If you are a novice DJ with a passion for becoming a professional, it is paramount for you to enhance your DJ skills as much as possible. Many new DJs are unable to get far in this profession because they don’t feel the need of making a professional portfolio of their quality mixes. Maybe they are unaware of the fact that it is important to create a portfolio or maybe they don’t know how to record their mixes.
Recording each and every mix is not only significant in getting you more gigs, but it also helps you review and improve your mixes in the future. We have put together three easy ways to assist you in making the process of recording much more straightforward and efficient.
Recording Your Mixes with DJ Software
It is the simplest way to record your mixes, but it has some limitations. Know that only a few of the free DJ software programs provide the option of recording, so first ensure that your software has the ability to record. If it doesn’t record, you will have to get a new one which supports recording. If it does but only as a premium option, you will have to upgrade your software to its paid version.
Furthermore, recording through software works only when all the sound you produce goes through your laptop while you are mixing.
Once you are ready with your software and system, adjust the recording level to get a clean and clear audio. You can do so by not pushing the sound over 0 dB on your meters. Moreover, if you are in a digital situation, it is best to leave plenty of headroom instead of recording your mixes with a louder sound. It is also recommended in this case to keep your mixes well below 0 dB because it allows you to add volume to your digital recordings later.
Recording through software has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage can be that you don’t require any cables or a big setup for the recording process. On the contrary, there is a possibility that your recordings might contain some disturbance. As the software will be performing two functions simultaneously i.e. recording and mixing, it can be a burden on your laptop’s system, leading to interruptions in your mixes. That is why this recording process is unreliable especially for recording live sets.
Recording Your Mixes Through Hardware
You can find numerous hardware recording devices if you don’t own one yet, which can permit you to record your mixes as easily as possible. If you don’t have any such, buy the one with the best quality. Nowadays, the most popular hardware for recording mixes is Zoom H4N. Once you get hold of a good hardware recorder, you will need to set it up.
When you mix externally, you need to route the mix to your computer to record. Before doing so, ensure your computer’s sound card can handle the amount of output produced by your mixer. Almost all computer sound cards or mixers have no less than two mix outputs. One output permits you to send your mix to the speakers, and the other will connect to your hardware recording device.
The cables depend on which system you are using. Most DJ hardware recorder requires RCA to 1/8″ or male/male RCA cable and the Session Out or Record Out option to connect with your computer. But in the case of a stereo recording, the best cable can be a stereo RCA male to 3.5mm stereo cable.
The benefit of using an external recorder is that it won’t take space in your setup since it is a portable device. Furthermore, it is not taxing on the CPU, unlike software. You can easily record live sets without any disruption. Moreover, once you set it up, you will only need to press the recording button to start recording. The drawback is that you can’t monitor the recordings, so it can be difficult sometimes to know whether what you’re recording has the right levels until you get the outcome.
Recording Your Mixes Through the Computer
Using a computer as a recorder can be the most sensible and easiest way of recording mixes and learning how to record. Setting up a computer recorder can be initially complicated, depending on your workflow, but it gives you the flexibility to transfer your mixes quickly anywhere. For recording through a computer, you will require a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). DAW provides a variety of third-party programs such as Audacity (which is free) or Ableton and Logic (which are more advanced programs).
You can set up the mixer with your computer either through a USB cable or a secondary output, whichever option is available or simpler for you. You’ll just need to use appropriate cables to connect your computer to the mixer. It is ideal to use a USB connection because it will let you record without converting audio signals from analog to digital. Through the secondary output when the sound signal converts from analog to digital, it sometimes lowers the sound quality of your mixes. However, it’s not too much of an issue because you can monitor your recordings visually through DAW.
Whichever method you use for recording your set, always remember that it is improving your DJ skills in many ways. It contributes a lot to your portfolio, which will help you get gigs. It is ideal for learning and to promote your mixes, and it helps improve your old recorded sets through review and critique.