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How to Record a DJ Mix: The Ultimate Guide

Recording a DJ set is a crucial skill for any DJ, whether you're just starting out or you're an experienced professional. 

Recording your sets allows you to analyze and improve your performance, share your mixes with a broader audience, and build a professional portfolio that can open doors to gigs and collaborations. Additionally, having a collection of recorded sets can be a fantastic way to showcase your progress and evolution as an artist over time.

In this guide, I'll walk you through everything you need to know about recording a DJ set. We'll cover the essential equipment and software, various methods to record your set, and tips for post-production to ensure your recordings sound polished and professional. 

Whether you're looking to record at home or capture your live performances, this guide has you covered.

By the end of this article, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of how to record a DJ set, ensuring you capture your performances in the best possible quality. 

Let's get started on your journey to creating amazing recorded DJ sets!

TL;DR - How To Record DJ Sets#

  • Recording your DJ mixes is a great way to improve your skills, share your performances, and build a portfolio to grow your audience and get more gigs. 

  • There are many different ways to record DJ mixes, with a range of quality levels and technical difficulties. 

  • The main options for recording mixes include using your software's built-in recorder, plugging your DJ mixer into an external recorder, using a phone or handheld, or using studio software. 

  • DJ.Studio gives you a new way to create finished mixes, essentially bypassing the recording stage. 

Why I Love Recording My Mixes #

For starters, I thought I'd share some reasons why I think it's a great idea to record your mixes, and why I enjoy recording mine. 

I like to record videos of my mixes, so it includes both an audio and visual feed of my performances (typically from my home). This is a great idea, because:

  • You can review your performance, find areas of improvement, and refine your skills. 
  • It gives you something to share with your friends, family, and fans. 
  • It can help to grow your audience and accelerate your DJ career by reaching a wider range of people online. 
  • You can use it to secure more gigs, by using your recordings as a portfolio to send to promoters, managers, and clubs. 
  • You can see the evolution of your skills over time, and it's a nice way to look back at certain periods of your life. 
  • It's great to listen to, if you're a fan of the music that you play (that you should be)!

Now, let's look at an overview of the main DJ set recording methods. 

DJ Set Recording Methods: Overview#

There are a bunch of different ways you can record your DJ mixes, each requiring different gear and technical skills, and giving you a range of resulting quality outputs. Of course, some are also more practical and convenient than others. 

I'll give you an overview of each method, then I'll explain the exact process for each one below. 

  1. Using DJ software's internal recording function - Most DJ software includes some kind of internal recording feature. While the quality isn't perfect, it's the most convenient option if you're using a controller. 

  2. Recording the System Output of your laptop - Using something like QuickTime, you can easily record the audio output of your PC (if you're using a controller/computer setup). 

  3. Plugging your decks/controller into an audio interface - For high quality, flexible recording, using a proper audio interface with your gear is the best option. 

  4. Using a handheld recorder - There are many great handheld recording devices (like Zoom recorders) that can be plugged into decks or record via a microphone. 

  5. Recording a video and audio - Using a webcam and audio interface setup lets you capture your performance's audio and video, which is super useful (and is my favorite method). 

  6. Using a phone - As a last resort, you could use a camera or audio recording app on your phone, but don't expect pro quality. 

  7. Using DJ.Studio to build a mix - You can use studio software to bypass the recording process entirely and make a mix just using software and your laptop. 

All of these are viable, but some will be more suitable depending on your situation. Next, I'll explain each method in more detail. 

7 DJ Set Recording Methods: Step-By-Step Guides#

Here, I'll explain each DJ set recording method in detail, and outline which method is best for certain situations. 

1) Recording with DJ Software#

Best For - DJs using a controller and software setup. Perfect for bedroom DJs, or pros rocking a controller.

rekordbox record button

Using DJ software to record your set is one of the most straightforward methods. 

Pros:

  • Simple - Requires basically no setup process. 

  • Easy - You can monitor your levels directly in the software,. 

  • Low Cost - No extra gear required

Cons:

  • Limited audio quality.

  • Presumes you are using a controller or some DJ software. 

Instructions:

  1. Plug in your DJ controller

  2. Open your DJ software

  3. Locate the recording panel in your software (it's slightly different for rekordbox, Traktor, Serato etc). 

  4. When you are ready, click the recording button to start. 

  5. Perform your DJ mix with your controller/DJ software.

  6. When you finish your mix, make sure you stop the recording and save the audio file. 

  7. Open the folder where recorded audio files are saved. You can normally find this in your DJ software's settings. 

This method is super easy if you're using a controller and DJ software setup, but if you're using decks or a no-software setup, you'll have to try something else. 

