Another reason to be wary of using computers live!
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  1. #1
    Tech Guru PeteWoods's Avatar
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    Default Another reason to be wary of using computers live!

    Last night, I ran a small event in my hometown. The headline DJ had just received his MBP back from the Apple Shop repairs 2 days before, after his friend had spilled coffee over it. It had been working fine in his house when he gave it a solid road test.

    I was finishing up my set and he was meant to come on, everything had worked fine during sound-check, and when he tried to cue all he was getting was a fizzling white-noise. We unplugged one of the turntables and put his CDJ/soundcard out into that channel, to check that it wasn't just a dead channel but the noise was coming through still.

    I was using Traktor with timecode vinyl, and some actual vinyl, and in the heat of the moment my laptop became disconnected, thankfully while I was playing a piece of real vinyl. For about 15 minutes I was using 1 turntable and 1 CDJ as they were the only things I could while i connected everything back up. Thankfully I had burnt a crapload of CD's before, just in case.

    His laptop eventually started freaking out, and shut itself down before coming up with a 'your laptop was shut down due to a fault' screen. Me and the other DJ set his S2 and my timecode back up and went back to back for the last hour and a half.

    It ended up okay but it goes to show, even when you think that your laptop is in tip-top shape (as it should be coming back from Apple having been repaired, and the laptop itself only being a month old before the coffee was spilled) things can go wrong, so always have a backup. I'm glad I did, and as a fairly inexperienced DJ it was the people on these forums who made me want to be completely sure about it the first event we ran, and not risk it.

    That's carried on with me and I just hope someone else learns from this story as well, because it can seriously fuck up your evening.

  2. #2
    Tech Student
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    I agree, I always keep a back up with me (external HDD; mas my music, all the drivers, programs, and other miscellaneous things) whenever I go to a gig, just in case.

  3. #3
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    You should always have a fully standalone backup source, whether its a mirrored laptop, or CD's and CDJ's. End of story.

    An external HD is not enough... What are you going to do if your computer fails? Find another laptop, load your software and drivers, load your music collection, replug the wires, and finally get going 10 minutes later? You need to be able to switch your source immediately.

    It amazes me how many DJ's don't carry legitimate backups. If you don't and your set is ruined, no sympathy!

  4. #4
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    Makes you wonder if there is a way to cover the laptop without it getting overheated. Kinda funny to see Girl Talk perform with his toughbook wrapped in plastic.

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor Emery's Avatar
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    mine had a drink spilled on it at a gig a few months ago. I had it repaired by apple, basically just the logic board, but It doesnt seem to run as smooth as it did before. I hope it can remain reliable at least, but liquid damage really can unfold some nasty issues with these computers
    13" Mbp i7 | TMA-1 | Tech 1200's | RANE TTM-57 | NI Audio 4 | Kontrol S4 | F1 | KrK Rokit 5s


  6. #6
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Personally, I'd just stop using a computer that had liquid spilled on it and replace it. Depending on insurance, I'd consider reporting it destroyed and see if they'd help pay for a new one.

    Despite bringing a couple laptops back from the brink of death following a liquid spill, they're never the same. And if you're actually a gigging musician, that's kind of just asking for trouble. And if there are young up&commers nipping at your heals to take your gigs, it seems like spending a grand and a half when you didn't intend to is the lesser of the two evils……assuming you're beyond just scraping by, at which point, I'd probably still replace it.

    That being said, it's also a good reason to carry a CD wallet and/or USB keys if the club has Pioneers……and to be able to play on them.

    I can't count the number of guitarists who've played gigs on crappy crate modeling amps because their marshall/fender had a circuit problem that blew up tubes like it was its job and they didn't bother to replace it.

  7. #7
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    Technical problems happen to all equipment and in all industries of work. How you handle these problems really depends on your preparedness and professionalism.
    Traktor Scratch Pro, Ableton Live 8, MacBook Pro 13'', Traktor Kontrol S4, Traktor Kontrol X1, , Midifighter, NI Audio 6 DJ, HDJ-2000 Headphones, UDG Producer Bag.
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  8. #8
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abyrne7 View Post
    Technical problems happen to all equipment and in all industries of work. How you handle these problems really depends on your preparedness and professionalism.
    This, besides it's not like CDJ's have never crashed.
    Chris Jennings FHP

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  9. #9
    Tech Wizard
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    I have seen so many laptops crash in mid set. Some of them were big time DJ's, Dubfire @ Matter (twice), also Paul Van Dyke @ Amnesia to name a few.

  10. #10
    Tech Guru PeteWoods's Avatar
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    literally, if i had not had the fear of god put into me by this community, i wouldnt have had a case of CD's with me. my laptop was working just fine but we were mid switchover and i had only one turntable connected, and even then it was only connected to the mixer and not my laptop. i did not have enought vinyl to play a vinyl only set as well. just sharing this story in the hope it will encourage EVERYONE to bring a backup, not just of your hard drive but every possible medium you can, a few pieces of vinyl, even if you use cdj's, could save you if one of the cdj's fail and you need some time to replace it.

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