The quality of the audio card and any processing you may or may not know about (like the Sound Check issue above).
(yes, CD players have audio cards)
Good catch. I usually don't listen through iTunes so Sound Check and Sound Enhancer were both on. I'll have to compare the CD v. AIFF again sometime without them being on.
Originally Posted by mostapha
it's doesn't matter because most PA systems don't sound that good.
It's on by default. And, yeah, it's kind of ridiculous.
Originally Posted by Brom
Yeah…Sound Check just peak-normalizes everything. Well, I think it does…it might do RMS normalization, but without any settings, I doubt it. When I've left it on before, it doesn't play quiet enough to not cause all hip hop to distort like mad from clipping the DAC.
Sound Enhancer is even more BS…I'm pretty sure it's an aggressive peak limiter that's more like radio broadcast equipment than anything you'd ever want.
For as dominant as the iTunes store is, iTunes itself is a pretty crappy media player. It doesn't even have a decent EQ. I use it almost solely out of laziness, and their BS has me seriously contemplating moving to Android for my phone just so I'll have a good media player on my phone.
That's completely legit. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't care just in case you play on a good one at some point.
Originally Posted by Unknown DJ
Fortunately, all DJ-oriented gear is about the same in terms of actual quality…and it's all good enough. The difference between a $5,000 2-channel DAC and a $70 Numark card is smaller than you'd guess. It's audible, but you have to have good ears, good speakers, and a good room to call it "night & day".
The harder part is making sure your software is set up well…and that's mostly because SSL's output is hot as hell by default and NI hates meters. You have to read SSL's manual to know how to set it up right, but at least it has good meters. Traktor's manual kinda sucks in that regard, and it's so common in NI's software that I'm beginning to wonder if they care at all about sound quality. Every single one of the demo tracks I've looked at for the Maschine expansions cause intersample modulation distortion on output. Most of them are just flat-out clipped. They sound better than they should, implying that NI actually does care but that they don't think their users have a clue what they're doing, so they're doing some kind of processing that you can't see or control to prevent it sounding horrible…but I can't find any real documentation on it.
But it's starting to really piss me off that I have to use up effect slots on AU meters because they just didn't bother including any in the UI…and it's one of the big selling points for cross grading to the new MPCs over Maschine if I decide to stick with a computer-based groove box.
Last edited by mostapha; 02-21-2012 at 12:51 AM.
I still have some numark decks, I think they sound cold and ever so slightly dull. Side by side tests and pioneer shows pretty much the night and day difference you're talking about.
Originally Posted by mostapha
Numark cd decks? Yeah…I probably should have said that DJ gear is all really similar once you get above the "not crap" threshold. That threshold is pretty low compared to how much a "not crap" guitar setup costs, for example, but it still exists.