Need advice on a DJ system

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Need advice on a DJ system

Postby TheMuse » Tue Oct 19, 2004 3:47 pm

In 2004 I DJ'd for the first time with a rather unstable PC, someones old stereo and a couple speakers. Needless to say our system crapped out a bit. Does anyone have suggestions as to what I should do for a system? My media will most likely be all Mp3s. A friend suggested a mac laptop. But how about amplifier, speakers, etc.? I am a total novice and would love some advice from the gurus.
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Postby stuart » Tue Oct 19, 2004 3:59 pm

a place to start is to decide how much money you want to spend. It's all relatively easy after that.
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Postby Alpha » Tue Oct 19, 2004 4:00 pm

Computers + playa dust = $$$ (either cleaning or repairs). It's do-able but I'd suggest something like an iPod or mp3 player on steroids. I've considered a PocketPC handheld but I'm not sure about the audio quality.
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Postby TheMuse » Tue Oct 19, 2004 4:05 pm

Im thinking about 2k max (aside from the pc/mp3 player/etc.). Is there a place that people sell used stuff, like ebay?



P.S. sorry this is in the wrong forum... I had meant to post in quetions/Advice but the devil made me do it here.... Or I could simply be a complete SPAZ.
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Postby zorro sings » Tue Oct 19, 2004 4:10 pm

If you can afford them,certainly,Mackie speakers.Terrific sound and quite rugged.Best of all is the built in amplifier.One less thing to get fucked up by the dust.Mine are still sounding fine after 4 Burns.
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Postby stuart » Wed Oct 20, 2004 11:13 am

I blew a 450 this year. Sad.


still, an Ipod, 2 DI boxes, appropriate lenth XLR and a pair of Mackies would be super awesome.

(wrap the IPOD in cellaphane)
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Postby Tuatha » Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:09 pm

Ipods are pretty well sealed, i had mine on the playa this year and had no real problems (except the white cord turning a dull shade of brown)
The only areas dust can get onto in is through the docking port on the base, or the headphone connecter on the top, so as long as you keep them covered you should be ok... though see the comments below about Alkaline + circuitry

I guess it depends on what you mean by Dj'ing if you want to just have a few playlists and set em going and occasionally pick out a song you could easily get away with just a ipod fed into a amp/pa system
and you can get remotes for the ipod, so you could just stash it out of the way, For more complex dj'ing i believe you can get mp3 turntables, but thats getting out of my realm of knowledge.

Taking a nice new laptop onto the playa would be a crime!
you could try and seal it against the dust but then you cripple its cooling ability, and then you run the risk of cooking the cpu.
But if you don't seal it, the cooling system is going to suck playa dust all through it.

The Biggest problem with Electronics out there is that once the dust gets into them it starts to Corrode the copper contacts and tracks (though the tracks are a little more resistant because boards are normally sealed) once that starts to happen, system reliability will drop through the floor, in theory most "Simple" electronics shouldn't be to bad as a small increase in resistance is unlikely to change the signal too much, but in computers, you run the risk of data corruption, or arching which will cook components,

I guess it comes down to, how long will the laptop be exposed to playa dust, and are you willing to buy a laptop and run the risks of ending up a dodgy if not rooted pc/laptop after the event? Im talking mostly out of theory as I've never taken a laptop onto the playa but know of companies who have screwed whole computer rooms when concrete dust got into the rooms cooling system. Im interested in hearing what people who have had laptops out there have experienced?

Have you thought about Hiring gear?
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Postby Tuatha » Wed Oct 20, 2004 9:09 pm

Hope this helps :)
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Postby playasnake » Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:37 pm

stuart wrote:I blew a 450 this year. Sad.


still, an Ipod, 2 DI boxes, appropriate lenth XLR and a pair of Mackies would be super awesome.

