anyone use a laptop to dj? what gear do you use?

unique

Moderator
i've just ordered a laptop from dell and i'd like to use it to dj with occasionally. i was wondering if anyone did any djing (home or professional) with a laptop and what software and hardware they use, and what it's like to use

i'm used to using turntables and cd decks (crap ones and the excellent pio ones), and obviously being able to monitor your mix before moving the crossfader is an important part, thus you can't do that with just a software package. i also noticed some of the cheaper packages (sub £100) can have hardware but no headphone monitors

i'm djing in a few weeks and would like to try a bit out on the laptop (but i'll be mainly doing it with cds), and wouldn't mind a play about with some software. i doubt i'd be buying a hardware package in time as i've not yet got the laptop, but if there is a cracking deal that does the job i want it, then i could be tempted

oh, and what formats do you use? are there setups that play flac? (and allow you to pitch change/etc) or is it mostly wav or mp3?
 

Woodywizz

Distinguished Member
i've just ordered a laptop from dell and i'd like to use it to dj with occasionally. i was wondering if anyone did any djing (home or professional) with a laptop and what software and hardware they use, and what it's like to use

i'm used to using turntables and cd decks (crap ones and the excellent pio ones), and obviously being able to monitor your mix before moving the crossfader is an important part, thus you can't do that with just a software package. i also noticed some of the cheaper packages (sub £100) can have hardware but no headphone monitors

i'm djing in a few weeks and would like to try a bit out on the laptop (but i'll be mainly doing it with cds), and wouldn't mind a play about with some software. i doubt i'd be buying a hardware package in time as i've not yet got the laptop, but if there is a cracking deal that does the job i want it, then i could be tempted

oh, and what formats do you use? are there setups that play flac? (and allow you to pitch change/etc) or is it mostly wav or mp3?

Does your "employer" know that you are doing this??

Shhhhh...I won't say a word :D
 

unique

Moderator
my old boss and some collegues knew, but it's all change now. all work and no fun. used to be the other way around! :D

i used to dj every night of the week a few years back
 

Kieron

Distinguished Member
I use Serato Scratch. Comes with time coded vinyl and cd. Which means you still use vinyl or cd but the laptop provides the "sound."

Very precise - exactly like using the real thing. Drop the needle half way round the record and the laptop goes to the exact place it should in the song - as if it were actually recorded onto the vinyl.

It will pitch lock too - to stop the singer sounding like a chipmonk when sped up.

I saw a DJ a few years back in Vegas with it - had to have it - very creative software.

Use it with a powerbook, but will run on windows too.
 

Abbeygoo

Distinguished Member
I use Serato Scratch. Comes with time coded vinyl and cd. Which means you still use vinyl or cd but the laptop provides the "sound."

Very precise - exactly like using the real thing. Drop the needle half way round the record and the laptop goes to the exact place it should in the song - as if it were actually recorded onto the vinyl.

It will pitch lock too - to stop the singer sounding like a chipmonk when sped up.

I saw a DJ a few years back in Vegas with it - had to have it - very creative software.

Use it with a powerbook, but will run on windows too.
something about CDs ...... :confused:
 

unique

Moderator
I use Serato Scratch. Comes with time coded vinyl and cd. Which means you still use vinyl or cd but the laptop provides the "sound."

Very precise - exactly like using the real thing. Drop the needle half way round the record and the laptop goes to the exact place it should in the song - as if it were actually recorded onto the vinyl.

It will pitch lock too - to stop the singer sounding like a chipmonk when sped up.

I saw a DJ a few years back in Vegas with it - had to have it - very creative software.

Use it with a powerbook, but will run on windows too.
thanks for the input. do you know what other options are good? i was thinking more of something like a USB mixer and software package that is a bit more like the racked cd players, so you just need the package and laptop and plug into any amp/speaker setup and you can dj. thus you can use that at home or take it to a friends house and you don't need to rely on further cd players and turntables, thus i can do it at home to practice

as long as the software can beatcount (which presumably all do) and i can monitor the mix then i can probably overcome the lack of manual vinyl manipulation. the main issue i have with the rackmount cd players is you can't push them like vinyl to correct the speed, and it's not the same using a jog wheel, but if you know the bpms match exactly then as long as you start playing a the right time you'll be fine
 

sue_hall

Well-known Member
Hi matey,

I've done a bit of this although only for fun. So someone might be along in a bit to correct me if I'm wrong on any counts.

The first thing is that to actually monitor what you're mixing either by using a external mixer with headphones in to that, or by internal mixer on the software and headphones in to the PC, you are probably going to need 2 soundcards on your laptop. You can get away with using the internal one and a USB one but the latency on the USB one won't be brilliant.

I've also heard that if your soundcard is a creative one, that by using some 3rd party drivers, that you can get the various software packages to recognise different outputs on the soundcard as seperate outputs. I've never tried this option myself.

