Laptop DJing

It's all about the equipment

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texas-eddie
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#451 Post by texas-eddie » Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:27 am

So I've switched over to a nice, new shiny Macbook from my old PC laptop. Thing is, I love BPM studio; it's my preferred weapon of choice. I've tinkered around with DJ-1800 and I'm not sure I want to buy it just yet.

I've done the whole Boot Camp thing and ran BPM studio on that partition of Windows. Unfortunately, the sound card driver support is fairly new and I'm not to pleased with the 'pops' I get with it.

I'm using Parallels at the moment but I'm not sure how I'm going to handle file management (since my music is on a FAT32 external drive). Any DJs out there using a Mac with Windows experience have any words of wisdom they could share? Or am I pretty much relegated to learning how to DJ on Mac OS X (which is ok, but if I can stick with what I've got that would be great)?

Toon Town Dave
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#452 Post by Toon Town Dave » Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:27 pm

If the music is on FAT32, you should be able to read it from either the Windows or Mac side. I haven't played with parallels but in VMWare, you'd basically set up the USB as a virtual device and Windows should take care of the rest assuming it works similarly.

erinregina
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#453 Post by erinregina » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:47 pm

So. I have a PC, I run jRiver Media Center (on Devona's recommendation) to preview all my stuff, and I play music out on the floor using drag-and-drop to a Winamp playlist, with the Turtle Beach USB soundcard. I own a Y-cable and bring it to events I'm DJing for. I also have "Tempo Tapper" as a semi-accurate (within about 5 BPM) counter that I use. I get most of my music from eMusic.com.

Without having to read through a 30-pg long thread, what aspects of DJing from my laptop are really critical (or very useful) that I am missing? I've heard mentioned discussion of cross-fading songs, for example, as one of the only things I don't do because I don't know how.

I am poor, and happy with my current Media Center set-up, so I won't be buying/converting to any other software as my main music-organizing & previewing tool.

Suggestions? Or am I A-okay?

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Travis
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#454 Post by Travis » Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:09 pm

erinregina wrote:So. I have a PC, I run jRiver Media Center (on Devona's recommendation) to preview all my stuff, and I play music out on the floor using drag-and-drop to a Winamp playlist, with the Turtle Beach USB soundcard.
I can't answer any of your questions except to say that if what you are doing works for you then stick with it. I do have a question regarding the above comment from you that I quoted. I thought that jRiver allowed you to preview and play from different "zones". Is that not the case or are you just not utilizing that feature? Reason I ask is I am considering giving jRiver a try myself.

erinregina
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#455 Post by erinregina » Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:16 pm

Ooh, I have no idea about the "zones" thing. I'll have to look into it.

It does let you have multiple split "views", where you can look at up to 3 different sections of your computer at once. I like that feature because then I can split the window into a list of all my swing music on top, with a window on just the playlist I'm creating for the set at the bottom. (I save the playlist so I know what I played when & where.)

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GemZombie
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#456 Post by GemZombie » Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:02 am

erinregina wrote:So. I have a PC, I run jRiver Media Center (on Devona's recommendation) to preview all my stuff, and I play music out on the floor using drag-and-drop to a Winamp playlist, with the Turtle Beach USB soundcard. I own a Y-cable and bring it to events I'm DJing for. I also have "Tempo Tapper" as a semi-accurate (within about 5 BPM) counter that I use. I get most of my music from eMusic.com.

Without having to read through a 30-pg long thread, what aspects of DJing from my laptop are really critical (or very useful) that I am missing? I've heard mentioned discussion of cross-fading songs, for example, as one of the only things I don't do because I don't know how.

I am poor, and happy with my current Media Center set-up, so I won't be buying/converting to any other software as my main music-organizing & previewing tool.

Suggestions? Or am I A-okay?
As far as Swing DJing goes, I think you're probably ok. I still push BPM Studio because of it's unmatched automatic bpm detection, single interface cueing, crossfading, and all the other bells and whistles I rarely use.

Gina, catch me at HotJam, we'll talk (more) about DJ "must haves" and compare notes.

