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Thread: what do i need?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Default what do i need?

    being a hobbyist and now being asked to do a laser show in a club i feel i lack some knolwdge.

    If the audio has to come from my laptop, do I just connect the speakers to my laptop's headphone jack, or do i need something else with it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Once it was called "Bel Paese" = ITALY


    If your laptop has a specific output audio connection, this should be much better.
    Unfortunately most times they haven't....

    Headphone exit is not properly a "pure audio" output signal. Anyway you can use it.
    Take a care about output volume from your laptop. If available, better to connect your audio exit to audio equalizer unit, before to go to final power amplifier.

    Before playing your show, mind you don't forget to disable all "Windows sound" (notifications, alarms, empty basket sound, etc. etc.)
    Would be very unpleasant to hear those unwanted sounds while your show is running...
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Knoxville, TN, USA


    @zorn -

    Maybe give some thought to "assisting" on a show or two before jumping in and giving a laser show at a club.
    Before you do anything with lasers that involves an audience, you need to be VERY comfortable with the workings of ALL your equipment, and the includes the lasers, DAC's, computer, and sound system.

    You are asking some pretty basic questions about audio and computer operations, and while there is certainly nothing wrong with asking questions and trying to learn, it sounds as if you're not really quite ready to take on the responsibility of running a laser show with an audience, especially in a club scenario where there are a LOT of unknown factors that could come into play. Lasers can present a lot of hazards to your audience, and you really don't want to take the chance of getting someone hurt because you weren't intimately familiar with your equipment.

    (Not to mention that if something goes wrong at the club - lasers, sound, whatever - and you appear "lost" while trying to address problems, your reputation as a potential future laserist will probably take some serious hits...)

    Please give that some thought...

    PS -

    Using the built-in headphone jack on your laptop is definitely not the best way to provide the audio feed into an external sound system ~
    You're taking a chance on inducing a lot of noise using that connection.
    (It's not unheard of for headphone jacks to pick up the noise of the onboard cooling fans, for example...)

    You'll probably want to give some thought into using an external USB audio interface.
    Generally a LOT less likely to pick up laptop-generated noise, plus if you get one with a volume control knob (which most have), adjusting that on-the-fly will be a lot quicker and easier than trying to adjust the built-in controls on the laptop. Also, USB audio interfaces generally have MUCH better audio I/O jacks for external connectivity than you would get by using the headphone jack.
    Last edited by Stuka; 07-11-2014 at 04:27.

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  4. #4
    mixedgas's Avatar
    mixedgas is offline Creaky Old Award Winning Bastard Technologist
    Infinitus Excellentia Ion Laser Dominatus
    Join Date
    May 2007
    A lab with some dripping water on the floor.


    You probably need a "Direct Box" and a equalizer to go between your laptop and the club audio system. The "Direct Box" eliminates most hum and electrical noise from the laptop, which is almost floating from ground. I say "almost" because most laptop PSUs have something like a 10 Megohm resistor and a .01 uf ZSU Capacitor to the ground pin on their power plug. This "loose" electrical network facilitates noise pickup into the sound system.

    I'd be surprised if a DJ lets you take over the club sound system, because one: Its fairly easy to do damage to the sound system with overdrive and un-equalized signals. Two: Usually they are very fussy about the evening's content. Usually in clubs you work using live controls and use their music. Three: The 4 to 8 Ohm impedance from a laptop headphone jack does not match well into the 600 Ohm impedance input on many sound mixing boards.

    For those reasons, you really should have a rehearsal outside of business hours, as Stuka suggests.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    State of Shock USA


    Is this what you are talking about Stuka?

    EDIT: My question is for home system hook up.
    Last edited by TechJunkie; 07-12-2014 at 21:03.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Vancouver, Canada


    Something capable of a line level output would most certainly be better than an amplified output. The would feed into the club's mixer which would function as the preamp.

    That being said, absolutely every club show (or concert for that matter) I've ever worked has involved live controlling to other people's music. From smaller club shows to large arena concerts, I've never used the time line features of the software aside from playing around at home.

    So it's definitely pretty rare to need to provide sound as well unless they're hiring you as a dj..

    Definitely do your setup and zoning before the club opens, and watch out for video projectors and reflective stuff such as mirrors on scanner lights, shiny truss, etc. Definitely once setup, fill the room with fog, turn on vlj and go down to the dance floor and look for stray reflections. And be sure to mask the aperture to secure against potential scanner failure.

    When performing the show itself, always keep a lookout for people standing on tables or chairs or climbing up to unsafe areas, and also keep a close eye out for reflective items placed into the path of the lasers such as mylar balloons, beer cans, etc. It's surprising what some people will try after a few drinks..

    And just wanted to add, it doesn't say where you're located, but know and follow your local laser laws, if for no other reason than your own conscience and peace of mind.
    Last edited by m0f; 07-12-2014 at 20:58.

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