Tech. Music. Games.

Surface Let Down

I’m DJing at a friend’s wedding this weekend – technically the end of me pretending that my DJ “career” is in any way cool – which will be my first time playing-out on the DDJ-1000. I’m dead excited about giving this its first real spin, as it’s been a few years since I’ve had a gig. My plan was to run Rekordbox on the Surface Pro, with the Surface mounted on the back of the flight case, as it’s the perfect form factor; a nice, clear screen, just in my eye-line above the EQs, that doesn’t actually add much weight when travelling… but I’ve hit a pretty massive snag.

I’ve heard an occasional bit of audio-crackle, while monitoring, but thought nothing of it. But after recording some sets as a back-up (in-case everything explodes) those crackles have turned out to be full-on dropouts, stutters, and bits of distortion that’s often audible on the Master Out. Even after some serious tinkering with the settings, increasing buffer sizes, and killing off everything possible, there’s no improvement. Basically, the Surface just can’t cut it.

I’m in two minds about this. For one, it’s 2019, and you would think that we’re at the point where USB 3 is fast enough to stream lossless audio to-and-from external devices, along with some arbitrary control data. But no. In 2019 we can barely save PCM to an internal SSD while reading it from an external device…

But secondly, it’s running Windows, and I can’t honestly remember a time when Windows has been genuinely reliable when it comes to doing things with audio. Which is a shit state of affairs in the year of our lord, 2019, really.

So wow, I’m still reliant on my trusty Retina Macbook Pro for all my music needs. Which is kind of ironic, because it turns out I’m reliant on it for any contract work I want to do now, as well. (More on that later)