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david
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CuePhase

#457 Post by david » Sun Mar 11, 2007 2:26 pm

I just found CuePhase, a Mac app for DJing which seems to me to be perfect for how I would like to laptop-DJ swing music. I don't care one bit about beat matching or any other fance stuff. What I want, and that CuePhase gives me is.

* A queue of songs to play
* A simple way of browsing music and previewing them in my headphones
* A way to skip the intro of the next song
* Different plalists to choose from
* Automatic playlists for when I'm lazy or want to dance myself
* A user interface for the above that isn't cluttered with uninteresting stuff, such as manual crossfaders etc.

It seems to be geared more for (internet) radio broadcasters.
http://www.discosw.net/cuephase/

The one thing I'm missing is support for Ogg Vorbis, since I will have to recode most of my music otherwise. Fortunately I can do this pretty easily, but it's annoying.

It costs €20 if you want to play sets longer than 20 minutes.

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wheresmygravy
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#458 Post by wheresmygravy » Sun Mar 25, 2007 6:54 pm

I do not know the exact details of it, but i was looking a new Traktor software and they have a new version which appears to work on both Windows and Intel Macs. You might want to checking that.

http://www.native-instruments.com/index ... raktor3_us

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PitchTheWoo
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J. River Rocks!

#459 Post by PitchTheWoo » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:07 am

I've been a fanatical J.River Media Center user for years.

Yes, the Zones feature works as one would expect... preview to my phones in one zone and play live to the house with another. There is now way to see two zones at once though. Ctrl-T is your friend... it Toggles between all defined zones. I defined and use two: "Preview" and "Live". I also customized the display to include these labels so I always know where I'm at.

I never cross-fade songs, but Media Center allows this... you can specify the speed and duration of the fade.

True, it's auto BPM detection is not perfect. But I prefer to count my own beats anyway.

Cheers,
Jeff
Here's the beat to hep ya...

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Zot
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Re: CuePhase

#460 Post by Zot » Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:27 am

david wrote:I just found CuePhase, a Mac app for DJing which seems to me to be perfect for how I would like to laptop-DJ swing music. I don't care one bit about beat matching or any other fance stuff. What I want, and that CuePhase gives me is ....
David, I've taken a look at this interesting app. Thanks for pointing it out. It comes closer to integrating with iTunes than DJ-1800, which is what I've been using for previewing. However it seems to have a few slightly annoying things that will prevent me from using it at the moment. Firstly, the level controls are clunky to say the least. I don't understand why they're not normal sliders (which is something I don't like about DJ-1800 either). Also, playlists aren't imported from my iTunes library, which is quite annoying because I use them a lot, and that's a major reason for sticking with iTunes.

I keep hoping someone will create an add-on or plugin to iTunes so that the job of managing the library is left to iTunes, but you can simply choose two possible outputs. I guess if only Apple would integrate support for multiple outputs right into iTunes, that'd be ideal. I don't need anything fancy in terms of cross-fading and beat-matching.
"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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Zot
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#461 Post by Zot » Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:47 am

Sorry, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this in this thread before, but there's also Disco, another Shareware DJ solution for the Mac:

http://www.discosw.net/disco/index.html

I'm taking another look at it after not having seen it for a few versions. It does support full playlists, and has BPM calculation as well. Just thought I'd mention it.
"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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david
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Re: CuePhase

#462 Post by david » Sat Apr 14, 2007 5:05 pm

Zot wrote:David, I've taken a look at this interesting app. Thanks for pointing it out. It comes closer to integrating with iTunes than DJ-1800, which is what I've been using for previewing. However it seems to have a few slightly annoying things that will prevent me from using it at the moment. Firstly, the level controls are clunky to say the least. I don't understand why they're not normal sliders (which is something I don't like about DJ-1800 either). Also, playlists aren't imported from my iTunes library, which is quite annoying because I use them a lot, and that's a major reason for sticking with iTunes.
I hardly touch the level controls, but I think the are pretty useful as they are. They work just as well as a normal slider, but don't take as much space when you don't use them. But then again, I don't use them. I use the hardware controls on the mixer instead.

I'm not really an iTunes user, so I don't have a lot of playlists yet. But I will need to find a way to handle that.

