first "gig" under my belt, impressions, troubleshooting
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default first "gig" under my belt, impressions, troubleshooting

    so here's why "gig" is in quotes: in one of the trendier, cheaper spots to live in dc, there's a weekly house party called wine night. it's basically just a bunch of 20 somethings taking a load off from the work week. since i'm trying to jump in to controllerism/digital djing, it's basically a perfect, judgment-free spot for me to get practice playing in front of people. i offered to do it for free, of course, because, well, i'm by no means a pro, and the practice will be invaluable.

    i played for like 3 hours, jumping genres (probably not very smoothly) and taking what requests i could. these kids have all sorts of musical tastes so i tried to "shoot for the middle" while still sneaking in some of my personal electro/indie/minimalist stuff (see genre jumping comment above). i had no "booth" obviously, but managed to set up out of the way of the flow of the party for the most part. i plugged into a pretty gimped sound system with only two speakers

    bad stuff:
    -once i found out that traktor can rip straight from ipods, i figured, "sweet! i'll be able to take requests straight from people's ipods!" sounds like a cool feature, especially for this setting. problem is, my macbook pro only has 2 usb ports (pshh..), which i'm using up with my bcd 3000 and korg padkontrol. so i hopped over to target to get a usb hub.. belkin 4-port, only 15 bucks! long story short, this was the only new piece of equipment i added, the only different factor, and about an hour into my mix, traktor started stuttering and even froze for about 10 seconds. i finally got back to the desktop to eject the ipod, afterwards it returned to a pretty stable level, but never got back to how snappy it's been back in the bedroom. anyone feel like giving me a crash course in USB hubs? i may just not worry about the whole ipod thing, because no one seemed to have their's on them, or maybe they were just digging what i was playing.

    -clipping! gahh! before last night i never really paid much attention to clipping, the limiter, gain, etc.. i had always been able to just play straight away and not worry about them. but man, all of a sudden i heard it clipping, and it took a lot of finangling to fix. lemme see if i have this straight: my bcd has it's own 'master output', traktor has it's own 'master volume', and each deck has it's own 'gain'. i was tweaking all three of these, but not really knowing what i was doing. i looked through the forums and feel like i have a little better understanding of it all now. opinions seem different about whether to leave auto-gain and the limiter on.. i'm open to suggestions!

    -recording. it was hard to isolate the factors responsible for the problems described above, but for a while i was trying to record directly from within traktor. i turned this off in a panic when i was trying to unfreeze traktor. i would love some tips or insight into how or if recording can negatively affect CPU/traktor performance.

    the good:
    -holy shiot! even in the kind of... lackluster scenario i just described and with my cheap-ass, craigslisted gear, i still had so much fun! absolutely incredible, especially when i started feeling comfortable enough to do some cue juggling and blending. everyone kept coming over and giving me positive feedback, asking questions about my set up (and how "fancy" it appeared to them.. i kept telling them, "this is actually really low end!"). it even landed me 2 potential gigs (more house parties, but i'm definitely not ready for a club yet). best thing is that the hosts want me back next week! it looks like this will become a regular thing, which is exactly what i need to keep me motivated to keep practicing, trying new stuff, and upgrading my gear.

    -www.djtechtools.com. without a doubt, this site and its amazing community have inspired and educated me so much. i haven't participated in the forums much, but only because i feel like i still have so much to learn before i really have much to offer anyone else. i'd just like to offer a huge, all-encompassing "THANK YOU" to everyone.

    -the sky's the limit. the ceiling on this stuff just keeps getting higher and higher. building my own speakers? (eventually!) routing out to ableton? (so much to learn!) midi-syncing with my buddy running monomulator on his padkontrol? (highly highly recommended!) it's probably so cliche to say it now, but jesus h., the only limits seem to be your imagination and dedication. long live digital music!

    for anyone who's curious, or if anyone would like to recommend what or how i should upgrade, here's my current set up:
    15" macbook pro
    bcd 3000
    korg padkontrol with farmpad (i have a sweet TSI going that controls 4 chained effects panels, all 4 'effect on's for decks A and B, 7 hotcues for each deck that can be modified to make hot-loops, and active loop size for each deck. i'd be happy to share it!)
    Berhringer HPX2500 High-definition DJ Headphones (crappy? probably! but they were only 20$ on an amazon goldbox deal.)

    would appreciate any feedback, and would even more appreciate getting up with some dc dj's. hit me up!

