Macbook Air in DJ Booths

Discussion in 'General DJ Forum' started by tomflynn, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. tomflynn

    tomflynn NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    589
    Anyone used/using a macbook air in dj booths? Only concern for me is how light and thin they are, could be a problem with vibrations as obviously you can't have a solid state drive in them too. (i think anyway)

    Any info or advice on this would be great, just looking to change my 13" late 2011 mbp which is a tad heavy these days.

    Thanks

    Tom
     
  2. tmccoy

    tmccoy Forum Member

    Messages:
    2,005
    I own and use one with my S4 Mk1 as a Mobile DJ setup and love it!

    13" 2013 MacBook Air i5 1.3GHz 4GB RAM 128GB SSD

    I'm not sure if your comment about the solid state drive was a typo - but that absolutely have ONLY a solid state drive in them - but the limitation of this is space, and something I am managing OK with but conscious of it with this current setup. If I was doing this again, I'd definitely stretch to the 256GB (even if the price difference is annoying compared to actual off-the-shelf drive prices) but the 128GB model is fine and I'm using a 750GB USB drive to manage backups and overflows. While I do a few other things for home on this laptop (like managing a few GoPro videos) I tend to delete or move anything that isn't for my DJing to my USB drive.

    One other concern I have with it is how damn light it is and how slippery it is on my S4 road case shelf. With my older laptop, a decent bump wouldn't have moved my old MacBook, but the air is light enough that someone could swipe it off in a crazy drunken dance move - although the two USB cables are likely to help keep it tethered. It's just the combination of the velcro straps in the case not letting the rubber feet of the MacBook Air get a decent grip on the shelf - but it's a pretty minor concern and is easily outweighed by how light and portable it is!
     
  3. tomflynn

    tomflynn NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    589
    ah great reply, my mistake, i thought they couldn't hold a SSD, now i think obviously its the other way!

    yeah sloppiness maybe a factor, wonder if theres extra feet/grips/ you can get to put on the bottom?

    i never use a stand, always just put it somewhere in the booth, sometimes theres stands, sometimes not.

    I would go for 256gb minimum, this mbp is 250 and thats done fine. its purely a gig computer for me anyway, and a streamlined setup of my main studio for when I'm on tour so i can still work on music.
     
  4. kallekenkel

    kallekenkel NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,353
    I think the MBA is a wonderful DJ computer. I worked on an 11" (!) for almost 3 years (although to be fair, I am not touring through clubs regularly, so my insight is based mostly on home use).

    11" is really pushing the envelope, the resolution only works for a 4-deck setup with some UI / mpaping tricks.. But it works! The 13" is absolutely fine.

    I would maybe wait until WWDC (June 2nd) if you can. See these recent articles from 9to5mac
    Rumor: 12-inch Retina MacBook/Air updates coming soon without fan or mechanical trackpad button
    "When is Apple going to release a Retina MacBook Air? More signs point to ‘soon’"

    Seeing how it works on the retina MBP 13 (which I own now), a retina Air would allow you to "increase the resolution", allowing you to fit more on the screen - which is great for traktor.

    As for the "rubber feet", I'm sure this exists.. Might be a good idea anyways --> if someone spills a drink, it would flow under your macbook (unless the person spills it ON the macbook of course).
    The velcro idea is awesome.. There's definitely potential for someone to make a macbook air DJ "baseplate". ;)

    Alternatively, what about these rubber mats that some people have in their car.. you know.. the ones where you put your cellphone on and it simply does not slip.. Maybe that could work too?
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
  5. tomflynn

    tomflynn NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    589
    i used to think that, but 15" just isn't needed. after about 2 gigs i was totally comfortable with 13". i can fit everything on, 4 decks, expanded, both effects, its a gas
     
  6. kallekenkel

    kallekenkel NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,353
    Nice choice of words. I'm against them! :mad:

    Joking aside, it's always a mix of size and resolution.. There are people who prefer things a bit bigger - irrespective of resolution / ppi. Usually if you get older, your vision starts to get worse - at least in my experience older people prefer larger screens. But age is not the only criteria. There are, of course, young people with perfect vision who prefer larger screen sizes as well. - So Julia, I hope the earlier sentence was no insult!!! ;)

    Personally, I found that I like things sharp.. So I look for a high PPI. After that, screen size is just a preference. Like on the retina MacBooks: there is pleeeenty of pixels. So I doubt anyone is buying the 15" because it has a higher resolution.. It's simply a matter of taste at that point. But again, first you need to find your "minimally acceptable PPI".
     
  7. TroyMichael

    TroyMichael Forum Member

    Messages:
    1,367
    Be cautious before you upgrade to a new model macbook. NI has issue with late model MacBooks that include the MBA.

    I use a 13 MBA which worked for me for a long time until i switched to using a S4 MK2. Its a great DJ laptop and never had issue with the screen size. I loved that it was lighter my 2011 mbp.

    See the S4/S2 thread, tons of late model macbook users are having all kinds of issues with NI. My S4 is useless to me and i have a TT open for several months now. NI blames apple and NI has not yet clarified which computers, OSX or NI hardware products are impacted.

