Category Archives: DJ 101

DJ 101: Summer NAMM 2014 Wrapup

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Griffin Technology DJ Connect Soundcard Review

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DJ have readily embraced technology over the past 20 years as the music medium has gone from vinyl to CD to to SD cards/laptop. The next step for DJing is a tablet, or even a phone, but the major barrier has been sound quality. The DJ Connect from Griffin Technology will change that.

What is it?

The DJ Connect is a USB-based sound card which provides two separate stereo sound outputs. A headphone output for cueing (or PFL preview for listening) is located on the front. A standard stereo RCA output and a mini-USB port are located on the back. On the top is a large metal rotary wheel to control the headphone volume. The silicone bottom keeps the device from sliding.

Basic testing

The DJ Connect is made to work with Algoriddim DJay software. As soon as the unit is plugged into an iPad, the Djay software sees it and configures itself to channel the sound output. Hooking it up to my home stereo, the RCA stereo output was solid and free of static. The headphone volume was loud and could be turned up to completely blaring levels (perfect for all of the deaf DJs out there). Since I am used to Virtual DJ, it took a few minutes to get used to the DJay software but within 5 minutes, I was comfortable mixing back and forth between tracks.

In-depth testing

Connecting the DJ Connect to a club system on a line of the Pioneer mixer gave a quality stereo signal that was comfortable loud but not clipping. A small bit of gain control made it match the CD player and laptop setup that was in place. The sound quality was full and comparable to the other inputs.

To test further, I connected it to my Mac Book Pro running Virtual DJ, which also saw the dual channels and was easily configurable in the Headphone mode. Sound quality was about the same.

Critiques

There are only two critiques I could find. For testing, I connected to the iPad first, then to the laptop and then back to the iPad. When connecting to the iPad the second time, there was a slight hum in the sound. Rebooting the iPad cleared up the hiss.

A second issue, purely for my own aesthetics, is that the shiny metal headphone knob will require regular buffing as finger prints show instantly.

Conclusion

The Griffin DJ Connect is a game-changing device bringing the iPad and iPhone DJ setups up to the calibre of laptop DJ setups. Previously, the only solution for cueing was a cable from the headphone jack which would split the stereo output to two mono outputs, one for cue and one for live out. Mono signals sound like crap in real world applications, and this has held back DJs from using an iPad. At $99, it is well-priced for DJs who want to use iPads, newbie DJs wanting to get started, and as a backup sound card for laptop DJs. Combined with the minimal cost of DJay software (1.99 for iPhone, 9.99 for iPad, and 19.99 for laptop), the startup cost for a beginning DJ is very reasonable.

Bullet points

* What is it: a sound card giving two stereo outputs for DJay software on iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers.

* Who is it for: DJs who want to cue and mix in stereo on portable devices.

* How long does it take to set up: less than 5 minutes

* What is required for its use: an iPad, an iPhone or a Mac laptop, and DJay software

* Difficulty level: 2/5 (1 is easy, 5 is difficult)

Disclaimer: Review unit provided by publicist.

DJ 101: Summer NAMM 2013 Wrapup

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Summer NAMM (National Assocation of Music Merchants) came to Nashville last week (July 11-13) and filled the new Nashville Music City Center with a diverse variety of music vendors from around the country. Everything from guitars and drums to cases and in-ear monitors to production software and recording equipment was on display. One thing that was clearly missing was DJ/Electronic Dance Music production as two companies that have exhibited in the past – Numark/Akai and American DJ – were notably absent. With them gone, there wasn’t a lot to cover from a DJ’s perspective, but I found three things that caught my eye.