I finally found time to post some of my old hip hop and drum and bass mixes online using soundlcoud. They are here: http://soundcloud.com/avive
As most Laptop DJs know, it is not easy getting Traktor + FinalScratch to perform without glitches in your live DJ set.
NI stopped supporting FinalScratch and there are other alternative setups out there. But if you are on a budget – you can still get used FinalScratch 2.0 hardware on the cheap, buy an older version of Traktor (see below), a 2 year old laptop and spin like a king. The main problem is that technical issues may slow you down and ruin your set if you have not configured all hardware and software properly and it is hard to get this configuration right without being a techie. Most of these issues still exist when you use other types of Vinyl control hardware but I’ll focus on FinalScratch 2.0 in this post.
It took me few good years to get to a point that the tech setup side of my set is rock solid. I’m sharing info about my setup here with you, so you can avoid the mistakes I made (in some cases in front of 500 people). I hope you’ll find it useful…
- Use Traktor 3.1 (I use version 3.1.306 on Windows) but not a newer version. Newer versions of Traktor don’t support FinalScratch 2.
- Use the latest Stanton ScratchAmp drivers. They can be downloaded from Stanton’s website.
- Use Windows Vista, XP or OS X – It is more important that you’ll configure your OS properly. You can get good results in any of these OSes. The main reason to use Windows is playing WMA files because Traktor does not support WMA playback on OS X.
- Keep the default ScarchAmp driver settings and increase the latency if you are getting dropped sounds. Read the Traktor docs – there’s a section about FinalScratch in them with more info on this issue.
- Replace your turntable stylus needles heads every 3-6 months. Dough!
- Use the medium quality time stretch quality in Traktor. It is good enough for most sets and uses less CPU.
- Use a new set of FinalScartch 2.0 records every 6 months. Use the 45″ side when you play.
- Clean your FinalScratch records before you play.
- Use a fast laptop – I use MacBook Pro 15″ with a 2.4 GHZ CPU . It is a 2 years old model and it works fine. Don’t go crazy with the latest hardware but if you get a new laptop make sure you have a built-in FireWire port.
- Get the max RAM your laptop model supports – 4 GB in my case. go to newegg.com for cheap hi-quality ram.
- Use a good quality Firewire cable. Always have a backup cable with you.
- IMPORTANT: Disable all network connections, including Wireless networking when playing – this is key – Firewire is choppy with wireless networking is on most laptop models, and you are going to get dropped sounds while performing if you don’t follow this tip.
- IMPORTANT: Get a techie friend who knows your OS and have him disable all the services running on your OS that you don’t need. Don’t do it yourself if you don’t know what you are doing in this area – you’ll screw-up your OS and will have to install it again.
- Preferably, don’t install any software on your DJ laptop unless absolutely needed. Uninstall everything but Traktor 3.1. Ideally, start from a clean OS install and just install Traktor 3.1. Ask a techie to uninstall all apps you don’t need for you if you still have some running.
- IMPORTNAT: Quit all running software applications (if you still have any) before starting your set.
- Pre-analyze your tracks in Traktor for BPM, Gain and Strip.
- Adjust the gain knobs on the FinalScratch 2.0 device until you see a good image in the FinalScratch panel in Traktor.
- Always connect the Phono-through cables to FinalScratch 2.0 and to your mixer and test that you can play regular vinyls on the mixer just by switching the input source in each channel to Phono form Line before you start playing! This will save your butt in case Traktor/FinalScratch stop working in the middle of your set due to technical glitches.
- Always bring a backup crate of real records with you. Laptops are not reliable enough as live performance tools to play a DJ set in front of a big audience without this backup. If you tested the Phono through connections, you should be able to switch to real vinyl very quickly. Unfortunately, laptops and operating systems are not reliable enough as DJ tools yet so until they become more reliable and even if you follow all the tips here – you’ll need a PLAN B.
- Always make sure your laptop is connected to a power source before starting your dj set, otherwise your laptop may go to sleep due to low juice halfway into your set.