2) Recording your PC's System Output #

If your DJ software doesn't have an internal recording feature, you can use some kind of system audio recording software (or streaming services) to record audio. 

Pros:

  • Low Cost.

  • Flexible.

Cons:

  • Fiddly to set up

  • Requires extra software downloads. 

Instructions:

  1. Download some internal audio recording software. If you're using a Mac, use something like QuickTime with Blackhole. If you're using Windows, try OBS. 

  2. Configure the audio software to record the system output. 

  3. Make sure your DJ software is using your PC's audio output as the main output. 

  4. Configure the master volume to make sure it isn't clipping. 

  5. Do a quick test recording to make sure it's all working correctly. 

  6. Start the recording in your software, start mixing. 

  7. Stop the recording, and save the file. 

I use this method to record my mixes with a webcam feed at the same time. This means that it creates a video file with the captured audio, which I can then upload straight to YouTube. 

3) Recording with a Computer and Audio Interface#

Best For - DJs using a mixer-based setup, like CDJs and/or turntables run through a mixer (with a recording output).

recording a dj mix with interface

Using a computer and audio interface provides flexibility and control over your recording process, and is the most professional technique. However, this requires more money and is slightly more complex. 

Pros:

  • Has the highest audio quality potential.

  • Is more flexible, giving you a wider range of recording options. 

  • Can be used with almost any DJ gear. 

Cons:

  • You need to buy/own the audio interface and recording software. 

  • Requires more PC power, which can be too much if running the DJ and recording software on the same machine. 

  • Takes a bit more technical knowledge. 

Instructions:

  1. Plug your audio interface into your PC, and configure the audio recording software. You could use a music production DAW or audio editor to capture the audio. 

  2. Plug your decks/mixer into the audio interface. 

  3. Test the recording levels, making sure the signal isn't too loud or quiet, and do a test recording to make sure everything sounds ok. 

  4. Start the recording on the software, then perform your mix. 

  5. Finish and save the recording. 

4) Using a Handheld Recorder#

Best For - Situations where it's not possible to record with a laptop, or if you already own a decent handheld recorder.

An external audio recorder is a great option for capturing high-quality audio without relying on a computer.

Pros:

  • High-quality recording - capture pristine audio directly from your mixer.

  • Portability - easy to carry and use in different locations.

Cons:

  • Requires the extra recording device, with an SD card or similar

  • Will capture background and crowd noise if using the mic 

Device Examples: Devices like the Zoom H4n Pro or Tascam DR-40X are portable and easy to use.

Instructions:

  1. Connect the recorder to your DJ setup.

  2. Set the input levels on the recorder.

  3. Press record before starting your set.

  4. Stop the recording. 

  5. Transfer the recorded file from the device to your PC. 

5) Recording Video and Audio#

Recording both video and audio can enhance the experience for your audience, especially if you’re sharing your mixes on social media or streaming platforms.

Pros:

  • High engagement - Video adds a visual element that can attract more viewers.

  • Comprehensive content - Provides a complete experience for your audience.

  • Flexible - This can be done with various setups.

Cons:

  • Requires more setup - Involves additional equipment and configuration.

  • Higher resource usage - Needs more CPU and storage for video processing.

Instructions:

  1. Set up your camera to record video. This can be a webcam, DSLR, or smartphone.

  2. Ensure good lighting and an appropriate background for your video.

  3. Configure your audio recording method (DJ software, system output, or audio interface).

  4. Sync your audio and video sources if using separate devices.

  5. Start recording both video and audio simultaneously.

  6. Perform your DJ mix.

  7. Stop the recording once you finish your mix.

  8. Edit the video and audio to ensure they are synchronized, and enhance as needed.

  9. Save and export the final video file.

  10. Upload or share the video on your preferred platform.

6) Record a DJ Set with your Phone#

Best For - Desperate situations where you don't have any other choice.

Sometimes, the best recording device is the one that you have with you - which will probably be your phone.

Recording with a smartphone is a convenient and portable option for capturing your DJ sets on the go, although you can't expect nice quality recordings. 

Pros:

  • Portable - Easy to carry and set up anywhere.

  • User-friendly - Most people are familiar with their phone's recording features.

  • Cost-effective - Utilizes existing devices without needing extra equipment.

Cons:

  • Limited audio quality - Built-in microphones may not capture high-quality audio.

  • Battery life & storage - Long recordings can drain your phone's battery quickly, and require storage space. 

