DJ laptop advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Wickedsight, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. Wickedsight macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2010
    I have a question, I am about to buy a MacbookPro, but I'm waiting for the new ones. I was wondering what are important specs for a DJ laptop? I'll be running traktor pro on there with a vci-100 and an external soundcard. Like I said, i'm wajting for arrandale, but in case 13" doesnt get an upgrade, could I do with a base 13", or should I go for the high-end one? Also, how much would ssd do for DJing?

    I hope I can get some useful answers.
  2. paintballswimgu macrumors 6502

    Feb 13, 2010
    I would think, the main thing that you would need is a decent sized harddrive (320 gb or more), (this will mostly depend on the size of your files mp3s 128 kbps around 2 to 4 mb per song, all the way up to FLAC files)

    also, I would think the illuminated keyboard feature would be really useful. I'm not sure which models have this, but if i were you i would see this as a neccesity.

    Can't really think of anything else, but i'm not a DJ, I'm just somewhat of an audophile. I'm just thinking of features that would be useful. It makes me happy that your using a DAC/external sound card, because the onboard sound card on a mbp is downright dreadful. The digital output is fine, but you still need dac or at least a high quality reciever
  3. preppyclubguy macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2009
    from my experience all you need is a big hard drive, 4gb or ram min, and a 2.66 processor minium. I also dj and have not transitioned to a laptop yet cause ive seen way to many laptops crash during big perforamces from such artist as sharam . obviously with traktor and serato u need an external soundcard i suggest getting a fire wire splitter so u can run ur soundcard as well as have music on an external
  4. Wickedsight thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2010
    I need to use external also because I'll need 2 channels, master and headphone. lager hdd would be nice indeed, dragging external everywhere is a drag too.
  5. felixthea macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2010
    I've been running Serato on my Early '08 whitebook without ever running into any issues. I'm sure Serato is more or at least resource intensive as Traktor. So you're fine with any base Mac model.
  6. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    For sound, I would personally want an ExpressCard sound card solution… but that means getting a 17" at the moment as that's the only model with that option.

    Otherwise from friends who do music stuff, the 15" seems like a good size; they find the 13" to be a tad small in terms of screen real estate.
  7. bigaudiofanatic macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2008
    I would recommend getting a regular MBP and use a usb dac to send the audio output to your dj board. Would be the best way to do it IMO.
  8. jacksonryan macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2010
    some of these guys kinda don't seem to know what they're talking about.
    I have the same setup as you. You def don't need an i5, and i'm personally waiting til it comes out so i can buy a current gen (soon to be last gen) for cheap. The point is, you dont need something spectacular.
  9. BeamWalker macrumors 6502a


    Dec 18, 2009
    Serato and Tracktor are running fine on all Macbooks since they put an Intel CPU in it. Just make sure to close all other Applications and you gonna be fine.

    If you're planning on Djing in a club anytime soon I highly recommend a non glossy screen. The reflections from the light installations are completely ridiculous. You're spending more time adjusting your screen than putting on music. You also have to consider where to put the MBP. If it is behind your decks it is pretty difficult at times to read anything. For me the low-end 15" with a matte screen is the perfect model for Djing & Performing (Ableton). With the 13" there are just too many compromises.
  10. easepease macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2010
    invest in a good mixer like the korg zero 4, it is both an analog and digital mixer, and i really love it. You dont need a great laptop for DJing, use a good mixer as your soundcard. Unless you are producing your own music a laptop is the last thing you need for djing, though it can make beatmatching and sampling easier. I use a Macbook pro 15 inch with a 2.16 core duo once and while, however i spend 90% of my time using analog mixers as most clubs have those built in already so I never have to bring a whole bunch of equipment. I use the laptop as a hub for music to make sure i have all the songs for requests... (god i hate playing lada gaga ****...)

    If you are just djing for fun then just get a cheap mixer like something from m audio or the like and a cheap usb soundcard.

    As far as the laptop goes getting back to the original question the lowest end macbook pro is more than powerful enough. You need a fast large harddrive. The last thing you want is to have to wait for your harddrive to load music. I personally have over 2 TB worth of music so the bigger the better... If you are playing at a club your going to want files at 320 kbps, so keep in mind that your files are going to be twice as big as most peoples itunes music.

    hope that helps a bit... oh yea and if you ARE producing a lot of your own stuff, then get a fast i7 with 8gb memory so you can have lots of tracks playing at once... my 4 year old macbook pro can only handle 9 maybe 10 tracks, and thats with locks on... gets annoying
  11. Macchino macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2008
    Well, I make my living from dj'ing at clubs, and producing music (releases on Yoshitoshi, Cafe Del Mar etc.)

    I have a 13" 2008 alu macbook at 2,4 Ghz and 4 GB ram.
    I use Traktor Pro, with timecode cd's or vinyls (CDJ 1000/Technichs 1210) with the Audio 8 soundcard from Native instruments.

    After 1 1/2 year with my alu macbook, its time to part ways.
    I initially bought it for its portability, wich i have been enjoying alot, and i havent had any problems with it.
    Latency in Traktor have been an acceptable 2,5 ms, and i havent experienced any crashes.

    I now have a 15" 2,4ghz i5, 500GB HD (7200 RPM) hi-res glossy on order.

    The main reason for me to switch is the size of the screen. Its nice to be able to have a lot of playlists accesible in traktor. I went for the glossy display, due to the better viewing angles, wich is pretty important, as you dont allways know where there is space for you computer. I 'm ussually in a dark booth, so no problems with reflections (the lights are on the dancefloor).

