As DJing technology becomes more and more prevalent in the DJ scene, more and more DJs are DJing from their laptops. With the hundreds of great DJ programs out there this makes sense. Why spend $4000 on Pioneer CDJs and a mixer when you can just fire up some DJ software on your computer and discover how to dj.
So a lot of new DJs will flock out and buy a laptop so they can start digital DJing. They’ll run down to the local Best Buy (if you’re in the states or the UK) and buy the cheapest laptop they can find. But is that really the best decision for you DJing? Here’s some advice on buying a laptop for DJing.
Ahhh laptops. They come in all shapes and sizes! There are literally thousands of brands and models to choose from. How do you choose? Well based on the fact that you’re learning how to become a DJ there are a few criteria you’ll need to keep in mind when shopping for a DJ laptop:
Best DJ Laptop Tip – #1
The most important feature of your DJ laptop is that it MUST NOT crash. There is nothing worse than having a laptop die right in the middle of a buildup or some other time during a dj set. I remember seeing Sasha live at the Winter Music Conference in Miami. The crowd was going wild. The energy in the room was really starting to build. It was going to be the party of the conference. Then out of nowhere, just as a track was about to kick back in after a buildup the music cut out.
The room came to a grinding halt. All two thousand or so people stopped whatever they were doing and turned around to look at the DJ like he was an idiot. Can you imagine 2000 people staring at you like you just screwed their night up? Whats even worse is that it took a good 10 minutes to get his computer booted back up and then to get his DJ mixing software (Ableton Live) booted back up. This is every DJs nightmare and if you’re just learning how to DJ this is not how you want your first gig to go.
To avoid this you need a computer that will NOT crash EVER. And that challenge is that PCs are notorious for crashing at the worst time. And to make matters worse, a lot of the DJ software you’ll be DJing off are very heavy, big programs so your computer is likely to crash.
To avoid this you have to go with a Mac. Apple computers rarely ever crash. Mine has never crashed in the middle of a mix and I have played hundreds of shows on mine! PCs crash all the time. If you want to avoid crashing, but a mac for your digital DJing.
Best DJ Laptop Tip – #2
My first DJ laptop has another issue. Not only would it crash (yes, it was a PC) whenever I had a gig, it also had a lack of ports on the side. Ideally you want to be able to hook your computer up to a number of different components at the same time. A digital DJ controller, a midi-keyboard, different DJ effects units, visual displays and other great tools for your DJing.
Make sure that the side of the computer you’re about to buy has at least:
-2 USB inputs
-A display input to attach another screen
-A fire-wire cable
-A CD drive (standard)
-And a stable power plug
With these features you’ll never be limited on the number of devices you can use with your digital DJ laptop!
Best DJ Laptop Tip – #3
I learned this tip over many years. A lot of computers have glossy screen finishing. This means that the computer screen will be very shiney. When you’re working on your computer during the day on your dj mixes or whatever, this glossy finish reflects a lot of light. The result is that your screen can be very hard to see and you will have to strain your eyes to see. This results in eye-strain over time and the result is that you may have to wear glasses. I do for this reason.
This glossy screen can also work against you when you’re DJing live at a party or in a club as well! The lights from the club which are very bright and coloured can bounce off of your screen in a blinding manner.
For these reasons I highly recommend that you buy a computer that has a matte-finish on its screen. This reflects a lot less light and will be a lot easier for you to see.
Digital DJ Laptop Conclusions
Based on those individual points I highly recommend that you purchase a Mac as your laptop for DJing. They never crash. They don’t ever get viruses which can wipe out your music collection, they have all of the plug-in ports you’ll ever need and some come with a matte-finish.
To be honest with you Macs are a little more expensive than PCS and I know what its like starting out short on money. But as an example, I bought the cheapest Mac laptop 8 years ago and its still running like a dream today and I beat the hell out of it when I DJ and I’m working on it every day.
You can buy the least-expensive, smallest version like this 13″ Macbook Air.
Whatever you buy I wish you the best with your new DJ laptop!
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