Laptop DJing

It's all about the equipment

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Greg Avakian
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Laptop DJing

#1 Post by Greg Avakian » Fri Apr 11, 2003 6:46 am

I'm etting tired of ripping, burning, rearranging mixes, making mixes of music people like so I have it on hand and keeping seperate playlists.
So I think I'll go with a laptop.

I've been told to get 2 sound cards so that I can listen to a tune while another is playing. I assume one tune goes through a USB port and that I cue through the headphone jack ...is this so? Is it a big deal to put another sound card in a laptop?

===============================================
HP Pavillions seem to get great reveiws and give more bang for the buck. I'm looking at these models (prices fluctuate, and I'm not quite ready to buy anyway):

HP Pavilion ze4220 $1150
HP Pavillian ze4115 $969
HP Pavillion ze4145 $1139
HP Pavilion xt412 $1215
HP Pavilion ze1250 $950
HP XT512   $1450

Any comments?

Thanks in advance,
Greg

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BryanC
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#2 Post by BryanC » Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:43 am

I think there are PCMCIA sound cards you can stick in the PC card slot that most lap tops have. Not sure how that works though.

Andy Reid
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#3 Post by Andy Reid » Fri Apr 11, 2003 9:50 am


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GemZombie
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Re: Laptop DJing

#4 Post by GemZombie » Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:47 am

Greg Avakian wrote:I'm etting tired of ripping, burning, rearranging mixes, making mixes of music people like so I have it on hand and keeping seperate playlists.
So I think I'll go with a laptop.

I've been told to get 2 sound cards so that I can listen to a tune while another is playing. I assume one tune goes through a USB port and that I cue through the headphone jack ...is this so? Is it a big deal to put another sound card in a laptop?

===============================================
HP Pavillions seem to get great reveiws and give more bang for the buck. I'm looking at these models (prices fluctuate, and I'm not quite ready to buy anyway):

HP Pavilion ze4220 $1150
HP Pavillian ze4115 $969
HP Pavillion ze4145 $1139
HP Pavilion xt412 $1215
HP Pavilion ze1250 $950
HP XT512   $1450

Any comments?

Thanks in advance,
Greg


Yes. Again I point you to my DJ article. Putting another soundcard in a laptop is impossible (they used to make PCMCIA sound devices, but they stopped long ago, and the ones you can find only work in win9x if you're lucky), so external is the only way to add on. Their are a few USB sound card options. I've been using an Extigy which works prety well... plus the internal souncards on laptops often have a lot of "noise" on them, so using the external device gets a lot cleaner sound.

It's possible there might be some 5.1 soundcards that are internal to the laptop, but I haven't researched that. Usually a 5.1 souncard has multiple outpus (1+2, 3+4, 5+6), and each show up as a separate sound device in sofware like BPM Studio... if so, that's all you would need.
Last edited by GemZombie on Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#5 Post by GemZombie » Fri Apr 11, 2003 10:49 am

Andy Reid wrote:http://www.techtv.com/screensavers/answerstips/story/0,24330,2413080,00.html


I reviewed all of those.

VTT (Virtual Turn Tables) is no longer supported (last updated in 2001), and has some major issues. I used it for about a year before I found BPM Studio.

PCDJ is pretty good and the best price, but BPM Studio is the *best* software (but very expensive).

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#6 Post by Mr Awesomer » Fri Apr 11, 2003 2:36 pm

Get a Mac.
Reuben Brown
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#7 Post by Toon Town Dave » Fri Apr 11, 2003 5:48 pm

I've been thing about using one of the VIA EPIA (aka Eden) boards to build a semi-portable system, not quite a laptop but much smaller than a desktop. It's basically a 17cm (6.7") square board with everything on board. There is one PCI slot (for a second sound card for example), TV out, the M series has onboard MPEG-2 codec (if you want to play video as well). Team it up with a desktop hard drive, a slimline CD and a regular LCD monitor and you could have a neat system.

The tricky part would be a chassis, if you have rackmount gear already, you can pick one of those up but they're expensive. There are some bookshelf cases that are small with an external brick power supply. You'd still have to carry the monitor around ... or run Linux and use a PDA to control it via serial or LAN.

