These days, everything can be done with a laptop or smartphone in hand, and that includes DJ’ing too. You don’t always need to have huge fancy equipment to rock a party.
If you like performing the one-man-show at small or medium sized events, then plugging the laptop to amps and speakers is a much easier. You won’t need to carry your bulky mixers to your performance venues. Here are some ways you can become a DJ armed with a laptop, instead of a mixer.
Before you start out, you need to make sure you have everything you need, in order to have a seamless DJ session, and keep your crowd entertained all through your performances. You gadgets and accessories will include:
- A laptop
- Appropriate sound drivers for your device
- DJ software
- Monitor speakers or headphones
- An amplifier for speakers
- The right cables
- An external hard drive
Before you get started, make sure that you have proper drivers installed, or else you will not be able to get the sound out of your software. Also, when you are actually performing and not practicing, have a few spare CD’s, in case your software starts acting up.
You could also save your important software and applications in a pen drive, as they are more stable than the CDs which are prone to scratches. You don’t want any holdups during the event.
Fortunately, organizing music is much easier with DJ software on a laptop. You can organize play lists include a single song in multiple playlists without having to keep multiple copies. You would want to research your audience well and create playlists accordingly. Do all this a few days in advance, if you can as it will save you a lot of time.
Rather than using CD’s, rip the entire collection to your laptop. This makes your music much more accessible. Ripping them to WAV or FLAC gives you the best possible quality. If you want to save space, rip your CD’s to 320kbps MP3, but no lower, as it will muddle some details, especially when played over speakers at loud volumes.
There are two types of storage devices for laptops – solid state drives or hard disk drives. SSD’s are about 5-10x faster than HDD’s, but they are also expensive. If your laptop came with an SSD it is probably somewhere between 128GB and 512GB. That is not quite enough so store a large collection of music for DJ’ing.
If your laptop comes with an SSD, complement it with a 2TB or 4TB external drive for more storage space. If your notebook has a hard drive instead, upgrade it to 2TB of use an external drive again.
Practice a lot
A laptop DJ process is very different from a traditional DJ station. There are very few physical buttons and knobs. Instead all the controls are in your DJ software. If you want to be quick and nimble with your switching skills, you will need to practice:
- Switching songs quickly
- Using keyboard controls for various actions such as changing tone, introducing beats, etc.
Many professional DJ’s today use laptops for their convenience and they are no less stellar than DJ’s using traditional equipment. All you need is to find the right software and a way to connect your laptop to the amplifier and speakers.