Record your mix with PC  General instruction set to start recording

Submitted by Lead  Flag on 23-09-2006 @ 00:09
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This Topic covers all the basic things and handling's that can guide to make a good recording on your PC from your audio mixer. This topic is split into several sections :

Cinch to mini jack cable, home manufateredWhat kind of Cable ?
To record a mix from your mixer on your PC you need to make a connection between them. This is done by a pretty common cable and it shouldn't be vary hard to obtain it at your local electronics store.

This cable has 2 cinch connectors, also known as RCA connector (after it's founders: the Radio Corporation of America) on one side and a stereo 3.5mm (1/8 inch) mini jack plug at the other side.

You can use this cable to connect lots of portable gear as well like iPods, walkmans, MP3 players or PDA's to audio devices with a RCA input. Off course this depends on the features of your portable device and your other hardware.

Make it yourself

You are expected to have some technical knowledge and skills if you want to make this cable yourself.

The best possible way to make the connection is by soldering it. Soldering is a method of connecting metallic materials using an additional melting metal, if necessary with the assistance of a flux. The melting temperature of the solder must lie beneath the minimum melting temperature of the base metals being connected.
These base metals shall be tinned first before making the final connection.

Solders for copper and silver are tin/lead and have a melting range 178-215°C, depending on the composition of the alloy.

It is an easy job to make this cable yourself. There only need to be made a few connections to get is working. In this simple schematic overview you see that the connection is made with 3 wires: Ground, Left signal and Right Signal.

Cinch to Jack cable connection diagram / schematics

Left and Right share the same ground, in the 3.5mm mini jack they are both connected to the same contact. The ground is connected to the sleeve, the right signal to the ring and the left signal to the tip of the Jack connector.

Soldering the wire to the connectorWhat to do

Off course making the complete cable yourself is also an option, but this save a lot of work : You can use an existing RCA cable and cut of one side at the desired length.

Now slide the cap of the connector over the wire, in the right direction !

Forgetting this occasionally happens even to the most experienced cable makers.

Then strip off the ends (about 15mm) of the wire. Each wire exists of a ground shield and a thinner wire with the signal. Be care full not to damage the wires of the ground shield in the cable!

Separate the lead from the wires of the ground shield. Twist both grounds (left and right) together.

Strip the little wires about 5mm from the end.

Now heat up the wires so the solder will suck in. Supply the solder from the opposite direction of you solder welt. Don't put to much solder on it, you don't want to see big drops hanging.

Make sure that you keep some copper clear from solder just before the insulation. This keep the wires more flexible and prevent them from breaking off.

Shorten the combined ground wire by about 5mm after you've applied solder to it. This will make the welding and getting it inside the connector a lot easier.

Mounting the Connector
Just as with the wires, you also should apply some solder on the places on the connector where you are going to mount the wires. This will make the actual welding a lot easier.

Attach all the signal and ground wires to the proper place. Mount the wires on the inside of the connector to avoid short circuiting it with the housing when you close it.

After you've closed the connector, double check with a meter if you didn't make any last minute short circuits.

Connecting the Cable to PC

The mini jack connector goes into the signal input of your computer. You can do this on 2 ways: the build in sound card of your motherboard, or you can use the input on your sound card. Using the sound card is recommended as it is most likely of better quality (check your manuals to find out what's best for your situation). The line input is often marked with blue.

Plug into build In sound Card Jack connecter to Sound Card output

Phone Pre-amp (RIAA filter)
When a track is pressed on a vinyl record the sound needs to be prepared for it. If the low frequencies we're recorded at the same level as the rest of the audio, the vibrations might bump the needle out of the track.
To make sure this doesn't happen, sound is pre-filtered before it can be recorded to vinyl. This is done by a device that is called: Phono pre-amp or RIAA filter. This filter gets all sub-frequencies back again at the right level.

Connect the Cinch connectors to the Master output of the MixerYou cannot hook your turntable directly to your PC, you will need a RIAA filter first. You can buy them as a small separate box, but the most easy way is just to connect your mixer between the turntable and the PC.

