Macbook DJ Kit

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Rapmastac1, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. Rapmastac1 macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

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    #1
    Ok, so I want to be a DJ, have been for a while. I know the main concept, and I know about remixing and such. But I'm curious as to what the best equipment for price would be. I have a Macbook, and want to put a gig of ram into it, and I want to find a USB Turntable for MP3 mixing, to use with probably Traktor DJ Studio (I have used this before and love it)

    But, what else would I need, for now I'm just playing for school, and they have speakers I can use, but a good set of my own speakers for a good price is a good idea for the future. But I heard about an add on thing so you can actually preview your mixes and such, and you cannot do that with the built in sound card, I just need the basic stuff to get started.
     
  2. wbread5 macrumors member

    wbread5

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    #2
    hmm.

    Speakers are always a good idea for monitoring if you want anything close to a decent mix. When you say DJ do you mean LP's, CD's, all-digital? Just DJ'ing for clubs/ parties? That makes a huge difference.
     
  3. Rapmastac1 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

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    #3
    Well, I faitfully use my set of Sony Headphones, the huge subs, oh yeah, love em. And I was wondering what I could hook them up to so I can preview the mix in them, and have something else going out to the speakers in the school, they are huge speakers on the walls and ceilings.

    I play MP3's. I make songs, then take them apart, and build the song in front of the audience live. So some days I use Traktor, and some days I use Garageband, it's really cool what I like to do. And I do the usual mixing. I like to mix modern songs with trance songs that, over 80 percent of the people have never heard, but they will beg for the names.

    And I jus do little freestyle mixes at home, with no previewing and such, cuz I don't know where or what equipment to get, I have a decent set of speakers with an amp that everything is hooked up to now. But is there a usb thing I can hook up to my macbook to let me do that? I need a mic hooked up to it too, I have 5 USB ports available on my mac now.

    Basically I just want to use my Macbook to house my songs, and get two external turntables (the "fake" ones if you will, with the rubber pad) but meant to mix songs digitally (Digital Jockey i guess). So no vinyls will be used. I'm using Traktor (well, for my windows machine I do, for mac i use a freeware for now).

    Basically I just want to know what equipment I really need, most of them being USB hookups I know, and speaker system, I know that too. I like playing club like hits, so mostly parties/dances for now at the school. I want to get my equiment ASAP, and would like to get it all for under 500 if possible.


    So the questions sum up as this...
    What turntables (USB) are good for use with the Macbook and some mixing programs, specifically Native Instruments programs.
    What should I do about previewing tracks? I need an external audio card? USB? I don't know anything as far as this goes, my pc had HD sound, so it was a lot easier.
    And anything else I might have left out, I've got the macbook, the software, the headphones, and the speakers (for now).

    Any suggestions are welcome.
     
  4. Rapmastac1 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

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    #4
    C'mon, no one knows wut I'm talking bout? I'm asking where, or what equipment I need to get to get my sound from point A, Macbook, to point B (Headphones) and C (Speakers) so I can cue them (preview tracks) and wut the best "spinner's" for use with mac or jus usb there are for the dollar.
     
  5. Chone macrumors 65816

    Chone

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    Aug 11, 2006
    #5
    I'd love to help ya but most people here are not related to music equipment, this might help, just a little site I used to browse when I got a little audiophile fever, which sadly stuck on me :) http://www.head-fi.org/
     
  6. wbread5 macrumors member

    wbread5

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    #6
    If your aim is to preview your full mix in the headphones before opening the gates to the speakers (which I think it is), that can get pretty tricky because you can't just split the mix to the speakers. The cleanest way to do it would be to do what most DJ's do, have two tables, one running to the second one for previewing your mix/ additions to the mix, and the second one connected to the speaker for a final draft to the speakers and any additional overlay.
     
  7. baxterbrittle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    #7

    You could try the Hercules DJ console. We sold those for Mac and they seemed quite good. I'm not a DJ but one of the guys at work was and he seemed to think it was pretty good - he prefered the real thing but thought it was pretty good for that sort of thing. You have to make sure you get the Mac version and not the PC one. It also comes with Traktor (a special version for it) and it seemed to work really well with the hercules DJ console. It also has a USB sound card with Mic preamp in it. They were about $600 AU but a really quick search i've seen them for $149 US but that is probably PC version. Have a hunt if you can get one for that sort of money they are really quite good. Hope this helps a little more.


