Laptop DJing

It's all about the equipment

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Marcelo
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Re: DJ 1800

#121 Post by Marcelo » Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:13 pm

Zot wrote:Hi all,

I've finally decided to fork out for a "proper" laptop DJ setup including a Griffin iMic and DJ1800 software.

I'm yet to test the setup but everything I've seen so far makes me think this will improve my DJing experience, by adding song previewing and cuing to the song management stuff I already enjoy with iTunes (organisation, fast searching, bpm tracking etc.). I'll try to report back here with my results.

Image
http://www.griffintechnology.com/



Image
http://www.dj1800.com/
The iMic is pretty freaking rad for the price. The sound quality is fantastic. But the PowerWave is INSANELY good.

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Zot
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#122 Post by Zot » Sun Aug 08, 2004 8:18 pm

That's cool Marcelo. Thanks. I looked at the Powerwave too but decided I couldn't justify it just yet, but I like hearing that Griffin makes quality stuff. Still waiting on my order... maybe today.
"Take the worst of neo-swing and put it together with Glen Miller. The man thinks the Count is someone from a horror flick. Take pity on him and let him play two or three tunes. But be sure you have some errands to run." -- Bill Borgida

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#123 Post by Nate Dogg » Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:24 pm

My HP Pavillion laptop was stolen Monday. Since it's OS was ME, I never really felt to compelled to try out the laptop DJing thing. I had to buy a more reliable OS, a sound card, etc... It just seemed like a lot of expense and work. I always figured I might dabble in it with my next laptop. That day has come.

I finally took the time to read this thread from front to back, it is one of the best threads on the board.

I am leaning towards a PC for non-music, compatability reasons. A few questions for everybody.

How many people use iTunes for PC? Does it play regular MP3s or do you have to use the MAC format? I hear lots of raves about the iTunes interface, but it sometimes unclear if the ravers are Mac or PC users, I suspect they are mostly Mac. I have too much energy invested in ripping everything to MP3 to mess with additional formats right now.

I am leaning towards another HP or a Sony. Apprantly, the Sony's come pre-installed with more media software. However, I am not sure if this software is anything that I might actually need or want. I am looking to spend between $1,000 and $1,500, anybody else buy a laptop recently (i.e. somebody who bought the same models and configurations that I am encounting at the stores right now?).


I have all my CDs ripped and organized. I have about 400Gigs of portable hard drive space. So, the hard part is done in some ways. Now, I just have to grasp all this sound card/software jargon.

Nathan

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GemZombie
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#124 Post by GemZombie » Wed Aug 18, 2004 11:41 pm

On the PC side, I have to say the eMachines laptops are a great value. I'm using one now to DJ (Used it at the Sac Exchange actually), and am thinking of buying another one for my wife. Price is less than $1500 for a nice widescreen laptop with all the bells and whistles.

The sony's are nice, but way overpriced... HP's are well, just adaquate. I like the Dells quite a bit if you're going for one of the big names.

Check out the eMachines laptops (www.emachines.com). You can also test drive them at best buy.

Essentially the eMachines laptops are Gateway Laptops from what i've been reading. I could be wrong though...

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wheresmygravy
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#125 Post by wheresmygravy » Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:18 am

Being in Austin, I was wondering if you could get a good deal on a Dell at their outlet store.

As for as iTunes, I have it on my Compaq tablet that I use for DJ'ing, but it is just too slow, in my opinion. (Mind you my tablet only has a 1GHz CPU). PLus iTunes does not support multiple sound cards.

If I were to do it again (since I bought the Tablet for Business reasons) I would go with one of the current 2.8GHz + choices instead of the tablet. Even though they weigh more, the speed is the key. Also I would buy one of the PCMCIA sound cards. I would get an 80G drive, if feasible. I think that is more than enough room for most of your music that you would need while DJ'ing. That way you can keep the external drives at home for back up of all of your music.

you need a good tagger program. I use Dr. Tag Plus because it has the ability to re-structure your file layout based on the MP3 tag. For example if I have a compilation disc which usually gets ripped with the "Various Artist" as the Artist. Once I change the tag I can "restructure" and it will move the file to a new folder based on the tag. So all of my Count Basie is in one folder sorted by Album. It's the only program I found that did that.

DJ software is still up in the air for me. I use PCDJ Blue, which is good, but the new verion PCDJ BLUE VRM got rid of some features and I won't be upgrading to it. I still have a suspicion that BPM Studio is the best choice, I just haven't convinced my self to shell out the $$$.

Good luck Nate. And the one thing about PCDJ'ing, It is less of a loss if they steal a $2000 laptop, than if the steal just one of your CD books....

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#126 Post by Nate Dogg » Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:32 am

wheresmygravy wrote:DJ software is still up in the air for me. I use PCDJ Blue, which is good, but the new verion PCDJ BLUE VRM got rid of some features and I won't be upgrading to it. I still have a suspicion that BPM Studio is the best choice, I just haven't convinced my self to shell out the $$$.

