Optimal DJ recording setup
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor Ever's Avatar
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    Default Optimal DJ recording setup

    TLDR: what's the optimal signal path and gear types, from the ground-up, for a pro-sumer DJ recording setup

    Curious to hear some opinions on the "optimal" setup for recording a DJ mix. Pre-mastering. If you could design anything within reason what would it look like? Which bits and bobs, processes and procedures should be considered for a setup where money matters, but is also good enough to put out a respectable recording? How do the pros (not audiophiles) do it?

    Background: I've been recording my sets, and it works fine but it's definitely amateur. I'd much rather leap into this and have great sounding mixes instead of slowly getting better gear, optimizing my settings over time, and being left with a bunch of recordings that could have been better. Money is an issue, but I prefer to make purchases that will inch me towards this optimal setup instead of buying things now that I'll wind up replacing.

    An example might be as follows. I've underlined specific examples that can be swapped out for other options:

    "You're going to want a brand-name instrument, whether it's a CDJ, controller or laptop. Get a similar mixer. Use XLR outs directly into flat studio monitors. Run your audio via Digital Record Out using RCA cables into your external soundcard. From here run the audio via USB into your computer, and record using Ableton/Audacity/etc. Keep the levels around -12db. Do your mix. Export the finished product to WAV. Send off to reputable mastering house. You now have a virtually-professional product."

    I suppose the things I've noted on are the optimal:

    -method to go from mixer to monitors (XLR, etc)
    -type of monitor ($100? $5000?)
    -mixer output for recording audio (digital, rca, usb)
    -type of soundcard for a pro studio (internal, external)
    -soundcard output
    -recording software

    Bonus: I need to upgrade my soundcard. What are the cheapest options that you'd permit in the setup you just created?
    Last edited by Ever; 07-01-2013 at 01:00 AM.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ever View Post
    Curious to hear some opinions on the "optimal" setup for recording a DJ mix. Pre-mastering. If you could design anything within reason what would it look like? Which bits and bobs, processes and procedures should be considered for a setup where money matters, but is also good enough to put out a respectable recording? How do the pros (not audiophiles) do it?

    Background: I've been recording my sets, and it works fine but it's definitely amateur. I'd much rather leap into this and have great sounding mixes instead of slowly getting better gear, optimizing my settings over time, and being left with a bunch of recordings that could have been better. Money is an issue, but I prefer to make purchases that will inch me towards this optimal setup instead of buying things now that I'll wind up replacing.

    An example might be as follows. I've underlined specific examples that can be swapped out for other options:

    "You're going to want a brand-name instrument, whether it's a CDJ, controller or laptop. Get a similar mixer. Use XLR outs directly into flat studio monitors. Run your audio via Digital Record Out using RCA cables into your external soundcard. From here run the audio via USB into your computer, and record using Ableton/Audacity/etc. Keep the levels around -12db. Do your mix. Export the finished product to WAV. Send off to reputable mastering house. You now have a virtually-professional product."

    I suppose the things I've noted on are the optimal:

    -method to go from mixer to monitors (XLR, etc)
    -type of monitor ($100? $5000?)
    -mixer output for recording audio (digital, rca, usb)
    -type of soundcard for a pro studio (internal, external)
    -soundcard output
    -recording software

    Bonus: I need to upgrade my soundcard. What are the cheapest options that you'd permit in the setup you just created?