A final note that I wrote in another thread is that CuePhase has a fair number of minor bugs that make it a bit annoying, but still useful. The developer promised to work on my bug reports a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't heard back from him since.

televandalist
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#463 Post by televandalist » Mon Apr 30, 2007 3:13 pm

Hey, I'm Atlanta's newest swing DJ! Actually, I haven't even played a set yet but I have my first gig coming up on May 19th and I'm super excited.

I just wanted to introduce myself and detail my laptop setup. I think it might be a little unique in that I only run linux (yeah, I'm one of those). My DJ software in an application called Mixxx. It's got some pretty good features like 2 "players", automatic BPM counting, 10%+/- pitch-independant speed shift, headphone preview with adjustable live/preview mix, EQ on both players, blah blah blah. It's pretty slick to be free.

My library program is prokyon3 which is backed by a sql database. So in addition to being able to browse and do "normal" searches, I can also easily do complex searches like, "give me a list of all songs with a BPM between 166 & 175, that are between 2:45 and 3:45 long, and don't have 'Basie' in the artist or title". OK, that search is a little contrived, but it gives you an example of what it can do. From within prokyon3, I can right-click a track and load it in one of the players in Mixxx. The only problem is that if I'm not careful, it will load over the currently playing track. :shock: Not good.

I'm using a Soundblaster Live 24 USB as my soundcard with the headphone output going to my headphones for previewing and one of the main 5.1 outputs in normal stereo mode going to a y-cable going out to the floor.

In addition to working like crazy shortlisting a bunch of songs (more like longlisting. I don't want to have to search my entire library in the heat of battle my first time out so I'm making a large subset of "potentials" to choose from) for my set, I've been practicing like crazy. It takes some getting used to previewing, crossfading, etc... But I'm getting pretty comforatble at it. I'm even getting the hang of cueing up tracks with long intros and such. I want to get to where everything is like second-nature so I can just concentrate on the music side of things. One change I might make is to get a Griffin Powermate that I can program to interface with the crossfader in Mixxx so I'm not trying to use my mouse when I realize, "Oh crap, they can't hear it!"

Yeah, I probably have the most complex setup of anyone who's never DJ'd a single dance. But I'm really looking forward to this DJ stuff...and the forum.

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#464 Post by russell » Mon Apr 30, 2007 7:10 pm

Was shown (by Dax Hock) a DJ program for Macs called MegaSeg.
Looks pretty good with integration into iTunes library and playlists. It seems pretty simple to use with different modes of operation. The downside is the cost (I think around $250 US) but I suppose you get what you pay for. Anyone else used this program?
When I get my new Mac I intend to try it out.

http://www.megaseg.com/

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#465 Post by CafeSavoy » Tue May 01, 2007 7:30 am

televandalist wrote:Hey, I'm Atlanta's newest swing DJ! Actually, I haven't even played a set yet but I have my first gig coming up on May 19th and I'm super excited.

I just wanted to introduce myself and detail my laptop setup. I think it might be a little unique in that I only run linux (yeah, I'm one of those). My DJ software in an application called Mixxx. It's got some pretty good features like 2 "players", automatic BPM counting, 10%+/- pitch-independant speed shift, headphone preview with adjustable live/preview mix, EQ on both players, blah blah blah. It's pretty slick to be free.

My library program is prokyon3 which is backed by a sql database. So in addition to being able to browse and do "normal" searches, I can also easily do complex searches like, "give me a list of all songs with a BPM between 166 & 175, that are between 2:45 and 3:45 long, and don't have 'Basie' in the artist or title". OK, that search is a little contrived, but it gives you an example of what it can do. From within prokyon3, I can right-click a track and load it in one of the players in Mixxx. The only problem is that if I'm not careful, it will load over the currently playing track. :shock: Not good.
Welcome aboard. Good luck with your first gig. Those programs sound interesting and are multi-platform. I will have to give them a try. I know some other djs use linux but i think they used to primarily use xmms. I'm not sure what people are using now.

http://mixxx.sourceforge.net/ (linux, os x, xp)
http://prokyon3.sourceforge.net/ (linux, xp)

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