Good luck Nate. And the one thing about PCDJ'ing, It is less of a loss if they steal a $2000 laptop, than if the steal just one of your CD books....
I keep hearing that BPM Studio is expensive, how expensive is it?

As for my loss, the music data loss is minimal, I did not lose any songs that I can't get off my portable hard drives.

My main loss is financial. I have insurance, but I also have a high deductable.

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Mr Awesomer
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#127 Post by Mr Awesomer » Thu Aug 19, 2004 9:39 am

Image

Just install two instances of the latest version of WinAmp. After playing with iTunes and WinAmp for a while, this is the route I'll be taking.
Reuben Brown
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yedancer
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#128 Post by yedancer » Thu Aug 19, 2004 9:48 am

GuruReuben wrote:
Just install two instances of the latest version of WinAmp. After playing with iTunes and WinAmp for a while, this is the route I'll be taking.
Just make sure you have plenty of memory, because running 2 copies of WinAmp on a wimpy machine can lead to disasters. I used to have situations when I was playing a song and listening to a song, then accidentally had both programs run a search through the music library at the same time, and one program would shut down. It sure sucked when it was the program playing to the house.
-Jeremy

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GemZombie
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#129 Post by GemZombie » Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:23 am

BPM Studio is around $400 I believe.

The Dual Winamp approach is doable, but I don't like it. It doesn't have enough of the features I require. Specifically here are the features that approach lacks:

· Cue Settings
· Fading, auto fading, and cross fading (winamp sorta can do this)
· Ability to have a headphone monitor and cue (cumbersome)
· The ability to store and retrieve BPM information (again not easy)
· Automatic BPM detection and saving (plugin?)

What I'm getting at is it's all hackey to get it to work... but uh, the price *is* right :)

In the approach I prefer, it woudl take three copies of winamp running... two for my "decks" and one assigned to a different sound device for cueing.

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Mr Awesomer
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#130 Post by Mr Awesomer » Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:42 am

I've been putting BPM in the comment section of the mp3 tag.
I then activate the comment column in the media library.
I can then display and sort by BPM.

I assign one instance as the live feed. As I feed the playlist songs it automaticly starts playing the next song in "cue."

I assign the other instance as the headphone cue and use it to listen to songs as need be.

I rarely cue (in the normal sense of the term,) never cross fade, so those features would be over kills to me.

Automatic BPM detection might be nice, though I don't trust software to get it right and I've already got every piece of music I have BPMed anyway. The only hitch is adding all my BPM calculations to the mp3 tag.

Long story short, my solution is great for me... but of course others may need to modify as need be.
Reuben Brown
Southern California

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GemZombie
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#131 Post by GemZombie » Thu Aug 19, 2004 1:17 pm

I don't like Winamps form of moving to the next song, BPM studio has this nice customizable crossfade. It's perfect.

As for the auto bpming... BPM Studio does an excellent job, i'm always quite amazed. Putting the bpm in the tag is actually pretty cool. One of the only things that annoys me about bpm studio is it's tag writing. I turn it off because it discards much of your data. When it's off, it stores the bpms in it's own database, which of course is not importable to anything but bpm studio. So winamp (or any other mp3 player for that matter) has the advantage there.

But it is such a small annoyance, that all of the other features overwealm it.

Oh, and by cueing, i do the same as you... i just mean listening to the song before i play it. Guess you can do that with two copies of winamp instead of the 3 i suggested. I just like having the duel decks, so that if i want to bypass an intro by truly cueing it, i can. With winamp you can't do that.

*shrug* The biggest thing is getting the end result to your "audience", and if you can make it sound how you want, then use whatever works for you. That's my first rule :) I'm sure winamp will work out great for you.

BTW Reuben, welcome to the digital spinning realm ;)

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Mr Awesomer
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#132 Post by Mr Awesomer » Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:04 pm

GemZombie wrote:BTW Reuben, welcome to the digital spinning realm ;)
I should have done this a long time ago, but the prospect of some new equipment finally got me there.
Reuben Brown
Southern California

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main_stem
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#133 Post by main_stem » Thu Aug 19, 2004 3:49 pm

I'm actually thinking of going the digital route as well.
"We called it music."
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Nate Dogg
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#134 Post by Nate Dogg » Thu Aug 19, 2004 5:58 pm

Well, I just picked up a Sony Vaio K25. I will get a sound card this weekend and give this laptop DJ a try in a few weeks.

Nathan

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LindyChef
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#135 Post by LindyChef » Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:09 pm

GemZombie wrote:I don't like Winamps form of moving to the next song, BPM studio has this nice customizable crossfade. It's perfect.
Just wondering, Gem, how do you use the cross fade when DJing lindy events?

Personally, I prefer not fading between songs and allowing that small gap to be there. It allows people to know definitively that the song has ended and gives them a bit of breathing room to find their next partner or collect their thoughts.

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