Many new DJS ask the question “Which is better: MP3s or WAVs?”. The answer to that question is simple: WAVs. WAVs are lossles, higher bitrate, and have a wider frequency range. The question should be : Which is best for me to use?

You should use WAVs if you need to have the best possible audio quality from a digital file, especially if you want to do edits or mashups. Many DAWs do not work well with MP3s or require the files to be re-compressed. Be aware that WAVs do cost a bit more than MP3s and are larger in size. MP3s are cheaper than WAVs but are not as high quality. However, the difference between the two is often hard to hear. People listening on laptop speakers or cheap headphones probably won’t hear any difference at all. Many clubbers may not even hear the difference in a nightclub.

It’s up to each DJ to choose a preferred format. You can’t go wrong either way. Just remember to buy all of your music and get 320kbps CBR MP3s if you go that route.

Photo by Ethan Hein

  • “Many clubbers may not even hear the difference in a nightclub.”

    I would say NONE will notice unless the sound format is pointed out to them, and even then you want your audience too absorbed in the music to begin wondering what bitrate your files are.

    We DJs are notorious for pushing mixers into the red. Club owners already have their expensive PA systems pushed to the limit and protected by limiters and compressors, so in the end the only difference between WAV and MP3 in a performance setting is how many tracks you can fit onto your storage medium.