Digital DJ Tips reader Richard asks, “After bedroom DJing for too long I’ve decided I need a bigger outlet for my creativity. My daily responsibilities don’t give me much time to get a club booking, but I can spare a few hours a month to record a mix. I’d like to post a regular trance radio show on Mixcloud to see if that gets any traction. I have all of the gear needed except for a microphone, and I’m going to need some jingles/idents, along with advice on producing a quality recording.”
“How can I add processing to make the recording sound professional? Can you suggest any cost effective (read: free or practically free) places where I could get some simple voiceovers to assemble with samples and loops to make myself some idents? Also, what is a suitable microphone for recording a few links that I can plug into my Pioneer DDJ-SX/Serato set up? I saw a Behringer mic with good reviews but I noticed the mixer needs ‘phantom power’ which I’m unfamiliar with.”
Digital DJ Tips Says:
The first big decision you’ll make when choosing a microphone is between dynamic or condenser. Dynamic mics hold up well in a live environment, while condensers are preferred for recording vocals because they’re more sensitive and can pick up low level sound. However, condensers require phantom power, which is DC voltage sent through a microphone cable to power a microphone or associated device, typically at +48V. If your mixer doesn’t have phantom power available (like the DDJ-SX) you’ll need an adapter to power it.
Depending on your budget, mics like the Rode NT1A (pictured above), Audio-Technica AT2035, or even the classic Shure SM58 are good choices, though there are loads more to choose from. For accessories, pick up an inexpensive mic stand, a pop filter to reduce plosive consonants (your p’s and t’s), and maybe a shock mount for good measure.
You’ll likely want to record your voice ahead of time with your mixer using a free DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) like Audacity. Through there you can add processing such as reverb and EQ. This will give your recording some depth and sense of space, and most importantly keep you from sounding flat.
If you don’t want to record your own voice, there are affordable services like Fiverr or Music Radio Creative that can accomplish this for you. To add something extra to your recording, use sites like Soundsnap or Freesound.org for royalty free FX, loops, and samples.
You can also look at your own collection for bits of sound to extract and turn into something cool. Our Make Your Own Sample Sets course shows you how to do this. Once you have your jingles, idents, and samples imported into your DJ software, you can drop them into your mix while you DJ.
What gear would you recommend for recording voiceovers in a DJ mix? Any go-to sites for free jingles, idents, and samples? How do you process your recordings to make them sound professional? Let us know your tips in the comments!