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Laptops And Hard Drives - Breakdown At A Function


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I attended a friends 40th on Saturday in Suffolk at a rather nice venue the DJ's Light show was fantastic the evening was in full swing by 10pm then disaster struck......The DJ's hard drive decided to give up.

He tried his hardest for about 20mins to resolve the problem but to no avail. No backup cd player!! no back up laptop. All the guy could do was to moan about losing £5,000 worth of music and who was going to pay for his damaged hard drive.

He blamed the Hotel for the problem saying that it was a mains spike, I stated to him that maybe he should have had a backup of his music and used a surge protection socket.

Anyway the evening ground to an abrupt halt, the evening was ruined and the DJ left with less money in his pocket very embarrased at what had happened.

 

What would you do?

 

Are computers / HDD players reliable?

 

Do you have back up?

 

What would you have done in this situation?

Professional DJ Since 1983 - Having worked in Clubs, Pubs, Mobile and Radio in the UK and Europe

29 Years Experience and still learning.

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Hard drives do fail.. and in my job i see it most weeks.

 

Obviously he should have had a backup in place! Crikey! anything, even his Nan's stereo which he leaves in his car just in case....

 

With regards to losing his music...

 

Staples had a Maxtor 160gig external hard drive for £38 in their sale last week!

Your music files are the most important thing in your Disco! treat them like gold, back them up!!

I keep my external hard drive in a fireproof safe!

 

oohh

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When a CD/record gets damaged all you risk losing is the music on that disc, you still have the vast majority on your collection. When you go digital you are putting all your eggs in one basket and damage to the HD means losing everything. I have 4 external hard drives with my catalogue saved on them. I carry 2 to every gig and at some gigs I also have CD decks on standby. I take as many precautions as possible. A surge protector is essential, as is regular testing of equipment, and taking care of your equipment properly.

I'm a DJ based in Northern Ireland with nearly 10 years' experience offering a range of services. Including club residencies, karaoke, pub quizzes, specialised wedding service, Master of Ceremonies, Compere, Night at the Races and much more.

 

 

 

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When a CD/record gets damaged all you risk losing is the music on that disc, you still have the vast majority on your collection. When you go digital you are putting all your eggs in one basket and damage to the HD means losing everything. I have 4 external hard drives with my catalogue saved on them. I carry 2 to every gig and at some gigs I also have CD decks on standby. I take as many precautions as possible. A surge protector is essential, as is regular testing of equipment, and taking care of your equipment properly.

 

I agree totally

 

Im looking at a backup hard drive at min and have started carrying backup cd player

Richard Cheeseman

 

RJC Discos

richard@rjcdiscos.co.uk

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I carry;

-USB HDD - a full mirror of the DDS80 internal HDD. This can be plugged in, and works fine.

-Backup Laptop (eeePC), this can connect to either the DDS80 HDD (via USB), or the backup HDD

-16GB SD Card (with recentish "Now CDs" and other compilations - again, only for backup)

 

I sometimes use the eeePC for notes during the gig, and the SD card is always on the internal slot, so I'm only really carrying a 2.5" USB Drive and the very tiny Netbook (which has a solid-state drive - so no moving parts!)

 

 

I also have the data mirrored onto a server at home, the server is in a hidden location (so a break-in shouldn't result in nicked music)

 

HDDs are so cheap now, there is no excuse not to have back-ups.

Use a free tool to sync between drives/directories and you're sorted.

 

I've also seen HDDs go down- at my day job, we've recently paid £1500 for data recovery.

If the DJ's music is legit, and can't be replaced, this is an option (we had dual failures - hence the high cost)

 

 

We should have some back-up. CD-users are best off, but Laptops and external drives are fairly cheap- and are a legitimate expense (so tax deductible)

 

Thinking about possible failures - and how to get around them BEFORE they happen is critical.

The cost of a issuing refund, and loss of reputation will be more than a spare Laptop+External HDD.