Connect the Mixer
And Off course the other end with the Cinch/RCA connectors goes into the Master, Booth or Record output of your mixer.

Basically you can use any output of the mixer to record. The Record Out would be the best because the level of this output is independent of the setting of Master or Booth volume.

Windows internal Mixer
Before you can make a recording you need to check on the Windows Mixers settings. Click on the speaker icon in your windows task bar :

If you do not see this icon you can turn this on via the Start Menu : Start > Sound & Audio Devices. Check the box before 'Place volume icon in your task bar' and apply. Now the speaker icon will appear in the right bottom corner next to your system time.

Click to Enlarge ! When you've clicked on the speaker icon you will seethe Windows Mixer will popup similar to the one shown on the right. --->

Make sure that the mute checkbox of the Line In is unchecked. Check all others so they're muted, this will also prevent you from recording the Windows sound (Wave).

Now go to: Options > Properties

Click to Enlarge !In this window you can which of the available audio input will be shown in the Playback and Recording screens. When the box is unchecked the input will not show up in the Window Mixer.

Maximum output of your Mixer's VU Meters !Record at the right level
This is one of the most import discipline to get good recordings: Record at a good level.
When you record at a to low level you might here the noise floor. Also if you record the sound at half level you're basically recording it at 8-bit instead of the 16-bit that your CD will be able to play.

There are lots of things that might affect your recording quality and level, as they all need to be right here is a quick checklist :

  1. The Source Material
    It all starts at the beginning, when your source material (CD, Mix, etc) is of bad quality, you will never get a good recording.
  2. Inputs on the Audio Mixer
    Each channel should be at around 0dB, use your gains/trims to adjust this on the Audio Mixer. Your Equalizers (Low, Mid, High) should be at center position to get a neutral recording, only adjust these if you know what you're doing. Remember that playing a track in a club is something totally different from your home sound system. A tip: less is more...
  3. Output of the Audio Mixer
    The output level of the mixer should not exceed 0dB, adjust the Master Level to correct this
  4. Input of you PC
    With the Windows Mixer you need to set this at about 2/3 of the scale.
  5. Record Level
    To convert the signal to WAV you need to record it with your PC, you want to record as close below 0dB: Never go over !
By recording at the right level you will save yourselves a lot of post-production work.

Maximum level of your Windows Recording ToolWhat Recording Software ?
There is lots of software available that you can use. The professionals choice would be a commercial product like Sony Sound Forge, Steinberg Wavelab or Adobe Audition.

But there are also some free tools available like Exact Audio Copy and Audacity.

Again the most important settings of whatever program you are using :

Keep your Levels below 0dB and use the highest sample-rate possible.

Post Editing of your Tracks
You still might want to edit some things of your tracks like stripping off the excess spaces at the begin and end of the track. When you rip your 12" you first start the recording, then play the record and when the record or track has ended you stop the recording. This will give you some noises and/or white spaces before and after the audio. With any audio edit program you can perform this action.

In some cases it might be use full to use a software limiter or normalizer to get your recordings at the same level. Because of the differences in mastering, vinyl pressings and used material for the 12" you might notice pretty big differences in recording level.

What are the possible enhancements ?
You should process your recordings to much as you want to keep the tracks as close to the original sound as possible. When you are making a lot of recodings of vinyl you will notice that the recording level and quality varies a lot. Some bad vinyl presses need some tweaking and perhaps these handlings are basically all you need:

Most waveform edit programs offer some form of a Normalize feature. This will automatically measure the loudest sound in the track and set that as the maximum level. There will be no messing around with you track.
The only thing a Normalizer would do is amplifying the volume to the required level. You should generaly set this just below 0db (-0.1db). When keeping the level to low will make you might hear more of the noise floor, if the level gets past 0dB : digital clipping will occure and that awfull sound you surely want to avoid !