The boards can be found for less than C$200, big drives for about the same (can get away with a slow/cheap drive), bookshelf case C$100, slimline CD, C$100, 15" LCD display C$400, RAM C$75, decent sound card C$100.

scratchy

Re: Laptop DJing

#8 Post by scratchy » Sat Apr 12, 2003 6:00 am

Greg Avakian wrote:
===============================================
HP Pavillions seem to get great reveiws and give more bang for the buck. I'm looking at these models (prices fluctuate, and I'm not quite ready to buy anyway):

HP Pavilion ze4220 $1150
HP Pavillian ze4115 $969
HP Pavillion ze4145 $1139
HP Pavilion xt412 $1215
HP Pavilion ze1250 $950
HP XT512   $1450

Any comments?

Thanks in advance,
Greg


yea, I did alot of reading and researching before just getting my Laptop. Money was a serious issue, as well as on the road compatibility. So Mac was out of the question.

It was between Toshiba and Sony after looking into it.
Consumer reports put the Sony's on top with the normal consumer in mind, so thats what I went with.

Sony GR series.

15" , 40 gig, 512 ram, P-4, 2.4 GHz , DVD/ CDRW, XP home..... under 1500, with a 2 year warranty.

This is faster then the HP's mentioned and affordable. I'll be sticking in more RAM making it even faster.

I read the down falls which are the Battery Life and the noise of the fan when running on the Battery. however compared to anything in it's price range it seems to still be better.
Last edited by scratchy on Mon Apr 14, 2003 1:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#9 Post by GemZombie » Sat Apr 12, 2003 11:36 am

Toon Town Dave wrote:I've been thing about using one of the VIA EPIA (aka Eden) boards to build a semi-portable system, not quite a laptop but much smaller than a desktop. It's basically a 17cm (6.7") square board with everything on board. There is one PCI slot (for a second sound card for example), TV out, the M series has onboard MPEG-2 codec (if you want to play video as well). Team it up with a desktop hard drive, a slimline CD and a regular LCD monitor and you could have a neat system.

The tricky part would be a chassis, if you have rackmount gear already, you can pick one of those up but they're expensive. There are some bookshelf cases that are small with an external brick power supply. You'd still have to carry the monitor around ... or run Linux and use a PDA to control it via serial or LAN.

The boards can be found for less than C$200, big drives for about the same (can get away with a slow/cheap drive), bookshelf case C$100, slimline CD, C$100, 15" LCD display C$400, RAM C$75, decent sound card C$100.


Check out http://www.mini-itx.com as well. I'm thinking of doing the same thing, creating a really small footprint PC that would be as small as a laptop, but would be a bit more powerful, upgradable, and repairable (my current laptop is having massive display problems now).

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Re: Laptop DJing

#10 Post by Greg Avakian » Sat Apr 12, 2003 2:49 pm

scratchy wrote:
It was between Toshiba and Sony after looking into it.
Consumer reports put the Sony's on top with the normal consumer in mind, so thats what I went with.

Sony GR series.



I can't comment on the GR series, but after buying a Viao last Christmas, there is no way I'd buy another Sony computer. The burning program, "Sonic Stage", has never worked for a whole month at a time and even after I made 6-7 tech help calls and finally reinstalled windows, it still doesn't work.
When I got online after reinstalling windows, I immediately got a message that there were updates waiting at the Sony site -including sonic stage. Naturally I installed them. After that, the next tech giuy I spoke to told me that Sony couldn't make promises about the workability of any Sony computer after I had made changes to any of the programs -including updates.

Ugh.

What's worse is that the 2,000+ songs I had saved onto CDs from my computer before I reinstalled windows are in the Sony Atrac format so they can't be read by another computer. Not only that but the Sonic Stage program won't accept them because "the copyright information is missing".

I HATE my Sony computer.

It's also the only computer that I've owned since my first no-name computer that won't translate between Word and Word Perfect. I suppose that could be an XP problem though...

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#11 Post by BryanC » Sat Apr 12, 2003 9:20 pm

I bought a VAIO laptop last year (almost to the year now), and I've been extremely happy with it. My only beef now is that I'm running out of HD space at 30 GBs. I never used the Sonic Stage software--it was too much of a hassle to figure out properly and when I found out all it really does is ATRAC, I just left it alone. I guess this is a bit of a hijack.

scratchy

Re: Laptop DJing

#12 Post by scratchy » Sun Apr 13, 2003 5:06 am

Greg Avakian wrote:
scratchy wrote:
It was between Toshiba and Sony after looking into it.
Consumer reports put the Sony's on top with the normal consumer in mind, so thats what I went with.

Sony GR series.



