Over the last few years I have changed and improved the way I record a...

Over the last few years I have changed and improved the way I record a live DJ mix. I thought I would share these experiences as it's not something people always put that much effort into and it also makes a big difference to the end product if you follow some of these small steps. Some of you will know the majority of the info below but you might find a few useful hints and tips.

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Recording software/hardware:

It doesn't matter if you're using CDJ's, turntables or a software controller with Traktor or Serato. The final recording needs to be recorded clean and loud but without distortion or clipping.

If you're recording into a Mac or PC I would recommend some free software called Audacity. You can record in to your machine using an audio line in socket. If you have a USB or FireWire soundcard this will bring in less or no static noise to your final recording. I normally ensure that my DJ mixer channels don't exceed the first red LED light at the tracks loudest point and use this as a gauge to keep my waveform nice and level. Always record in WAV Audio quality, if possible, as you can process before you finally compress the file. Using Audacity or the Wave editor of your choice, cut away any silence from the start of the mix and use the fade out option over 10-15 seconds to close the recording off.

You can also use a mobile or pocket recording unit. These usually retail between 80 and 150. I use a Yamaha Pocketrak C24 at home and for recording live sets out and about. One battery gives you 6 hours of audio recording in WAV format or about 24 hours in MP3 format. You can add a larger Mini SD card to increase the storage space.

Processing the final recording:

Not everyone normalises the output volume on their DJ Mix. It's all down to personal preference but I prefer a loud clear recording rather pushing my playback volume and increasing the hiss. I use a program called Platinum Notes which is great for making the overall recording nice and loud, without clipping. Most software Wave editors have some form of option to increase the overall volume of the mix by a percentage or to a maximum number of decibels. Another great function is the ability to undo a volume increase if you get it wrong. Once the file is normalised I drop the WAV back in to Audacity to zoom in on the wave form and compare it side by side to the original recording. Platinum Notes normally gets it right but if you are normalising manually watch out for distortion.

Adding additional info via iTunes

Once you have top and tailed your mix in WAV format the next step is to save (Export) the mix to your desktop and either convert to 128K MP3 in iTunes or use a cheap and cheerful application such as Music Converter Pro. 128K MP3 format is recommended for Podcasts, and mix downloads as the quality is good enough for your iPod/Car Stereo and the file size is normally only around 60MB for a one hour mix.

Highlight your mix file in iTunes and use the right click 'Get Info' option. You will now see the screen above. Now you can edit the title, artwork, ID3 Tags and copy, paste or type up your tracklisting using the tabs across the top.

I recommend adding your website address and labelling the mix with all your details in the 'Info' tab. It amazes me how many times people upload mixes and they have no artwork, artist name or mix name. I quite often listen back to a mix in my iTunes library and I haven't a clue who's work it is!?

Drag and drop your artwork straight into the 'Artwork' tab and you can paste your track listing to the 'Lyrics' tab.

Under the 'Options' tab tick the following box: 'Remember Playback Position' This is really handy as nearly everyday my iPhone tends to forget how far I got into a mix when I paused it earlier in the day. This tickbox option treats the mix like a podcast and forces the device to save and carry on from where you left off.

Drag and drop the mp3 file out of iTunes to your desktop ready for uploading to your download sites/server etc.

Remember sites like soundcloud store your mp3 on their server and they don't change the file for the listener/downloader. When a listener downloads the mp3 file it will still contain your artwork, tracklist, ID3 tags and other iTunes data so it's worth getting it right.

Plug Away!

I recommend Soundcloud, Mixcloud and most definitely get your mixes on a podcast via the iTunes Store. The download stats via a Podcast far outweigh statistics from somewhere like Soundcloud and mixcloud. It's not an easy process but once it's set up it's extremely easy to self manage. Andy Ward sorted mine out on my website. Check out his services: WardsWebsites

All of the above sounds like a lot of work but the extra fixes probably take a maximum of 10-15 minutes in reality, so if you make it a force of habit every time you record a new mix it will soon become a natural process.

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Posted in Home Post Date 09/08/2020


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