Click to Enlarge !Compression
When you compress audio you are limiting the dynamic range when a certain level (Threshold) is exceeded. The level of compression is set by the Ratio. Signals that stay below the threshold level will not be processed and left unchanged.

A typical ratio that works for lots of applications is 2:1. When the input level increases with 2 dB (Decibels), the output is increased with 1 Decibel (dB).

Decibels are measured on a logarithmical scale. So if a sound level increases with 3dB the loudness will be doubled !

Technically speaking limiting is the name for compression with a very high ratio. Although there is no real definition of the point where compression turns into limiting a ratio of more than 10:1 is considered as hard limiting. When compression is complied with a low ratio (less than 10:1) we generaly speak of soft limiting.

So what to do ?
There is no exact science for this matter as the possibilities of the quality of the input material are endless. The most important thing : Don't process your recording unless this is neccesary !

When you do decide to post-process, each situation requires it's own approach and handling.

You can use Compression when a recording sounds rather dull and/or has a very bad dynamic sound. You can boost the lower level parts when you use a soft limiter with a ration 2:1 at a threshold level of -6dB. Depanding of the input level you may try to boost the input level with a few dB's and play around with the threshold. Play around with the ratio and the gain to find the best approach for the situation.

For a live recording it could be a good idea to activate a strong/high compression with a ratio of 20:1 to avoid accidental clipping. A live recording usually is much more dynamical than a studio recording. So some high level sections of the track might be outbalanced in the complete picture.

What do you think about Record your mix with PC ??

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This content is © 2006-2020 The DJResource...

There are 13 Comments

  Flag Camino wrote on 12-10-2006 @ 21:51
Eindelijk de info waar zo vaak om gevraagd wordt als DJ topic, goed werk Lead!
  Flag kavafis wrote on 09-11-2006 @ 17:35
nice topic!! keep it up...

p.s. what is the best way to "erase" clipping? i did a mix and when tracks played together (i mean when their beats matched) clipping occured... i couldnt hear it during the mix but when i finished it was clearly there... i use Soundforge and Adobe Audition... Which filter should i use to totally remove clipping? thx in advance!
  Flag Lead wrote on 26-12-2006 @ 14:12
You cannot erase clipping. such distortion of the sound cannot be repaired: you should AVOID it when making a recording (use a limiter while making the recording)
  Flag djmaarten wrote on 18-01-2007 @ 21:09
kan iemand dit vertallen ik snap niks van engels:S
  Flag Lead wrote on 18-01-2007 @ 21:47
Klik bovenaan de topic op het nederlandse vlaggetje Winking my eye
  Flag JasperVC wrote on 20-05-2007 @ 16:35
Waarom zo  een kabel maken als je hem voor 4 euro kunt kopen ofzo
  Flag Lead wrote on 03-06-2007 @ 11:55
Gewoon omdat er misschien mensen zijn (zoals ik) die zelf graag willen zorgen dat de kabel goed in elkaar zit Winking my eye
  Flag nickpivce wrote on 12-02-2008 @ 14:18
awsome topic guyssss
  Flag Convert wrote on 17-07-2008 @ 15:48
Heel creative om zelf kabeltje te maken maar voor 5euro heb je een 5meter lange kabel van 2tulp naar 3,5mm jack... beetje geklooi voor dat geld Winking my eye
BennoRevelli wrote on 11-03-2010 @ 19:29
Altijd leuk, een beetje elektrotechniek erbij.. Winking my eye
  Flag Yvaroz wrote on 18-03-2010 @ 18:08
audacity geprobeert.
echt bagger, sloeg de heletijd over
  Flag atnight wrote on 11-09-2010 @ 20:57
ik heb nog een vraagje,
ik zou graag een aankondiging opnemen via mijn microfoon, maar kent er iemand een programma waarmee je het opgenomen bestand kan bewerken??
  Flag DiaXL wrote on 02-01-2011 @ 16:17
Via adobe audition of reaper..Happy, laughing
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