    EDIT: Oh and you can preview or whatever through the headphones then bring it into the mix of the speakers with the onboard mixer etc... It seemed to do everything 2 turntables and a mixer would do just digital.

    http://www.floridamusicco.com/proddetail~prod~herculesmac.htm
     
  8. wbread5 macrumors member

    wbread5

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    #8
    Agreed on the Hercules, I considered that one too. Only reason I mention the physical setup is because you still need two separate audio outputs and they will need to be processed separately (in other words, the software [or hardware] itself would have to output both channels).
     
  9. Frisco macrumors 68020

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    Utopia
    #9
    Here is a somewhat related thread

    Maybe you can gain some more info
     
  10. baxterbrittle macrumors regular

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    Nov 8, 2005
    #10
    I'm not sure if I understand completely what is required for this sort of thing but basically you could have a sound playing out of the speakers and using the headphones you can cue up another sound to be played along with it - then you can bring the second sound into the mix coming out of the speakers at the exact point you want using the onboard mixer/faders. Now I really don't know that much about this sort of thing (I know a lot about sound/recording etc.. but not DJ's) But that seemed to be the basic formula for what you want to achieve. Traktor enables you to beatmatch the tracks and then you just fade in/out the tracks you want through the speakers but can easily hear what is going on through the headphones.

    If this is not what is required please let me know, as I'm quite curious now.
     
  11. meeble macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2003
    #11
    Rapmastac1,

    what you need is a firewire/USB sound card that has at least 4 outputs. You can assign outs 1&2 as your main outs in Traktor, and assign 3&4 as your "cue" outs. Then you can cue anything you want which will allow you to preview tracks in your headphones independently from the mains.

    peace-
    mr. meeble
     
  12. wbread5 macrumors member

    wbread5

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    Beaverland Hills, OR
    #12
    Then I suppose it depends on what you want to do.

    Typically, DJ's use two physical tables between a fader for two main reasons:

    1) You can have two separate feeds (instead of just mixing one main track and deciding when to open the gates to the speakers) and fade in/out as necessary

    2) You can have one main track playing on one table, and use the second one for overlay (scratches, samples, etc.)

    If this is what you're looking for, you'd need two audio outputs and software that processes at least two separate tracks. If all you want to do is preview the main track and then play it through the speakers, then one digital table and Traktor should suffice.

    EDIT: Ditto Meeble, an audio card is your best and cheapest way to go.
     
  13. baxterbrittle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    #13

    The Hercules is a multichannel sound card (USB) that has multiple feeds (2 set of stereo out) 1 Mains for speakers 1 for headphones. The control surface on the Hercules just provides a more user friendly way to interact with the computer instead of the mouse. Traktor allows you to have 2 tracks open and playing simultaniously but you control each with they're own faders on the control surface. Therefore traktor acts like your turntables and the herc acts as the mixer. You then have scratch pads on the herc to interact with the tracks themselves.

    A soundcard would do the same thing because it is the same thing (they are both multichannel audio devices) but I think the OP wants to have the ability to scratch etc like he was using a real DJ setup.

    Am I really daft and not getting something here or am I just not explaining this clearly.
     
  14. wbread5 macrumors member

    wbread5

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    #14
    baxterbrittle:
    My bad, I was mistaking the Hercules for another unit that was just a usb controller, with no card and no included software. Yeah, depending on price that may very well be the cheapest (rather, cost-efficient) way. Sorry for the misread :(

    Summary: Unless you like the feel of using a physical controller for both stereo outs, what you need is a 4-channel sound card, a usb (or firewire) controller and compatable software, and this Hercules appears to have all of the above. Shop around.
     
  15. monkeybiz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    #15
    Please don't take offense from this, but my sincere advice is to do yourself a favor:

    If you want to become a DJ, don't learn with software. Train your ears to beatmatch first instead, then you'll be better prepared to mix in other ways, and you'll be prepared for different live environments. Learn the fundamentals of a simple setup like turntables or CDJ's and a good hardware mixer. Also, be ready to pay through the nose for good equipment (turntables and/or CDJs, needles, slipmats, decent mixer, decent closed-ear headphones, carrying cases if you need them), but it's worth it to spend now and avoid the hassle of upgrading later if you're serious about sticking with DJing either as a hobby or for something more.

    You'll also be better prepared for the inevitable software crashes and freezes if you have turntables or CDJs in your setup. Beats 3-4 minutes of silence while you reboot.