    I have put any laptop upgrades or NI hardware purchases on hold. My old laptop the 2011 MBP was sold to a friend. It works fine the S4. So for me it was a costly upgrade to the MBA due to the hardware issue and i wish had kept my old MBP.

    I am not able to DJ with the S4 but i have used the MBA successfully with pioneer CDJs in HID and Z2 mixer. I have also have no problems with that same MBA running hardware from Serato and Ableton. So when i NI blames its apple ..I just don't get it.

    Like I mention look at the S4 Freeze threads before you upgrade. The issue is probably same same for other NI hardware not just the S4.
     
  8. tmccoy

    tmccoy Forum Member

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    2,005
    While I agree there is a poorly understood issue with the S2/4 Mk2, this does not appear to be impacting other hardware as broadly.
     
  9. TroyMichael

    TroyMichael Forum Member

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    1,367
    with the S4 issues, Both the NI moderators Freshfluke and NI support claim its not an issue the NI hardware and say its apple. They also say many other vendors have issue with new MacBooks. So if that is true than potentially any NI or non NI product could suffer the same faith as the S4. Personally i think it is a NI hardware issue but i not the expert.

    If you looks closely there are complaints of several different sound cards having issues with macs. I also could not get a Z1 to work with the MBA and seem to have a similar freeze up like the S4. When i use my Z2…i always worried it will also freeze up. It working fine but the fact that i worry about it impacts my performance.

    Publicly NI has yet to make a statement clarify what NI hardware and what MacBooks and OSX are being impacted. I have asked for this numerous times. The fact that they don't know this, has me very worried and I am stuck as what computer and hardware to use with Traktor.

    My recommendations…If your laptop is working don't upgrade until NI properly sorts this out. Also do invest money in hardware that could have issues. basically wait this out to avoid the potential of issue. Nothing worse than having a live crash.
     
  10. kallekenkel

    kallekenkel NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,353
    .. and that's exactly the thing which becomes untrue with super-high-resolution (retina) displays. You can set the resolution to (almost) whatever you like .. So there is no more "real estate" on a 13" vs a 15" (unless you really max out the resolution, which almost nobody does anyways). So again: There is no more "space" on a retina 15" than there is on a retina 13". It's only about space. That was my point.
     
  11. frankle

    frankle NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    855
    Check the resolution your 15" is running, my bet is that it's at 1440x900 ... Which happens to be exactly the same as the 13" MacBook Air. Same number of pixels, exact same layout in Traktor as your 15" straight out of the box.

    This is the reason I went for the 13" Air, I originally had a 15" PowerBook G4 with 1440x900 res then went to a BlackBook 13" with 1280x800 res and found it a bit hard to get everything on the screen and longed for more resolution again. When upgrade time came the 13" Air ticked the boxes, same smaller footprint as the 13" MacBook but with the resolution of the 15". Win Win.
     
  12. kallekenkel

    kallekenkel NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,353
    And if there will be a retina Air (which I find highly likely at this point), we're talking 2560 by 1600 (max) on the 13" .. which is more than 99% of people will ever set it to be. Therefore my recommendation to wait until June if possible.

    See attached Traktor at the native resolution of the r13". Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 15.33.48.png
     
  13. tomflynn

    tomflynn NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    589
    good replays all, duly noted. I see the S4/S2 are having problems with MBA but I guess we'd have heard if people were having problems with MBA and X1's or TSP?
     
  14. frankle

    frankle NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    855
    Regarding the next Air ... Rumours are that there will only be 1 size, and that it's going to be about 12" but probably fit into the existing 11.6" chassis with smaller bezel. The expected retina resolution is to be double the 11.6", so 2732x1572.

    Also note that it's expected to have no fan, a buttonless trackpad and the yet to be released extreme low power Broadwell CPU with about 4.5w TPD. How that stacks up against the current model for processing power is anyone's guess at this stage. ETA is also 3rd quarter of this year.

    Regarding problems with the current Airs, yes there are some but it seems to be mostly with S2/S4 mk2, but one of my mates is having issues with his mk1 with a new Air. X1mk2 seems to be fine and so do the TA6/10 and Z2, and a few reports of issues with Z1.
     
  15. tomflynn

    tomflynn NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    589
    I'm gonna keep my eye on it. I don't see any future really for the mbp anymore. No one uses CD's hardly anymore, extra size and weight is just not needed.
    I'm gonna go for one of the current MBA's, 13".
     
  16. kallekenkel

    kallekenkel NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,353
    The (retina) MacBook Pro is almost as slim and light as the Air.. No DVD; no spinning hard drive.
     
  17. tomflynn

    tomflynn NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    589
    Oh right? What is the point or difference of the MBA and MBP? I think the airs are more than powerful these days.
     
  18. kallekenkel

    kallekenkel NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,353
    Difference:
    retina screen on the pro
    available with much faster CPU (quad-core on the 15") and graphics chips

    The pro is .. well.. for Pro's. You would not want to edit 4K video footage on an Air, for example.

    But you are completely right in saying that the two lines are very similar nowadays. Even more so if Apple should come out with that retina Air.
     
  19. tomflynn

    tomflynn NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    589
    yeah, it just seems very similar. Good info though, thanks
     
  20. tomflynn

    tomflynn NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    589
    Nah. The cd is dead.
     
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