Back to basics... ready for anything
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  1. #1
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    Default Back to basics... ready for anything

    I remember a time when all I needed was a bag of vinyl to rock a crowd. I'm not particularly comfortable with the fact I rely heavily on my laptop right now. If my laptop dies I'm fucked. I'm gonna burn off some newer CD's so in case the worst happens I'm prepared (I don't have vinyl with me and everywhere has CDJ's these days anyway so that's pretty much the most basic form of equipment to be expected). I'm just nervous about laptop reliability as I personally think they weren't really made to be lugged all over the world getting banged about in your record bag etc.
    It just makes me question other DJ's. I'll use what ever is available, shit if there's powercut I'll play the fucking bongos if I have to. But I'm living with another DJ who soley uses his laptop. He has CD's just in case but he doesn't beat match at all (although he is now wanting to learn & get more technical), he's like a top 40 DJ so can get away with just playing tunes and talking inbetween them and shit. That's cool if that's your thing. But I've read a lot of other people on here who have all their shit sync'd and say they haven't learned to beat match and don't really need to. Their argument is that DJ's have evolved from having to prove their talent by mostly showing their mixing abilities. Where a typical DJ is beat matching, a laptop DJ can be mixing 4 decks, using FX, searching for new tracks etc due to saving time on the beat matching front. I whole heartedly agree with this. Programs like Traktor, Ableton etc open up a lot of doors. But... and this is a big but... you might be shit hot when you're busting out your 4 deck routine with all your shit sync'd. But what happens when your laptop dies/someone poors drink over it/you leave your power supply at home/your software crashes/a bit of gear breaks/your hard drive fails? If you're part of the new breed of DJ's that rely heavily on your laptop how are you going to prove your worth if you can't really DJ traditionally in a bad situation?
    I'm only saying all this because I have been relying on sync'ing my shit due to poor/faulty/unusable equipment in some of the Spanish bars I have been playing in (as you can imagine), and I feel I have become lazy. DJ techniques are something you have to keep practicing otherwise you can become sloppy. If you haven't even got these techniques under your belt to begin with & rely on something that could potentially fuck up at any minute... what are you gonna do?

    I like to know I'm ready for anything.

  2. #2
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    You could always carry a netbook around as a backup. You wouldn't be able to use it like a full size laptop, but it would get you through an emergency.
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru sarasin's Avatar
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    yeah....i tend to agree with you.

    I don;t think its feasible to have 3 routines or setups ready for any given time....but a backup....DEF!

    This is why i choose a hybrid setup for my rig.

    I have the Lappy and VCI......I have the VCI, lappy and decks. now I have the APC40 too.

    All I need is a 4 channel External Mixer....and I will be good to go i recon.

    APC80:STR8-100's+Ortofon Concorde Scratch\Electro:ButterRugz:TSP2-NI Audio4DJ:Xone22+Innofader:MacBook Pro 15"
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  4. #4
    Tech Mentor Fracas's Avatar
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    Ive been mixing records and cds for 10 years. And to be REAL honest. Im sick of it. Too much to carry. I love the laptop idea. But i do keep a external hard drive with all my music backed up on it. I will always take a small bag of records and cds in case my computer goes down.

    I believe what the real question is.......

    What makes you a dj?

    I myself believes if a person can bring WHAT EVER music or equipment he/she can use and make the floor move. Then they can to do their job. Now I agree with you on everyone needs to know how to beat match 100%. That is like step 1 when learning.

    But at the same time a lot of people cant buy tables, mixers ect. So they but midi controllers and programs.
    Traktor Pro, Kontrol X1, 2x Xone 1D, Pioneer DJM600, Technics 1200 M3D's, Toshiba Windows 7. Audio 2
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  5. #5
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    flexibility is a necessity in the dj world these days.

    I am planning on learning how to use serato sooner or later.

    Gianmarco
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  6. #6
    Tech Guru pilmat's Avatar
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    Dodge, I think every DJ has to learn to beatmatch. Sync is like autogain, it gets you really close, but is not perfect. Just look at two waveforms and you will see what I mean. Some kicks have a sharp attack and give you a solid "boom". Others have a much softer attack and give you a "woomp". When you are doing a mix between the two you need to just set back the one one with a sharp attack into the pocket of the other, else they sound like they are not matched. Sync will not do that, you will have to do a small tempo bend with what you HEAR to get it right.

