Hardware/software recommendations for MP3 DJing on a powerbook?
April 11, 2005 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I want to use my powerbook's impressive mp3 library to DJ portions/all of my radio show. What hardware/software do I need to make it happen? Specifically, should I use Traktor or something else? What kind of external soundcard do I need? What should I avoid?

I need to be able to have one track playing out to the mixing board, and upcoming tracks on cue in my headphones. My understanding is that Traktor can handle sending audio on two different channels like this, and that all I need is the external hardware with enough outputs, right? Do I need something like the M-Audio Firewire Audiophile or is there a cheaper solution? Per this question I've been tagging my mp3s with bpm, but it also mentions an external mixer. Would that work as well/better than an external soundcard? Something like the Hercules DJ, or what?

Final hurdle: If I wanted to run the whole thing from the board back into my laptop to record an mp3 for podcasting, could I do that on the same hardware without problems? OS X 10.3.7 on a G4 1.5ghz powerbook with 512MB RAM, btw. Thanks.
posted by rfordh to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have zero experience in the field, but I constantly hear MegaSeg being mentioned for this sort of task, and it seems to claim to do what you want.
posted by trevyn at 12:36 PM on April 11, 2005

I've been using MegaSeg for live DJing for five years, and HIGHLY recommend it. It can cue through a second audio channel (using an external audio interface like the iMic). Processing songs (adding start and segue time, BPM, etc. by hand) is necessary to get the most out of the product, but once you've done the work up front, you can conceivably just line up songs and let the machine do the crossfading for you.
posted by Captain Swing at 1:50 PM on April 11, 2005

To clarify, I use an iBook (2nd generation Tangerine clamshell, 6Gig HD, 300MHz), and run audio out through the headphone jack to a mixing board. Even that pokey old processor provides plenty of speed for the application, but I do wish I had more hard drive space. Lately I've been working on putting together podcasts of my own, and I'm testing out stuff that records system audio to AIFFs (products like Audio Hijack or WireTap) to do the preliminary capture of the music mix on my 800MHz iMac at home. Sounds like you're interested in doing the same thing! I can pretty much guarantee that your PowerBook will have enough muscle for this.
posted by Captain Swing at 2:06 PM on April 11, 2005

Response by poster: I'm broadcasting live, so the setup you describe in the first post sounds like what I'm trying to do. The recording part is a secondary concern right now, but I have to catch the final mix off the board, because the mics, CD decks, turntables, etc. aren't routed through the laptop. Audio Hijack and WireTap both look like they could be useful. I'll have to play around with them at the station and figure something out.

I hadn't heard of MegaSeg. People name-dropped Traktor a bit, do you have any experience with it? Pros/cons of each? Thanks.
posted by rfordh at 2:17 PM on April 11, 2005

I've looked at Traktor, and I found it overly complicated and frou-frou for what I'd want to do with it (mix pop songs into each other, no frills). But then again I'm not a beat-mixer or a knob-twiddler, for whom the advanced features of Traktor might be attractive. I haven't upgraded to MegaSeg 3.0, since my DJing laptop's not running OSX, so I don't have any direct experience with the newest version, but it's supposed to have additional functionality that may be on a par with the heavier stuff in Traktor.
posted by Captain Swing at 2:29 PM on April 11, 2005

All I hear about Traktor is that it crashes- which you don't want to happen during a live show.

Some people swear by Ableton Live but it is kinda expensive.
posted by wezelboy at 2:49 PM on April 11, 2005

« Older Daily minutia of the early 1800s?   |   Unemployment angst Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.