Laptop DJing

It's all about the equipment

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SoundInMotionDJ
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#556 Post by SoundInMotionDJ » Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:19 am

Surreal wrote:
SoundInMotionDJ wrote:I will add that laptop power supplies are notoriously noisy in an audio environment. The solution is to replace the power supply. That is probably not happening in this case, since pulling the battery made the noise go away.

You should consider replacing the battery.
But if the noise is coming from the power supply, what would replacing the battery do? (It's a new computer, if that makes any difference). I note that my old laptop isn't as noisy as my new one.
Whoopse...I read your problem backwards.

Since the battery alone is OK, then the noise is coming from the power supply. IF the noise is present on more than one system...then you should consider replacing the power supply.

--Stan Graves

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Lawrence
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#557 Post by Lawrence » Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:19 am

Surreal wrote:
Lawrence wrote:You can get rid of it by eliminating the ground (not ideal), running on battery, getting an extension cord and using a different outlet, or using an isolation transformer
I've tried running to different outlets, but it doesn't seem to make a difference. Running on battery does work, but that's not an ideal solution as I only have a 2-3 hour battery life.
Just because one alternate outlet does not work, that does not mean another will not. Try to find one that is on a different electrical circuit than the one to which the sound system is connected.

Also, if you get 2-3 hours of battery life while playing music, you are doing fantastic! I only get 1 hour or less. Playing music (at least with my programs) apparently drains the battery faster than almost anything.
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Surreal
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#558 Post by Surreal » Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:36 pm

I haven't done any real testing to back this up, but I think my computer battery lasts longer when I'm using my firewire external sound card that has a separate power source, compared to simply running off the onboard sound card.

I would guess that using the onboard soundcard or usb-powered soundcards simply eats up battery life at a faster rate.

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GemZombie
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#559 Post by GemZombie » Mon Apr 28, 2008 12:43 pm

Sure... anything bus powered is gonna grab more battery juice. I'm always plugged in when I DJ, so I never really cared.

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#560 Post by Surreal » Sun May 25, 2008 10:29 am

So what are people's opinions on the ipod dj? It's obviously the most portable way to carry your music, and you have the ability to create playlists on the fly (although I don't think you can edit it after a song has been added).

How is the sound quality compared to a laptop or external sound card?

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Lawrence
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#561 Post by Lawrence » Mon May 26, 2008 2:20 pm

Surreal wrote:So what are people's opinions on the ipod dj? It's obviously the most portable way to carry your music, and you have the ability to create playlists on the fly (although I don't think you can edit it after a song has been added).

How is the sound quality compared to a laptop or external sound card?
When the Nano first came out, I fantasized about DJing from two Nanos so that all I needed to carry were two gumstick-sized flash players in my back pocket. But since I switched to using a laptop, the idea became somewhat obsolete. For just a bit more luggage, the laptop gives you MUCH more versatility (volume of songs, various searching features, bigger screen holding more info, managing a playlist, quicker fix of sound problems, keeping track of where you are going and where you came from, etc.), and you end up playing the same song files (MP3s) as you would on an IPod.

Nonetheless, the sound quality is similar to a very decent sound card. An IPod should sound better than most any internal laptop sound card because an IPod is designed to transfer and play music (not just computer sounds) and thus intentionally reduces the internal electronic interferences normally associated with default internal sound cards. It is also designed to deliver decent-quality sound exclusively for listening to music, as opposed to just acceptable sound quality for business computer applications.

Although you CAN equalize the sound (boost or reduce the bass or treble), you should turn the EQ off in "settings" and adjust it through the sound board. Set the volume on "max" so that you can adjust it through the board, as well, and do not run into any gain problems (where the source sound is underpowered and thus gets distorted when you turn the gain on the board up too much to overcompensate).
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#562 Post by Surreal » Mon May 26, 2008 6:12 pm

When news of the Asus EEE and other mini-laptops started circulating, I was imaging a setup that I could carry in a small bag. Even with an external hd, the total weight and size were smaller than a typical laptop. Now I see fancy toys like this: Samsung 256gb flash drive, and I'm dreaming of a setup I could literally carry in my pockets.

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kitkat
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#563 Post by kitkat » Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:30 am

Q: What would you say are the minimum laptop specifications (CPU, ram, # of USB ports, details about power jacks or batteries that might be necessary to avoid hums, speed of hard drive, optical media drive details, inside-the-laptop hard drive space, anything I'm forgetting, etc.) to run Windows XP and however many programs, drives, etc. I could end up having open & plugged in at a gig?

