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telepathy
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recording DJ's

Post by telepathy » Mon Feb 13, 2006 11:50 pm

so I'm helping a turntablist friend do a demo, and I'm trying to figure out the best signal path here ... from his DJ mixer to 1/4" 2-track. I've never recorded a DJ before. imaginably run the signal through the RNC, but what kind of signal level will I be getting from the DJ mixer? run it through a preamp first, to only use the RNC as "polish" instead of getting real gain with it? and then, I figure straight into the tape machine, which has 1/4" ins. I don't think I'm going to want or need to EQ the signal, so there's no point running DI into a mixer, if that would just be for monitoring, right? I can monitor though the tape returns.

I obviously won't know what to do until I'm in the middle of it, but for now I'm thinking DJ mixer --> RNC --> tape. suggestions & corrections welcome.
get up with it

blakbeltjonez
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Post by blakbeltjonez » Tue Feb 14, 2006 12:08 am

you should be able to come right out of the DJ mixer into the RNC - i really don't think you'll want to compress very much, maybe just set it so you've got a dB or two of gain reduction. let your friend use his EQ, no need for you to.

you've got the right idea though, the most minimal path to tape is probably gonna be the best.

Dubious
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Post by Dubious » Tue Feb 14, 2006 7:12 am

when i record my own dj mixes i usually got straight from the mixer into my board

afterwards i usually put a HPF and LPF on it to get rid of any turntable rumble. Then i put a limiter on it and bounce it down.

most good dj's should be outputting at a failry consistent level but you might wanty to keep an eye on the singal... especially if they're switching between LP's and 12"s .. there could be pretty radical volume changes.

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centurymantra
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Post by centurymantra » Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:51 am

I'm not sure how DJ mixer set-ups work, but the vinyl-phile side of me seems to think that it would be cool to insert a couple of really nice phono preamps in front of the mixer and scrap whatever phono pres are built in to the mixer. This, of course, might not be practical and/or feasible, but it's just a thought..

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NewAndImprov
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Post by NewAndImprov » Tue Feb 14, 2006 11:03 am

Being in a band with a turntablist, I can actually help here. Most DJ mixers put out a -10 consumer line level on RCA jacks. Some better mixers will put out a balanced line send on 1/4" TRS. With our DJ's system, the balanced outs are noisy and sound like crap, so we use the RCA's, which sound better. Send these through any preamp with a High Z input. On our last CD, the engineer used a really nice pair of tube line amps he'd cannibalized from some old piece of gear, and the decks sounded amazing, really textured and 3 dimensional. I've used an ART Dual MP at home, and they sound fine, if not exciting.

If your DJ is layereing tracks, consider using different preamps on different layers. We've even reamped turntables through guitar amps.

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apropos of nothing
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Post by apropos of nothing » Tue Feb 14, 2006 11:58 am

NewAndImprov wrote:If your DJ is layereing tracks, consider using different preamps on different layers. We've even reamped turntables through guitar amps.
I was gonna mention this. If you have access to a nice-sounding space and monitoring, it would be cool to get some room vibe in there.

telepathy
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Post by telepathy » Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:45 pm

thanks guys.

I thought about the phono preamp thing, but he's using a supposedly high-quality Vestax mixer so I imagine it'll be sufficient ... but definitely the RCA outs, which is why I wondered about preamping before the RNC. using the RNC just as a limiter, mostly.

I don't have any real good 2 channel preamp ... hmmmm.
get up with it

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centurymantra
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Post by centurymantra » Wed Feb 15, 2006 6:00 am

As a side note I should mention that I'm currently working with a group where one member commonly plays laptop electronics. This is a somewhat similar situation in that he's mixing some layers that are pre-recorded and pre-arranged on the laptop and sending it out through one of a couple different outboard sound cards which incorporate an RCA out or 1/8" mini jack output. The one signal chain that I found to be quite effective was running each of the outputs through a Countryman FET D.I. box then running the balanced outputs into a Sytek or Sebatron preamp. This reallly gives an interesting, fat flavor to the signal and works quite nicely as the laptop signal is, depending on the sources he's working with, kind of flat and grainy sometimes. I also experimented with running it through a DBX 163x compressor after the pres for some extra flavor and that's way cool as well. The Sebatron has direct ouputs that I can run into the DBX units for a parallel 163x squashed signal as well. Running with this method you could use the instrument output on the DI boxes to re-amp the signal.

Dubious
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Post by Dubious » Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:05 am

telepathy wrote:he's using a supposedly high-quality Vestax mixer
that's a bit of an oxymoron there

blakbeltjonez
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Post by blakbeltjonez » Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:15 pm

Dubious wrote:
telepathy wrote:he's using a supposedly high-quality Vestax mixer
that's a bit of an oxymoron there
you got that right..."supposedly" is the correct modifier to put in front of "high quality" when talking about many high priced DJ mixers. i am absolutely mystified how the premium models command such a high price when they sound so bad, especially when driven hard (Vestax and Pioneer in particular).

telepathy
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Post by telepathy » Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:42 am

I've wondered about that. I've been horrified at how bad many DJ mixers sound in the past (when spinning records, not anything "turntablist"), but the guy I'd be doing this with is pretty discerning, and he's into this mixer.

I was thinking of borrowing an EHX LPB-2ube to warm things up a little, before hitting the RNC. dunno. less is probably more with this project.
get up with it

blakbeltjonez
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Post by blakbeltjonez » Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:23 am

telepathy wrote:I've wondered about that. I've been horrified at how bad many DJ mixers sound in the past (when spinning records, not anything "turntablist"), but the guy I'd be doing this with is pretty discerning, and he's into this mixer.

I was thinking of borrowing an EHX LPB-2ube to warm things up a little, before hitting the RNC. dunno. less is probably more with this project.
nah - less is more. if the guy likes the sound of his rig and he's discerning, then trust him. as long as he doesn't redline the Vestax things will be OK. a couple of good DI's or something with transformers might be cool to run through but otherwise use what you have and take the shortest path and if it sounds good go with it.

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