• Jerry Alan Carroll

    i’ll be in Kuwait in a couple months….bringing one of my spare controllers (VCI-300) with me and my 2012 MBP. i’ll get some filters to protect the vents and the unused ports will just get covered with Post-it tape (no mess).
    I don’t expect to play outside though.

  • george

    what about amps and the actual sound equipment itself? Need to strike a balance between keeping things cool and stopping dust getting in, especially the amp?

    Any ideas welcome.

  • ryan
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  • X1 + Z1 + old PC laptop fitted w solid state HD. Saran wrapped the laptop and cut holes where appropriate for insulation. Extra cables, all super long, including 3.5mm to RCA (just in case). Ziplocked everything and used a dedicated backpack just for this stuff. Worked well, with some challenges: Can only mix 2 channels at a time (you can use decks 3/4remix but no fader makes it too hard). Computer had enough power for tracks but barely for effects. Once sun was out during my 5-hour gig on the moving Abraxas (that massive golden dragon) I could no longer see the screen. Someone came and help an umbrella over me for the rest of the set and someone else handed me chocolate flavoured coconut water. That was epic. The physical conditions were much harder on me than on the equipment, but the people around made it into an incredible experience.


    for hot gigs i run usb laptop cooling fans underneath my mixer turntables and cdjs. they only cost about $10-$20 on amazon and if you link them together with a usb hub it works great!!!

  • Djtt_espanol

    Nice article!, I’ve been playing every year in a motorcycle championship and the dust it’s a nightmare.

  • chris

    “Do you have experience DJing in extremes?”

    did you mean bent vinyls, or abnormous and extrem Flow-situations?

    • chris

      one time – i think it was at peyote from corpus christi (scnr about this joke:), and i have a new track from miranda (step to the stars), with a new strange vibe on it. but i hear a second one, a stranger vibe – and after the schocking sequence i saw a moth under the needle and vrooooooom


  • Kelly M. Carpenter

    man, i wish i’d have read this article before i left for the playa. i was with sk8 kamp at 9:00 and esplanade. my nephew joe brought a school bus full of sound gear and dj kook karlo brought his turntables. as far as i could tell, we were the only ones on the playa brave/foolish enough to bring vinyl this year. we kept it in the shade on the bus with as many of the windows closed as we could, but the gear definitely took a beating. and one of my dubplates melted in the heat. i volunteered my berringer mixer for the trip and it didn’t even get used. now it’s caked in playa dust. i don’t even want to turn it on until after i use a whole can of dust-off on it. next time it’s going to be burned cds and/or a thumb drive for me if i’m lucky enough to get another turn on the decks.

  • slidestache

    Ecler Nuo 2.0

  • Jonathan

    I’ve djed a bunch of very cold outdoor gigs (one time on a dj stand made of ice on a frozen lake)

    One thing that I didn’t think would be a problem is that the cables all get very hard and will just pop out of whatever they are plugged into if you move them slightly. I typically request CDJs for cold outdoor gigs (actually all outdoor gigs) because they seem to have slightly less problems than turntables.

    Also hand warmers in your pockets are nice or keeping them in some loose mittens and then alternating which hand has a glove on it. They also sell drops that you can put on your gloves to make them work for touchscreens and your laptop mouse, if you want to have your hands covered the entire time.

    Another thing that most people don’t plan for is cold feet, which is a real problem because you are just standing still for a few hours. I’ll wear heavy socks with foot warmers stuck to them inside heavy boots.

  • Brought a laptop again this year for the 6th time. No problem.

    The new Macbook Pro Retinas seem to hold up pretty well to the dust. I usually keep my laptop in a large ziplock when not in use and then DJ out in the open with little protection. This year I put a rubber keyboard cover on it and kept it elevated off the table on a Rain laptop stand to keep the vents away from dust table tops. I used no protection on my Traktor S4. If anyone has any tips / tutorials on cleaning the S4, I’d love any advice. I think there’s still sticky champagne from new years eve in there.

    On playa maintenance, I hit both with compressed air a few times and wiped down the laptop screen with a damp towel once or twice. It even rained on it a bit this year (which was scary) while I was DJing and had to put a cloth over the gear, but kept DJing from underneath.

    Once home I wiped the equipment down and blew copious amounts of compressed air in. Opened up the laptop and there was hardly anything in there, way less than other years.

    Years past, I found the most playa damage was to the battery. If you notice a performance drop with your battery, take it to an Apple store right away. They replaced mine for free last time saying it wasn’t holding a normal charge. They also said that I should “try not to operate the computer in high dust environments since there was a lot of dust in there”, which they also cleaned out for me.

    The key is to be very careful not to get any water on any playafied gear, it’s pretty much instant death (oxidization / rust).

  • maniac

    a teknival is the extremest condition to play, i think.