    ALSO: You won't get very far on a MacBook, as Traktor doesn't have Universal Binaries yet, so it doesn't even function on Intel hardware. Native Instruments says to expect these in the Fall of this year, but I've never seen them release a Traktor update on time, and they're also few and far between.

    I do use Traktor (along with turntables and CDJs, and sometimes Serato Scratch Live instead of Traktor), and I'm still using a nearly 3-year-old version of the software because Native Instruments is more focused on bloating the program with features when its user base is asking for bug fixes. Versions 2.5.3 and 2.6.6 are regarded as the most stable, with users of version 3 avoiding it for live use, but tinkering at home in hopes that they'll get the program to work as advertised.

    And if you're still serious about DJing with Traktor, invest in a good multichannel soundcard and look at MIDI controller options. The soundcard should let you output a single stereo audio signal if you want to use Traktor's internal mixer mode, or if you'll be using a hardware mixer (like most venues have, and which I recommend) then you can send two seperate stereo signals out, one for each channel you're mixing (assuming you're using 2 decks in Traktor). The MIDI controller(s) will let you control the program with assignable button commands instead of a mouse, making your life much easier - and your performance will "look" a lot better than if you were just clicking a mouse. No one wants to see a guy looking like he's checking email and pretending to be a DJ. If it looks/sounds like you're doing something anyone else can do, you won't get a lot of offers.

    Again, my advice is to look at other DJ methods first. You'll be happier in the long run, and better prepared. What I tell people is, "If you're gonna learn to drive, learn on a standard!" Talk to DJs some.

    Good luck.
     
  16. w3xft macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    #16
    listen to monkeybiz

    I'm not trying to sound condescending but if you're planning on using a laptop to scratch/beatmatch or what have you just because you have a 'big mp3 collection' you've already started on the wrong foot.

    any self respectin dj wouldn't jack music off the internet..i'm not pointing the finger and sayin that you stole all your mp3s but if you didn't, that means you have the original CD's of all the artists (or you ripped the vinyl onto audio files). In either case, you have the media library for either a set of CDJ's for CD's or Tech 12's for your vinyl and your focus should be on spending the money for the decks, especially if you 'want to be a DJ'.

    Now, I don't know exactly how much Traktor runs for but that money would be better spent on eBay getting used Techs/CDJ's/etc.

    just my 2 cents.

    peace.

    ps. if you wanted a web resource...
    www.futureproducers.com
     
  17. Rapmastac1 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Rapmastac1

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    #17
    Well, A. I get my songs from various sites on the internet, not just the normal everyday songs, so they are MP3, cuz that is how I bought them.

    B. I not only use it to just mix other songs, I make my own songs, a true dj should, I mean... Anyways, I make my own music, and mix it, and when I'm lucky, I like using garageband and doing a live mix muting and un-muting tracks, but I have never really done it in front of a lot of people.

    C. I'm looking for Small Vinyl sized turntables to use, so I can have full control over the "virtual Disc" which is actually an MP3, Traktor, or wutever program I happen to be using, does the backup work. Currently the program I'm using has really no beat sync support, so I have to do it on my own, nicely sized turntables will do it. And that Audio Out through USB is exactly one of the things I'm looking for.

    So pretty much, I just want two turntables (USB) and a stereo out card for the 4 port sound. I'm using my laptop as the crossfader/mixing board. And have a board (MIDID supposadly) for the knobs and stuff for the dj program I'm using, so I can have a physical touch of it.

    Remember, I want to be a Digital DJ, not a Vinyl one. I want to be able to make songs on the spot in the future, as in, I have the beat, I have the vocals, I have everything (Which I made from scratch) and I mix them up and record them and play em back again and add more to them and basically build a song right there on the spot, aka LiveStyle.
     
  18. Frisco macrumors 68020

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    Utopia
    #18
    There have been many good suggestions and many people trying to help you in this thread. Not once have I seen any appreciation from you :rolleyes:
     
  19. A.Fairhead macrumors member

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    Jul 10, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #19
    Being a DJ as a 'second job', I can recommend the Hercules DJ console. At the moment, I use it on a PeeCee (When a Mac Notebook roles by I'll be able to use that instead) and the device is quite 'homely' if you're used to a vinyl setup, as all of the dials and switches you would ask for are present, in the same locations as in their analogue counterparts.

