View Full Version : DJ'ing With a Mac

random precision
2006-01-01, 06:10

not sure if this is the correct forum, but here goes.

i'm looking at purchasing a portable Mac (ibook or powerbook) with the intention of DJ'ing with it.

firstly, i would like advice on what portable Mac is best suited for this, and also any additional hardware i would need (external soundcard etc).

secondly, the best software to use. searching on the internet seems to indicate that there are two which work well with Macs: tracktor and megaseg.

lastly, is it usual for the apple store to have a january sale, or do the prices on ibooks and powerbooks remain constant?

thank you.

Franz Josef
2006-01-01, 06:20
Hello random precision and welcome. DJ-ing isn't my thing so I will leave comment to others. But please note that it's Mac (for Macintosh) not MAC.


random precision
2006-01-01, 06:22
But please note that it's Mac (for Macintosh) not MAC.


duly noted! :)

2006-01-01, 06:36
Macworld is coming up and people are expecting new ibooks to come out, it would be worth it to wait the ten days if you can to see what comes out. It seems that Apple tries to keep its computers at the same price points so a sale probably wouldn't save you more than $100 anyway. If new models come out however, you should be able to pick up an older refurbished model with a good discount.

I also can't comment on the software side of things, but it looks like "Ableton Live" is popular and has both Windows and Mac demos so you could check it out and see if it meets your needs :)

2006-01-01, 07:14
I'm not a DJ, but I do use Live and can attest that it is a fantastic music app. I also know that some DJs love it - you should definitely check out a demo version. click here for the download page (http://www.ableton.com/index.php?main=downloads)
In terms of performance, I think the current Macs can handle it pretty well, although my TiPB 550MHz gets taxed pretty easily. :( I'm actually looking forward to seeing how well it performs on the upcoming MacIntels.

Re: additional hardware - If you go out of a PB or iBook line-out that should be fine - although a splitter cable might be of value to you. However, if you opt for Firewire connectivity and have a few synths or mics that also need to interface with the Mac then something like the MOTU Traveler (http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/traveler/) will do the trick nicely.

[DISCLAIMER] Please bear in mind that there are other "cheaper" solutions available too - and that I am recommending the Traveler not having used one yet. However, I have *purchased* it and it is awating my return to Nanjing. :D

2006-01-01, 10:06
Keep in mind that if you get a Powerbook, you should be able to use soundcards, etc. that hook up through the PC Card slot. Other than that, an external firewire box would probably sound better than the laptop's lineout.

2006-01-01, 12:20
Traktor for most DJing..... Ableton Live for laying multiple things on top of one another

you need to get an external soundcard so you can cue tracks.... get an M-audio firewire audiophile.... pick one up at www.jrrshop.com

you want a firewire or PCMCIA one... USB doesn't really have the bandwidth for proper laptop DJing, especially if you are going to use Ableton Live.

some usb devices:
M-Audio Audiophile USB
M-Audio Quattro
Maya44 USB
Numark DXM01
Edirol UA1000

You can also get the M-Audio Firewire 410

Cardbus PCMCIA options:
Digigram VXPocket 440, Echo Indigo DJ

In addition to a soundcard you will probably also want a midi interface to be able to control Traktor or Ableton from physical controls... these can include crossfaders, gain controls, EQ controls, triggers etc.

Hercules DJ Console
M-Audio Evolution X-Session
FaderFox micromodul DJ1
Behringer B-control Deejay BCD2000

if you are using Ableton Live you might want to get something like:
M-Audio Evolution UC-33e
Doepfer Pocket Fader, Pocket Control, Pocket Dial, or Drehbank
Behringer BCF2000 or BCR2000

you can also get a MIDI keyboard to set triggers or percussion style device like the Akai MPC 1000, Akai MPD16, or M-Audio trigger finger

that's it.... i recommend buying the M-audio Firewire Audiophile and the Evolution X-session...... i am picking those up myself at the end of january....