    I have seen gear covered of a fine layer of ice…

  • Christian Jackson

    DJ’d at a mountain resort outdoors with my CDJ2000s and DJM900 at -10 degrees F. The DJM had to warm up before mixing though because some of the contacts were actually stiff to move.

  • Golden Lips of Silence

    The must-have track for this year’s burning man set. We go boom boom in the dusty dusty with dranky dranks for everyone. See you on the playa!


  • Daggers

    I wouldn’t call it an extreme condition but keeping smoke machine fog away from decks is a good idea. Mixers aren’t a problem because you can clean faders quite easily. But it gunks up the cd platters quite quickly and jams them up, especially cdj1ks 2ks and 2kNs (pretty much the because of the adjustable platter.)

    I don’t know if anybody else has ever experienced this

  • Beyond DJing

    ok question, what are those speakers in the picture under “In Dust We Trust” ? I’ve been trying to find out who makes them for the longest. I been trying to build a mid level Mobile DJ concert setup with JTR subs or Danley subs and want to make sure I do my thorough research on all tops possible.


    Good article. This year I am going to roll to the playa with an Ipad 2 and a Z1. I let you know how I make out. of course I’ll have a few cds but my intention will be to see how these tools manage in this extreme condition. Got the extended warranty on my Z1 at guitar center. They will take it back no matter how f-up it is. I’ll let ya know how I make out. Also my I pad is going into this: KHOMO Waterproof Case Cover. Check out my website in a few weeks for details on how I made out. I’ll also report my experience in the forums.

    • Dan White

      Hey, that’s what we’re bringing – iPad 2 and Z1! See you out there.


        Where will you kats be camping. I’m camping with disorient 2:45 and esplanade. The call me gentle giant on the playa. See you there


    Good article. This year I am going to roll to the playa with an Ipad 2 and a Z1. I let you know how I make out. of course I’ll have a few cds but my intention will be to see how these tools manage in this extreme condition. Got the extended warranty on my Z1 at guitar center. They will take it back no matter how f-up it is. I’ll let ya know how I make out. Also my I pad is going into this: KHOMO Waterproof Case Cover. Check out my website in a few weeks for details on how I made out. I’ll also report my experience in the forums.

  • Mad Zach

    my main tip about the playa is not to over-insulate your laptop from the dust. You need to remember to let air in so it can stay cool. One year I wrapped so much plastic around my laptop that it couldn’t breath, overheated, and basically broke until I got home! I recommend leaving your complicated live set and controllers at home (I know… its hard), instead I would recommend sticking with cd’s or a thumb drive

  • Boney Collins

    Great article… if disassemble is necesary, spray with isopropyl alcohol (pressurized bottle) until all dirty is gone. This will take care of the circuits.

  • JL

    The third image is of Nexus in 2010! Should give them a mention instead of two camps not going this year!

  • Ron Grandia

    2 years of burning man (The DiscoFish) taught me how to 100% PLAYA PROOF my MacBook. It’s virtually dustless afterwards.

    Get air filter material (sheets) and pull it through the hinge gap and secure it with gaffer’s tape. Two sheets takes a while to get through, but it’s dense enough to filter most dust. Seal edges w/tape. It’s like an air diaper.

    Get one-a them rubbery keyboard covers and seal the edges with gaffer’s tape.

    Cover all ports w/Gaffer’s tape. I left the PS connected, and sealed around it.

    For the screen (kinda unnecessary but it made me feel better) I used clear shelf-liner material, which also works for sealing the mouse pad – It’s conductive, so you can cover the whole thing. Then I covered the rest of the rig with gaffer’s tape mostly for looks, but when I get home, I just peel it all off, and it’s like BRAND NEW. SweartaGod.

    • ??u??

      I’ve actually done this same thing at a paint party before. Why not just buy a cheap external monitor and run a magic mouse or trackpad and an apple keyboard. After the loss of my last MBP this one stays sealed away with only a power, usb and thunderbolt cable connecting it to the outside threats… I am very comfortable potentially losing a $60 wireless keyboard and cheap monitor over a macbook. Just an added thought.

  • Joe Andolina

    Playing at Buringman is the highlight of my year. You can play yacht rock and electro breaks in the same set. Its a blast and the acoustics of the open desert are like no club you will ever play. Gear takes a beating but if you are okay with taking it apart and cleaning it with lots of rubbing alcohol, almost any gear will survive. I don’t have one, but I think the ideal hash environment setup would be an ipad and a Z1. No vents and super portable.

    In the case of DJ Dan, the Duckpond has a special set of CDJs set aside just for him. We get the booth ready about an hour before his set. Its our little insurance policy against dust storms and any spills that may have happened before his gig. If you are going to the burn, DJ Dan will be playing the Duckpond Friday afternoon from 3 to 7.

    • DJ Rob Ticho,Club mU

      i will be there to hear it

  • JT

    at BM I had my computer set up with a key guard/cover, tape, saran wrap and taped a bit of air filter from my furnace over the fan exhaust and intake. Worked like a damn. But like they say – backup everything and bring lots of cds just in case.