    I use both vinyl and digital, and I can honestly say that (using vinyl as an example of best-responsiveness, best-feedback, best-experience) the Hercules console has proved invaluable over the years :)

    Traktor is bundled with the device, should be good when it goes UB. http://www.native-instruments.com/index.php?id=traktor3_us&ftu=de02329853&flash=8

    While I haven't tried it, this seems to be joint-most-popular with Traktor. http://www.megaseg.com/

    This is third app that Google threw up for me, and one that has its own little following too. http://www.dj1800.com/

    Monkeybiz's idea of learning with vinyl first is a good idea, as far as I can see. You'll know what you're looking for in software, that way. W3xft's comment of 'starting on the wrong foot' because you have little more than a large archive of music is fair, but not entirely true - unless you're entertaining a crowd that knows what it's listening for, most casual/small parties won't notice the difference :p Again, thought, it is essential that you learn how to listen to beats, and match them quickly without faffing about with it for too long.

    Hope that helps :D
     
  20. fwhh macrumors regular

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    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #20
    A professional solution would be "Final Scratch":
    http://www.stantondj.com/
    It requires 2 "real" turntables for 2 timecode vinyls. FS is a quite popular solution, it has a box to connect the turntabels to the computer and to connect the mac with your mixer. Don't know if this might be a solution for you, as the setup (FS, 2 Turntabels, Dj-Mixer) is quite expensive. BTW, you can also play normal vinyls while having the FS box connected(for this, you would need a mixer with a phono/line switch (like DJM600, DJM3000, etc.)).
     
  21. majorp macrumors 6502

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    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    UK !!!
    #21
    smilar to final scratch but a lot more stable/cheaper/better UI/free updates/better support.

    http://scratchlive.net
     
  22. monkeybiz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    #22
    This is another issue with DJ software, absolutely. Decide wisely how you'll get music, as many people assume music on a hard drive usually comes from other people's computers. You'll get more consistent audio quality if you purchase and import the music yourself, too, and hearing the mediocre bitrate of someone's mp3 on big speakers is pretty ugly. DJing in new environments can have you clinging onto the mixer to get the best sound you can, so you'll want the best audio quality you can get. You'll be happier with your collection, at the very least.

    It sounds like you might be interested in Ableton Live if you want to manipulate and improvise your own material. I haven't used it, but some DJs love it. To me, as a DJ application, it sounds like building playlists and tweaking audio as you go, which limits your input drastically. But I've seen people do some amazing things on it.
     
  23. fwhh macrumors regular

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    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    #23
    @majorp:
    I installed a scratch live today. Seems to work too... :) (but it was PC-borne) I think the breakout-box of the stanton final scratch is a little bit better.... Both systems seems to be quite stable systems...but no DJ would trust a computer alone. :)
     
  24. monkeybiz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    #24
    If you're going with vinyl control, I suggest avoiding Finalscratch 2. Users have left in droves to Serato Scratch Live. Just compare their online forums. The SSL forums are full of people who USED to be on the FS2 forums, but not the other way around. I haven't even heard of a single person leaving SSL for FS2, but I personally know several who have done the opposite. I have both, and I can tell you SSL is a better product. Less features perhaps, but it's reliable and priced more fairly. It's also much easier to set up and learn.

    Finalscratch hasn't had a software update in aeons, while SSL gets regular FREE updates with responsive support online. SSL is just much more stable and user-friendly. Several of the features FS2 advertises are only available if you also buy Traktor, as that's the program that actually has the features, while both programs use the same engine.

    Even the DJ in the Finalscratch 2 online demo video has left for SSL. FS2 could have been really great.

    Just ask a Finalscratch owner if they've had any luck selling their used unit for even a third of what they paid for it, while SSL retains a lot of its value right now because users don't WANT to part with it.

    Again, chat with some DJs. See what they think of either kit.
     
  25. peas macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    #25
    here's where to spendyour money

    i'll tell you hwat i got w/o cutting corners

    tech 1210m5g's
    shure m447 carts
    ssl
    rane56
    mackie450s
    silly vinyl
    even more silly digital
    lappytop

    with this setup you can ill a large ass house party.
    the 450s are clean clean clean and selfpowered so no amp needed.
    the carts hold a groove 2nd to none.
    the tables are industry standard. period.
    the mixer is a favorite among scratch djs. 2 channels. butter faders. never bleed.
    vinyl. you need it regardless.
    mp3's and lappy. rock a party. anywhere.
    ssl. nothing beats vinyl like, time coded vinyl.
     

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