Laptop DJing

It's all about the equipment

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Toon Town Dave
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#526 Post by Toon Town Dave » Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:20 pm

That Audio Advantage Micro looks like a nice little gadget to replace my bulky, quirky soundblaster. What's the audio quality like?

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CafeSavoy
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#527 Post by CafeSavoy » Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:16 am

Toon Town Dave wrote:That Audio Advantage Micro looks like a nice little gadget to replace my bulky, quirky soundblaster. What's the audio quality like?
does anyone have any recommendations for a small, portable soundcard for the Mac with two outputs?

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CountBasi
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#528 Post by CountBasi » Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:10 pm

I'm also looking for recommendations : in the market for a laptop, $650-$850, for DJ-ing primarily.

What are the priorities when I am looking at a machine's spec? Sound card? And if so, what about it? What should I be looking for in the sound card's spec?

Right now, I'm thinking : Win XP, at least gig DDR, dual core AMD, 150Gig HD minimum and at least 7200 rpm, 14-16 inch screen. As for sound card... not sure of types?
It don't matter if your clock is broke - it's the right time somewhere : Slim Gaillard

SoundInMotionDJ
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#529 Post by SoundInMotionDJ » Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:56 pm

CountBasi wrote:I'm also looking for recommendations : in the market for a laptop, $650-$850, for DJ-ing primarily.

What are the priorities when I am looking at a machine's spec? Sound card? And if so, what about it? What should I be looking for in the sound card's spec?

Right now, I'm thinking : Win XP, at least gig DDR, dual core AMD, 150Gig HD minimum and at least 7200 rpm, 14-16 inch screen. As for sound card... not sure of types?
DO NOT PICK THE LAPTOP FIRST!!!!

Pick the software first, then match the laptop to the recommended specs of the software vendor. Then match the sound card to the program and OS you are using.

In general...

- 512GB of ram is enough (spend the extra $$ on an external sound card)
- external hard drives offer better space/$ than internal (spend the extra $$ on an external sound card)
- internal sound cards suck
- Firewire400 offers some benefit over USB2 (If you have a choice get a laptop that supports Firewire...if not, the don't worry about it.)

The screen size (and resolution) should be matched to what the software wants. Some programs do not like to resize to fit a laptop screen height. Check that first. But...most programs will default to something like 800x600...so all but the tiniest laptop screens will be OK.

External sound cards should support the program that you are using. Most programs support the major drivers for external sound cards...but be sure to check the program that you want to use.

Most major manufacturers offer "consumer grade" and "business grade" laptops. The business grade laptops tend to come with a 3 year warranty, the cases are made of better (i.e. more durable) stuff than the consumer grade versions, and the battery tends to last a little longer. The trade off is that the business grade cost a little more, and tend to have slightly lower specs (that's why the battery lasts longer). In general, the business grade laptop is a better investment than a consumer grade - but from the "major" manufacturers consumer grade is OK for DJing.

--Stan Graves[/i]

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CountBasi
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#530 Post by CountBasi » Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:41 pm

Thanks for the full reply!

So if I pick CuePhase as my software of choice (I like what Jonas has to say about it!), ummm .. what spec of sound card, and then laptop ideally goes with that? Can you offer any input here Jonas? (or anyone helpful :) )

I do want 1 Gig of DDR, I don't mind paying for that. I'll look for FireWire400, so thanks for that pointer - what else now (given my software choice).
It don't matter if your clock is broke - it's the right time somewhere : Slim Gaillard

SoundInMotionDJ
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#531 Post by SoundInMotionDJ » Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:52 pm

CountBasi wrote:Thanks for the full reply!

So if I pick CuePhase as my software of choice (I like what Jonas has to say about it!)
CuePhase appears to be available only for the Mac. So, your plan to get Win XP might need some rethinking... :wink:

This is exactly why it is important to pick your DJ software first...then match the platform/OS/sound card to the software.

--Stan Graves

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CountBasi
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#532 Post by CountBasi » Fri Nov 09, 2007 12:45 pm

Hey thanks so much! After more reading on this forum, I will go with OTS AV, which I believe you like as well. I read the 'recommended system requirements' page on their website so will use that to drive what laptop I get.

:D
It don't matter if your clock is broke - it's the right time somewhere : Slim Gaillard

SoundInMotionDJ
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#533 Post by SoundInMotionDJ » Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:00 pm

CountBasi wrote:I will go with OTS AV
There is a free version for non-commercial and evaluation use. You should download and play with it for a while (2weeks?) to really decide if that's what you want to use. Also, read the manual.

http://www.otsav.com/download/otsav-free.html

--Stan Graves

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#534 Post by Surreal » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:48 am

SoundInMotionDJ wrote:In general...

- 512GB of ram is enough (spend the extra $$ on an external sound card)
- external hard drives offer better space/$ than internal (spend the extra $$ on an external sound card)
- internal sound cards suck
- Firewire400 offers some benefit over USB2 (If you have a choice get a laptop that supports Firewire...if not, the don't worry about it.)
- You'll want at least a gig of ram.
- I prefer to stick to internal, but that's because I hate having to carry an extra hd around and like to keep my workspace clean.
- Consider spending a few bucks on a mini surge protector (example). You never know when you'll need the extra plugs, especially when you start hauling things like external hard drives.