    TLDR: what's the optimal signal path and gear types, from the ground-up, for a pro-sumer DJ recording setup
    RCA out from your mixer into your laptop/PC's line in port will give you perfectly acceptable quality. Anything else is unnecessary cake.
    For Sale: Handmade Custom DJ Cables - RCA / TRS / XLR!
    Gear: 2x Reloop Contour, Zomo MC-1000, Reloop RMX-40 :: Reloop Terminal Mix 4 :: Korg nanoKONTROL :: Traktor 2.6.1
    Latest Mix: June Progressive House (Soundcloud)

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor HighTopFade's Avatar
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    Line In port on the computer works fine. Not an option for a 2012 Macbook Pro 13" (line out only). Using a Behringer FCA202 Firewire external recording interface. I'd rather have the simplicity of the Line In port.
    Used Record Shopper

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighTopFade View Post
    Line In port on the computer works fine. Not an option for a 2012 Macbook Pro 13" (line out only). Using a Behringer FCA202 Firewire external recording interface. I'd rather have the simplicity of the Line In port.
    Is the 2012 not the same as the 2011 where by it has only single port on the 13" but the port can be selected as either input or output port within settings or option click on the speaker icon on the menu bar

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor HighTopFade's Avatar
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    The 2012 13" does not offer a Line In option. 2009 13" has a Line In option. I don't know about the 2010 or 2011.
    Used Record Shopper

  6. #6
    Tech Guru MaxOne's Avatar
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    I sort of dont know what is being asked here but I got a zoom h4n external recorder with xlr/jack inputs that records WAV.

    It's pro and its great
    CLUB OF JACKS - RELEASES >>TRAXSOURCE
    Club of Jacks are a London based House & Garage production / DJ duo with releases on a number of underground labels including Plastik People Recordings, Blockhead Recordings, Hi Energy!, Pocket Jacks Trax, Soul Revolution Records and their own Club of Jacks imprint.

  7. #7
    Tech Mentor Ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxOne View Post
    I sort of dont know what is being asked here
    TLDR: what's the optimal signal path and gear types, from the ground-up, for a pro-sumer DJ recording setup

    -method to go from mixer to monitors (XLR, etc)
    -mixer output for recording audio (digital, rca, usb)
    -PC input (Line-In, USB, etC)
    -type of soundcard (pro internal, pro external, consumer internal - whatever your motherboard has)
    -soundcard output (RCA to Line-In, USB, etc)
    -recording software

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ever View Post
    TLDR: what's the optimal signal path and gear types, from the ground-up, for a pro-sumer DJ recording setup

    -method to go from mixer to monitors (XLR, etc)
    -mixer output for recording audio (digital, rca, usb)
    -PC input (Line-In, USB, etC)
    -type of soundcard (pro internal, pro external, consumer internal - whatever your motherboard has)
    -soundcard output (RCA to Line-In, USB, etc)
    -recording software
    You're worrying about it too much dude.

    Optimal signal path would be to play source files from DVD-A at 192/96, output them through a mixer which supports digital 192/96, and then back into a 192/96 audio interface and record using Adobe Audition at 192/96.

    You're playing MP3s or FLAC at 44/16, so a 44/16 line input is perfectly acceptable. Just relax. No point spending money on expensive gear when your source media is lower quality than the input.

    So I'll re-iterate; go from your mixer's rec out into your computer's line-in, and use ANY recording software which supports 44/16 (Audacity has been mentioned, which is fine).
    For Sale: Handmade Custom DJ Cables - RCA / TRS / XLR!
    Gear: 2x Reloop Contour, Zomo MC-1000, Reloop RMX-40 :: Reloop Terminal Mix 4 :: Korg nanoKONTROL :: Traktor 2.6.1
    Latest Mix: June Progressive House (Soundcloud)

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor Ever's Avatar
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    Thanks MDC. I've been told "you're worrying about it too much" a few times in my life

    I'm currently using a Rane MP22z which doesn't have Rec Out. I figure Zone or Tape is the best for now. http://bit.ly/12zGLzl

    Something like this on par for good quality? http://amzn.to/11Z3jpY

    Looking to get a DJM or an A&H in the future.

  10. #10
    Tech Guru papo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighTopFade View Post
    The 2012 13" does not offer a Line In option. 2009 13" has a Line In option. I don't know about the 2010 or 2011.
    as Michael said, you only have one port, but you can switch it between audio in or out in the System Preferences >> Audio section.

    As of 2011, MacBook Pro's have the single port (dual functionality).

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