How Do DJs Record Their Mix?
How Do DJs Record Their Mix?
DJs record their mix in a variety of ways. Find our which one is right for you.
If you want to successfully record your DJ mix you need to follow a few rules and find which system works best for your type of DJing. Recording a DJ set is one of the best ways to listen back to your DJing and check how your audience hears the set. You can analyse the recording for any improvements you need to make and clearly hear any mistakes you might need to work toward eradicating. It's a great way to check your learning progress and compare your mix to other DJs. It's actually a great learning experience. In addition, DJs will need to record their mixes regularly to show promoters an example of their DJ skills. Your mixtape is your business card!
Reasons DJs Record Their Mix
Learning - DJs will record their mix so that they can listen back and find where improvements can be made.
Trialling New Ideas - DJs will record their mix while they are trying out new ideas, track combinations or FX so they can judge them to be a success or not.
Creating Promotional Material - DJs will record their mixes to use for promotional purposes to advertise their DJ skills.
Archiving - DJs will record their mixes on a regular basis and keep an archive of their work.
How Can I Record My DJ Mix?
There are many ways to record a DJ mix. We can divide these into two categories; internal recording & external recording. Internal recording is where you record directly from your DJ software program, sometimes you don't even need DJ equipment for this. External recording is where you record directly from your hardware, for example, directly from the DJ mixer in a club.
How To Record A DJ Mix On Rekordbox (Internal)
Pioneer's Rekordbox DJ Software makes it very easy to record your DJ set. You can record your DJ mix on Rekordbox either on its own or with your DJ equipment plugged in. Most DJs will record their mix on Rekordbox by performing the mix with their DJ equipment and recording it in the software on their laptop while they are connected.
To record your mix on Rekordbox internally you need to have the subscription version. This will often come with your DJ controller, make sure you plug your controller in and use performance mode. If you have your controller plugged in but you see the little lock icon hiding the record button (as seen here with the arrow) you need to login to your subscription or sign up for a new subscription. If you have bought a hardware unlock controller, like something from the Pioneer DDJ or XDJ range, this won't be a problem.
Once you have some music playing you should see the signal jumping up and down as seen here with the green bars near the white arrow. Once you have signal you might need to adjust this knob so that you're not recording a red signal. A red signal means it's too loud and this will affect the quality of your recording. It's best to keep your recording level in the green and orange, but at the same time not too low. You can always turn up the volume of the recording later on but if it's distorted then you can't undo the distortion. Never record with your signal consistently in the high reds and try and keep your volume levels consistent through the recording process.
Once you have completed the recording turn off the record button and you'll find the recording in your recordings playlists. Right click to show the file in Finder or Explorer. As with all recording it's best to complete a small test recording first, then listen to it and check the levels before doing a longer recording.
How To Record A DJ Mix on Traktor (Internal)
Native Instrument's Traktor DJ software makes it super easy to record your DJ set. All you need to do is click on the recording icon to the far right as shown here, then set the gain to make sure your signal is not too loud and then press record. Once you are finished press the record button to stop and you'll find the recording in WAV format in your recordings folder in your playlists. Just make sure you do a test recording first so that you can listen back to it and make sure the levels are correct.
How To Record A DJ Mix on Serato (Internal)
As with Rekordbox and Traktor, Serato also makes it easy to record your DJ mix within the software itself. Just click the REC button on the top toolbar to open the recording panel seen here in the centre of the screen. Set the gain level as shown and then press record. When you are finished you should click REC to stop and then you will find your recording in your Serato Recordings folder on your computer.
How To Record A DJ Set on Virtual DJ
You can also record on Virtual DJ too! Virtual DJ is one of the most popular DJ programs for bedrooms DJs all over the world. It's affordable and has all the tools you need as a new DJ. To record on Virtual DJ click on the MASTER tab in the centre here, then click on the RED button to being the recording. Click the REC button to finish and your file be saved in the folder you've chosen via the preferences.
How To Record A DJ Set From A DJ Mixer (External)
There are many ways to DJ. Some DJs use laptops where you can record internally but some DJs use a playlist loaded onto a USB stick and some still use CDs or vinyl. If you want to record externally without your DJ software you can do this by connecting a red and white RCA cable from the REC out on the back of a mixer into a recording device or sound card. Some DJ mixers also allow you to record via USB.
Now you've got the RCA plugged into the REC out you need to plug the other end of the RCA into a recording device. There are many such recording devices. A common device for DJs is to some sort of dictaphone with a line-in option. The Zoom H6 is a popular choice as its great for recording audio on the go, be it from a DJ mix or just a field recording. The H6 makes it easy to control the levels to avoid a distorted recording.
The REC OUT option is a good option for DJ mixers that don't have the ability to record via USB.
How To Record From A DJ Mixer Using USB
A popular way to record is to use the USB connection from a Pioneer DJM mixer. Firstly make sure you install the correct driver for the mixer on your laptop and that you have the latest version of Rekordbox installed. You might also want to make sure that the mixer has the latest firmware. Now connect the USB cable to the top left of the DJ mixer in the USB port and the other end into your laptop.
Now open Rekordbox in export mode, make sure the REC panel is showing and then play some music. Adjust the recording level to avoid distortion and when you're ready press record. It's a good idea to do a rest recording where possible. When you are finished press the REC button to stop the recording and you will find the recording in your 'recordings' playlist. Right click on the recording to 'show in finder' or 'show in explorer' to allow you to locate the file on your computer.
How To Record A DJ Set With A Phone
IOS users (apple phone users) can also download the DJM REC app from Pioneer and record directly onto their phone. However, you have to buy the app and it only works on iPhones. For this you need the app on your phone and you need the USB cable that connects from the mixer into your phone. You can change the levels and press record on the app. It's easy to use but an extra expense.
How To Record A DJ Set on a Pioneer XDJ all-in-one unit
The Pioneer XDJ all-in-one units like the XDJ RX3 and the XDJ XZ all have an in-built recording function. This is the easiest way to record a mix and it will save it directly onto a USB! All you need to do is plug USB stick with enough remaining space into the second USB port on the top right of the XDJ unit. Then you can press the REC button under the USB port to start recording. When you are finished just press the button again to stop. Your recording will be saved onto the USB stick. Just make sure you have enough space left on the USB stick for a long recording, at least 1GB, two or three to be safe!
Conclusion - How To Record A DJ Mix
There are many ways to record your DJ mix. Find the best option for you but make sure that you always set the correct levels so that the recording is not distorted. Make sure that it's loud but not too loud, avoid the red signal. Adjust the gain and always perform and listen back to a test recording before committing to a longer mix!
If you need help recording your DJ mix you can also do this in our studios in London. Click here to book a recording sessions and get help recording a DJ mix.