SoundInMotionDJ
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#535 Post by SoundInMotionDJ » Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:57 pm

Surreal wrote:- You'll want at least a gig of ram.
- I prefer to stick to internal, but that's because I hate having to carry an extra hd around and like to keep my workspace clean.
- Consider spending a few bucks on a mini surge protector (example). You never know when you'll need the extra plugs, especially when you start hauling things like external hard drives.
This is about choices. If you are planning to use the laptop for things other than DJing, it is likely that some other application will drive the hardware specs. The general guidelines that I gave assume that DJing will be the primary use of the laptop, and that the DJ application will be the only thing running at the time. I also said that you should let the recommendations of the application drive your hardware choices.

Memory needs power...all the time. Extra RAM means extra power draw. Going from 512MB to 1GB of ram can reduce your battery life by 10% to 30%...even when you're not running things that need the extra memory. With WinXP, 512MB of ram is enough for DJing. If you have a Mac, then 1GB is a better choice to begin with.

I know it might be counter-intuitive, but the overall performance of a fast external drive connected with firewire can exceed the performance of an internal laptop drive by 50% or more (i.e. SATA -v- 4700rpm IDE). In general, hard drive performance is not an issue for a single mp3. Once you start trying to move or encode a few GB of music...then it will make a difference. Backup your entire music collection and the difference can be as big as "go eat lunch" or "come back in the morning."

Carrying your own surge protector is a good idea for anyone who is using a laptop - for DJing or not. I use a small(ish) battery backup for the laptop, external hard drive, mixer, and wireless mic. The amps are on their own.

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falty411
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#536 Post by falty411 » Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:07 pm

SoundInMotionDJ wrote:Memory needs power...all the time. Extra RAM means extra power draw. Going from 512MB to 1GB of ram can reduce your battery life by 10% to 30%...even when you're not running things that need the extra memory. With WinXP, 512MB of ram is enough for DJing. If you have a Mac, then 1GB is a better choice to begin with.
you are totally right on with your recommendation. however, just to clear up confusion, more ram does not = less battery life.

While the additional ram does require slightly more power (which becomes less and less and ram becomes more efficient), the added ram will reduce the amount of times the HD will have to spin up, thus also saving some power. +ram - HD spinning less = about the same as before the ram. I personally haven't encountered any conclusive studies that show otherwise.

*Edited to Add: It also totally depends on all of the variables involved. If you add 4 gbs of ram to a machine that hardly ever utilizes 768mb at most, then you might lose a small amount of battery life. But if you are actually utilizing the extra ram that is installed, that it is in my opinion that it will not significantly affect the life. Also, as DJs, we should always be plugged in.
-mikey faltesek

"Dancing is the union of the body with the rhythm and the sound of the music." Al Minns in 1984

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CountBasi
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#537 Post by CountBasi » Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:26 pm

Thanks everybody. You are so helpful and good in providing more than just a few lines. You put in a lot more detail giving time that you had better things to do with I'm sure :)

I have ordered a HP dv6500z, using this offer :

http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=189135

Here is my configured machine, for which I have paid $808 + free shipping.

Your customized PC includes:

- HP Pavilion dv6500z CTO NB
- Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
- AMD Turion(TM) 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Technology TL-64 (2.2 GHz, 512KB+512KB L2 Cache )
- 15.4" WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1280 x 800)
- 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
- 128MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
- HP Imprint Finish (Radiance) + Microphone
- Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth
- FREE Upgrade to 120GB 5400RPM from 80GB 5400RPM
- SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
- 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery

Only negative is the rpm on the HD, I will deal with that later somehow or other...
Delivery will be sometime before 6 December hopefully!
It don't matter if your clock is broke - it's the right time somewhere : Slim Gaillard

Surreal
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#538 Post by Surreal » Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:03 pm

I've been reading some articles on those mini-laptops that are starting to come into the market. Here are two links about the ASUS Eee PC:
http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/column ... hp/3719776
http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/01/eee- ... w-roundup/

I wonder if these kind of machines have any potential for a laptop DJs. With an external hard drive and the turtle beach usb sound card, that's a pretty small package to carry around. Seems relatively cheap (though regular laptops are very affordable nowadays too).

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Mr Awesomer
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#539 Post by Mr Awesomer » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:24 pm

Surreal wrote:that's a pretty small package to carry around
I someone who used to DJ on a 12 inch iBook, I'd say there is no way in hell I'd go any smaller, even if it did mean less to carry. Even 12 inches felt to small to work with.

(Why did that last sentence sound like a quote from an interview with a porn star?)
Reuben Brown
Southern California

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wheresmygravy
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#540 Post by wheresmygravy » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:01 am

I use a 10" tablet and it is a little small most of the time. I would prefer something larger and am looking at a 12" HP Tablet. Also the processor speed is a bit anemic on the EEE. It will probably do what you want but maybe not as fast you would like.

I have a friend who DJs WCS on a Samsung UMPC with 7" screen. I would need reading glasses to use that thing. Or i suppose one could you video glasses or a head mounted display to compensate for the small screen size: i-Vue

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