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Ciar2001's Avatar
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    sounds like you had a lot of fun m8 as for participation i personally am a clue noob to the digital side of things, the only advice i can give is from the dj side of things, but to be honest most of it is trial an error from my perspective, can only get better, try and be involved on here more, i find that djtt is probably the most friendly forum, apart from the lovely people i have met in a couple of other places, they are always ready to help if you pose the question right

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor
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    On the clipping front here's my understanding: Your right there's 3 levels gain, master TSP and master BCD3000. If you adjust the TSP master back to -2 or so Traktor won't clip anything then turn up the BCD3000 to get the sound level back up. Unless your running the speakers at close to max there's no danger of blowing them*****. You shouldn't have to touch the gain as Traktor should be auto gain correcting your tracks. Though gains can be used for other things.

    Not sure about the crashing/stuttering issue. But traktor is fair from itunes perfect, track that have been brought have all sorts of issues as does some other bits (iirc I was getting problems playing m4a and aac off ipods).

    But otherwise mad props on the sweet gig!

    *****THIS MAYBE WRONG CHECK WITH SOMEONE WHO KNOWS THEIR SPEAKERS GOOD!

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard
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    cheers Ciar2001! trial and error can be a little frustrating, but it really is the best way to learn. i agree!

    Remote, thanks a bunch for the tip on the clipping. i'm going to check it out as soon as I get home. to recap, auto-gain: on, traktor master volume around -2, bcd volume at max (?), and i suppose i'll leave the limiter on until it causes any problems.
    the weird thing about the ipod issue was that i wasn't even playing files off the ipod. i had it hooked up just in case i wanted to grab something from it, but i never even opened up the browser tree for it. who knows.. probably just need some more trial and error.

  5. #5
    Tech Wizard
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    The first gig is always the worst. You don't know if your levels are good, and that you're not blowing a persona ear drums out.

    Somethings that I've picked up from all of the people and mods is that you have to practice, practice, practice and when your tired of that, practice some more.

    If you do a little bit of digging some people have the same problem with songs skipping or stuttering. You may want to analyze your tracks that are in your collection if you haven't done so already.

    Clipping could be from your BCD 3000, I don't think it's a "low" end PoS. Have you tried adjusting the latency on the unit?

    To cut this short, you need to play around with Traktor and all of you gear. Get comfortable with it.

    BTW, props to getting more house parties!!
    MacBook 13.3/Behringer VMX-200/NI Audio 2 DJ
    NI Kontrol X1/Traktor1.2.4

  6. #6
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    Yeah, adding something new, bad move. But you learned, all that matters.

    The thing with loading CDs and iPods and everything into Traktor, it's weird. When I was on T3 I tried it once and it almost crashed my system. Now I refuse to let anyone plug anything into my computer, regardless, cause I know something bad will happen.

    So yeah, good on you, you learned something, won't kill your chances of something bigger, and you'll go into the next gig with a better understanding.

    And if you're spinning by yourself like that, do a sound check and stand where the audience will be so you can hear what they hear.
    It's the FAQ. Read it.

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  7. #7
    Tech Guru josh@firestorm's Avatar
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    maybe use one of the line-ins on your bcd for the ipod rather than trying to route through traktor... you'll be able to blend out of the track on the ipod but blending into it may be tricky!! at least it wont crash your system i spose...

  8. #8
    Tech Guru sarasin's Avatar
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    Gain - Master Volume etc....

    The Gains per deck in traktor should be level (0) to start with. Then turn your Master down to -2 or -3.

    This will leave you some 'headroom'. Then you can crank the amp (if the speakers can take it).

    Never PUMP these levels.
    APC80:STR8-100's+Ortofon Concorde Scratch\Electro:ButterRugz:TSP2-NI Audio4DJ:Xone22+Innofader:MacBook Pro 15"
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  9. #9
    Tech Mentor Tigris's Avatar
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    That's one thing I really like about Platinum Notes; it did destroy my tags, but it also adjusted all the mp3s to a level of around -12.7db.
    I turned of Auto-Gain and (because I moved to a traditional mixer) only need to adjust the Levels on a minimal scale to have everything at the same volume.
    If you want to give it a try- see if you can make sure your ID3-Tags are written INTO the mp3 before letting PN go over it.
    I mix stuff on my things...

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard
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    josh@firestorm, awesome suggestion. i hadn't thought of that at all! the only problem is i think i'll lose the play and looping controls, but i'll be able to run effects still. either way, i'm going to get rid of the usb hub in my setup.. i don't trust it anymore.

    thanks to everyone for the encouragement and tips. i've got another party coming up tomorrow night, so i'll put both encouragement and tips to good use.

    anyone have suggestions for my next equipment upgrade? i'm thinking a legit firewire interface will give me some better sound quality than the BCD, and should probably be my next move. thoughts?

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