Headphones, speakers, and hard drives. (oh my!)
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Headphones, speakers, and hard drives. (oh my!)

    Hello everyone. I've found my way to these forums after following Ean's invaluable advice on the main site (thanks, Ean!). I also just took my very first step toward realizing a DJing hobby that I've wanted to pursue for a very long time, by snagging a new black VCI-100 on eBay (after reading the consistent complaints about the original's stiff buttons, I feel the small premium I paid is worth it -- my only concern now is that the documentation might be Japanese-only ).

    Anyway, before I can begin playing around with it, I need a few more items: a sound card, a set of headphones for previewing, and a loudspeaker(s) for monitoring the house mix/master out (forgive me if I have the terminology wrong). Since the first item has already been well-covered several times here before, I'll spare you of having to repeat the same recommendations.

    However, it seems to me that the choices for quality headphones and loudspeakers are dauntingly numerous, even for simple scenarios such as bedroom DJing. On the headphone side, I initially did some googling and found the Sennheiser HD280s to be a sure bet. Someone else later recommended Equation SR-21s, saying it offered far superior quality in the same price range. After reading Ean's article on IEMs, I'm really interested getting one so long as it offers a comparable price-performance ratio.

    On the speaker side, things are much less certain. The most reliable site I could find was OnSpeakers.com, which puts the Polk Audio RTi6 in a very favorable light. After briefly browsing these forums, I'm also thinking of browsing the KRK, Event, or Mackie brands. Overall, still very undecided on this.

    I would appreciate any suggestions you have for these two categories. Please keep in mind that I plan on using the headphones both at home and at parties/clubs (whenever that happens). Also, I'm very concerned about the possibility of permanent hearing damage due to prolonged exposure to extremely loud volumes, so whatever helps in that regard would really be appreciated.

    Finally, I wanted to bring up the topic of external hard drives. Currently, I'm on a 2005 iBook G4 that has had hard drive reliability issues for years now. As a precaution, I recently picked up a cheap Western Digital 500 GB USB 2.0 drive to use as a primary backup for all my music. I also plan on getting a new laptop to use as a dedicated DJing unit (a netbook, assuming it can keep up with Traktor -- can anyone advise on this?).

    I've now run into a bit of a dilemma in terms of how I want to bring my music to a venue in the future. Should I a) swap music into and out of the internal drive between gigs, gradually degrading the laptop's performance, or b) mirror my entire library to a secondary external drive, pull tracks on-the-fly from USB, and risk the hassle of bringing another piece of equipment to the venue?

    Thanks everyone. I look forward to your replies and participating in this great community.

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor Julio's Avatar
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    EULA:

    Welcome to the forums! Just to make short and simple... these topics has been previously discussed here... I am in a little rush, so I will post links a little later... So, to answer your questions.

    1. Speakers - These are a very personal choice. Although the brands you mention are very good, I believe the most common advise is and will be, to go to several stores and listen to as many speakers as possible. Take your favorite tunes and listen to them. You will hear the tonal differences between each speakers, etc. And in the end.... it's a personal choice.

    2. Headphones - Even though it seems you have already set your mind into a particular model... I read you are "very concerned about the possibility of permanent hearing damage". I was too.. and there were three choices...

    a) Ear plugs
    b) Ultrasone DJ1
    c) Ultrasone DJ1 Pro

    The Ultrasones are specifically designed to produce the same loudness with a lot less power requirement. Again, if you have the possibility of listening to them prior to purchase... it would be great.

    3. HardDrives - These are so cheap right now... Since you have a Mac, I would recommend a drive that has USB & Firewire. If you use an extrenal firewire sound card, you most probably will be able to daisy-chain these devices with just one cable going to the Mac.

    USB is practically found in any computer these days, so you will be able to cross-platform as well.

    Personally, I go through the "hassle" of moving the "set" of tracks selected for that gig into the local drive. I have the backup drive with me anyways, but use the local drive for playback.
    Last edited by Julio; 11-09-2008 at 10:02 AM. Reason: Incomplete post
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  3. #3
    Dr. Bento BentoSan's Avatar
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    You could solve the issue of the constant moving of sound files by defraging your pc regularly(which everyone should be doing).

    Dont trust external drives with your music though they are very prone to failure.

    As for speakers - where do you plan on using your speakers ?

    Id personally stick away from external drives i have found them to be more prone to failure, mine just died recently with all my damn music on it. Incredibly bad timing, i was reinstalling my OS and had my stuff backed up only on there and only there. If you can fit what you need on your internal drive do that because its one less thing that can go wrong.

    Bye bye 180gig + of quality music

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard
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    Thanks Julio. Will definitely look into Ultrasone DJ1s and maybe a Firewire HDD.

    BentoSan, I am very sorry for your terrible loss. Also, I only plan on using the speakers for mixing in my bedroom, just so I can have something a little deeper and more powerful than crappy laptop grilles.

  5. #5
    Dr. Bento BentoSan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EULA View Post
    BentoSan, I am very sorry for your terrible loss. Also, I only plan on using the speakers for mixing in my bedroom, just so I can have something a little deeper and more powerful than crappy laptop grilles.
    That info helps alot do you have any kind of budget ? also do you any plans on doing any production on these speakers ?

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor Julio's Avatar
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    Bento:

    You have PM!
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  7. #7
    DJTT Ninja Mod tekki's Avatar
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    For speakers/monitors I would definitely go for Mackie or KRK. But than again, this would be from production point of view.

    This really is one of the biggest points you've gotta ask yourself. Am I using this for mixing only, or will I use it for music productions(buidling your own tracks) too.
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  8. #8
    Tech Mentor j1n's Avatar
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    Speakers: If you want something for home use and something that wont break your piggy bank might i suggest you check out some Logitech 5.1 surround systems http://www.mwave.com/mwave/SkuSearch...iteria=4165827 . I havent tried them as djing monitors per say but thats becus I'm in another foreign country in an internship, but I've use them for movies, gamings, and just plain blasting my music and they are definitely very clear and the bass is strong coming from a system that cost only around $80 or so (my next door neighbor was kinda enough to ask me nicely to keep it down a little =P)...The good thing bout these things is they came with a console adapter which allows you to plug your RCA jacks and into the adapter which will let you utilize your 5.1 speakers.

    Headphone's: I'm also leaning towards the Ultra Dj1 Pro's as they have in ear volume control and stereo/mono switch, and also they claim to save your hearing which I think is pretty damn important. I notice my hearing has been slipping away gradually from all the parties/raves/events and loud blasting of music that I indulge in.

    Harddrives: I guess if you can afford it, you can try out a Solid State HDD. Never tried one but thats cause I'm a broke joke LOL.

    Thats my two cents

  9. #9
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    You don't need anything fancy for DJ speakers, honestly. If you're getting into production then that's different, but for now you can use anything that produces sound, so those two speakers for your old school stereo, your computer speakers, even your TV wouldm work (though I wouldn't recommend the TV angle).

    I would wait on spending serious money on speakers. While they are the most important piece of the chain they also are, for the average bedroom DJ, really unnecessary until serious production is involved.
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  10. #10
    Tech Wizard
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    Thanks for the advice, guys. I found a pair of old Kenwood speakers that I'll use for now (no plans for any actual production yet, just mixing). As for the hard drive, I figured for convenience and performance purposes, I'll keep all the tracks on the internal HDD during gigs with the external as a permanent archive/backup stored safely at home.
    Last edited by EULA; 11-10-2008 at 10:22 AM.

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