I can't comment on the GR series, but after buying a Viao last Christmas, there is no way I'd buy another Sony computer. The burning program, "Sonic Stage", has never worked for a whole month at a time and even after I made 6-7 tech help calls and finally reinstalled windows, it still doesn't work.
When I got online after reinstalling windows, I immediately got a message that there were updates waiting at the Sony site -including sonic stage. Naturally I installed them. After that, the next tech giuy I spoke to told me that Sony couldn't make promises about the workability of any Sony computer after I had made changes to any of the programs -including updates.

Ugh.

What's worse is that the 2,000+ songs I had saved onto CDs from my computer before I reinstalled windows are in the Sony Atrac format so they can't be read by another computer. Not only that but the Sonic Stage program won't accept them because "the copyright information is missing".

I HATE my Sony computer.

It's also the only computer that I've owned since my first no-name computer that won't translate between Word and Word Perfect. I suppose that could be an XP problem though...


which Viao model did you get? There are alot of Sony Viaos and I read about most of them, both the plus and minus. The few people who I have spoke to that own them , started with other Brands of Lap tops and changed over, hence my looking into them and finally deciding my purchase.

The problems "I beleive" are common with consumers using The Sony programs, and not Windows.

(for instance, If would have used "Nero" you would not of had any problems Burning at all. I have a Yamaha Burner on my DeskTop but I've never used the Yamaha Program that came with it. Just because I like to keep things simple and use some what proven software.)

The reason for using a PC is the compatibilty ( and price? for myself), hence using and backing up music to a format like Atrac seriously paints you in a corner.

Which brings me to mention the WMA. format. I don't use it, but it is compatible with window's based systems.

lesson here? Never use weird ass formats...for saving anything.

I had a simular problem when using Pinnacle Studio, saving it in their Format jacked me from using other editing programs. So the problem wasn't my computer or even hardware, it was the programs and my selection of the saved format.

Sony stuff is good an all, but I wouldn't use any of their programs, not while there are good popular programs out there.

If you still have that Lap top, just strip all those Sony programs! and put in some working ones!

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Re: Laptop DJing

#13 Post by Greg Avakian » Sun Apr 13, 2003 11:25 pm

scratchy wrote:lesson here? Never use weird ass formats...for saving anything.


you're right ...and I learned this lesson the hard way.
'Sonic stage' had a lot of cool features I really liked, so I got sucked in. I haven't tried Nero, but after reading so many positive posts about it here, I will.

The literature I got with my Sony (RX 550 desk top) suggested that installing other burning programs could make windows "unstable". I found out that this was due to built-in proprietary systems on Sony's part. I couldn't install "easy creator" when I tried for instance. The Sony tech guys I talked to said that wiping Sonic stage could damage the operating system and so -being a computer wuss- I didn't want to do anything to fuck up my computer anymore. Now I just resent the wasted space on my HD.
===============================================
Anyway, I just bought a HP Pavilion xt412 Notebook for $773 including shipping, so I am very happy!
I think I will upgrade the RAM since I found 512 of RAM for only $99.

Here's the info on the notebook:
Mobile Intel® Celeron™ processor 1.5GHz
512K L2 On Die Processor Cache
266MHz front-side bus
14.1" XGA Display (1024x768) TFT
256MB DDR SDRAM (1x256MB), Max. memory 1024MB DDR SDRAM (2x512MB)
Integrated fax/modem v.90/v.92 56Kb Modem (RJ11 connector)
ATI MOBILITY™ RADEON™ 7500C 4X AGP and 3D architecture
32MB DDR SDRAM (dedicated video memory)
20.0 GB enhanced IDE Hard Drive
DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive (CD read 24x; CD write 8x; CD rewrite 8x, DVD read 8x)
Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition

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#14 Post by Greg Avakian » Sun Apr 13, 2003 11:50 pm

PS:
Jesse,
THANK YOU for the awesome article!

scratchy

Re: Laptop DJing

#15 Post by scratchy » Mon Apr 14, 2003 1:16 am

Greg Avakian wrote:
scratchy wrote:lesson here? Never use weird ass formats...for saving anything.


you're right ...and I learned this lesson the hard way.
'Sonic stage' had a lot of cool features I really liked, so I got sucked in. I haven't tried Nero, but after reading so many positive posts about it here, I will.



Nice little bargain! packing that thing with music will be sweet!

I notice new computers "come with" whatever programs they want you to use/buy. I say wipe em off. as long as you have XP there shouldn't be a problem. I have the Home edition on the new one like you, so I'm just now trying to see the differences between that and Pro.

By the way if you or anyone is interested in a Developers Copy of XP pro.......let me know.

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