Building A Podium Style DJ System

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,540
Oklahoma City
My laptop has BT, so it's quick, but it won't wake the laptop if sleeping. The M585 is supposed to be able to use 2 unifying receivers as well .. Haven't tried it.
This is what I ended up doing for now to eliminate the wired USB Keyboard and USB mouse... I replaced the wired mouse with a Bluetooth mouse. I would only need to use a mouse attached to the backup computer if the main computer was to fail, so I can put the mouse away somewhere when not in use. Interestingly, the shared mouse works on the backup computer BEFORE you’re logged in. Not so with the keyboard. I can’t log into the backup PC without an attached keyboard. I tried replacing the USB keyboard with the Windows 10 virtual keyboard, but the virtual keyboard doesn’t appear until you’re logged in... STUPID!!!... So I just eliminated the password, so the PC boots up to the splash screen, and then you can pop up the keyboard with the mouse. At this point though, the shared mouse and keyboard are fully functional, so there’s not much need for the virtual keyboard or Bluetooth mouse unless something goes horribly wrong on the host computer. If absolutely necessary, like with a complete failure of the host, I can easily just move the transceiver for the Gearhead wireless keyboard and mouse to the USB port of the backup NUC PC.
 
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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,540
Oklahoma City
Ultrawide Minitor???... Yes; I’m still kicking this idea around. I’m sure I’m over-thinking this, but that’s what I do! I looked at a 29” model at Sam’s Club, and thought it was too small. It’s too bad they didn’t have a 34” one I could compare it to. I’ve been watching videos about the 34” ultrawides and they look like they might be too large. I know the 29” would give me the equivalent of two 4:3 screens that are pretty much the same size as the two 15” Dell monitors I’m using currently. While the Dells are fine for testing, I’m not sure if I’d be able to deal with screens that small after using dual 22” wide screens (16:9) for so long. It’s a BIG adjustment to go smaller and back to the 4:3 ratio.

There are other things to consider, like maximum resolution. Some of the 34” monitors will go up to 2560 x 1080 (2K), while others go to 3840 x 2160 (4K)... My NUC’s will supposedly drive 4K, but how effectively; I dunno??? Do they all support two computers plugged in and running side-by-side (and/or PIP) on the same screen??? Some don’t even have dual HDMI inputs. The LG’s have “Dual Control” software you load on each computer in order to display both computer screens on a single Ultrawide monitor. I’m tempted to just go back to Sam’s and buy the 29” LG just to try it out. At $189 it’s not a huge risk, and I could always use it in my office if it doesn’t work out for this project. Is anyone using an Ultrawide monitor? I’d appreciate some input???
 
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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,540
Oklahoma City
Not much time to spend on my Podium System gear test today, other than to tighten up some of the network settings. This system needs its own LAN in order for the computers to communicate with the NAS and each other, but I don’t need Internet access all the time. When I set everything up initially, I just set it up on my home network, but that’s not something I can take with me to a gig. So now I have it working whether or not a network cable to my main home router is connected. Everything functions as it should when powered up as you would when unloading and setting up at an event.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,540
Oklahoma City
No Denon MC7000... yet. My Pioneer DDJ-T1 that I’m using as a test controller has but one USB input, so if I wanted to use my backup NUC PC with the controller, I’d have to move the USB cable from the primary PC. That’s no big deal when it’s all sitting out in the open on a table like it is now, but put the computers and all the other gear and wires inside a custom podium style cabinet, getting to the back of the computers to switch a USB cable might not be so easy. Depending on the design and layout of the podium, I might be able to use the USB ports on the FRONT of the NUC PC’s but of that I’m uncertain today... SOooo... I bought one of those USB switches I had posted about earlier, and it just arrived moments ago...



... When I saw the box, my first though was; WOW, that USB switch is MUCH larger than I was expecting. Then I opened the box and found that the switch was actually about the same size of the picture on the front of the box. The rest of the space inside the box was consumed by the two USB cables they provided...



... The USB cables that came with the USB switch were much too long for my application, so I used a couple of 12” USB cables from my stash.... I’m sure I’m not the only one here who maintains a supply of USB cables of varying lengths and connector types (and colors); right???

Maybe I’ll have a chance to test this new switch out later today. I’m not concerned about it working, but it will be interesting to see what happens on the primary computer when I switch it to the backup.
 
