Laptop DJing

It's all about the equipment

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Lawrence
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#16 Post by Lawrence » Mon Apr 14, 2003 4:49 pm

This URL comes up as unavailable or the link is broken.

I agree with Greg that Jesse's article is great ( http://www.sloswing.com/dj/ ). It addresses my main beef with laptop DJs: getting sound cards that are capable of playing CD-quality sound sufficient for a good sound system, not just a factory-installed, "stock" sound card sufficient for a computer speaker. Otherwise, the sound from the laptop will not sound as good as the sound from a CD player. That is one major reason I have not made the plunge. (I also already have made the plunge for a professional CD-player setup (dual CD player, mixer, and amp), so I have sunken costs invested into the CD/CD-R method.)

I have never heard anyone DJ from a laptop and get good sound, in part because of MP3 compression, but also because of the sound card quality: sometimes both. It probably is possible (I have not heard Jesse's setup), but I have never heard a sound card match up to a CD player, perhaps because no laptop-DJ I've heard has spent the extra money beyond their factory-installed sound cards. My factory VAIO sound card did not measure up in a side-by-side, A-B test to a CD player, even when playing full WAV files.

I've also had bad luck saving music in weird formats, Greg, so I feel your pain :cry: : an "image CD" format was the worst, which saved the entire CD in a proprietary format that was unreadable from any other program. After I got rid of the program, I was stuck with huge, unuseable files I could do nothing with but delete them. :evil: I don't think your problem was VAIO related so much as program-related, though. I have encountered some VAIO-specific problems on my VAIO--mostly regarding re-installing Windows after a hard-drive crash because I don't have a built-in CD-ROM drive--but I otherwise really like it. I took it with me on a two-month cycling trip through Europe, and it survived marvelously (the hard drive crashed two years later, so it was unrelated.)
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GemZombie
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#17 Post by GemZombie » Mon Apr 14, 2003 5:16 pm

Greg Avakian wrote:PS:
Jesse,
THANK YOU for the awesome article!
Very welcome. I should update it, as new technology has become available... as well as new software versions.

Whereas I didnt used to consider OtsJuke a viable solution due to the proprietary format, they have renamed it OtsDJ, and added direct mp3 support... thus eliminating my biggest gripe.

I should also find someone with a mac, so I can review iTunes and some Mac solutions to the Digital DJ problem.

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#18 Post by hawnjiterbug » Tue Apr 22, 2003 3:44 pm

GuruReuben wrote:Get a Mac.
Amen Brother

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#19 Post by LindyChef » Thu May 01, 2003 4:01 pm

Anyone else interested in buying a laptop for DJing might want to consider buying the VPR Matrix 200 A5. It upsamples the output on its headphone jack to 192 kHz, which makes a huge difference in ambient quality. A few months ago I DJed a wedding and since I was part of the wedding party and the bride and groom wanted a simple sound system, I opted to use my VPR Matrix. Man, what a difference it made to hear that upsampling! The sound was more even and the watery sound on the high treble was markedly reduced.

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#20 Post by Marcelo » Sun May 04, 2003 1:20 am

Those of you Mac users (read: sensible computer people) can use DJ-1800 - it basically recreates a Denon 1800 4-disc CD player/mixer like those they use at a LOT of clubs. Someone with the software should play with this and see if it works nicely.

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#21 Post by Greg Avakian » Sun May 04, 2003 6:54 pm

Just to dig on the mac folks;
Besides the cost, what convinced me to go PC for the laptop is that my girlfriend's home mac won't burn CDs anymore, her work mac's hard drive just crashed after less than two years and she has so many problems with her mac notebook that -as we speak- she is desperately making CDs of all the music on it because the IT guy at work is going to reinstall her OS this week.

I do like the iTunes interface though...

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#22 Post by Lawrence » Sun May 04, 2003 6:58 pm

Marcelo wrote:Those of you Mac users (read: sensible computer people) .
Yeah, you tell 'em. Those PC'ers probably dance Savoy-style to non-authentic, so-called-"groove" swing music, too. Hollywood-style and Macs forever!!!

