Learn How To Make A Mixtape In 10 Different Ways

September 28, 2020
Written by
Buster Bennett
Learn How To Make A Mixtape In 10 Different Ways

How do you make a mixtape? We show you 10 different ways!

DJ or not, many people want to make their own mixtape for multiple reasons. Nowadays there are so many ways of doing it, so we've created this guide to help you learn how to make your own professional mixtape. If you need further help feel free to contact us or book a mixtape recording session in our studios. You can also learn more about how to DJ and record your own mixes on our DJ course.

What is a Mixtape?

A mixtape is simply a recoding of a DJ set or a list of songs mixed or joined together in a sequence. They are created by DJs and other people who need recorded music or playlists. Nowadays, mixtapes are typically digital recordings but in the past they were recorded onto cassette tape, hence the name. Mixtapes can be any length of time but typically are an hour long.

Who Makes Mixtapes?

Many DJs use them to promote themselves and get DJ gigs.
Gym & fitness instructors use them to motivate their clients.
Yoga instructors and therapists use them to relax their clients.
Hotels and shops use them to create ambience.
Club promoters use them to advertise events.
Record labels use them to promote their artists.
People create them as gifts for loved ones.

How Do I Make A Mixtape?

Now you understand what a mixtape is and who uses them, you can make a mix yourself!

We've created this easy guide to inspire you with 10 different ways you can do it!

If you are unfamiliar with how to DJ or make a mixtape you can still make one. Some of these programs are easier to use than others and we are confident you'll be able to master any of them. Check the difficulty level on each one. As always, if you're stuck contact us! We can help with an online lesson or online DJ course.

Step One - Gather some tracks that you want to mix together. If you're using a computer you'll need some high-quality files like MP3, WAV or AIFF.

Step Two - Decide what order you want to play/mix the tracks in. You might want to research how to mix harmonically or book an online lesson with us.

Step Three - Drag and drop your tracks in the order you want to play/mix them.

Step Four - Depending on what program, either fade the volume between tracks or beat-match them together alongside a volume fade.

Step Five - Export the mixtape as an MP3 file.

  1. MixMeister (from $69.99 upward)

Difficulty Level > Easy

This is one the best programs we have found to help you produce a mixtape with little or no DJ knowledge. It's a simple-to-follow layout and give you tools that make it easy to create a mixtape. In addition, you have the option of fading the volume between tracks or actually having the program beat-match and blend them together for you. It's very visual and makes it easy to see the whole playlist mapped out in the time-line in front of you!

It also allows you to make simple edits, like cutting a bit of the song off or repeating (looping) a part you like. You can easily cut and paste different parts of the track to rearrange the order, shorten or lengthen the tracks. In addition it has some effects you can use and it will detect the BPM and key of the songs.

How to make a mixtape 2020
MixMeister is very visual and easy to use.

Click Here To Download MixMeister

  1. Audacity (Free to download and use)

Difficulty Level > Easy-Medium

Audacity is a free audio editing program you can use to record and edit audio. It's not specifically for creating mixtapes and it doesn't look as fancy as MixMeister but it still allows you to make a mixtape for free! One major downside compared to MixMeister is that it will not sync the BPM (beat-match) your tracks. It's great however if you want to make a mixtape that is a string of tracks just fading in an out with only short overlaps, with no mixing or beat-matching. If you want to actually beat-match the music you will need to use a different program.

How to make mixtape on Audacity
Not the easiest program to use but it's free!

Click here to download Audacity

  1. Garage Band (available for free on Apple computers)

Difficulty Level > Easy

Garage Band is a basic audio editing program available for free on iPhone and on Apple computers. It allows you to record, edit and arrange all types of audio and samples in a simple linear time-line. It's easier and more visual than Audacity so great for mac users. It has many features but it's not designed for beat-matching or DJing so only useful for very simple mixtapes where you're fading in and out of songs.

Garage Band is also a great program to learn with if you're interested in music production and learning how to create your own tracks. Click here for more information on how to produce music.

How to make a mixtape on Garage Band
Garage Band is great for audio editing but not so great for making beat-matched mixtapes

Click here to learn more about Garage Band

  1. Pacemaker AI DJ App (£4.49 a week (one week free trial)

Difficulty Level > Super Easy!

You can also use Apps on a phone to create a mixtape. Pacemaker AI DJ App allows you to create mixtapes using Spotify or tracks on your phone. It has an easy to use system. You can create a mixtape with minimal knowledge or experience with drag and drop tools.

Once you install the App there will be a quick guide, helping you learn how to make a mix within minutes. You can connect it with your Spotify or just make a mix with files that are on your device (MP3s).

The great thing about this App is that it's easy to use and it will do the beat-matching for you, so even with no DJ skills you have produce a pro-sounding mixtape. The major downside is that you can't export the mixtape and you can only share the link. This is a big problem for many users of this service.

Easiest to use but you can't download your mixtape :/

Click here to download Pacemaker

  1. Rekordbox (Free and Subscription Options Available)

Difficulty Level > Medium (requires DJ skills)

Okay, so if you are a DJ or want to learn how to DJ you'll want to get to grips with the leading DJ software program Rekordbox. This is the best options for serious mixtape producers!

Pioneer DJ have created Rekordbox to allow DJs to create and organise their playlists, DJ and record. It works hand-in-hand with all the Pioneer DDJ controllers, XDJ all-in-one DJ units and the club industry-standard CDJs. We use it in all of our DJ courses at LSA. Enrol on our Beginner DJ Course to learn how to use Rekordbox. Contact us for more information by clicking here.