(wrap the IPOD in cellaphane)


i would second this... though you could skip the DI boxes and use a DJ mixer instead... probably an old used one, as you probably wont be using it for anything other than a line mixer (the beauty is that there are tons of these in the Bay area and you could probably find one for free)

Mackie SRM 450s are tough, and a personal playa favorite of many. also, your best bet for the money. check craigslist or ebay. if you get them used you could possibly have enough left over for a BassBin (1500 or 1501). You'll need $ for stands and cables too.
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Postby stuart » Tue Oct 26, 2004 4:56 pm

skip the DI boxes and use a DJ mixer instead



many mixers don't have proper balanced outputs. Thus the need for DI boxes to convert from Hi-z to Lo-Z.
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Postby Sandwichman » Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:07 pm

stuart wrote:
skip the DI boxes and use a DJ mixer instead



many mixers don't have proper balanced outputs. Thus the need for DI boxes to convert from Hi-z to Lo-Z.


You can find older studio mixers with the line outs balanced for very cheap on Eslay and other places. Then at least you have the ability to mix at a central point and even run multiple lines in for even more inputs...

But if you cannot find an old studio board cheap enough then DI boxes are the way to go.

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Postby playasnake » Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:57 pm

ive never had to use a DI box, so they are optional in my opinion.
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Postby stuart » Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:02 pm

are you saying all the mixers you have used have XLR outs or are you just saying fuckit to the impedance missmatch?
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Postby diane o'thirst » Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:04 pm

I'm putting together a deejay system this year too. I already have a sonic holography deck, 1 CD player, two Pioneer speakers, two computer speakers and an MP3 player.

What I was thinking of doing was have two CD players running through the sonic holography deck, and get a few more speakers for a total of seven. Cue up the CDs, segue between them with MP3 samples (natural sounds, spoken word, et alia). One gentleman on this board suggested separating the various parts of fugues and running them through separate channels, so it sounds as if you're sitting in the middle of the orchestra.

The whole system will be nicely contained inside a yurt which I'll be modifying to cut back on dust. When the system's not in use it'll be under plastic.

It won't be a huge system (I only have a 400-watt inverter ;))
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Postby playasnake » Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:20 pm

stuart wrote:are you saying all the mixers you have used have XLR outs or are you just saying fuckit to the impedance missmatch?


im just saying while in theory, you should use DI boxes, in practicality you can hook a 450 up to just about anything and it will play music fine. an unbalanced signal will work without a problem.
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Postby stuart » Tue Oct 26, 2004 7:26 pm

separating the various parts of fugues




you can't just do this with an EQ

how do you get a hold of recording of seperate parts?


I love the idea though

I did an all electronic re-orchestration of the passacaglia and fugue in c for a college project.
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Mutant Vehicle Sound

Postby Mister Jellyfish Mister » Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:33 am

On my mutant vehicle, lots of people suggested I add sound. I opted instead for a low power FM transmitter playing a 3 minute loop designed around the theme of time travel. It was OK, but I can't resist the temptation to blast a wider selection of tunes live and loud.

I've got a Trace Elliot bass guitar amp with 4 x 10" speakers I could face down, upholster, and turn into a "rumble seat" sub woofer. Add my ipod for the source. Do you have any advice on providing the highs/mids with a seaparate active cross-over? The smaller the better for this 8x5 foot trailer. Maybe some good tweeters in the corners?

Then there's the challenge of A/C power. I suppose I could run another belt off of the mini-tractor motor as the existing alternator barely generates enough 12 volt power for the night lighting. Any suggestions there?

You can check out the vehicle at www.MutantVehicle.com and thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
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Postby diane o'thirst » Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:43 pm

stuart wrote:
separating the various parts of fugues

you can't just do this with an EQ
how do you get a hold of recording of seperate parts?
I love the idea though
[/quote]

So do I, which is why I'm going to at least give it a try. I got the whole winter to practice in.
Without a thorough working knowledge of the ins and outs, I'd say get an old mix-board, mix down the various parts, record and synchronize them. But this is my first attempt at mixology and I don't think I can carry it off. Honing my ear-hand coordination will doubtless be required.

Then again I may just concentrate on the basics, smoothe segues and leave the fancy fugue stuff 'til I get more experience.

Eh, well. Reach for the stars and grab some moonsilver on the way down if you miss.
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Postby playasnake » Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:30 am

diane o'thirst wrote:Without a thorough working knowledge of the ins and outs, I'd say get an old mix-board, mix down the various parts, record and synchronize them.


you should be able to do this on your computer without getting an old mixing board. though i do miss the days of having tons of knobs to tweak... (and not to dissuade you from getting an old mixing board)

what software to use depends on how much you want to spend. also, if you want to get really fancy, you could burn stuff onto dvd and then play it in 5.1.... might sound really cool in an enclosed environment like you will have. you could separate the intruments to different channels.
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Postby diane o'thirst » Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:20 pm

Actually I'm thinking logistics and have a laptop, so doing that and running the MP3's through that is definitely an option. I have a multi-disk CD player, so I could condense the system down to one player, laptop, sonic holography deck, amp and seven speakers.

