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The Conman

Headphone Setup and Usage Guide

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A common question I have seen in the forums is "How do I setup and cue, mix or monitor using headphones?"

Well here is my guide to doing just that. Now depending on your setup depends on the setup you use for cueing. In this guide I will cover the setups for both desktop and laptop computers. I will start with the Desktop pc. 

Desktop PC Headphone Setup.

First of all you are going to need a 4.1 capable soundcard or higher (5.1 and 7.1 for example). Or 2 separate soundcards (either both internal or one internal and one external)

To setup Virtual Dj to use your headphones, load up VDJ and go to CONFIG.

In CONFIG, you will find a tab labelled SOUND SETUP, under this tab you will be presented with 3 display boxes:

1. Inputs
2. Outputs
3. Soundcards

In the INPUTS box you should leave this set to NONE, unless you have external inputs and/or time codes connected. Which I will cover later in this guide. In the drop down menu you will find five other options for advanced setup configurations. However these are not important at this time.

In the OUTPUTS box drop down menu you will find 5 options in total. These are:

1: Single output
2: Headphones
3: External Mixer
4: 3 Lines Mixer
5: Advanced Config

The option you need to choose in this instance is 2: Headphones. Choosing this option will enable sound to be directed to both your speakers, and to your headphones via separate channels. The next option you need to change is in the soundcards dropdown menu.

In the soundcards menu, you will find four options. These are:

1: Mono Separated (for 3.5mm to 2 Phono output for connection direct from laptop/pc to amp or mixer)
2: 2 Cards (to allow audio signals to be directed to 2 outputs)(more on this later)
3: 4.1 Card (to allow audio signals to be directed to 2 or more outputs)
4: ASIO (for advanced configurations with time codes)

You can select either, 4.1 Card or 2 Cards. Which one you select will depend on what setup you have. 

If you are using a card that is 4.1, 5.1 or 7.1 capable then set it to 4.1 Card. If you’re using 2 soundcards, whether they be internal or external, set the option to 2 Cards. Explanations for each option are to follow.

Now here’s an important action so be sure you understand.

When you are setting up these options, you will be prompted with extra dropdown menus containing more options. These dropdown menus will contain a list of available soundcard outputs. You need to choose the correct outputs for your setup to work. 

My PC has 2 soundcards, Primary (which is useless for headphone use as it is a single line output, meaning it can carry only one audio signal), and my realtek 7.1 soundcard (which has a total of 8 line outputs, meaning it can carry up to 8 audio signals). If you have a 4.1 card you will have 6 line outputs, and if you have a 5.1 card, you will have 6 line outputs. The reason for this being, 4, 5 and 7 represent the number of surround speakers you can have attached to your system, 1 being representative of how many subwoofers you can have connected.

Which channels you select totally depends on how your setup is. Lets work through in the same order outputs are listed in Virtual DJ’s Config menus.

For a system with 2 soundcards (be it internal or external).

If you have 2 soundcards, select the 2 Cards option from the soundcards menu. Choosing this option will create 2 more menu boxes which will contain a list of functions. You need to select a function for each sound card. e.g. card 1 = speakers - card 2 = headphones. It is my suggestion that if using an external USB soundcard alongside an internal card, that you set your cards up I such a way that your speakers are routed to the onboard soundcard.

If however like me you only have 1 soundcard and its 4.1 or higher (5.1 , 7.1). Then the setup is different.

For a system with 4.1 or higher

If you are going to use your 4.1 or higher card, then you need to select the 4.1 Card option from the Sound Setup menu in Virtual DJ’s Config. Once you have selected this option you have to select the correct soundcard from the prompted dropdown menu. Be careful you haven’t selected " primary soundcard" or it wont work. 

The next step is to select which outputs do what. There is a list box under the one where you select your soundcard/s.

In this list box you will have 2 or more choices depending on your sound card. Mine has 3 options.

1. Master: front output/Headphones: rear output
2. Master: rear output/Headphones: front output
3. Master: front output/Headphones: centre output

(master = Speakers)

On my setup I have mine set to, front and centre, you can set it to what ever you want. The option you choose must have audio jacks plugged into the corresponding outputs on your card to work. Look closely at your soundcard, each port is clearly labelled with its function. 

Now you can hit APPLY followed by OK and leave the config.

You now have your headphones setup. 

Laptop Headphone Setup Guide.

So, what ways can we setup headphones on a laptop?