 

Jason

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I say make sure you have a backup of everything! Spare amp, cd player etc so at least 'the show can go on'. If you blow one speaker..well at least you have another one. If you can't afford spares..then plan 'workarounds' in advance..for example moving speakers over to one amp channel..is it possible...having a 'get you out of trouble' wallet of popular CD tracks (or even a portable MP3 player with adapter lead)...just ANYTHING to keep the customers happy and not ruin the happy couple's wedding (or whatever..)! Even a hotline to a retired DJ friend who can zip over!

 

PS Thanks for the mic lead Alan I still haven't forgotten after all this time!!

 

 

 

.

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I say make sure you have a backup of everything! Spare amp, cd player etc so at least 'the show can go on'. If you blow one speaker..well at least you have another one. If you can't afford spares..then plan 'workarounds' in advance..for example moving speakers over to one amp channel..is it possible...having a 'get you out of trouble' wallet of popular CD tracks (or even a portable MP3 player with adapter lead)...just ANYTHING to keep the customers happy and not ruin the happy couple's wedding (or whatever..)! Even a hotline to a retired DJ friend who can zip over!

 

PS Thanks for the mic lead Alan I still haven't forgotten after all this time!!

 

Spot on!

Good tip on the MP3 player - cheap as chips, and most hold a decent amount of tracks.

 

Also working out how to work off one amp channel (so my 8 Ohm speakers will become a 4 Ohm total load, the amp will be fine, those with 4 Ohm speakers should check their amp is ok at 2 Ohms)

A mixer failure is pretty harsh, but you could run from CD/MP3 player direct to amp (if you have the right cables), certainly it'll be a struggle..

 

 

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I found those external hard drives are not keen on being bounced down stairs or the wrong voltage being put through them.My spare room is like a graveyard for them.

 

Now ive got spares everywhere...and one buried under the Patio (Brookside??).

 

I stiil like to switch from Laptop to CD and back again in an evening....keeps me on my toes??

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I Carry 2 laptops and 2 hard drives and an ipod. But unfortunately my laptop did die at a gig 3 months back, no trouble really. Booted the other one up and was up and running within 10 minutes. But since then I have found a new job for my roadie.

 

He looks after the 2nd laptop and hard drive and mimics everything that I play. So in effect we have 2 laptops playing the same thing it might be one second off or whatever, but if the laptop goes down then I put the other laptop fader up and its only down for 1 second.

 

Its a little more hassle but I think its worth it,

Stephen Owens Entertainments

Office: 01704 897078

Mobile: 0782 8270 854

Web: www.stephen-owens.co.uk

Email: Monkey-business-disco@hotmail.co.uk

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I can't believe that anybody would rely on any single piece of equipment, let alone a computer, for such an important event, and not have back-up. That's just awful. Kinda reminds me of when I first started out....ahem. :ads:

 

For the love of God please don't let this turn into a Bose bashing debate, but, one of the reasons I decided on the pole was because it can take up to four inputs. ie. one pole can take a mic and any combination of up to three portable CD players, MP3 players, etc. This means I could lose my mixer, cd player, laptop and wireless mic on the same night and still be able to continue. Of course, if the pole packed in then I could use it wedge the door shut in the room I was hiding in!

 

One other point to note is that the guests at the wedding, the venue staff and everyone else who hears about this failure on the grape vine will always recount the story of the laptop DJ whose computer broke. More bad press.

[insert quirky comment]

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I take a back up everywhere i go, I also have dual boot on my laptop so if xp go's down I fire vista up, plus I carry various pre mixed mini discs incase of emergencies.....

stu

Howay the lads

Startrax

www.toon-talk.co.uk

 

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Its a complex piece of equipment with lots of electronic and moving parts, of course its possible that it could fail or malfunction.

 

Point me to a piece of equipment - ANY equipment which is guaranteed trouble / problem free and will never break down......or your money back.

 

CD's, Laptops, Hard Drives, Amplifiers, Speakers, Mixers all rely on 100's of tiny components, any of which could easily fail ruining your night and hitting your reputation.