I recommend that you pick up the ebook "Laptop Music Power! The Comprehensive Guide" by John von Seggern.... ISBN 1-59200-822-4

M-Audio Firewire Audiophile 129.99, Evolution X-session for 99.99 from jrrshop...... alternatively you can try eBay too

2006-01-01, 12:33
Depending on how "into" DJ'ing you are, iTunes (free and included with all Macs) may do just fine (assuming you have a separate downstream mixer to handle a microphone). It has a powerful and configurable "party shuffle" feature that I've used to act as DJ at parties before, and it really makes the job quite easy. If you do this for a living, I'll echo the others' recommendations of Ableton Live.

As to which Macintosh you buy; for DJ'ing, it's really a matter of personal preference. Both the iBook and PowerBook will serve your needs adequately... both have firewire (for hooking up audio gear), both can burn CDs, and both have excellent internal sound quality (only the PowerBooks, however, have a line-in jack and digital audio connectivity). The 12" models should do just fine, however if you upgrade to the 15" or 17" PowerBook, you'll get a few DJ-friendly features such as a backlit keyboard. Note that if your music collection is large, the 80 GB hard disk that comes standard with the 12" PowerBook or the 100 GB drive in the 17" PowerBook may be more adequate than the 40 GB drive in the 12" iBook, although for $100 you can upgrade the iBook's disk to 80 GB (or $200 for 100 GB) as well.

2006-01-01, 13:07
Not a DJ... will post this article off the Apple site though.


2006-01-01, 14:29
OSXAudio forums (http://www.bigbluelounge.com/forums/index.php)

2006-01-01, 15:16
that's it.... i recommend buying the M-audio Firewire Audiophile and the Evolution X-session......

Where is the mixer? Don't you need mixer to control you software? The Hercules DJ Console come with sound card in it. It sounds like a complete package.
Check this out:

This is what I'd buy. I'd only like to have real scratching but the one shown is not that bad.

2006-01-01, 18:03
Traktor for most DJing..... Ableton Live for laying multiple things on top of one another

That's a bit of a generalisation ... Live can also handle DJ'ing with aplomb. It's time stretching and beat matching are phenomenally good and it has DJ style mixing control faders for each track.

Also, the OSXAudio forums that autodata linked to is a must. (I forgot to add that in my original post.) Get in there, start reading and asking questions - they're good folk and they should also be able to help you out. :)

random precision
2006-01-04, 12:45
thanks everyone for your advice (especially intlplby), and links. just the kind of information i was looking for. watch out fat boy slim!

2006-01-04, 12:49
Fixed the thread title. Was creating funny images in my head of people scratching with network access cards.

2006-01-04, 18:58
Whilst I think Ableton Live is fantastic, and I use it when performing my own music, I don't really find that I can use it easily when DJing "live," ironic that.

For solid DJing with digital music, but a hands on feel, nothing beats a final scratch setup with Tracktor, but otherwise, a copy of Tracktor and a decent firewire soundcard with multiple outputs is your best bet in my humble opinion. I find tracktor incredibly friendly when DJing a mix of digital and vinyl music, the flexibility and ease of use if offers is great.

To be more coherent:
...save your money and buy an ibook, you can use the extra cash the powerbook would've cost to get yourself a decent sound card and maybe a midi controller and hardware DJ mixer if you feel the urge. :)

2006-01-04, 19:37
I'm just thinking about the idea of waiting for the MacIntels to arrive...

Obviously, there are a bunch of DJ'ing setups that have been proven to work with the current PowerPC Macs.

If an Intel-based Mac is desired, how long should anyone have to wait to find out if, and how, the same kind of DJ software integration will be achieved?

If I were in this position, and had the budget already prepared, I'd jump on a PPC-based setup right away. That would serve me just fine for the next few years, and by then, the Intel-based options would be quite mature (along with who-knows-what-else).

2006-01-05, 12:39
decent article on wired


interview with pete tong in which he talks about using macs for live performance.

dont know if it's useful, but have a look!

miss swan.

2006-01-12, 12:25

used it only briefly, and didn't have a slot-soundcard to enable queing, but interface is very much like an analog mixer, drag and drop from itunes etc...

trial allows up to 30 min use at a time