Being glitch-free will allow you to focus on being more creative and to enjoy your set more, because after playing with your laptop setup for few times without glitches, you’ll stop worrying about the tech-side of your set and because you’ve got your vinyl backup jic anyhow, right? Have fun playing a glitch-free DJ set with your laptop 🙂
Per requests on the Boxee blog, here are the tracks played in my DJ set @ Webster Hall, NYC on 3/24/09 at the Boxee meetup – you can see which turntable played which track (Deck A or Deck B). I play using Traktor 3 + FinalScratch 2.0 on Windowz Vista OS running on Macbook Pro. Double entries means I doubled-up mixing the same track on the 2 decks. I hope you enjoyed this set.
Support local live music – find great shows and buy tickets on http://livekick.com
|all things||The CineMatic Orchestra||2009/3/24 18:13:04||06:39||Deck A|
|Mad Blunted Jazz||Dj Cam||2009/3/24 18:19:45||11:39||Deck A|
|Underground Vaibes||Dj Cam||2009/3/24 18:11:46||22:54||Deck B|
|j-boogie’s dubtronic science||j-boogie||2009/3/24 18:31:29||05:48||Deck A|
|yesterday’s new quintet – visions||YNQ||2009/3/24 18:37:19||00:48||Deck A|
|Witness Dub||Roots Manuva||2009/3/24 18:38:07||00:19||Deck A|
|J.Boogies_Dubtronic_Science-Ro||Various_Artists||2009/3/24 18:34:53||05:11||Deck B|
|Slim’s Return||Madlib||2009/3/24 18:40:05||01:16||Deck B|
|Slim’s Return||Madlib||2009/3/24 18:38:26||05:09||Deck A|
|Provider (Zero 7 Remix)||N.E.R.D.||2009/3/24 18:41:22||03:40||Deck B|
|Provider (Zero 7 Remix)||N.E.R.D.||2009/3/24 18:43:37||05:20||Deck A|
|Steppin’ Into Tomorrow||Madlib||2009/3/24 18:45:03||07:50||Deck B|
|Steppin’ Into Tomorrow||Madlib||2009/3/24 18:48:59||04:54||Deck A|
|Success (kenny dpe main rmx)||DJ CAM||2009/3/24 18:52:55||02:43||Deck B|
|yesterday’s new quintet – too high||YNQ||2009/3/24 18:53:55||03:13||Deck A|
|yesterday’s new quintet – too high||YNQ||2009/3/24 18:55:39||03:04||Deck B|
|California Soul||Marlena Shaw||2009/3/24 18:57:09||57:58||Deck A|
|We Live In Brooklyn Baby||Roy Ayers||2009/3/24 18:58:44||56:30||Deck B|
|It’s All About The Benjamins (Club Mix)||Puff Daddy * The Family||2009/3/24 19:56:43||40:59||Deck A|
|It’s All About The Benjamins (Club Mix)||Puff Daddy * The Family||2009/3/24 19:56:45||41:35||Deck B|
|DWYCK||Gang Starr||2009/3/24 20:39:01||00:56||Deck B|
|DWYCK||Gang Starr||2009/3/24 20:38:21||04:45||Deck A|
|360 Main Mix||Grand Puba||2009/3/24 20:39:58||03:43||Deck B|
|360 Main Mix||Grand Puba||2009/3/24 20:43:08||02:20||Deck A|
|The Reminisce Over You||Pete Rock & CL Smoth||2009/3/24 20:43:41||02:55||Deck B|
|Back to the grill (short version)||MC serch||2009/3/24 20:45:28||02:03||Deck A|
|Back to the grill (short version)||MC serch||2009/3/24 20:46:37||04:26||Deck B|
|It’s My Thing (Main Mix)||EPMD||2009/3/24 20:47:32||04:28||Deck A|
|It’s My Thing (Main Mix)||EPMD||2009/3/24 20:51:05||02:14||Deck B|
|Supersonic||J.J. Fad||2009/3/24 20:52:02||02:29||Deck A|
|Supersonic||J.J. Fad||2009/3/24 20:53:19||02:21||Deck B|
|Me So Horny||2 Live Crew, The||2009/3/24 20:54:32||02:06||Deck A|