:roll:
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#23 Post by Toon Town Dave » Sun May 04, 2003 10:19 pm

Just watch out, as soon as I put wheels on my MicroVAX I'll have the ultimate DJ Setup :)

Seriously, I really don't like Mac's for my everyday work (read software development and network analysis) but for Multimedia work it has been superior to MS-Windows. The first iMac's which pioneered all the pretty colors might be the exception.

Personally I'm a UNIX fan and wish there was more/better multimedia software available for it in the pro-sumer range. I could then take advantage of good software and commodity hardware.

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#24 Post by GemZombie » Mon May 05, 2003 11:58 am

Marcelo wrote:Those of you Mac users (read: sensible computer people) can use DJ-1800 - it basically recreates a Denon 1800 4-disc CD player/mixer like those they use at a LOT of clubs. Someone with the software should play with this and see if it works nicely.
Pretty sweet. Looks very good. Now all you need is a touch screen, and you're set ;)

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#25 Post by Greg Avakian » Tue May 06, 2003 7:58 am

Marcelo wrote:Those of you Mac users (read: sensible computer people) can use DJ-1800 - it basically recreates a Denon 1800 4-disc CD player/mixer like those they use at a LOT of clubs. Someone with the software should play with this and see if it works nicely.
Man, this does look sweet. If you have a mac, I can''t see a better way to spend $40. Cheap!

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#26 Post by main_stem » Tue May 06, 2003 8:20 am

Greg Avakian wrote:Just to dig on the mac folks;
Besides the cost, what convinced me to go PC for the laptop is that my girlfriend's home mac won't burn CDs anymore, her work mac's hard drive just crashed after less than two years and she has so many problems with her mac notebook that -as we speak- she is desperately making CDs of all the music on it because the IT guy at work is going to reinstall her OS this week.

I do like the iTunes interface though...
Ha ha ha. That's a weekly occurance with PC's around here. Honestly in my experience many problems with computers are user based than computer based, regardless if their mac or windows.

I'm a graphics person. For me the mac is a better option hands down.
Last edited by main_stem on Tue May 06, 2003 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
"We called it music."
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main_stem
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#27 Post by main_stem » Tue May 06, 2003 8:22 am

Lawrence wrote:
Marcelo wrote:Those of you Mac users (read: sensible computer people) .
Yeah, you tell 'em. Those PC'ers probably dance Savoy-style to non-authentic, so-called-"groove" swing music, too. Hollywood-style and Macs forever!!!

:roll:
No just you Lawrence :P
"We called it music."
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#28 Post by PhilShapiro » Wed May 07, 2003 9:13 am

Toon Town Dave wrote:Personally I'm a UNIX fan and wish there was more/better multimedia software available for it in the pro-sumer range. I could then take advantage of good software and commodity hardware.
Although Apple doesn't market it this way, Mac OS X is UNIX.

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#29 Post by Zot » Tue May 27, 2003 8:30 pm

Marcelo, DJ-1800 does look great. I'm going to give it a try and will report back when I can. I may just try to use this while I'm on the road instead of previewing with an iPod and playing with iTunes (my current plan).

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#30 Post by Zot » Wed May 28, 2003 8:35 am

Alright, I downloaded and had a play with the demo. The documentation is very good, and it seems pretty intuitive to use. It doesn't mess up your iTunes Library, and the two apps seem to coexist pretty well.

In order to have the full DJ experience with stereo out and previewing, while using DJ-1800 to mix, you need some audio interface hardware. The gear they mention in the documentation is the Griffin iMic, which is a pretty simple device that retails in the US for around $30.

http://www.griffintechnology.com/produc ... index.html

A little research with the help of a musician friend proved that more flexible hardware options abound, going all the way up to 6 channel stereo output over USB. I had no idea there was such a big market out there.

Anyway, without any sort of interface the app is little more than an interesting but useless gadget, because the only way you are going to output anything and mix it is in mono, using something like a Y-cable plugged into your headphone jack (i.e. not ideal anyway).

On the other hand, by laying down only about $70, it looks as though a Mac Powerbook owner can you have themself a pretty nice DJ setup with their MP3 collection. Being able to preview and mix songs is something I would dearly love to see added to iTunes.

One other feature I particularly like is pitch bending -- always handy if you're teaching a class, and particularly if you are working on a routine that you want to slow down a little.

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