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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,540
Oklahoma City
... Maybe I’ll have a chance to test this new switch out later today. I’m not concerned about it working, but it will be interesting to see what happens on the primary computer when I switch it to the backup.
OK... Let me start by describing the setup. My primary DJ (NUC) computer is setup to use the the Pioneer DDJ-T1 with Traktor. The USB cable going to the DDJ-T1 is plugged into the USB switch, then one of the two inputs is plugged into the primary PC. The backup (NUC) computer is setup to use the PreSonus StudioLive AR-8 via USB, and though it is currently setup to use the AR-8 in Traktor, that’s probably NOT the way I’ll have it setup when I use it with a Podium System. It’s only setup that way now so I can use the PreSonus Capture software on the backup NUC PC to test the ability to record my mixes with the mixer (I’ll discuss the reason you’d want to do that at the end of this post). The second input on the USB switch runs to another USB port on the rear panel of the backup NUC PC.

Here’s what happens now when I press the button on the USB Switch to switch the USB to the DDJ-T1 from primary NUC PC to the backup... The primary PC loses it’s sound card and the audio icon on the task bar gets a red diagonal line indicating there’s no audio. On the backup computer, since it already has a connection to the AR-8 mixer, a dialog box on the taskbar of the backup computer automatically pops up so you can change the audio settings. I chose the Pioneer DDJ-T1 and it was good to go. Switching back to the primary PC simply restored the Pioneer DDJ-T1 to the audio icon and the red diagonal line disappeared.

If I had this setup the way it would ultimately, I’d have to set Traktor up to use the Pioneer DDJ-T1 on BOTH the primary and backup computers prior to the event, but Traktor could only be running on the one currently live with the DDJ-T1. If you’ve ever used Traktor, you probably already know that it doesn’t retain your settings if you start it up and the audio device you had in your settings is not live (attached or powered on), so you have to adjust your settings after the audio device is live. That would be a BIG problem if you had to do it during an event. If Traktor isn’t running, you can change audio devices all you want; you just have to make sure the one setup in Traktor is live when you start it up. Of course this is NOT ideal, since you can’t have Traktor up and running in parallel on your backup computer in case something happened to the primary PC. You’d have to take a minute or two to switch the USB connection, then start up Traktor (on the backup PC), then load a song to one of the decks and start playing. With a Denon MC7000, I could have both computers plugged in and Traktor up and running on both, just waiting to switch over in a second or two if the primary computer had a problem.

Now I’ll explain why I would want to record my mixes from the PreSonus StudioLive AR-8 mixer on my backup NUC PC... Why wouldn’t I just use the Traktor recorder on my primary DJ PC to record directly from the Pioneer DDJ-T1???... Well... the Traktor recorder doesn’t record the microphone channels. When I’ve recorded from my main DJ PC in the past, I’ve had to run a line from my mixer to another computer, and use Audacity or some other software to capture the audio. One nice feature of the AR-8 mixer though, is you DON’T have to use another computer. You can record to an SD card that you plug into the AR-8. I haven’t tried this recording method yet, but that’s probably the way I’d do it at a gig if it works as advertised.
 
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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,540
Oklahoma City
My new Ethernet switch came this morning. Nice and small...

... this little 5 port switch is about 1/3 of the size of the HP R110 I’m currently using, but in all fairness, the HP R110 is a 4 port ROUTER, which can also be used as a bridge. The little switch is just a switch and nothing more. I was originally using the HP R110 as a bridge and 4 port switch, but later reconfigured it as a router so I could take advantage of its built-in WiFi capability. Now that it’s working nicely with my test setup, I probably won’t use the new switch yet. The nice thing about the little switch though, is that it will take up almost no space inside a podium cabinet. Then I can use my usual WiFi router that I’ve had for several years as the main router for all of my systems (including a podium system)...


I’m glad I bought this little switch though, because it’s getting really hard to find a 5 port switch with the RJ45 jacks and the power supply connector on the back, and the link lights on the front. I could have lived with one of the models with the link lights on the top with this particular system though, because the power buttons for my new Intel NUC computers are on the tops as well, so I’m gonna need a lid of some sort so I can access the tops anyway. Coincidentally the new Ethernet switch is almost the EXACT same size as the little two port USB switch I received yesterday. That was totally unplanned, but very cool.

Gonna start tweaking my design a little, now that I have more of the gear I’ll actually be using IF I decide to build a Podium System.
 
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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,540
Oklahoma City
The wife went back to work, so today I get to play with this Podium System gear some more. There’s not much more to do except test. I wish I had more space to setup another speaker. I have one EVOX-8 in the office, but I have my Small System setup in there too in order to get the computers in it updated, which leaves no space for anything else. There’s not even any space on the four foot table for setting up two JBL monitors, and the stands I have are too short to use for this setup. So... I’ll just continue with one speaker until I can pack up the Small System and load it into the minivan... except then I’ll need to bring my Large System in to get it updated next. I need a bigger office. It’s always something.

