Have a feature request or suggestion? Post your idea here!


2 followers Follow

File quality and Master Tempo


I am learning to use pioneer gear (cdj2000-nxs2) after a long time using Traktor. I do a lot of harmonic mixing and would like to use the master tempo feature to keep two tracks in key that are harmonically compatible but differ in tempo. I know that, in Traktor at least, this does noticeably affect the sound quality, even at +/- 0% and with lossless.

My question is this. Is there a noticeable difference in the sound quality when using the master tempo feature when using lossless audio vs 320 mp3. I have heard that this is so, that lossless audio mitigates the audio quality degradation of master tempo, but I am not sure if I agree with this. It doesn't really make sense, as I would expect that the 320 mp3 would be decoded within the player before any audio processing was applied, therefore the difference in quality should not be any more noticeable between 320 and lossless with the master tempo on vs off.

Can anyone confirm or deny this? IE, if using master tempo should you absolutely be starting with lossless audio in order to maximize the sound quality? Or does it make no more difference between 320 and lossless than any other situation? Thank you so much for the information.



Tavis Ricksecker Answered

Official comment


Honestly, you're seldom going to have anyone notice the difference between 320k and lossless anyhow, so MT would be a bigger change for either filetype. For most situations there's not enough loss in quality for it to be appreciable vs. the benefit MT provides. It's only when you start getting above 6-10% that you would have more degradation.

Comment actions Permalink

Post is closed for comments.



Thank you for the reply. What you say does make sense, especially in a live sound environment.

For what it's worth after writing this I did perform a somewhat unscientific experiment where I took a few lossless files and converted them to mp3, then played both versions in sync and swapped back and forth between them with the crossfader while playing with the MT both on and off, and up to approximately +/- 6% or so.

What I noticed was this. The Master Tempo sounded, to me, noticeably better over all than Traktor Key Lock, though I had heard that this was not the case. In particular, the transient at the beginning of each kick sounded better than I remember it sounding in Traktor.

Both the AIF and MP3 files sounded decently good with the MT engaged up to +/- 3% or so. The AIF sounded reasonably good all the way to +/-6% although I do think that the bass started to sound slightly muddy at the ends of the range. The MP3 definitely sounded muddy beginning at +/-3% and when swapping back and forth between them at this tempo the AIF file had cleaner sounding, more intelligible and articulate bass notes. Also the sub bass frequencies were better preserved with the AIF file and it had noticeably more physical presence.

In all I am happy with how good the Master Tempo sounds but I have become pretty convinced by this that the rumour is true, that lossless audio does seem to somehow mitigate the degradation of sound quality that will occur when using any form of time stretching, so that if planning to use the MT function it is better to start with lossless audio. I realize this wasn't a true ABX test but I feel that the difference, at least on my studio soundsystem, was noticeable enough to make me want to keep my files as lossless in order to achieve the best possible sound quality while using the MT. 

Tavis Ricksecker 0 votes
Comment actions Permalink