The 8 Best DJ Laptop Stands
8. Odyssey LStandM
- folds down for storage
- sturdy adjustment knobs
- a bit expensive given its simplicity
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
7. Pyle PLPTS35
- great option for touring
- good value for the price
- can't accommodate larger laptops
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
6. On-Stage LPT5000
- extends to nearly 11 inches high
- front bumpers keep hardware secure
- angle is not adjustable
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
5. Crane Hardware Plus Universal
- includes a nylon carrying bag
- steel frame with aluminum knobs
- some units aren't completely level
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
4. Griffin 2-Tier Portable
- packs down flat for transport
- rubber feet ensure stability
- top rack won't wobble or flex
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
3. PylePro PLPTS3 Tripod
- adjustable height and angle
- sturdy abs and steel construction
- legs are reinforced for stability
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. Samson LTS50
- made of durable steel
- quick-release extension clamps
- adjustable legs lock in position
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. Odyssey FZF3336BL Deluxe
- recessed heavy-duty handle and latch
- suitable for professional use
- limited lifetime warranty
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
A Brief History Of The Art Of Mixing
The term "disc jockey" dates back to the early days of radio, when it was used to describe the role of on-air music selectors. While it didn't appear in print until 1941, the phrase was commonly used on-air in the 1930s, most notably by American radio personality Walter Winchell in describing his fellow announcer Martin Block, who rose to fame for playing popular tunes over the airwaves.
Though early DJs were simply those who played recorded music to an audience, the term evolved over the course of the 20th century to describe a more specific art and style. While one can still get away with identifying as a DJ simply by playing multiple songs of any recorded format back to back, the term is most often used today to describe those who can mix one track into the next.
Mixing is the skill the separates the DJs from the regular folk, especially now that almost everyone has their own music library, whether digital or physical. Mixing itself is thought to have been invented by the British radio DJ Jimmy Savile in 1947, when he used two turntables at once to enable continuous playback from one record to the next. He is also credited with inventing the DJ dance party in 1943. Before then, parties were soundtracked exclusively by live music, or not at all.
The same year Savile developed a mixing technique with two turntables, the world's first discotheque, called Whiskey á Go-Go, opened in Paris. A profitable alternative to live music venues, the trend spread quickly across Europe and throughout the rest of the world, necessitating the proliferation of local DJs everywhere.
A pair of DJ turntables is usually connected to a machine called a channel mixer. These allow you to start and stop a record, fine-tune playback speed, and adjust the pitch and volume levels of various elements of each input signal. While the ability to mix vinyl records on turntables is still considered the mark of a skilled DJ, the musical formats-of-choice have changed over time, and new mixing technologies have come into play.
Of course, it is possible to DJ without a mixer, but most setups, including those contained entirely within a computer, rely on them for precision and accuracy. The mixers available for use today with more contemporary formats like CDs and digital files often have a breadth of advanced features built-in, though their function remains largely the same. With such sophisticated technologies available at many jockeys' fingertips, the art of mixing has evolved to include techniques like live-looping, sampling, and more. External mixers used with laptop setups are typically called controllers.
How To Incorporate A Laptop Into Your DJ Setup
There are a variety of roles that computers can play in any given DJ ecosystem. For today's beginners in the field, a laptop is often the starting point for their setup. Conveniently, there are a wealth of options to make computers self-sufficient in this arena, so that those just starting out don't need to commit to buying additional equipment right away.
The key to DJing off a laptop lies in software. Whether you choose Serato, Virtual DJ, Traktor, Ableton Live, Rekordbox, or any one of the many other options, what works best is different for everyone. When choosing a software for your live setup, consider your comfort level, the features you need, and, of course, the price point. These programs range from free to hundreds of dollars for their full versions, so it's a good idea to choose one that's compatible with your means.
A good pair of headphones will also help you improve both your look and your mixing abilities. Your headphones act as your in-booth monitors when DJing live by allowing you to hear each channel of your mix separately, even as they play through the speakers together in real time.
Standalone laptop DJ setups tend to appear amateurish, though some skilled technicians can do just as much with a good piece of software as they can with much more elaborate equipment. That being said, if you're trying to appear more professional or need more tactical control than your computer's trackpad and keyboard allow, it's a good idea to invest in a controller. These devices connect to your laptop and usually act as the direct input for a PA system. A controller allows you to use physical knobs, sliders, and buttons to fine-tune your tracks and blends with precision, and many incorporate sampling pads, hot cues, and looping functions, as well.
Once you get great at using a controller, the next step is to learn how to remove the laptop from your setup altogether. It seems counterintuitive, I know, but the prejudice against laptop DJs is real. Once you've mastered CDJs, the equipment regarded as standard in most clubs and venues today, the only thing you'll need your laptop for is selecting tracks for your next set.
What To Look For In A DJ Laptop Stand
What kind of stand you need for your laptop depends heavily on how you like to DJ. If, for example, you do most of your work on the laptop itself, you should look for a stand that can support the weight of your computer with the added pressure from your fingers as you perform.
If using a controller, you probably won't be touching your laptop all that much during your set. As a result, the most important quality of a laptop stand should be its ability to keep your computer elevated and out of the way, as well as in the right position so you have access to the information you need as you go.
It's also important to consider how a given stand will work in a variety of performance environments. If you're mostly DJing off of low tables at weddings and picnics, you'll benefit from a stand with a good amount of height to it. If you're mostly using proper DJ booths, something shorter may suit you just fine. And of course, if you're constantly moving between environments, it's a good idea to invest in a stand that's adaptable to a wide range of positions.