I used 2 soundcards, and some software wich I bought which was only about £50. I bought it about 8 years ago, and ran 2 copies on one PC in to an external mixer. Due to being too busy etc and moving, I sold the mixer. 8 years later, I decided to give mixing another try and looked at the same software. It had now been much upgraded so it had an internal mixer, one email to the company and I got a free upgrade :)

I actually can't at the moment remember the bloody name the software though. I'll let you know when I get home later, but it worked perfectly. Was very stable and would even read direct from a audio CD as well as mp3, wav etc etc.

I've not mixed in about 9 months due to work, but still want to so a couple of days ago I bought one of these, and it is probably just what you need, though it is quite expensive. It's very very convient though. :clap:

http://www.pacemaker.net/

I'll let you know that software later.

Some others to try.

Tracktor.
PC DJ is supposed to be ok.

Avoid virtual DJ it was rubbish when I tried it.

Rob
 

mcjibba

Novice Member
Rane serato scratch is the only way to go. No need to carry round heavy records anymore:D as shown to me by the man roni size, never looked back since. If you want to get the best possible solution pair up the timecode kit with the rane TTM 57SL. For a software only solution go for Traktor, you can get by with it as a 3rd channel or mod the drivers and get monitor/headphone separation. stay away from virtual Dj and pc dj unless your playing in those men only clubs:rotfl: and then it will suit you fine:rotfl:
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
I use mixmeister with a Creative Audigy card, which will allow headphone monitoring while you play. Very easy to use, great beatmixing capabilities and lots of plugin effects etc. I only use it now for podcast mixing, but it is useful as a live application. I sometimes wish we had this technology back in the day when I worked the circuit, in them days it was heavy record boxes (about 4 or 5). Ah the smell of stale beer and ciggies on my record collection, that brings back memories. It must be really easy DJ'ing these days just carrying a hard drive or two and thats it.
 

funkyspider

Well-known Member
I've played with Traktor, not professionally. Its very good for making pre-mix sets but I've not used it live.
 

unique

Moderator
the soundcard splitting ideas sound good, but as it's for a laptop it's just got a normal stereo soundcard and 3.5mm output so i can't do that. i have a couple of creative cards for pc's but the one i bought for my main pc went unused as i found a cheapo card did 5.1 better

scratch sounds great, but i wouldn't be able to use it at home as i don't have turntables. i was thinking more of a usb mixer that takes care of all the soundcard stuff and outputs to headphones and amp and controls the software
 

timothyw

Novice Member
I've been using DJDecks for a couple of years now, www.djdecks.be, it's cheap but very functional and versatile, and has a good community of users. I personally use it with my Denon CD turntables and an external mixer, using timecode cds, similar to the way serato works, but if you don't have any of the kit anymore (decks etc) then you can also use one of the all in one mixing control doohickeys like the behringer bcd 3000 with it, or any midi controller. This is its strength compared to a lot of the other systems, because the guy who develops it is independant you aren't tied into one of the systems, and he's been very quick to make sure that new devices are supported.
The key thing that you will probably need is a decent external soundcard. The behringer that I mentioned has its own soundcard built in so might be a good option. If you do still have a mixer and decks, I'd probably recommend getting the ESI u46dj external sound card to go with them, this has had driver troubles in the past but the latest revisions seem far better and its very reasonably priced.
 

timothyw

Novice Member
Wow, having said its cheap, djdecks has now gone up from the 38 Euros I paid to 123! Still cheaper than all the other systems though.
 

unique

Moderator
I've been using DJDecks for a couple of years now, www.djdecks.be, it's cheap but very functional and versatile, and has a good community of users. I personally use it with my Denon CD turntables and an external mixer, using timecode cds, similar to the way serato works, but if you don't have any of the kit anymore (decks etc) then you can also use one of the all in one mixing control doohickeys like the behringer bcd 3000 with it, or any midi controller. This is its strength compared to a lot of the other systems, because the guy who develops it is independant you aren't tied into one of the systems, and he's been very quick to make sure that new devices are supported.
The key thing that you will probably need is a decent external soundcard. The behringer that I mentioned has its own soundcard built in so might be a good option. If you do still have a mixer and decks, I'd probably recommend getting the ESI u46dj external sound card to go with them, this has had driver troubles in the past but the latest revisions seem far better and its very reasonably priced.
i saw the behringer on amazon for about £150. that's the kind of thing i had in mind. is that pretty good then? and does it come with everything you need (ie. software) so you just plug into a laptop and an amp and speakers and you're off and running?
 

sue_hall

Well-known Member
Me again,

The software I used was www.deejaysystem.com/

Very good and does what it says on the tin. With 2 soundcards can either output to a mixer, or use the programs internal mixer and pipe one soundcard as your main output to the stereo and use the other for monitoring. Works a treat.

Rob
 

timothyw

Novice Member
i saw the behringer on amazon for about £150. that's the kind of thing i had in mind. is that pretty good then? and does it come with everything you need (ie. software) so you just plug into a laptop and an amp and speakers and you're off and running?
I think the behringer does come with some of its own software. I'm afraid I can't comment on the quality of it or the unit as I've never used one myself, but I've heard a few people on the internet who seem to quite like it.
 

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