    On the production side its going to be nice with a bigger screen as well.

    Eventhough i do most of my work on my 27" imac, i like to do some arranging on airplanes and trains, on my way to the next gig. For this the 13" has also proven to small.

    To summarise: The 13" will do a fine job, but in the long run, you will become tired of the small screen.

    Best Regards

  12. mesq macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    ^^ What he said.

    I also DJ with traktor and perform "live" with Ableton and was going to buy a 13" screen for the portability of it all but I bought a 15" because I knew the 13" screen would just end up becoming annoying and frustrating. Save yourself the hassle and buy yourself a 15".
  13. musictech100 macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2010
    As mentioned you do not need an i5 chip to make music or DJ. I teach sound engineering and also work with digitial dj's. My collegues who use seratto use 13" macbooks with 4 gigs of ram. They prefer the smaller size for portability. It is a preference thing. For audio editing I would not like to use anything less then 19 inch and prefereablly 2 screeens for maximum workflow. I dont work on the rd so the advice about the 15" is very valid

    I use a desktop pc with a c2d 2.4 with 2 gig of ram for music production but will be updating to the new 13" mac in a week or so. My PC runs plenty of audio tracks with no probs and a lot of midi.

    I am a little pissed of about the C2D chip in the 13" but i cannot personally afford the 15" as I have kid due in a few weeks and need the money for things like prams and cots :)

    I also use seratto itch personally with a vci300 controller. It is worth checking out the seratto and traktor forums as they will have lots more info on what computers to buy but as already mentioned all the new macbooks will be fine for djing.
  14. mesq macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    Just to put it in perspective this is ableton on a 13" macbook pro. I used to play out on a 17" screen, maybe that's why it looks so small to me.

  15. Dozerrox macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2009
    Sorry to be slightly OT, but I quite like the tunes in that Ableton session, any mixes for download mesq?
  16. mesq macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2010
    hehe sorry I should have said that this photo was taken from another users post about the same topic on the forums
  17. slym macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2010
    I run Serato Scratch Live on a 2.5-year old MacBook with 2GB and I've never had problems.

    As long as your laptop is portable and can hold your music collection, you'll be fine. ;)
  18. yertle macrumors member


    Mar 13, 2010
    Bit of a tangent- but if you play 128k mp3s in a decent club you will sound HORRIBLE. Always try to use 320kb mp3 or WAV files if you're really an audiophile...

    Also, I used a C2D 13" macbook for club gigs (3 yrs) and it handled everything fine. I liked 13" because of the smaller size in the booth. Def :apple: helps avoid crashes.
  19. trevtech macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2010

    I've had a six month stress session over this same question: what Mac lappy to get for Serato, and Live?!!!!!

    Six months because that's how long (I think...probably longer) that I've been aware of Nahalem based processors coming to MBP's. Now that they're out (and lack luster I must add) I've had the question of what configuration to go with. With the thought that I probably won't swap out for 3-5 years.


    I've been mixing on Serato with a 1.5ghz 15" Powerbook since 2004. It has been bullet proof this entire time (I knew the day would come) until Serato came out with the SL3 interface. These boxes do not work well with PowerPC (Powerbook) processors. I encountered all kinds of screen glitches and program freezes when spinning through one (audio never dropped out :D). This is mostly because the new interfaces rely more heavily on the computer to process sound. Being that these new boxes are ill (because they run audio at 24bit) I have to finally drop coin on a new lappy. Which brings me to....

    Processor & Screen Size Choice:

    The processor and screen size were a mostly easy choice. I was intending on a 13" i5 (i5 because its PLENTY for playing out with either Live or Serato. Don't let anyone tell you different. If you wanna produce, then get a proper DAW desktop set up), but Intel and Nvidia fuct that up. So no i5's for 13's (I wanted a 13" so i could cram it in a flight case if need be). So the choice was obvious: i5 15". That's fine cause I've been using a 15" for six years now with very little issue with portability. Next question: Glossy or Matte? Argh!!! I hate glossy, but I hate dropping loot on something that should be stock to begin with! Dropping $150 for a matte screen that I'd be fine with a 1440 x 900 resolution on is lame! Lame!!!! But I hate these glossy screens just as much (BTW, they don't look like Macs, kids. Glossies look like ghetto Toshiba's on discount at Costco. Its a new-er fad that I hope goes away quick!), so I have to come correct and get the hi res matte option. You're stuck with it for years, and if you spin outdoors at all you'll wish you had a matte screen. And as I said.....Toshiba's!

    If you're still unsure about the screen then go to your Apple Store and load pages with screen shots of your intended programs of use, and then decide.

    Also consider that when you're kickin' it on the couch digging for tracks, and you've got the MBP on your chest, that a glossy (heavier glass) screen will be flopping down on you under its own weight (real annoying!). Not conducive to comfort or efficiency. Same goes for laying in bed.

    Another consideration:

    Hard Drive. Just get the stock drive. You can get a better drive with a better warranty for half what Apple wants for the same capacity / spindle speed drive. Also, 4 gigs of RAM is all you'll need (currently) for audio. SSD's are unnecessary for your needs.

    BTW, the Powerbook is still rock steady. I plan to use it for the harsher environment outdoor events until the logic board takes sh*t. I hope this next Mac is just as reliable!

  20. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    Your laptop is going to be just fine for Traktor as long as you get Audio 2, 4 or 8 with it. I use Traktor Scrach Pro on a MBP 17" form 2006 and 1st Gen Air.

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