 

The solution is a simple one.

 

If you use a laptop / pc then have another back up laptop / pc with you, or CD's

 

If you use CD's then have another CD player or laptop / pc in reserve

 

If you use turntables have back up turntables or any combination of the above as back up

 

Hardly brain surgery, however this skimping and saving is false economy but just bolsters how little money and profit some within the industry are earning.

 

Either way, if your laptop breaks down the worst that can happen is you get a bad reputation and lose money, and yes you should be avoiding the situation by having a back up plan. However given the numbers of Dj's driving around in cars which are not properly insured is far more worrying, as for a start it is illegal, enforced far more religiously than 'DJ related offences' and it can carry criminal convictions and in some cases the 6 points given, can result in a driving ban and significant insurance premiums for the next 3 years.....at least. This penny pinching puts the rest of us who are insured correctly and for the correct occupation at a distinct trading dis-advantage, just the same as those using illegal music and cutting corners on back up equipment. Priorities.....priorities.......priorities.

 

To throw another question into the ring. We, as Humans are also complex objects filled with parts which go wrong and can break down. What plan do 'you' have in reserve should you be incapacitated due to sudden illness or accident either shortly before or during a gig?. Our responsibilities do not just end at our equipment, or our vehicles, they go way beyond that.

Edited by McCardle

"The voice of the devil is heard in our land"

 

'War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left, and you wont win this war.'

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He looks after the 2nd laptop and hard drive and mimics everything that I play. So in effect we have 2 laptops playing the same thing it might be one second off or whatever, but if the laptop goes down then I put the other laptop fader up and its only down for 1 second.

 

Its a little more hassle but I think its worth it,

 

I must say that this is one of the best ideas I have heard for a very long time and keeps the Roadie active too. 10/10. Excellent.

 

Are computers / HDD players reliable?

 

Depends. Generally, yes, but like anything, can break at any time.

 

Do you have back up?

 

Crikey yes - of EVERYTHING. Yes, it takes longer to load/unload but to hell with it. People are paying money for entertainment and expect it.

 

What would you have done in this situation?

 

Easy, switch to one of my 3 backup sources. My main backup (CD player) is racked in and connected so would take 15 secs to load a CD and play it.

 

My main CD player is very relaible but I may consider loading a CD in CD3 now so all I have to do is put the fader up and press Play. Instant party!

 

This guy had it coming really - no backup (not even a HDD backup) and is a lesson, albeit an obvious one.

Edited by otronics

Oliver Head, OTronics Media Services Ltd, Covering Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset and surrounding areas.

 

Professional Mobile & Radio DJ

PLI (£10m), PAT and DBS (Disclosure) checked

Tel: 07835 485535

Email: enquiries@otronics.co.uk

 

www.otronics.co.uk

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Easy, switch to one of my 3 backup sources. My main backup (CD player) is racked in and connected so would take 15 secs to load a CD and play it.

 

My main CD player is very relaible but I may consider loading a CD in CD3 now so all I have to do is put the fader up and press Play. Instant party!

 

As always Ollie, you're the king of practicality. Definitely follow this second point up though. On the nights when I set up the laptop and the CD decks (the CD decks are built into a unit with a good mixer so I often run the laptop through it) I always have a popular current song loaded in the CD decks and cued up so I can make the transition as seamless as possible.

 

Oh and the roadie thing mentioned earlier is a fantastic idea. Well done. To take it a step further, if anyone is thinking of mentoring an apprentice DJ, you could get them to mirror you and, if you have the capability, record them to review their cueing/mixing etc.

Edited by deejaymitch

I'm a DJ based in Northern Ireland with nearly 10 years' experience offering a range of services. Including club residencies, karaoke, pub quizzes, specialised wedding service, Master of Ceremonies, Compere, Night at the Races and much more.

 

 

 

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As said above carry back ups of everything.

 

I use two laptops both have music externally and internally I also have a twin CD player and a box of CDs.

