Interesting that the question of playing MP3's from a laptop has come up.
I've been fooling around with Tactile, a beta freeware DJ emulation program
(graphics show two record players) on a Powerbook 5300. It has variable
pitch controls so could be useful, although I find that it is not intuitive
creating play lists. To use in a class really requires presetting a playlist
and my experience is that what I've planned for class is rarely appropriate
for the folks who show up for one reason or another. <g>
Also, even saved in MP3 format, SCD dance files are pretty large. I
converted Muriel Johnstone's CD Haste Ye Back into MP3 and that CD alone
uses 74Mb. I suppose creating lower quality files would save some space,
but it is pretty clear that saving a fair number of albums even in MP3 will
require a pretty good size drive.
I got started testing this out after I attended an international class not
long ago where the music was all MP3 fomatted on a Windows laptop connected
to an amp and speaker system. The software seemed to be pretty easy to
operate and watching the screen from the floor, it seemed the speed and
volume controls were sliders. Neat system! Wish I'd followed up to see
what software he was using. As for sound quality, I was sufficiently
concerned with what my feet were doing (or not doing) that I wasn't paying a
lot of attention to the particulars of the sound.
The use of MP3's might be the future of music. I'm about to move all my
vinyl records to CD and the thought has occurred to me that maybe I should
just go to an MP3 system. Recordings on an MP3 system would take up a LOT
less space than CD's. Maybe too little space as some of these chips could
easily get lost. There is also the matter of paradigm shift. Should I keep
dance music grouped by albums, an organization which dates back to the vinyl
records. Maybe I should keep only one recording of a dance in my "active"
music set (do I really need to carry 3 different copies of Red House with me
everywhere I go to teach?).