The laptop would be used for nothing but DJing-related activities.


I haven't really shopped for a computer in 8 years!

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#564 Post by GemZombie » Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:11 am

kitkat wrote:Q: What would you say are the minimum laptop specifications (CPU, ram, # of USB ports, details about power jacks or batteries that might be necessary to avoid hums, speed of hard drive, optical media drive details, inside-the-laptop hard drive space, anything I'm forgetting, etc.) to run Windows XP and however many programs, drives, etc. I could end up having open & plugged in at a gig?

The laptop would be used for nothing but DJing-related activities.


I haven't really shopped for a computer in 8 years!
For XP?

1Ghz, 512RAM, 2 USB ports would be my absolute minimum these days. I always plug in, so battery life is moot to me. Hard drive speed for standard DJing isn't an issue, but drive size just depends on your usage.

The problem is any used machine with those minimum stats is likely to be fairly old and used up by now... Laptops don't have the longest life-span.

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#565 Post by Surreal » Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:29 pm

A quick fix for the humming is to pick up a ground loop isolator (about $20 for a cheap one from any local electronics shop). Or just find a laptop which doesn't have a ground plug.

For machine specs, I agree with everything GemZombie put up, thought I might prefer 3 usb ports (mouse, hard drive, sound card). If you're primarily using an external hd, then your on-board one isn't all that important. Just keep the bare minimum of stuff on it and don't install anything extra (I would start with a clean format and install if possible). You could even do without a virus checker if you're worried about performance on an older machine.

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#566 Post by Surreal » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:49 am

Strictly for dj'ing purposes, is there any noticeable performance difference between a usb powered and standard powered external hard drive?

SoundInMotionDJ
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#567 Post by SoundInMotionDJ » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:33 am

Surreal wrote:Strictly for dj'ing purposes, is there any noticeable performance difference between a usb powered and standard powered external hard drive?
From a DJing point of view I do not know if there is a noticeable difference. From a file copy & sync perspective, there is a noticeable difference. The USB powered drives tend to be slower than wall powered drives.

--Stan Graves

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#568 Post by Toon Town Dave » Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:07 pm

The power source should not effect performance if all other things are equal.

As Stan points out, some of the bus-powered small pocket drives tend to use slower 5400 or 4300 RPM drives where larger, wall powered drives often use 5400 or 7200 RPM drives. Other variables that would affect it are seek time (better on a smaller platter i.e. 2.5" vs 3.5") and fragmentation.

I can't see any issues for MP3's, even with a mostly fragmented, large, slow disc (anyone remember those cheap 4300RPM, 5-1/4" "bigfoot" drives that quantum was making in the mid 90's?). At least I never had a problem on my old WinNT4 box.

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#569 Post by PhilShapiro » Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:54 pm

kitkat, I've been thinking about the same thing, buying a laptop just for DJ'ing. Personally I prefer CDs but these days fewer venues have CD players on site. And I already have plenty of desktop computers.

I've just started looking; one resource I've used to find good deals is dealnews.com. Checking there I see a Gateway ML6720 for $400. (Intel Pentium Dual-Core T2310 1.46GHz, 802.11a/b/g Wireless, 1GB DDR2, 120GB HDD, DL DVDRW, 15.4" WXGA, Windows Vista Home Premium).

Personally I'm not a big gateway fan, but how bad could it be? :)

http://dealnews.com/categories/Computer ... op/49.html

http://tinyurl.com/5jppz6

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#570 Post by CafeSavoy » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:18 pm

Nice site.

$525
Sony VAIO Intel Dual Core 1.6GHz 15" Widescreen Laptop + $15 s&h
eCOST.com offers the Sony VAIO Pentium Dual-Core 1.6GHz 15.4" Widescreen Notebook in Granite Silver, model no. VGN-NR260E/S, for $525. With $14.86 for shipping, that's $160 off our March mention and the lowest total price we've seen. Features include an Intel Pentium Dual-Core T2330 1.6GHz processor, 15.4" 1280x800 widescreen LCD, 2GB RAM, 200GB hard drive, dual layer DVD burner, 802.11g wireless, media card reader, and Windows Vista Home Premium.

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