I’m talking about a laptop DJ’s. I’m sure everyone knows, gone other days of CDs and vinyl and it’s all about mp3s and laptops and tractor and Virtual DJ and all those pieces of software.
I made the transition from CDs over to mp3s probably around in 2011. I haven’t looked back since. Being able to have your entire music library with you all the time in a tiny little box is pretty much invaluable. Especially when you’re used to lugging around a huge case of CDs.
Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. Today I’m going to give you a few little tips about how to optimize your laptop to use it for mobile DJing.
#1 Keep your serial codes with you at your gig
Tip number one is to keep your DJ software installation files in serial code with you at your gig. You can either, of course, bring along the CD copy of the installation file.
However, what I tend to do is just bring along a copy of the software either from downloading it from the manufacturer’s website or just copying it across from the CD.
Then also making sure that you include the serial license along with that may be in a little text edit file. If 30 minutes before your gig starts suddenly your software isn’t working properly well you can always go ahead and reinstall the software and get yourself back up and running really quickly.
#2 Caffeine App for Mac
Tip number 2 is a great little application for Mac which is called caffeine. Caffeine is basically an app that sits in your toolbar up at the top and it’s a little icon of a coffee cup.
When you click on it and fill up the coffee cup it’ll stop your Mac computer from going to sleep enabling the screen saver or dimming the screen to black. It basically acts as a really quick toggle to be able to turn your screensaver on and off without having to go into your Mac settings.
It’s a completely free piece of software to download so check out the link.
#3 Close applications you don’t need
Tip number three may sound obvious but make sure you close all other applications you don’t need running at the same time. Particularly ones that may output sound things like Skype, FaceTime, iTunes things you don’t need to be running.
The last thing you want is for some random computer cells to come out of your speakers during the gig. Also, you don’t want any other applications in the background taking up all your computer’s resources. You want to save all of that CPU and RAM resource for your DJ software.
So it runs as cleanly and as smoothly as possible. In many cases your computer system sound will be going out of a different output than your actual DJ software will be outputting to.
But it’s a good idea always just to go ahead and turn off any system sounds so you don’t get any random noises happening during the gig.
#4 Outside computer screen problem
Tip number four if you’re doing a gig outside it can sometimes be a bit difficult to see what’s going on in your software. Particularly with all the modern very dark designs that these companies have gone for.
What you can do is go ahead and invert the colors of your screen. If you go ahead into your settings on Mac it’s under access ability settings. You can go and set the screen to be inverted.
This should make it so much easier to read and see what’s going on on your computer in bright sunlight. Particularly if you have a glossy screen. of course, it does depend on the color of the skin that the software is running.
#5 Get the fastest possible hard drive
Tip number five get the fastest possible hard drive to store your music on. Most DJ’s out there will be familiar with small external hard drives like this. This is a USB 3.0 Drive from Western Digital.
It’s a spinning hard disk and it does have USB three which means you are going to get some slightly faster read and write speeds. It’s really good to have the fastest possible speed drive you can.
Because when you go into your software and search for a track it’s got to index the entire drive to find that particular song you’re looking for. So if you have a drive that is much faster it makes it much quicker to load up and index your tracks.
I prefer to use SSDs for all my music storage because the speed is so much faster. They’re also a lot more durable and lightweight they can take Knox much more than a standard hard drive cam.
SSDs are also much cheaper these days you can pick up around 500 gigabyte SSD for only about 120 pounds which I think is very reasonable.
But also, of course, remember when you are carrying around your music make sure you take a backup of that music with you to all of your gigs. so if one if your drives fail you’ve still got all your music with you. But in addition to that try not to keep both of those hard drives next to each other or in the same case.
Because if you end up spilling water over a bag that’s got both the hard drives in then you’re not going to have any music library left.
What I recommend is you keep them in a completely separate bag. maybe even just leave the backup in the car so that if something does go wrong with the main you can always access the backup drive and they won’t be both damaged at the same time.
So there you have it my it’s probably the most important piece of equipment I have in my DJing toolkit and it is pretty much the heart of everything that goes on. So it’s important to optimize it and make sure it works most effectively for DJ.
I’m not going to go into the whole map versus PC debate for DJing because we’ll be here for days. However, if you do have any suggestions for ways to optimize your computer for DJing or if you have any software that you recommend do let me know in the comments down below.