Any suggestions on mixing software for G3 Mac?
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Postby playasnake » Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:45 pm

diane o'thirst wrote:Actually I'm thinking logistics and have a laptop, so doing that and running the MP3's through that is definitely an option. I have a multi-disk CD player, so I could condense the system down to one player, laptop, sonic holography deck, amp and seven speakers.

Any suggestions on mixing software for G3 Mac?


you could also dump everything onto MP3 and leave the cd player behind. after using playlists, i see cd changers as prehistoric relics... ok.. maybe thats a tad dramatic... but i digress.

OS X? OS 9?

how much you looking to spend. mixing software can run you from a few hundred to thousands. personally, i think everyone should have Reason (http://www.propellerheads.se/), I think they have a demo version on the site.

check out Traktor if you want to mix mp3s live, as in DJing (www.native-instruments.com/)

does your sonic holography deck have surround sound? 5.1?

anyway, hope some of that helps
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Postby Sandwichman » Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:55 pm

playasnake wrote:
diane o'thirst wrote:Actually I'm thinking logistics and have a laptop, so doing that and running the MP3's through that is definitely an option. I have a multi-disk CD player, so I could condense the system down to one player, laptop, sonic holography deck, amp and seven speakers.

Any suggestions on mixing software for G3 Mac?


you could also dump everything onto MP3 and leave the cd player behind. after using playlists, i see cd changers as prehistoric relics... ok.. maybe thats a tad dramatic... but i digress.

OS X? OS 9?

how much you looking to spend. mixing software can run you from a few hundred to thousands. personally, i think everyone should have Reason (http://www.propellerheads.se/), I think they have a demo version on the site.

check out Traktor if you want to mix mp3s live, as in DJing (www.native-instruments.com/)

does your sonic holography deck have surround sound? 5.1?

anyway, hope some of that helps


No more Reason! Sorry I am a fan of Ableton and its capacity for live performance and the new version is suuuuuuupppper sweet. Traktor is great as well.

sorry back to your discussion.

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Postby diane o'thirst » Thu Oct 28, 2004 3:04 pm

Having heard Jason play, I'm inclined to listen to him. Not snubbing you Playasnake, and thanks for the suggestions. Currently I have OS 8.6 on the laptop, that's due to change in the next few months as soon as I can free up money to buy more memory...

The reason I'm using a CD player is I have some really neat performances on CD that I can't find on MP3, and vice versa. With classical music, you can pick and choose between different performances of a piece and they're all different, because each performer brings something different to each performance — believe the Sanskrit word for it is "ragas." For example, the differences between the way Anne-Sophie Mütter and Kennedy play the Hunting of the Stag section of Vivaldi's Autumn Concerto.

Speaking of different performances...I'm thinking of pairing a playing of Saint-Saëns' <i>Carnavale des Animaux</i> with live readings of Ogden Nash's accompanying verses. Anyone interested in hooking up and doing something like this?
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Postby playasnake » Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:30 pm

diane o'thirst wrote:The reason I'm using a CD player is I have some really neat performances on CD that I can't find on MP3, and vice versa.


i kinda meant to burn them to mp3. my cds always get trashed out there.

and dont worry, im unsnubbable
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Postby TheMuse » Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:10 pm

Thank you all for you responses. Keep em coming, you are so helpful!
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Postby Sensei » Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:01 pm

Sandwichman wrote:...No more Reason! Sorry I am a fan of Ableton and its capacity for live performance and the new version is suuuuuuupppper sweet. Traktor is great as well.


I love both Propellerhead's Reason AND Ableton's Live. Together, they allow me to get my midi groove on (Reason's instruments are a gas) and the audio input in Live means I can plug my Strat into my M-Audio Ozone keyboard and I'm good to go.

They only problem is that just jamming away is so fun I never take the time to record anything. I need to focus.
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