  • DJ Rob Ticho,Club mU

    I’ve Djed at Burning twice and will be heading back this year. I cringe every time I see CDJs being murdered by the dust and bringing records out there is just crazy.

    I feel like I have an ideal Burning Man set up. I use an 11inch mac air, NI X1, NI Audio DJ2 sound card and a M-Audio X-session Pro midi mixer.

    The laptop is super easy to seal up with keyboard guard and some painter’s tape. The fan isn’t really exposed.

    X1 and Audio DJ2 have no where for the dust to penetrate.

    The X-Session midi mixer only cost $80.

    I will also bring a back up soundcard, usb drives and cds. Always have a back up!

    • Jonathan

      The M-Audio X-Session Pro is a great choice for Burning Man gigs. I have 2 and you can even get a refurb unit on eBay for as little as $40. Not only does it stand up pretty well – I have no problem if it happens to die.

    • Isa Ghio

      Yo Rob! You played there?! THAT’S SO SICK if you ever go again invite me pleaaaase 🙂 Extreme conditions is what i love the most, it must be crazy out in the desert

      • DJ Rob Ticho,Club mU

        we can start planning for your arrival next year 🙂

        • Isa Ghio

          I am so down, when is it actually? I could plan to take my summer vacation then, need some serious action in my DJ life

  • Fauxfaux

    Great article, full of lots of great reference material. Very cool section on extreme cold conditions, I’ve never played in them before but would definitely give it a shot. One thing I’d like to add about Burning Man:
    Nothing will really keep your gear from getting dusty, but many things can keep your gear from being force-fed dust at 25mph. (If it’s windier than that, probably put it away for a spell.) Being inside a dome or having a booth with walls around it makes a huge difference. For anyone who’s thinking of spinning at Burning Man but on the fence because of gear paranoia, I say DO IT! Some of the most fun, interactive crowds anywhere, not to mention all the other DJs and Producers you get to meet. Your gear should (mostly) survive, and any additional repairs will be worth the experience.
    Also, the part about the nuclear test site gave me a good chuckle. Totally not true, but I subscribe to the belief that you “print the legend”. You know Daft Punk is playing there this year, right?

    • DJ Rob Ticho,Club mU

      I went all the way out to the trash fence but couldn’t find where Daft Punk was playing. 😉

  • Aaron

    I’ve DJed this year at AfrikaBurn mostly at my camp (AfrikaMorn) and in a few oother camps around the playa. I had with me a MBP a DDJErgo and DJM400.
    after one week of event I cleaned all with compressed air, and everything worked out like a charm.
    It was heavily covered in dust. 🙂

  • ithinkmynameismoose

    I’ve got to say. This is one of the first site redesigns that I really just…like. It’s clean, simple and more aesthetic. Well done! Also, those poor controllers…

    • Dan White

      Glad you enjoy it!

  • 32Digits

    I like this article 😀

    gives me idea’s too

  • Emil Beatsnatcher Brikha

    I do a lot of boat parties in the Mediterranean. Sea water, humidity and corrosion are a part of work. With people jumping into the water around me and girls with wet hair throwing their heads around I make it a habit to simply rope off an area to keep the crowd out of reach from my gear. I’ve been playing on the Novation Twitch and it’s held up great.

    Here’s a typical boat party in Malta: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151405783346090

  • Mert

    I had a gig at a carnival deal this year. The temperature was under 0°C with a little snow. After 30 min my F1 Kontrol died… after 45 min next one was my X1 Kontrol… The S4 keeps working but i after the dead of the X1 i stopped playing. 2 hours later all controllers were back in work and there was no more problem.(temperature maybe a little bit warmer)… oh and my Macbook power supply died by emergency power generator with air Compressor 🙁

    i never had problems on dust… i play a lot on MotoX tracks (i am ken Roczen Resident in germany 🙂 ) the dust is just always dirt and very hard to clean. air compressor is the best!

    sorry for my bad english

  • Michael Wagner

    good article, but just so you know, the area where Burning Man is was never a nuclear test site. part of that same desert was a gunnery range, but that was conventional weapons, not nuclear. keep up the good work on the page anyways!

    • David Schulman

      the playa definitely has a magical feeling to it :). thanks for the correction!

  • Nice Article David, Some of my favorite gigs have been at Burning man or other outdoor venues. It’s an amazing feeling to combine raw nature with the power of amplified music.

    • ryanselect

      I am going to be heading to burning man and DJing at Celtic Chaos 10 and airstrip. I’m a huge fan of DJtech tools and will be in San Fran for a few days before and after the festival.
      Was hoping i could check out your location for a quick tour and grab some chroma caps for the party.

    • DJ Rob Ticho,Club mU

      I’d like to see an Ean Golden set on Robot Heart. 🙂