How To Record and Mix a DJ Set with live crowd sound
People all over the world are now using budget-friendly setups to create professional sounding shows. Whether it’s a radio show, a live mix or an event, it’s understandable that you will want to record the whole vibe of your show.
Good news is that you will find cutting-edge radio stations launching in someone’s home recording studio. These new sets, mixes and radio stations often sound just as professional as their big-budget counterparts.
In 2018, you definitely don’t need to spend big or have a sound engineering degree to make your shows to sound like a pro.
1. THE RECORDING EQUIPMENT
For small budgets, you have two options to record your mix. You either record using an external recorder or directly to your computer. Each solution has its pros and cons.
This is possibly the best and simplest solution. As soon as you’ve learned how to properly use the recorder which is only a matter of connecting it to microphones or a mixer and monitoring the levels, you will be ready to start recording.
This is the ideal option for DJs who want a portable device to record live sets, radio shows, and podcasts with interviews on location.
Recording a long duration DJ set or talk show might drain the batteries, so it’s better to go for a recorder that comes with a power supply. One of the most popular recorders out there is the Zoom H4n.
Zoom H4n is ideal to record voiceovers and interviews. It offers four-channel recording up to 24-bit, 96 kHz, capable of handling up to 140 dB SPL. That means you can record everything from ear-splitting heavy metal to heavy bass electronic music. H4n has excellent reviews on online stores and is also Amazon’s choice and top seller.
The Zoom HI is available at half the price, but it only has one input, which will limit what you can record but won’t change the quality of your recording. Additional features of the tool are the Playback Speed Control, Voice Emphasize Filter, and Stereo overdubbing functions. This handy recorder is also available in many colors for you to pick.
By using this method of the external device, so you’ll then need to copy the files over to your computer, and edit it if it’s required before you can share it anywhere.
Direct to your computer
If you don’t want to spend extra on a recorder and also try to avoid copying files from an external device, you can do it by recording directly to your computer. All your recordings will be ready to edit and share on your laptop or computer.
However, it is a little bit more complicated as it sounds. If you want your set or mix to sound professional, recording directly to your computer is not good enough. Which means you will probably need an audio interface. Unfortunately, the sound card in your PC is not good enough to properly record audio, so another piece of equipment will get involved to properly converts the audio signals to digital so it’s recognized by your computer.
There is also no problem with portability, as audio interfaces are lighter than ever. Check the Best Audio Interface under $200 in 2018 and you will find affordable, portable, with great built quality made by famous brands and record excellent sound.
It is time to record your live set along with the ambient sounds. You are using one line input to record from your DJ mixer and one microphone to record the people partying, yelling, clapping, singing, etc. Recording each of these channels separately gives you the flexibility to edit the volume and sound of each channel before you share it to the world. Likewise, if you’re recording a DJ mix and you want to add some drum samples or record your vocals onto a different channel means you can fix imperfections and add professional effects to export a professional final recording.
One of the most popular audio interfaces out there for beginners is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Which is available for less than $200 and also is available in value bundle packages. For more equipment to your home recording studio, check The Best Home Recording Studio Bundles and Packages. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 includes two inputs. In general, the more inputs you want, the more it will cost you. but is not always the case as are more things to consider when buying one. You’ll also need a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software to record the signal from the interface onto your laptop. best of all, most audio interfaces out there include an intro-version of professional music software. Ableton Live, Logic Pro and Cubase are popular DAWs for that job. Those are powerful software’s that let you record multiple signals at once.
2. RECORDING TIPS AND TRICKS
One of the most common mistakes people usually make is recording the audio very loud. You want to avoid clipping and distortion at all costs, so lower the levels if you are not sure. Essentially, the optimum recording levels will depend on what you’re recording, but you’ll want the audio to bounce between -20 and -12 when recording into a device like the Zoom H4n.
This will give you enough “space” to fill it with when you come to mix the audio. If you’re recording music, make sure the input is stereo and not mono, and this is important. Otherwise, you will have a very flat sound. DJ software, such as Traktor Pro or Serato, will give you the option to switch between the two. So make sure you’ve selected stereo if you want the music to sound like it’s supposed to.
3. DJ SETS: WHAT TO KNOW
Mixcloud, SoundCloud are some well-known music network platforms used by beginners and professional musicians around the globe. It is a great place to “investigate” other shows and sets and get some ideas for yours. You’ll notice some shows will stretch to three or four hours, while others will last for around an hour. Podcasts on Mixcloud generally range from 20 minutes to over an hour or two.
You’ll also notice some shows include short voiceovers and fun jingles, while others are literally just a mix of tracks.
How you produce your show is really up to you, but we encourage you to experiment and think creatively. It will be your signature on the music you play. Keep it simple and creative at the same time.
Useful DJ set tips to consider:
What is Jingles? Jingles are very short clips of audio containing key information about a show, such as the name of the artist and where it is hosted.
This is arguably the most important part If you’re recording a DJ mix, start with at least a full minute of musk so you can hook people in. For a live radio show or podcast, keep the introduction short so you can pass straight to the music and do not wask-out your listeners. We’ll often notice big drop-offs in the first minute of Mixcloud shows, so the first 20-30 seconds are the most important. If you’re new to presenting, don’t worry, as everyone has to start from somewhere. Preparation is important so make lots of notes, whether it’s about songs or topics to talk about and plan the links between songs so there’s no awkward silences or mumbling.