There are a bunch of benefits gained from recording your DJ mixes - whether you are just starting your DJ career, or you are a seasoned professional.
But when it comes to recording, there are a wide range of options - which might be confusing to get your head around. Various methods to record audio are more suitable in certain situations too.
In this post, we'll give you a step-by-step guide on how to record your DJ sets with any of the main methods, as well as reveal a powerful new workaround that means you can quickly create full 'recordings' without ever having to record - it has to be seen to be believed!
TL;DR - Recording DJ Sets#
There are two main methods for recording DJ sets.
Most DJ software comes with an internal recording function.
Or, you can plug your DJ mixer into recording software using an audio interface.
DJ.Studio is a secret new tool that lets you produce full-length mix files, without ever pressing record!
Benefits of Recording your DJ Mixes#
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!
How to Record a DJ Mix: 3 Methods#
There are two traditional options for recording DJ sets, and one new game-changing method (DJ.Studio). This section provides guides on each technique.
Internal Recording (In your DJ Software)#
One of the easiest methods to record your DJ set is using your DJ software's internal recording feature. This means you don't need any kind of extra recording device, and can create your recordings just using your laptop and DJ controller.
Note, that this won't work for some setups. You can only use this if your audio is originating from the DJ software (like a controller setup). If you are using independent hardware like CDJs or turntables, you'll need to use an audio interface.
Additionally, some DJ software limits the record features behind a paywall, so you should check with the software you use.
To use internal recording:
Connect your DJ controller and launch your DJ software.
Prepare your mix - you can improvise, or line up a playlist that you want to use.
Find the record button - Locate the record button in your software (check the user manual if you can't find it). For example, on rekordbox it's at the top right, in Serato DJ Pro it's at the top middle.
Hit record! And start mixing when you're ready.
Remember to stop the recording when you finish mixing!
Some DJ software will show you where the file is saved, but for others, you might have to find it yourself. You can usually find and change the recording path in the options.
If you use a Pioneer DJ mixer, I recommend looking into Pioneer's DJM Rec app, which streamlines the process and provides some extra options.
Recording DJ Gear with an Audio Interface#
The second choice is to use an audio interface or a standalone recorder. (We'll explain the audio interface method, but a standalone is basically the same.)
This method is the best if you are using DJ gear which produces analog signals and isn't based on your DJ software (although you can still record through software this way).
For example, if you are using any DJ gear (like CDJs, turntables) that you plug into a mixer, this is the best option.
For this method, you will need an audio interface, and a laptop/PC with some recording software. Reaper is a good choice if you want free recording software.
Get everything plugged in: Plug your decks into your mixer, plug your mixer into your audio interface, and plug the interface into your PC.
Load up the recording software - Get everything configured to record, including setting the right audio inputs, making sure the recording levels are correct, and checking other settings in your recording software.
Do a test recording - Then listen back to it. This is essential, as it helps you to spot if any mistakes or issues are present in the recording setup. This means you won't waste your mix by recording it with problems in the audio.
Start the recording - When you are ready, hit the record button and start mixing.
Stop the recording - when you finish mixing, stop the recording and save the file. You could do some basic mastering and compression to level out the audio, and always save a backup
This process is a little bit trickier than the internal recording mode, as it requires a slightly more complex setup, and there are more areas where issues can arise.
That said, this system is more versatile and lets you record a wider range of audio sources in your mix.
You could also use an external recorder like a Zoom handheld, if you don't want to use an audio interface. These let you record to an SD card, although you will need to spend some time transferring the recording from the device to your computer.
DJ.Studio - The New Solution#
What if I told you, you could create a full DJ mix (WAV, MP3, or a bunch of other formats), without ever hitting record, or touching a pair of decks?
Well, this is now a possibility, thanks to the power of DJ.Studio.
This new tool is a DAW for DJs. It combines DJ mixing tools with audio editing, to offer a completely revolutionary method for creating DJ sets.
You can use DJ.Studio to construct mixes using just your keyboard and mouse. This is great if you have limited space, don't have any gear, or want a new way of mixing. Not only is this more convenient, but it also opens up a bunch of new creative options and improves production efficiency.
To see why this software is so useful, let's have a look at its workflow:
Open up the DJ.Studio app.
Create a new project, either Local File or YouTube mode (in this example we'll use Local File mode).
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.
Create a setlist - Next, you pick a bunch of songs that you want to use in a mix and create a playlist.
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.
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.
Final check - have a final listen through the mix and make sure you are happy with everything on the timeline.
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 file, 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!
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!
General Tips for Recording DJ Mixes#
These tips will help you to get the best results from your DJ set recordings.
Keep an eye on the master volume - ensure you get the volume level right, and don't distort your recording.
Use high-quality audio files - The source material matters. Avoid using low-quality illegal rips, and pay for high-quality downloads if you plan on using the mix in any professional or promotional capacity.
Look into mastering - The mastering process can help improve the quality and cohesiveness of your mix. It's too complex to explain here, but look into it!
Try recording a video too - If you perform live, it's worth recording a video of your performance so you can watch it back. This helps you to get a sense of what the audience experiences what they watch you, and how you can improve the show!
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!
FAQs About Recording DJ Mixes
- What is the best software for recording DJ sets?
- What do you need to record a DJ set?
- How do I record myself as a DJ?
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