Connect your equipment for live broadcasting online or on Radio.
So, you have bought the stuff you need for live broadcasting, and now you need to connect it all up just right? Well, you have come to the right place! This guide will take you through the connections you need to make between your DJ gear, USB Mixer and your computer or laptop for live broadcasting. If you haven’t bought the equipment and are wondering what to get, check the equipment guide here. Otherwise, read on and get connected.
Here is where the fun starts. It’s simple, and you probably already know this if you are a DJ but follow these easy steps and you can make sure you are ready to broadcast.
- Connect the USB mixer to the wall socket if it came with a power adapter. It is essential that you do this because the device will be able to power your Phantom Power mic more consistently.
- Connect your USB mixer interface to the PC or Mac using the cable provided with the USB mixer into a free USB port. This is usually a USB cable with a USB A ending which goes into your computer or laptop, and a USB B ending which goes into the mixer. If you are on a Mac and have no USB A ports, then you will have to buy a USB A to USB C converter.
- If you are on PC, make sure you go to the manufacturer’s website and get the requisite drivers and install them. These will usually be ASIO drivers available on the manufacturer’s website. You can use the USB mixer without this, but it is not recommended. On a Mac, you can use Mac’s generic ‘USB AUDIO CODEC’ without installing external drivers.
- Connect the master output of your DJ controller to L/R of a Line Input section on the mixer. If you are unsure of which cables to use, check this guide out. Look at the cables section and match the connectors to your DJ gear output and USB Mixer input.
- Now connect your condenser microphone using the XLR Cable to the XLR input of the Mixer. More expensive microphones will usually come with a cable, but if your mic did not come with one, you can pick an XLR cable up here.
- Next, connect your speakers to the Main Output (or Main Mix) section of the Mixer using 6.35mm JACK to XLR cables (for the speaker end) or JACK to JACK cables (for Monitor speakers). If your speaker has unbalanced RCA inputs, you will need a JACK to RCA cable. For more on the three cables needed for this guide, check the equipment guide here.
- Now make sure all volumes are turned down and then press the red button which says phantom power on the mixer. doing this will turn on Phantom Power for the microphone. Do not use Phantom Power for mics which do not need it, otherwise the mic will sound distorted, and could be damaged. Phantom Power is required only for condenser microphones which need external powering.
- Turn up the XLR line volume to get your mic levels just right, and the Line volume where you connected your DJ mixer or controller to get your music levels when you have some tracks going on your DJ software.
- Once you are happy with all that, start your broadcasting software and in the audio settings section, select the USB Mixer. If you are on the PC and have installed the drivers from the manufacturer, then you will see the Mixer name. On the Mac, you will simply see something like ‘USB AUDIO CODEC’. Now, speak or play something and check that the broadcasting software can pick up the mixed signal.
Live Broadcasting with a USB Soundcard
Just got a USB soundcard, and not a USB Mixer? That is fine. You can still connect up to broadcast with some small differences.
- You will have to connect your microphone to your DJ gear. Whether you use a DJ Mixer or a DJ controller, you will have a mic input. However, the chances of phantom power support are close to zero.
- Two great DJ mics are the Shure SM58 and the AKG D5. These are both live vocal mics, and are not powered, i.e. they are not condenser microphones but that is fine. Really consider if you need a condenser mic.
- If this is a one-off broadcast or you will do it intermittently, a live vocal mic is sufficient. Especially, if you have one already and if you are a DJ, it is likely you will have one.
- If you are going to be doing a lot of broadcasting, and you are sure of it, then it makes sense to invest in a USB Mixer with Phantom Power and a condenser microphone.
- There are mics out there which are as good as condensers but don’t require phantom power. Yes, you read that right, but they are expensive. Essentially, they are high-sensitivity dynamic microphones. The Rode PodMic is one of the cheapest offering here and is yet expensive, but at least it is Rode, and therefore top-notch. Thing is, you can get a USB Mixer with Phantom Power and a regular condenser microphone for less than a Rode PodMic. So, consider if you are going to make a living out of your broadcasting or you just want to give your listeners good quality sound and then decide.
- The rest is easy. Connect the output of your DJ gear (mixer or controller) to the Input of the soundcard.
- Now, connect the the output of the soundcard to your speakers. Alternatively, if your DJ gear has booth outputs at the back, you can connect to your speakers from there.
- Using the USB cable that came with the soundcard, connect up to your Mac or PC.
- Start your broadcasting software and select the USB soundcard in the audio settings section.
- Since the USB soundcard is just that, a soundcard, you will have to manage your levels from your DJ gear and DJ software. If the input levels fall short at the broadcasting software end, most broadcasters allow you to boost the signal. Any volume control on the USB soundcard will usually be for the output on the soundcard and not the input.
Cue the fanfare. You are all connected up and ready to broadcast. That is exciting, isn’t it? It didn’t even take that long.
If you read this guide before checking the equipment guide, head over there and you can buy it all using the links. If you are indeed all connected up, then head over to the next guide to learn more about the broadcasting software settings you need.
You can use Ladiocast or the BUTT broadcaster for Mac. If you are on PC, BUTT is the broadcaster I will recommend for ShoutCast or Icecast stations. If you are looking to broadcast to YouTube, Facebook and the rest, then OBS (Open Broadcaster Studio) is what I’d recommend.