It's easy to record a mix from your DJ equipment straight into Rekordbox. Start by creating your playlist, then either export to USB or use your laptop with your Pioneer DJ hardware. Now plug in your laptop to your mixer or controller and hit record! It's always a good idea to do a test recoding first, to make sure your volume levels are correct and to solve any issues before doing your mix.

If you would like to learn how to use Rekordbox and all it's many features check out our DJ courses by clicking here or book an online Rekordbox class!

If you're interested in DJing Pioneer's Rekordbox is the best option.

Click here to download Rekordbox

  1. Serato (Demo version or Paid Versions Available)

Difficulty Level > Medium (requires DJ skills)

Rekordbox might be the number one DJ software program but there are many other options including Serato. It will allow you to Dj professionally and intuitively with their controllers or DVS (Digital Vinyl System). Overall, it's one of the world's most popular DJ software programs, especially popular with hip-hop, RnB and commercial DJs. It's also the program most used by DMC champion turntablists.

As with Rekordbox you just create a playlist (it's called a 'crate' on Serato) Then you can mix the tracks together using the software or your hardware and simply record live.

How to use Serato to record

Click here to download Serato

  1. Traktor (Demo & Full Versions Available)

Difficulty Level > Medium (requires DJ skills)

Another major player in the DJ software industry is Traktor by Native Instruments. Like Rekordbox and Serato it's used professionally by thousands of DJs worldwide. You can seamless create playlists and perform DJ sets using their controllers and hardware or linking it to the industry-standard CDJ set-up or turntables.

This is a great program for any DJ to learn and it have advanced creative capabilities compared to its competitors. It's not easy to learn for a beginner so if you're looking for something simple and you don't want to learn how to perform as a DJ go for a simpler program.

Once you know how to use the program simply hit record! It will record you mix in lossless WAV format. Find the recording in the 'Recordings' folder.

How to record a mix on traktor

Click here to download Traktor

  1. Virtual DJ (Demo and Paid Versions Available)

Difficulty Level > Medium (requires DJ skills)

Rekordbox, Serato and Traktor are the three leading DJ software programs used by professionals worldwide but Virtual DJ is most popular for amateur DJs and bedroom DJs. It has many of the same functions as the big three but at a much lower price. It even has some features that the other programs don't like the ability to mix video.

You can use Virtual DJ to plan a playlist and record a DJ set to create your own mixtape.

how to mix on virtual DJ
The most popular DJ software for bedroom DJs

Click here to download Virtual DJ

  1. Ableton (Free Trial and Various Packages Available)

Difficulty Level > Difficult (Requires production skills)

So let's say you're a DJ and a producer... You may want to use a program that gives you even more options like Ableton. Ableton Live is the most popular music production program (DAW) and it will allow you to create music in fine detail, from scratch or from samples. You can also use DAWs like Ableton Live to produce a mixtape that is beat-matched.

This is a good option for the control-freak! It will allow you to edit anything in the mix, add or delete sections with ease. You can also use the DAW to master the sound quality of your mixtape to meet industry standards.

As Ableton Live is designed to live performances it allows you to warp the tempo and beat-grid of a track and beat-match from one track to the next a lot like a DJ program. You can in fact use Ableton to DJ in a club. This is a great option for the professional DJ and producer to make a mixtape.

Ableton is a powerful program but hard to learn how to use.

Click here to download Ableton

  1. Logic (Demo version and paid version available)

Difficulty Level > Difficult (Requires production skills)

Alongside Ableton, Logic Pro is one of the worlds most popular DAWs to create music. It's essentially the full-version of Garage Band. It will give you endless ways to create and edit your own music. It's a complicated program to learn how to use but if you master it you'll have full creative control. Many producers who know how to make music will also use Logic to create their mixtapes.

However, Ableton Live has the advantage here because you can beat-match within Ableton so it's better for making a mixtape. Logic is good for making a simple mixtape where you just want to fade the tracks in and out but don't need to beat-match the tracks together.

How to make a mix with Logic Pro

Click here to download Logic Pro

  1. Recording A Mix Live

Sometimes, the most fun way to make a mixtape is to record it live! DJs will often record direct from their DJ equipment as they play. This is great for all types of DJs using all the different ways of DJing like CDs, Vinyl, USB, Laptop or any other audio equipment.

There are several ways to record a DJ and it really depends on what equipment you're using but some common ways include:

Using a dictaphone or portable recording device like the EverMix connected to your mixer output.
Connecting your mixer by USB to your computer and recording using a program like Rekordbox.
Connecting your mixer to your phone and using an app like Pioneer's DJM-REC app.
Connecting your mixer to a soundcard and then connecting it to your laptop and using a program like Audacity, Garage Band, Logic or Ableton.

Tips For Recording A Live Mixtape

Make sure that if you're recording live you do a test recording first, listen back to it and check for errors. Common mistakes include having the levels too low or too high. Make sure your levels are loud but not distorting. Another common mistake is recording the ambient sound, instead of the sound coming from the output of your mixer. If you record the ambient sound by mistake you will also hear yourself talking or moving around the room. It's always wise to make a test recording first and check it sounds good before committing to a full hour of recoding!

We hope you enjoyed our blog showing you 10 ways to record your own mixtape! If you found this blog useful please sign up to our newsletter for more! We would really appreciate if you shared our blog too!

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