I hooked up the new little 5 port switch in order to have a way to connect my Small System up to get it updated. I’m using the last available Ethernet cable in my office for the test system, so using the little switch will essentially simulate the way a Podium System will be configured, with the Router connected to a switch, and the computers and NAS connected to the switch. The WAN Cable goes into the router. The way I had it hooked up without the switch had my Internet cable hooked to one of the four router ports, and the two computers and NAS using the other three ports. That left no way to hook up my Small System.

The main thing was getting all the nodes on the Podium System LAN working independently while also being able to attach it to my home network for Internet access, but not interfere with anything on my home network. I got it all setup and did a network scan, and it looks good except there are two nodes I don’t recognize. They just have IP addresses, but no names. I’d be a little more concerned if they disappeared when I disconnected my home LAN from the Internet, but they don’t, so they’re somewhere here in my house and are being assigned DHCP addresses by my router. I just need to figure out what they are and give them Manual IP addresses.

I have some short extension cords coming today. When I went to plug the little Ethernet switch into the power strip, the stupid power transformer was too big to fit in the available outlet, and the prongs were turned the wrong direction (needed to be turned 90 degrees). So a short extension cord is a quick fix, only I couldn’t find any. It’s hard for me to believe I have ZERO 1 foot extension cords, but with all the racks I have around here, I suppose it’s possible that I used them all. Not likely, but possible. In any case, they are not expensive, so I bought some more to replenish my stash.
 
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DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
11,540
Oklahoma City
As I continue to use (test) this Podium System gear (configuration), I recently discovered a strange phenomenon... If you look back at my post #114, I described a problem with Mouse Without Borders where the lack of a physical mouse attached to the backup Intel NUC PC caused the shared mouse pointer to be larger on the backup PC than on the host, and the pointer was also NOT on top, so it appeared to be behind menus and dialog boxes. In my post #121 I resolved the problem by attaching a Bluetooth mouse to the backup computer (but a USB mouse would work as well). Without some kind of mouse, no mouse driver is activated on the backup computer, and thus you get the weird oversized mouse issue with the shared mouse.

However, I had to use the Bluetooth mouse elsewhere, so when I started using my Podium System gear and started up the computers, the backup PC had no mouse attached. I discovered that if I temporarily switched the DDJ-T1 over to the backup computer (using the 2 port USB switch), it fixes the oversized mouse problem. My guess is that it works because the DDJ-T1 has a scrolling device of sorts built into the Browse/Scroll knob, but don’t know for sure if that’s why it works. I guess I’m just gonna accept that it works, since I now don’t have to worry about attaching ANY kind of mouse to the backup PC. The mouse stays the correct size even when I switch the DDJ-T1 back to the main/host PC. I always carry a spare (wired) USB keyboard and mouse in my PC bag just in case my wireless keyboard and/or mouse fails, so if I ever need to hook up a USB mouse, I can.

I must say, I continue to be impressed with my PreSonus StudioLive AR-8 mixer. It’s MORE than I expected. Is it better than my Allen & Heath ZED-10FX???... Well... NOPE. Except for the built-in Bluetooth and the ability to record to an SD card, the ZED-10FX has more features. I can’t hear any difference in the audio quality. The AR-8 is smaller (by about 2 channels). Having only 8 channels allows for the narrower box, so it’s a better size if I put it beside the controller on my table or podium top, but now I’m wondering if that’s even practical. The combined width of my DDJ-T1 and the AR-8 is almost 40 inches. The ZED-10FX wouldn’t make much difference. Having ANY mixer on the podium top is not gonna leave me any space to put anything else on the top (drinks, agendas, paperwork, etcetera). The other thing I DON’T know if I can adjust to is the WIRES. That darned ole OCD crap. The reason I have racks with everything wired INSIDE (and outta sight) is I don’t like the look of all the exposed wires. There’s no good way to hide them with this type of mixer. With my Denon DN-410X, all the wires attach to the back, but the Denon (from a feature perspective) is nothing like either of the mixing boards discussed here. So where does that leave me???... I don’t know. I think I’ll redesign the podium so that the mixer can be placed on a shelf underneath the podium top. That will hide the wires, and I can make it so the mixer can be pulled out like a drawer, or slid back in when not in use. With that design, I could use either the ZED-10FX OR the AR-8. If I use the ZED-10FX, I can always ADD a Bluetooth receiver, just like I did in my Small System (although that adds another power cord, more audio cables, and another device). It would take up two channels, but that still leaves eight. The Bluetooth in the AR-8 uses channels 7/8, so that leaves only six. I can make-do with 6, but 8 is better... (we’re talkin’ channels here).
 
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