 

I also have amps speakers and lights I can put out three discos in one night from my trailer if needed.

 

This is one point you can sell to a client when they quibble on price.

 

Nik

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He looks after the 2nd laptop and hard drive and mimics everything that I play. So in effect we have 2 laptops playing the same thing it might be one second off or whatever, but if the laptop goes down then I put the other laptop fader up and its only down for 1 second.

 

Great idea in theory but, if a problem occurs with the electricity supply, such as a spike, then you could lose two laptops in one go.

 

When I first started I carried two desktop PC's and two 15" CRT monitors with me, must have been bloody mad! But, just in case of electrical problems, I used to take a full size 750va UPS with me as well. That did make me feel well protected from power issues.

 

These days I take cable testers and 'intelligent' extension cables. I still consider bringing a 'proper' UPS with me though.

[insert quirky comment]

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This will make you all laugh...

Just had a call from my friend who has received a letter from the DJ with an invoice for: -

 

replacement hard drive £75.00

Labour to fit above £35.00

replacement laptop £399.00

Lost Music files £5780.00

 

Total £6289.00

 

The DJ has deemed that his contract is with my friend so he needs to pay then claim from the hotel.

 

 

The guy is having a laugh so my friend is thinking of sending an invoice to the DJ for:- 45 rooms at 80.00 each 150 person buffet at £9.25 per person, room hire £250.00. £300.00 replacement disco £500.00 compensation for having to re-book for another party. (Which has been provisionally booked for 21 Feb)

 

I can see that this is going to be fun as my friend is a solicitor.......Could be watch this space........

 

 

 

Professional DJ Since 1983 - Having worked in Clubs, Pubs, Mobile and Radio in the UK and Europe

29 Years Experience and still learning.

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Oh well, it takes all sorts.....

 

Obviously its not being taken seriously but your friend could have a little fun with him and ask him where the engineers report is, as to the extent of the damage and independant proof of how and why it occured.

 

Also ask him to provide receipts and itemisation for the £5780.00 worth of music which is alledged to have been lost.

 

Then tell him that he will only communicate directly with either his insurers, or his solicitor.

 

 

"The voice of the devil is heard in our land"

 

'War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left, and you wont win this war.'

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Hahaha thats good!

 

And to account for a power supply I have a UPS aswell.

Stephen Owens Entertainments

Office: 01704 897078

Mobile: 0782 8270 854

Web: www.stephen-owens.co.uk

Email: Monkey-business-disco@hotmail.co.uk

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Any more news on this?

 

Nik

 

 

After what I can gather of a bit of banter between the DJ, Hotel and my friend the matter has been settled.

The letter from my friend (Who is a solicitor) to the DJ outlining that he was in breach of contract etc.

The DJ has dropped his claim for the replacement(s) and has also lost out to the hotel for future bookings, as he had created such a problem for both parties.

 

But on a more positive note the hotel has offered my friend free room hire and £100 of complimentary drinks.

My friend has asked the DJ to chip in as way of an apology but there has been no response so far...

Anyway we get to party again in a couple of weeks providing in not working . :(

 

There is a lesson to us all here I feel - Have some sort of Backup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professional DJ Since 1983 - Having worked in Clubs, Pubs, Mobile and Radio in the UK and Europe

29 Years Experience and still learning.

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Having come back to the business only recently I'm still getting all my gear together, but as soon as I can I'll be buying a spare amp, laptop, and drive. I have already used Virtual dj to create some long mixes that I'll be carrying as spares on cd too. I did once have an amp failure at a xmas party, and my friend had to race to my rescue with the spare so I already know how stressful a failure can be!

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But on a more positive note the hotel has offered my friend free room hire and £100 of complimentary drinks.

My friend has asked the DJ to chip in as way of an apology but there has been no response so far...

Anyway we get to party again in a couple of weeks providing in not working . :(

 

There is a lesson to us all here I feel - Have some sort of Backup.

 

And he is prepared to use the same DJ?? ;thumbdown:

 

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