A: using an external mixer 
B: with usb headphones or headset/mic combo
C: using 2 soundcards

Lets start at the beginning, and these various ways are listed due to there being more to using headphones than some may think.

External Mixer

When using an external mixer, your mixer will need to be connected to Virtual DJ by means of a Pro usb soundcard such as ESI Maya 44 or Julia, Numark DJio etc. Or be usb compatible.

Whether you are using just a mixer or you are using external hardware such as CDJ's or Turn Tables, setting up your headphones is as simple as connecting your headphones to your mixer as you would with a regular analogue setup.

Usb Headphones

When using usb headphones such as the Numark PHX or a headset/mic combo, the setup is much the same as that of a basic usb soundcard. Which is outlined below.

Two Soundcards

When using 2 soundcards on a laptop, the setup is relatively simple. Firstly when using a laptop you will need an external USB soundcard. The type of card is entirely your choice, for beginners, I would recommend a basic USB card with single output. These can be found on internet auction sites for only a few sterling or dollars. 

Once you have yourself a usb soundcard, plug your card into your laptop and allow the drivers to be installed by the operating system. Once this is done connect your laptop to your amp via your laptops main headphone jack. 

It is my opinion that you should connect your main speakers to your laptop and your headphones to your external usb card. 

The reason behind this is if a usb port is not mapped in power options to not enter idle mode then it could possibly be shut down by the computer. On top of this if ever the card failed then you would have the master output cut out and not only would you loose your flow with the crowd, you would also loose audio completely thus resulting in silence. 

If the headphones cut out, then under mixing, harmonic mixing, waveforms and a good ear will keep you going until you can find the problem. 

Once your speakers are plugged into the master output, plug your headphones into the external usb soundcard.

Open Virtual DJ and go to > Config > Sound Setup

Choose settings as follows:

Inputs: None (variable depending on hardware)

Outputs: Headphones (select from the dropdown menus that appear, Master: First card / Headphones: Second card)

Sound Card: 2 Cards 

Under the Soundcard option, when you select 2 Cards, you will be prompted with two list boxes to the right. to set your cards in the correct order:

Set the top box to: Speakers (primary card name)
Set the lower box to: Headphones (USB AUDIO)

Click Apply, then Ok to exit configuration.

Now you have your audio outputs setup, it is time to test them. Load a track both deck one and deck two. 

Play the track on deck one at full volume (using the volume slider) in Virtual DJ (not on your master output/amp, we don’t want to annoy the neighbours), track one should be heard from your master channel (speakers).

Now minimise the volume slider on deck two and play the track, you should be able to hear the track playing in your headphones. The reason for minimising the volume on deck two is to allow it to be cued and not played via the master output. If you don’t hear the track playing in your headphones, hit the PFL button on deck two. This should swap the cue audio to your headphones. 

If you can hear the cue audio in your headphones, then run the same test again with the above instruction reversed. If you don’t hear the tracks in the order you should, then double check you have the correct order selected in your sound setup. 

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How you use your headphones for monitoring and for mixing. 

This is really easy and once you know the basic controls a little practice will have you using a fully functioning monitoring/mixing feature in no time.

Ok first let me explain the use of the PFL button. The PFL button, when hit, allows you to monitor either deck 1 or deck 2. In conjunction with the "PFL" buttons you also need to use the "CUE/MIX" slider at the top of the skin. These, along with the "CUE" button and your "HOT CUE" buttons are all you need.

Once you have your headphones all set up following the guide above, you then have two choices, 

1. Hit the PFL button each time you load your next track to listen to it via your headphones.
2. Go to config > options, and you will find "auto headphones". In the selection box you have: Always, Disable and On Load. If you select the "on load" option, then your headphones will automatically switch to the deck you are loading to. 

I suggest you do some playing around with this and see what is best for you.

Ok so now you have your headphones set up and your track loading into the headphones. Yes? good.

The next thing you need to know is how to either:

1. Listen to each track individually
2. Listen to your mix.

The way to do this is to use the "CUE/MIX" slider at the top of the skin. 

If you slide the slider all the way to "CUE" then you can listen to each track individually and swap between the two using your "PFL" button. 

If you want to listen to the mix (both decks at once) then you slide the slider all the way to "MIX". 

By playing around with these controls you will be able to decide upon what’s best for you and be beat matching and mixing like a pro in no time.

Hope this guide was useful, thanks for reading and good luck with your DJ'ing. Brought to you by blulite.
 

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