Instructions:

  1. Set your phone to airplane mode to avoid interruptions.

  2. Open the audio or video recording app on your phone.

  3. If possible, use an external microphone or audio interface for better sound quality.

  4. Position your phone to capture the best angle and sound.

  5. Start recording and perform your DJ mix.

  6. Stop the recording when finished.

  7. Transfer the recorded file to your computer for editing if needed.

  8. Upload or share the recording from your phone or computer.

7) The Secret Solution: DJ.Studio#

dj studio carousel

Would you believe me if I said you can create full DJ mixes without ever hitting record, or even touching a pair of decks?

Well, you can see this arcane magic in action yourself - don't just take my word for it...

This new DAW for DJs gives DJs a completely new approach to creating DJ mixes, and the results are the same (or better) than recording your mix manually.

DJ.Studio combines an audio editor-style timeline, with an extensive suite of DJ mixing tools to provide a revolutionary method for creating DJ sets.

This software opens up new doors for DJs, letting you construct mixes using just a keyboard and mouse - no decks required. This presents several exciting advantages to users:

  • Save space and money - You don't need any expensive decks, mixers, or audio interfaces to create full mix 'recordings'.
  • Maximize quality, minimize time - The new workflow offered by DJs increases productivity by minimising the amount of time spent on rehearsals, recording performances, and correcting mistakes.
  • New Levels of Expression - Thanks to the multi-laned automation timeline and non-linear editing interface, DJs can take advantage of an endless depth of expression, stacking as much detail as they like. This means you can create transitions and mixes that only an octopus or spider could perform live.
  • Professional Integration - Not only is it perfect for making mixes in the studio, but DJ.Studio is also a tool for DJs who mix on stage. It's connected with all major DJ software, letting you take advantage of the smart AI automixer, playlist suggestions, and transition preparation tools - which can then be exported as a prepared DJ set into your live software.

These are just some of the most notable benefits. It's not meant to completely replace your live mixing setup, but is the perfect tool to produce mixes at speed, and augment your performance workflow.

dj studio timeline

Pros:

  • Convenient - Build mixes without physical gear.

  • Flexible - Easy to edit and rearrange tracks.

  • High quality - Produces professional-sounding mixes.

Cons:

  • Learning curve - May take time to learn how to use it effectively.

  • Can't capture live performances. 

To see why this software is so useful, let's have a look at its workflow:

  1. Open up the DJ.Studio app.

  2. Create a new project, either Local File or YouTube mode (in this example we'll use Local File mode).

  3. Import tracks - you can add song files directly to DJ.Studio from your hard drive, or you can connect it to your main DJ software and access your pre-existing libraries.

  4. Create a setlist - Next, you pick a bunch of songs that you want to use in a mix and create a playlist.

  5. Automix - Use DJ.Studio's automix algorithm to instantly find the optimal order of your songs based on their key and tempo. DJ.Studio will then harmonically mix and beat-match all the songs in your library.

  6. Adjust the mix - after automixing is complete, you will be taken over to the editor timeline. Here, you can refine your mix, by adding effects, changing orders and positions, and crafting the transitions. You can add extra samples, use our unique Stem Separation tools, and spice up your mix in endless ways.

  7. Final check - have a final listen through the mix and make sure you are happy with everything on the timeline.

  8. Export! When you're ready, hit the export button - from here, you can send your mix to a wide range of locations. In this case, you're probably wanting to create a recorded file. Choose Local Ffile, then either WAV or MP3. Wait a few minutes for your mix to render, and voila! You'll now have a complete recording of your DJ set.

As you can see, this process is unlike anything else in the DJ scene. This revolutionary workflow gives you a new level of productivity and expands your creative options.

Using this method, you don't need to spend any time rehearsing a mix, or worrying about making mistakes - or even setting up your gear. All you need to do is import some tunes, arrange them on the timeline, and then export your mix!

dj studio export

DJ.Studio can also create mixes from YouTube videos and other streaming services, which is a great way to experiment with music. Check out our Mix Gallery to see what these mixes look like!

This is only a brief outline of what DJ.Studio can do, so make sure you check out the other info on this website to find out more!

Or, watch this demonstration video explaining the features in more detail!

Extra Tips for Recording Your DJ Sets#

Here are some extra tips to help you get the most out of your 

Preparing Your Set#

Preparation is key to a successful recording session. Here’s how to get your set ready:

Planning Your Set:

  • Genre and Flow: Decide on the genre and flow of your set. Think about the mood you want to create and how each track will transition into the next.

  • Audience Consideration: Tailor your set to your audience. Whether it's a high-energy club mix or a laid-back lounge set, knowing your audience helps in selecting the right tracks.

Organizing Your Music Library:

  • Create Playlists: Use your DJ software to create playlists for your set. Organize tracks by energy level, key, and BPM to make it easier to find the right song during your performance.

  • Tagging and Rating: Tag your tracks with relevant information such as genre, energy level, and personal ratings. This helps in quickly identifying the best tracks for your set.

