I keep my entire music library on a very large external hard drive, connected to my iMac in my home study. There is a second hard drive dedicated to backing up the first automatically. The iMac is the perfect spot for me to manage my program because I also have an external microphone available for creating radio spots. For transferring music from vinyl and Digital Audio Tape, I have a DAT player/recorder and a turntable connected directly to the iMac. For production and transferring I use a combination of GarageBand and Audacity, both of which are free and easy to use.
A majority of my iTunes library is a combination of the CDs I have collected over the years, my wife’s CDs from before we were married, and the collection she and I have purchased via iTunes over the years. Streaming may be the future, but with satellite Internet with severe data transfer limitations, CDs and iTunes downloads are still how I accumulate music.
When it comes to how I get music from the home library to the station, I use my second-hand iPad 2, with my iPhone 5s as my backup. I find it easier to manage playlists which sync between the iMac and the devices than to share libraries between computers.
Our little community radio station has 2 CD players, 2 turntables, a couple of microphones, and 1/8″ jack from which we make our magic. We started off with an 8-track audio board, but through mishaps we are down to 4 working channels, I think. We’ve gotten creative with A/B switches, and can even take phone calls on their air by laying a mic down on the speaker phone. The latter would normally be handled by a track on the board dedicated to such capability, but it just happens to be one of the tracks on the fritz currently.
For the most part I use only microphone #1 and Track #3, which is dedicated to our radio station’s most popular input, a 1/8″ connection. Some of our more talented DJs play vinyl and CDs, but I think I get good results from using my iPad for all my music.
There are many apps out there for DJing and or playing music via one’s iPad, but I am only familiar with Apple’s built-in app simply called Music (Figure 1) and a third party app called djay 2 (Figure 2). I am most familiar with Music, and find that it is the easier of the two. djay has very cool features and looks and feels like one is a club DJ, but it isn’t all that intuitive for the beginner. I like to say that with Music I am pausing and playing with some talking in between, and it doesn’t get much easier than that. Honestly, the only real complaint I have about Music on the iPad is that the app doesn’t allow one to see song lengths. This missing feature is one of the reasons I print my playlist before each program. I need to be able to quickly count the time remaining on the playlist against the clock.
With Music I have the names of the songs and artists, and I can see most of the album field. I could adjust the font settings on my iPad to see more of the album name, but I have that information on my printed playlist, and the larger font helps me easily read and select songs. The PLAY/PAUSE button is in the upper left and is easy to see and press. The timer across the top of the screen helps me see how much time I have until the next song/break.
I am not going to attempt to go into the power of the djay 2 app other than to highlight the ability to do cool cross-fading between songs easily. In addition to a version for the iPad, algoriddim also makes an equally cool edition for OS X.