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Cant Trust Laptops Fully Yet


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OK a question for anyone, and everyone.

 

While reading an intro from G-Bace (Gray), one of his comments struck me, because I am in the same place. His comment was "cant trust laptops fully yet !!!", and although I am almost exclusively digital (PCDJ-VJ, Dex and Denon HC4500), I still carry Denon DN9000 CD players to every gig. I have a quad core, twin hard drive notebook, which I use almost exclusively for DJing. I also carry all the music backed up on an external hard drive, but I still don’t fully trust the computer.

 

What back-up do you guys carry in this digital age

 

Derek Tarpey

Lake DJ

California

www.LakeDJ.Com

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Hey Paul,

 

Just to clarify my point, I'd rather have a Cd cued ready to go incase of a glich with soft/hardware to avoid any embarrasing silences whilst rebooting etc. I'm sure thats the same for you. Most of my gigs are spent soley on midi control with no probs at all, but its there as a safetynet,and, as I'm lucky enough to have the cdj's too it would be daft to leave myself short of a backup plan. In honesty, I'd rather leave the heavy cd cases etc at home (Iknow they're not as heavy as vinyl), but I also like having my back covered. Second truth is that I'm a bit of a gear junkie and love all the bells, whistles and flashies,(imo, it adds to the magic a bit too) but hey, whatever floats your boat eh?? :D

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Another way of looking at it is - Air traffic control use computers, most trains have computers on board, the Banking system runs on computers and i presume a nuclear power station is operated partly by computers... etc etc ... anyway i don't really know where i am going with this one!

 

With the price of Laptops these day's, having a clone copy laptop on standby is a fairly cheap backup solution and it maybe more practical in the event of a tragedy rather than doing a whole gig using an ipod.

oohh

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Another way of looking at it is - Air traffic control use computers, most trains have computers on board, the Banking system runs on computers and i presume a nuclear power station is operated partly by computers... etc etc ... anyway i don't really know where i am going with this one!

 

With the price of Laptops these day's, having a clone copy laptop on standby is a fairly cheap backup solution and it maybe more practical in the event of a tragedy rather than doing a whole gig using an ipod.

 

You are right Steve - but there is specific certification that covers hardware and software in a safety critical environment. (I had to look into this for the old day job for a SIL2 rated product).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_Integrity_Level

 

All the main Operating Systems will never run a safety critical system (Win, Linux and OSx)

I had to report back to my managers that the system they needed was not possible without major effort.

 

 

I guess its worth remembering that any electronic system can fail. The failure modes may be subtle (mixer fader cutting out), or more catastrophic ("bang!".. silence)

 

I read recently of a DJ who had a new Pioneer Mixer that overheated at a Wedding, and the BoseL1s have their own special thread on here.

When looking at failure, its worth considering all parts of the rig.

 

So, PC's are more complicated with the OS crashing, drivers crashing and finally the Application software crashing.. This is before we look at hardware problems and overheating, and also Hard Drive failures.

 

 

So the way to mitigate this risk is through redundancy - 2 playback systems.

The PC may be seen as the week link, and assuming its solely used for DJing there is not much that can be done to ensure its reliable other than some basics.

 

Netbooks are often powerful enough to run VDJ or even their own Media player.

 

For my backup, it depends on the playback I'm using!

 

Currently;

Playback is DDS80

Backup playback is SD Card player (in same flightcase, wired to channels 3 & 4 on mixer)

 

If the mixer fails;

VMS4 (contains analog mixer, but also soundcard+dj controler). This runs with a Laptop, and also my Netbook.

Spare hard-drives.

 

So, currently, the laptop is the backup... this will change in a while, leaving the DDS as backup (with SDCard player remaining).

 

 

I also use the SD Card player for 1st & 2nd Dances, so they are always ready to go...

 

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I carry up to 4 or 5 playback devices with me..... admittedly the last one has bog all on it. however it does have a couple of useful tracks in standby use:-

 

1) Main Laptop running Traktor + DMX s/w

2) Netbook (Also running Traktor, not as many tracks however - it is set to run and in sleep mode - set this way cos traktor takes *ages* to start up)

3) Denon HD2500 - mostly used as midi controller, but can reboot in about 15-20 seconds to get to a useable state for playing something (Its got most of what's on the laptop)

4) Sony DiscMan (?) + handful of "party" CDs... + any CDs related to the night needed (e.g. first dance)

5) Dual CD Player (still in the flight case, although not plugged in - the Controller for it is in the box)

6) iPhone with a few tracks on itunes on it.

 

Additionally I could use winamp (or itunes, yuck!) on the main laptop if traktor died of death...

 

I also have a mirror of my music on external HDD (the HD2500 similarly almost has a similar mirror of data on it).

 

If I'm totally stuck I *could* potentially connect to vpn at home use the iphone to play a backup of the music from the home server (clunky, but works)...

 

I had issues with my old laptop - but then found the software was at fault, not the laptop... But I was mostly using CDs then anyway..

 

 

WRT to everything else..

 

I have a Stanton CM-203 on standby if the mixer breaks... or I can just go straight out of the Maya 44 into the amp.... (Obviously will have no Mic using that).

 

I carry a backup amp in the same flight case as the main one.. I've resorted to it a couple of times due to a dodgy internal connection on my main amp (sorted with a clean and reseat of a connector). When I've bene using the backup, I carry a third amp just in case (100w into 4 ohms).

