New Here with Tough WMA Issue to Mull Over
July 10, 2017 at 11:33 pm #2586611
In short: I’m 45, started djing in NYC back in the early 90’s, cut my teeth mixing on 1200s playing house, dancehall, et al. Left the scene a long long time ago.
I now have a MASSIVE cd (and vinyl) collection numbering in the thousands. All kinds of music and genres, not just club music.
Problem is: I made the very dumb decision in the early 2000’s to rip in WMA format (variable bit rate [VBR] to boot!).
Only the stuff bought from Amazon, Beatport, and Traxsource are in MP3. Almost everything else is in WMA.
I want to try to get back to a little deejaying; and I have the money to invest in some new professional equipment, but it doesn’t make any sense to splurge in top-of-the-line Pioneer or Denon if it can’t play my WMAs.
Laptop-wise, Serato doesn’t seem to support WMA either. . . 🙁
There’s NO way I can spend years re-ripping thousands of cds and vinyls!
My question is two-part:
1) I’m willing to convert (going to keep the WMA “masters” in my Amazon cloud) music I might play live to MP3, but only if the sound quality hit is negligible. I’m concerned about sound quality, I’ve heard converting or re-ripping from a compressed source is not recommended as the sound quality will degrade. Is this true? If true, what are the recommended options to minimize the problem?
2) Is there any software or hope for me? What can I do or use that supports WMA?
This could be the shortest comeback ever, lol, if the answers are not good! :0)
I’m afraid WMA could stand for Without Many Answers. . .
Thanks for any help/advice!
DANJuly 11, 2017 at 9:21 pm #2587421
Chuck Van EekelenModerator
This is a tricky one to answer. Quite frankly, I am not an advocate of re-compressing to another format (transcoding). And even then it would depend on the quality level of the WMA’s.
Without going the entire route about bitrates and such, the end-result is the same. It’s not a desirable action to take imho.
So, building a core collection of 600-800 tracks wouldn’t be to bad. Also you can try sourcing digital versions of stuff you already own online. Re-ripping vinyl isn’t a task I would take on lightly either. CD’s are a lot easier. Ripping a track is a matter of less than a minute usually. So if you are talking 800 tracks, that would take you less than 15 hours or so. While waiting for the next rip to finish you can do the tagging and such on the previous rip(s).
And rip into FLAC (lossless) so you can always reproduce CD-quality tracks should you need to. It’s easy when you are done to convert the FLAC into MP3 should you so desire. I use Platinum Notes to work on my tracks before adding them in my collection, but just flat conversion software will work also. Always convert with the highest quality settings is the best advice here.
Hope that helps some.July 11, 2017 at 11:30 pm #2587551
Thanks vintage, appreciate the quick response!
All my WMAs are in 320-kbps with VBR (variable bit rate). That means some files get ripped at rates as high as 400 kbps.
I like the idea of re-ripping a core of 1000 files and transcoding a “second tier” of 1000 to 320-MP3.
Also, did a little research last night and it looks like Virtual DJ is a software package that has native support for WMA.
I’m thinking now of getting a DDJ-SR for $300-$400 used on eBay, and Virtual DJ pro for another $300; that’s a lot less than what I was planning to spend on the new Denon MCX8000 or Pioneer XDJ, lol.
I’m still not keen on the idea of working off a laptop; it looks to me that the “old school” approach of going almost-all hardware is starting to comeback with the new generation of controllers from Denon and Pioneer, and that was the way I wanted to go. But I guess I’ll have to get used to the idea of the laptop being the “control center” after all.
It’s so frustrating. I’ve been playing WMAs on “mp3 players” and now smartphones for over 12 years no problem. The Sandisk Sansa first came out way back in 2005 and played my WMAs no problem. I just assumed WMA would be supported on the dj side as well, not just the consumer devices.July 12, 2017 at 8:13 am #2587591
Chuck Van EekelenModerator
The only real laptop-less option today is really the new Denon Prime series. I own the MCX8000 and while it is a great controller, there are still some limitations to not using it with software. What it does do is make it easier to put the laptop to the side and use the screens more for visual feedback and most basic things. Extensive searching, browsing and such still better on a laptop with keyboard. As is setting some FX and stuff.
The SC5000 Prime players (full dual layer!) have built-in i5 processors, an iPad mini sized HD touchscreen (glass, not that plastic feeling you get on cheaper phones) that is really fully functional. Combined with the X1800 Prime mixer you have what is an “old school” setup of two players (actually 4 with the dual layer functionality) and a mixer, but with all the features of a modern digital DJ setup.
While I have never longed to own the CDJ Nexus (having played with it regularly) and being completely happy with all the controllers I have owned, the Primes are high on my wishlist.
Clearly the pricing is a bit different. While lower priced than a (not really) comparable Pioneer Nexus2k2 setup, it is still a LOT more than a controller.
I would say your plan sounds solid. If only to find out the do’s and dont’s and your personal workflow. Having a look at the (moneyback guarantee) How To Digital DJ Fast course might help accelerate your learning curve.
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