|slick rick & doug e fresh – ladi dadi||Slick Rick||2009/3/24 20:55:41||01:23||Deck B|
|Rapper’s Delight (Hip-Hop Remix Long Version)||Sugarhill Gang||2009/3/24 20:56:39||01:35||Deck A|
|Rapper’s Delight (Hip-Hop Remix Long Version)||Sugarhill Gang||2009/3/24 20:57:04||02:20||Deck B|
|The Choise is yours (revisited)||Black Sheep||2009/3/24 20:58:14||02:20||Deck A|
|The Choise is yours (revisited)||Black Sheep||2009/3/24 20:59:25||02:25||Deck B|
|Can You Feel It – Mr. Reds||Stanton Warriors||2009/3/24 21:01:50||00:34||Deck B|
|Can You Feel It – Mr. Reds||Stanton Warriors||2009/3/24 21:00:35||03:59||Deck A|
|Jump ‘n’ Shout (Stanton Warriors remix) – Basement Jaxx||Stanton Warriors||2009/3/24 21:02:24||03:46||Deck B|
|Handz Up (Stanton Warriors Mix)||Dj Deekline And Ed Solo||2009/3/24 21:06:12||02:08||Deck B|
|Handz Up (Stanton Warriors Mix)||Dj Deekline And Ed Solo||2009/3/24 21:04:35||05:02||Deck A|
|Handz Up (INSTR Stanton Warriors Mix)||Deekline & Ed Solo –||2009/3/24 21:08:20||02:33||Deck B|
|Geht’s Noch [Mogwai Mix]/Bucky Done Gun [Acapella]||M.I.A./Roman Flügel||2009/3/24 21:09:39||03:00||Deck A|
|Beats A-Rockin’ [Inside Mix]||DJ Icey||2009/3/24 21:12:39||00:38||Deck A|
|Geht’s Noch [Mogwai Mix]/Bucky Done Gun [Acapella]||M.I.A./Roman Flügel||2009/3/24 21:10:54||05:03||Deck B|
|Pop Ya Cork||Stanton Warriors/Twista||2009/3/24 21:13:18||04:06||Deck A|
|Electric Disco (D.Ramirez Remix)||Plump DJs||2009/3/24 21:17:25||01:41||Deck A|
|Bollywood Beatdown||Stanton Warriors||2009/3/24 21:15:59||04:20||Deck B|
|Gyromancer [Stanton Warriors Remix]||PMT||2009/3/24 21:19:07||03:05||Deck A|
|Grand Canyon Suite||DJ Icey||2009/3/24 21:22:13||00:10||Deck A|
|Still Here||Eska/Stanton Warriors||2009/3/24 21:20:20||04:24||Deck B|
|Miura||Metro Area||2009/3/24 21:22:23||07:56||Deck A|
NYC startups that are currently hiring
History in pictures of Social Beat a.k.a Grouper, from early days till becoming Sony’s video web site:
Livekick is a new web utility for finding, buying tickets and planning to go to live concerts together with friends that I’ve been working on since the beginning of 2008. I’m very happy that today, after about 6 months of hard work – the livekick beta application is up and running on the web. I’ll blog more about Livekick once we open up the currently closed beta for a wider user base. In the meantime, you can register your email to get invited to the beta at http://livekick.com .
I have been working recently with Shirley Shor on a new software-based art installation called The Well. The piece was commissioned by Shirley for the opening of the new Jewish Museum in San Francisco. The opening is tomorrow. Here are some picts of the piece.
The SF Bay Guardian has just published a decent overview of the show. Here’s a quote about the piece for the review: “The exhibit’s inspiration is literary, and text appears frequently, as in the somewhat vertigo-inducing animated work by Shirley Shor, an ex-Bay Area resident who swirls projections, in English and Hebrew, of Web-gathered references to Genesis down a wishing-well structure.
I’ll be posting more pictures and videos of the piece here.