 

Carry a couple of spare bulbs for the lights - they all take the same 250w bulb which makes life a bit easier...

 

 

Cheers,

 

David

Edited by gadget

DJ David Graham

Tel: 01204 537716 / 01942 418415

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i always used to play my music from my windows based pc, as time went on and it got older it started lagging and sometimes would reboot for no apparent reason....

 

i now have a macbook pro 15 and have never had a problem with it, not even a skip in a tune, i use it on a network feeding my pioneer cdj 900s using recordbox software, it works great.

 

if the laptop has issues ever, then all i have to do is go back to cd's or just plug in the external hard drive to one of my cdj's which will link all the music to the other one so can still overlap or mix, or lastly my numark mixer has an ipod/iphone doc. i always carry my iphone fully charged and with a few hours of mixes on it just in case.

 

you can never have too many back ups

 

so just to recap MAC MAC MAC :D

im really not sure what to put here ........maybe i wont put anything............

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You are right Steve - but there is specific certification that covers hardware and software in a safety critical environment. (I had to look into this for the old day job for a SIL2 rated product).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_Integrity_Level

 

All the main Operating Systems will never run a safety critical system (Win, Linux and OSx)

I had to report back to my managers that the system they needed was not possible without major effort.

I guess its worth remembering that any electronic system can fail. The failure modes may be subtle (mixer fader cutting out), or more catastrophic ("bang!".. silence)

 

I read recently of a DJ who had a new Pioneer Mixer that overheated at a Wedding, and the BoseL1s have their own special thread on here.

When looking at failure, its worth considering all parts of the rig.

 

So, PC's are more complicated with the OS crashing, drivers crashing and finally the Application software crashing.. This is before we look at hardware problems and overheating, and also Hard Drive failures.

So the way to mitigate this risk is through redundancy - 2 playback systems.

The PC may be seen as the week link, and assuming its solely used for DJing there is not much that can be done to ensure its reliable other than some basics.

 

 

Netbooks are often powerful enough to run VDJ or even their own Media player.

 

For my backup, it depends on the playback I'm using!

 

Currently;

Playback is DDS80

Backup playback is SD Card player (in same flightcase, wired to channels 3 & 4 on mixer)

 

If the mixer fails;

VMS4 (contains analog mixer, but also soundcard+dj controler). This runs with a Laptop, and also my Netbook.

Spare hard-drives.

 

So, currently, the laptop is the backup... this will change in a while, leaving the DDS as backup (with SDCard player remaining).

I also use the SD Card player for 1st & 2nd Dances, so they are always ready to go...

 

 

What? you mean Nuclear Power plants are not run on Vista with a copy of AVG Free for protection lol,

 

i agree Jas,

Cheers

Steve

 

 

 

oohh

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What? you mean Nuclear Power plants are not run on Vista with a copy of AVG Free for protection lol,

 

i agree Jas,

Cheers

Steve

 

 

Very Funny.

Derek Tarpey

Lake DJ

California

www.LakeDJ.Com

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  • 1 year later...

my backup is a 2nd laptop which is virtually band new, along with an 16gb mp3 player.

All Anthems Disco - Mobile Disco / DJ Hire - Cornwall

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We use rack mounted servers for all but the smallest gigs, when doing video we normally use 2U units as they will accommodate a decent graphics card.

 

Why? Multiple physical processors (at least 2 four core units) and fault tolerant memory, Raid array disks, dual redundant PSUs and pretty much everything hot swappable. Plus they're fast! You can also pick them up quite cheaply if you go for previous generation. If something does go pop it'll not normally stop you working.

 

We carry laptops for backup but (touch wood) have never had to use one.

 

Rack mounted server in a wheeled flight case with a mxer on top, effects units, crossover and a spare amp (main amps are always in another unit for versatility - pick the power and number required and of course heat considerations) and away you go. Bulletproof in most circumstances.

 

We picked up a quad xeon as a spare, stuffed it with 16Gb and 3 1tb drives, decent graphics and a USB card all for less than a barely adequate laptop a couple of months ago.

 

This spec running VMs will happily run music, ILDA, DMX, VDJ Video Wall discreet live video feeds with mixing and Karaoke without any stress at all and will find a track by partial name search pretty much as you type in a 100,000+ record database. Try that on a laptop!

 

I've never understood why so few go this route.

Megasong A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. In theory it'll be fine in practise.... In practise it was fine in theory.
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  • 1 year later...

Hey Derek,

 

Like many others have suggested I would recommend a CD backup at all times.

 

Laptops will work 99% of the time but s*ds law dictates that they will break at some point.

 

I would even go so far as having an iPod or similar hooked up with a few longish mixes loaded up to fall back on in case of a huge emergency.

 

Good luck! :wall:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Always interesting to re-read old posts. 2½ years later and I still don’t fully trust notebooks, however 99% of everything I play is still via a notebook.

 

I always have two notebooks up and running, and plugged into the mixer. Notebook one controls our Emulator screen and playing via a USB sound card. Notebook two is plugged in via a Denon 4500. I still carry the Denon 9000 cd players, just in case. Just can’t have enough back-up

 

Derek Tarpey

Lake DJ

California

www.LakeDJ.Com

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