Q&A: Mike Charles DJ Set Up

I get asked this question a lot:

What equipment do you use in your DJ sets?

Or some variation of that. Currently my DJ setup consists of the following:

Apple Macbook Pro
Pioneer DJM 600 Mixer
Traktor Pro DJ Software
Allen & Heath Xone 2D Midi Controller [also doubles as my sound card]
Korg padKontrol Midi Controller
Denon HP-1000 DJ Headphones

This setup has been road tested for a while now and works well for me. The padKontrol is a new addition that I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate. If anyone has any suggestions, make a comment. The DJM 600 is my mixer at home, and on the road I don’t always have the good fortune of playing on something from the DJM series, but its no biggie. I just take the line outs on the Xone 2D and run them to two line inputs on the whatever mixer I’m playing on. I’ve been using Traktor Pro since it first came out in November 2008 and subsequently sold my serato set up on eBay.

As for incidentals, it is well documented that I use iTunes to catalogue and organize my music collection. I travel with everything pack up in a UDG backpack. I record my DJ sets using Audio Hijack Pro, a simple easy software that only takes me two clicks to record a set.

FYI on the backpack, UDG makes some great bags but the zipper pulls on this bag suck. Everyone has broken off and I’ve replaced them all with improvised zipper pulls made out of 550 cord. FYI on the headphones, they are great cans, put out great sound, but like most DJ headphones, they break. The size adjustment slider on on side cracked pretty bad so I just taped it closed with duct tape. The slider on the other side still works, so I’m good. Still, the search for a durable set of headphones continues.

badbotnet

Norton and McAfee secretly teamed up to create malware for OS X in order to sell copies of their anti-virus software. At least that is the completely unfounded internet rumor I just made up, for no reason other than to see what will happen.

Seriously though, there have been a few reports of virus and malware activity over the last year on the Mac platform so stay safe!

Old DJs, New Tricks

A friend of mine emailed me the other day and asked me this:

I was wondering if you might be able to throw some suggestions my way. I’ve been wanting to get back into the swing of spinning, mostly just for me cuz I miss the music. The problem is my equipment is old and everyone seems to be making the transition to mp3 mixing. Is there any way to jump back into this…?

So responded with this advice:

I went digital about a 1 1/2 years ago. I hated CDs and vinyl is on life support. My setup now is a macbook pro and a midi controller. I then route the output to a mixer, and still use the mixer in a traditional sense. I use Traktor Pro. I used to use Serato, but sold it and went with an all midi set up. If you’ve got tables, a mixer, and a computer already, the Serato is the most painless way to easy into the digital age, cause you still spin vinyl or cds, just with the laptop involved now. Other stuff pretty much changes the game all together, and you start yo have to rethink DJing in general because what you can and can’t do changes the way you’d approach DJing. If you use Traktor Pro or Ableton live, you don’t have to beatmatch anymore… but a whole new realm of loops and effect are opened up.

I would say if you want to ease in and not reinvent the game, go with serato. A new box for serato just came out so the old ones should start to be pretty cheap on ebay. If you want to jump head long into the digital age. check out Traktor Pro or Ableton Live.

I’m not even going to attempt to describe this one. Just check out the video above, think about the amount of effort this must have took, then imagine Daddy Charles making an endless slew of sheep f*cker jokes.

Myspace Pie Chart

So right now I’m in the middle of the what will eventually be know as “The Great MySpace Purge of 2009″. After joining Facebook, where I actually know the people on my friends list, I realized exactly how useless my MySpace page had become. Last month I started out with 2000+ friends, but now I’m down to 900 and I’m not finished. It was necessary, it had to be done. 

I started to notice patterns as I have mercilessly deleted page after page of what I think may have been people at one time, and outlined the patterns in the chart above. Please note that I’ve shown very little discretion [get it] during this process, so if you were deleted by accident, I’m sorry, please send me a friend request with a message letting me know you are human.

dubstep

So last night was Dance Till Dawn 8. The annual party/rave/whatever at the University of Rhode Island. I was booked to play Dubstep which is, as many of you know, quite far from the norm for me. I practiced a lot for this gig because I’d never played dub out before and I wanted to make sure I nailed it. In practice sessions I had a real rough time, because dudstep has some pretty unique patterns and the tracks are generally much shorter than those of other genres of dance music. I even forced my wife to come into the music room twice and listen while I spun sets and tell me how it sounded. The morning of the gig I play a good set and felt decent about the coming night. I figured it would either go great or be a total wreck, but I typically have a way of pulling through in a clutch. When it came time to take the stage, I nailed it, and got some really great feedback from people after the set. All in all, i feel pretty good about how it went, and can now breathe a sigh of relief.

microapple

 

… and Cadillacs are more expensive than Chevys. To each his own…