carried by the 5v power wires although the data pair can transmit noise too. This relatively in expensive box can significantly reduce this electrical noise, and can give an improvement in sound quality

 

Amazon.com: Wyrd USB Decrapifier: Computers & Accessories

 

closer to Germany, this USB power supply is available from Aqvox

USB Stromversorgung, galvanisch getrennt, audiophiles USB Netzteil, isolierte usb low noise stromversorgung, USB DAC netzteil, usb netzteil, usb low noise netzteil, USB trafo

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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USB cable data cable can also transmit electrical noise from your computer to your next device. Most of the noise is carried by the 5v power wires although the data pair can transmit noise too. This relatively in expensive box can significantly reduce this electrical noise, and can give an improvement in sound quality

 

Amazon.com: Wyrd USB Decrapifier: Computers & Accessories

 

closer to Germany, this USB power supply is available from Aqvox

USB Stromversorgung, galvanisch getrennt, audiophiles USB Netzteil, isolierte usb low noise stromversorgung, USB DAC netzteil, usb netzteil, usb low noise netzteil, USB trafo

yes! this is what my friend was talking about. i have shown him these links. apparently there are a few of them on the market and he recommends i research a few and try one. which i am doing.... will post any results or conclusions that i come up with.

Thanks again Eurodriver

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I think (hope) that Purite Audio | in harmony with truth suggested byEuroDriver should work for you. I can only speak from my own armature experience that audio signals and power lines do interfere each other. In recording sessions, I used software filter to mask out unwanted sounds but sometimes my recording ended up noticeably distorted (sounded unnatural to me). The best I could do is to minimize all possible background processes (virus scan?, scheduling?, google, etc) in my laptop, and turn off electric appliances around me. I suspect those interference would be minimized a lot if I have expensive equipment. (Can anyone confirm on this?)

 

Wish you good luck...

i am going to try one of these type of gadgets listed in the links EuroDriver posted and see if i get any improvement. i will keep you and others posted on my results.

thank you for your input! i hope this works! :-)

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I think (hope) that Purite Audio | in harmony with truth suggested byEuroDriver should work for you. I can only speak from my own armature experience that audio signals and power lines do interfere each other. In recording sessions, I used software filter to mask out unwanted sounds but sometimes my recording ended up noticeably distorted (sounded unnatural to me). The best I could do is to minimize all possible background processes (virus scan?, scheduling?, google, etc) in my laptop, and turn off electric appliances around me. I suspect those interference would be minimized a lot if I have expensive equipment. (Can anyone confirm on this?)

 

Wish you good luck...

i just ordered a little gadget online along with a special usb cable that is supposed to improve the sound on any digital audio system. let's hope it will have a positive result.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm a DJ & audiophile so when I'm out spinning sounding good is essential. I find the best results when playing uncompressed AIFF files that I get from CDs. I'm always on the look out for CDs & Maxi CD singles. I setup a nice ripping station and can rip around 100 cds to Aiff every 24 hours. I also converted over 400 12" singles from my 90's collection into AIFF which took forever. The Combination of buying CDs & Vinyl I pretty much can find anything, if an artist has only MP3 version then I won't play that. I always bring my own equipment and won't use anything else. Here's my equipment break down.

 

2 Tech 1200's (Shure M44-7 carts)

2 Denon DNS 3700's

1 Rane Sixty Two

1 Rane Empath

1 SL4

 

Now if I can convince clients to pay me enough to play all vinyl, I find that is the simplest way to get excellent sound.

 

I also have been experimenting with a Pioneer DJM-900NXS 24bit/96kHz even tried using DacMagic Plus. Not worth all the extra hassle and your whole setup needs to stay digital right to the Mixing Console that the sound guy is using. Sure it can sound awesome but who really notices expect you and the sound guy.

 

So I stick with Lossless AIFF and Vinyl and my trusty Rane Mixers!

 

I am often complimented on how great my sound is. I bring my own gear, and if I don't approve of the sound system I'm plugging into I get them to rent one..... Hope this helps.

 

Old school, Hip Hop, Funk, Reggae DJ stuck in the 90's hehehe

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