    Autogain is the same. It gets you close so that all you have to do is give it a little tweak to get it where you want, but you will likely still need to nudge it to keep things right.

    These are things you only pick up after hearing yourself do it wrong and go back and try to figure out why (ALWAYS record yourself, its free!). I could not beatmatch vinyl or a CD (not well enough for playing out) and is something I work on because it is a very big weakness.

    You keep banging that drum, the message needs to be heard. I'm sure once your roomy has learned to beatmatch properly he will wonder how he ever DJed before.

    Phil.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fracas View Post
    Ive been mixing records and cds for 10 years. And to be REAL honest. Im sick of it. Too much to carry. I love the laptop idea. But i do keep a external hard drive with all my music backed up on it. I will always take a small bag of records and cds in case my computer goes down.

    I believe what the real question is.......

    What makes you a dj?

    I myself believes if a person can bring WHAT EVER music or equipment he/she can use and make the floor move. Then they can to do their job. Now I agree with you on everyone needs to know how to beat match 100%. That is like step 1 when learning.

    But at the same time a lot of people cant buy tables, mixers ect. So they but midi controllers and programs.
    Sounds like you're carrying just as much as you did before considering you have a lappy, CD's vinyl etc but hey.
    If cost is the case then fine, but that doesnt change the fact that if you bring all the equipment you need to get people moving and your laptop dies you're screwed!
    Oh, and as a side note... having all your shit on a hard drive technically isn't backing it up. Hard drives fail all the time. The only true way to back up is to have a hard copy (CD), and if you're really worried about keeping it backed up have 2 hard copies, and your 2nd back up collection keep in a fire proof case. That's the only true way of backing shit up.

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor Fracas's Avatar
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    That is very true. But my record bag holds 20 records tops, My cd case holds 20 cds tops, And my Terabyte HD isnt that big and isnt used all the time. I have it only to store music and nothing more. Im just getting old and tired of carrying 2 create of records that weigh 100 + pounds.
    Traktor Pro, Kontrol X1, 2x Xone 1D, Pioneer DJM600, Technics 1200 M3D's, Toshiba Windows 7. Audio 2
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilmat View Post
    Dodge, I think every DJ has to learn to beatmatch. Sync is like autogain, it gets you really close, but is not perfect. Just look at two waveforms and you will see what I mean. Some kicks have a sharp attack and give you a solid "boom". Others have a much softer attack and give you a "woomp". When you are doing a mix between the two you need to just set back the one one with a sharp attack into the pocket of the other, else they sound like they are not matched. Sync will not do that, you will have to do a small tempo bend with what you HEAR to get it right.
    I personally don't think EVERY dj needs to learn to beat match. Like I said, my roomy is a top 40/commercial dj. He dj's every night, gets paid decent money, rocks the crowd, keeps em entertained, the managers love him, yet he cant beat match. Does he really need to learn considering all of the above? Same as radio DJ's, they are more presenters than anything yet they get paid to spin tunes. Do they really need to go and learn to beat match purely for principle?
    And sync can be perfect if you pre-organise all your shit before you play. Get all your grids right and there should be no reason why anything will ever be out of time or clangy. I've never once needed to adjust the pitch on tracks I manually beat grid prior to playing.
    The point Im getting at is being ready for any situation not necessarilly being the best beat matcher in the world. If you can chat on the mic inbetween tracks then great, but I know a lot of peeps are pure mix heads.

  10. #10
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    And what happens when someone gets drunk and trips and breaks the tone arm, or pours a drink on the mixer, or walks away with a book of CDs?

    I see your point, Dodge, but it's been hashed out here SO many times. What was the argument before laptops? It's not like every DJ knew how to beatmatch, or that they were all instantly better than a laptop DJ. Yes, versatility is important, but wouldn't backups be just as good?

    And beatmatching is not the end all, be all of mixing. I hate to say it but there are a few of mixing techniques that don't involve beatmatching (cutting, scratching, fading). You're friend wants to be more technical. And the skills aren't required for his chosen style of DJing. That's awesome. But what does it have to do with your argument? Are you telling me that all DJs need to learn CDs and vinyl if they want to spin on their laptop? Should all vinyl DJs be required to learn CDs and a laptop? It just doesn't fly with me.

    Why can't it be "If he rocks a party he's a good DJ" or "He knows his gear and works it like a motherfucker and that's cool" or something? Shit, why can't it simply be "He plays good tunes and people here are happy"?
    It's the FAQ. Read it.

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