Setting Up Cue Points and Loops:

  • Cue Points: Set cue points for important sections of each track, like the intro, drop, and outro. This allows for seamless transitions.

  • Loops: Prepare loops for sections you might want to extend during your set. Loops can be a lifesaver for creating smooth transitions or keeping the energy high.

Testing Your Equipment:

  • Sound Check: Perform a sound check to ensure all your equipment is functioning correctly. Check the levels on your mixer and audio interface to avoid clipping or distortion.

  • Software Configuration: Make sure your DJ software and recording software are configured correctly. Test recording a short mix to verify everything is working as expected.

By carefully planning your set, organizing your music library, and thoroughly testing your equipment, you'll be well-prepared for a smooth recording session. Preparation minimizes the risk of technical issues and allows you to focus on your performance. With everything ready to go, it’s time to explore the different methods you can use to record your DJ set.

Post-Production: Editing and Enhancing Your Recording#

Once you've recorded your DJ set, it's time to polish it in post-production. Here's how:

Importing Your Recording into a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation):

  • Use software like Ableton Live, Logic Pro, or Audacity to import your recording.

Basic Editing:

  • Trimming: Remove any unwanted silence or mistakes at the beginning and end of your set.

  • Fading: Add fade-ins and fade-outs to create smooth transitions.

  • Volume Adjustments: Ensure consistent volume levels throughout the set.

Adding Effects and Enhancing Sound Quality:

  • EQ: Adjust the equalization to enhance the overall sound quality.

  • Compression: Use compression to even out the dynamics and add punch.

  • Reverb and Delay: Add subtle effects to enhance the atmosphere.

  • Mastering a DJ Mix: This final stage of producing your mix helps it to sound more competitive and professional. See my linked guide for more information on how to do this!

Exporting Your Final Mix:

  • Export your edited recording in a high-quality format like WAV or MP3.

  • Ensure the final file is appropriately tagged with track information.

By taking the time to edit and enhance your recording, you'll ensure your DJ set sounds professional and polished, ready to be shared with your audience.

Sharing Your DJ Set#

Now that you have a high-quality recording, it’s time to share it with the world.

Platforms to Share Your Mix:

  • SoundCloud: A popular platform for DJs to share mixes and connect with listeners.

  • Mixcloud: Another great option for sharing DJ mixes, with built-in tracklist features.

  • YouTube: Create a visual experience by uploading your mix with accompanying visuals.

Tips for Promoting Your Set:

  • Social Media: Share your mix on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to reach a wider audience.

  • Engage with Your Audience: Respond to comments and feedback to build a loyal following.

  • Collaborate with Other DJs: Collaborations can help you reach new audiences and grow your fan base.

By leveraging these platforms and promotional strategies, you can effectively share your DJ set and connect with a broader audience.

Benefits of Recording DJ Mixes#

benefits of recroding a dj mix

There are several advantages to recording your DJ mixes.

  • Self-Improvement - One of the best reasons for recording your DJ sets is to listen back and critique them. By reflecting on your mixes, you can find areas where where you need to improve. This will help to guide your practice sessions, thus helping you to improve your skills faster and more effectively.

  • Sharing & Promotion - Sharing recording mixes online is a great way to promote yourself as a DJ. If you record your performances (both in the club and at home) you can put your recorded DJ set on YouTube, streaming services, and your social media to gain more of an international audience. Additionally, you can send your best mixes to club promoters and other DJs to get more bookings.

  • Documenting Progress - If you make it a regular habit to record your DJ sets, you will be able to see your progress over time. This is a nice way to look back at your development as a DJ and encourage you to continue your journey along the DJ path.

  • Find Inspiration -Listening back to your sets can inspire new ideas and creative directions. It might help you identify unique mixing techniques or innovative ways to blend different genres, enhancing your artistic expression.

With these reasons considered, it's time to start recording!

Summary#

dj studio transition editor

Now you know the best ways to record and produce DJ mixes, it's time to get stuck in! Good luck.

There are a couple of other more bootleg methods - like simply using your phone's camera or a PC webcam to record - but the methods above will achieve the highest audio quality.

If you want to try out ideas, or just create a killer mix in rapid time, have a look at DJ.Studio and see what it can do for your workflow.

Try out the 14-day free trial today!

Noah Feasey-Kemp
DJ/Producer
I started DJing when I was 15. Started a record label, residency by a club in Bristol. I’ve played at all the biggest clubs in Bristol (and the small ones) and have entertained thousands of dancers! I love writing about music, DJing, and technology. I've been blogging for DJ.Studio since the start of the project, and am always happy to answer questions and help fellow DJs out!

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