Poor recording from mixer using RCA to USB cable

WINDOWS 7, Installed from .exe file

Hello, I’m using the Numark N4 with a HP Envy 14 Beats edition. I’m absolutely loving it, everything is working perfectly and im improving all the time with mixes and tricks etc.

When I hit record and play it back, the sound is pretty quiet, low quality, there’s a loud hum in the background especially during silences and there’s almost no bass at all.’

So farI’ve; changed the sample rate to 16 bit and 44.1 khz (which is what the 2 rca cable to usb input states it works at even though my laptop works at 64 bit…is that the right thing to do?); altered the input levels and record levels on all control interfaces (windows volume mixer, beats audio, recording devices, my mixer and audacity); switched between MME and windows direct sound; checked for updated drivers on all sound hardware: all to no avail.

The strange thing is, when i play an mp3 from windows media player, and change the audio input record device on audacity to the n4, the sound is perfect, but if i try recording from the n4 usb input/output with using serato it does not record anything.
Is the problem that the n4 inbuilt soundcard is not good enough? Would buying an external sound card work with the n4?
My system is a 6 gig RAM quad core i7 processor running at 2.2 Ghz, but im not sure what the soundcard is like though.

If you could help me get to a point where i can record my mixes in a good quality I would be incredibly grateful. I’ve been strugging with this problem for aleast three weeks now and i just cannot work it out.

Thanks, Harvey.

I’m more than even sure I know what the problem is in a fuzzy, 10,000 foot view sense, but not in your particular case. You may have run out of sound pathways.

Here’s my view of the system (which I’m sure is wrong).

You scratch, match beats, cross fade and overlay music on your two “turntables”, mix in live microphone also plugged into the turntable system, monitor the show and pre-listen with headphones plugged into the turntable system and send your show out to the stacks of QSC power amplifiers and killer JBL sound system in the club also from the turntable system. The computer is hanging off the USB port on the back of the turntable system purely for recording in whatever software package you choose, Audacity in this case.

Did I hit it?


Hi, thanks for the reply.

Im not quite sure what you mean however, maybe i didnt explain myself properly.

My set up is Laptop playing tunes through Serato Dj intro ===USB===> Numark N4 controller ===>booth ouput: 2 x RCA converter into USB ==> into the same laptop and recording on audacity.

But the recording im getting is very quiet, distorted, no bass aswel.

WHen i record the input from the N4 (using the n4 as nothin more than a mixer) and use windows media player instead of serato dj intro, the recording quality is perfect. However when i record form the n4 input whilst playing through serato (which uses teh n4 usb as its output) the sound quality is again quiet, distorted and with no bass.

Its as if the booth output on the n4 doesnt give out good enough sound signal for the computer.

I hope this clears things up?

What’s the diagram for that?

WMP ==> ??? ==> Numark N4 controller ==> ??? ==> Audacity

What are the “???”

I think that’s what I’m trying to understand. So the show is already going back and forth between the computer and the N4 with Serato managing the pathways and directions. I think you ran out of sound pathways. There’s no way to catch the sound that’s on its way out to the speakers without a second computer and capture system.

The minute you try to reverse the outgoing speaker feed as an incoming signal for Audacity, it interferes with Serato because that’s the pathway it uses to bring the N4 back into the computer. I think you’re recording two or more pathways by accident and that will give you serious distortions, funny bass, and odd cancellation effects.

Unless somebody contradicts me, you either can’t do this with one computer, or there may be special provision for recording your show. I can’t believe you’re the first person to want to record their Serato tracks.

But that’s not an Audacity problem. Unlike Serato, Audacity does not create or manage audio pathways. It can only use that Windows provides and right now, Windows is sharing with Serato.


Its as if the booth output on the n4 doesnt give out good enough sound signal for the computer.

Have you plugged an amplifier into the booth output to see what it sounds like? (If you don’t have an amp handy, you can try your computer speakers, which have an amp built-in.)

Your Line to USB interface is going to want a “full-scale” line-level input, which means not volume-controlled, or the volume controls near the maximum. (Real-world analog levels vary a lot, so full-volume might overload/distort the ADC, but you do need a signal that’s “loud” when connected to an amp or to headphones.)

You can also try connect the line-outputs from a CD or DVD player to your line-to-USB interface to check the recording capability.

HI again,

Firstly Massive thanks to evryone so far for helping me out, i massively appreciate it. I’ve posted on both serato and N4 forums and ive not had any feedback. I can’t believe your the only free software IM suing and the only people to provide customer service. So thanks so much :smiley: .

the windows media p[layer diagram is eexaclt ythe same except WMP replaces serato, so its ;

WMP == USB==> N4 ===auxilliary booth output RCA to usb==> laptop /audacity recoridng…as far as I can tell thats essentially the same thing as the set up with serato. I understand that recording the N$ input would be dodgy, but recording from a seperate USB input coming out of thge booth output on the n4 should work so ive been told.

I’ll try the suggestion about recording a line out to usb from my amp as that will verify if the problem is with the computer.

I also know im not the first person whos tried to record their mixes from serato dj intro, theres a lot of threads requesting it, but i have honestly read them all followed all teh possible solutions so far and still can’t get the quality decent, I’ve improved it using some measures but its still way off what i know is possible.

Thanks again guys, your like some kind of mystical help warriors!

I hope that’s a typo :smiley:

What are the “USB” connections? Are they built into the N4 or are they standalone USB sound cards?

HI again,

haha yes it was a typo :wink:

The usb input is built the booth output is a line output which is what I’m trying to record from using a 2 x RCA phone cable to USB converter.

The cable is USB 2.0 and mylaptop is has both 3.0 and 2.0 usb ports, I’ve tried both but they produce the same difficulties.

Hope this helps and thanks again.

I’m not familiar with Serato or the N4 so you will need to help me out here.

If you connect a USB output from your computer to the USB input of the N4, and connect the booth output from the N4 to an amp/powered speakers, can you then play any application (example, WMP. Serato, Audacity, VLC or any other media player) out through the speakers via the N4?

Yes that’r right, the N4 is versatile as it can act as hardware for software such as Serato, Virtual DJ and Traktor Pro (which is has its buttons and knobs auto mapped to correspond to features n the software, or you can use just as an analogue mixer…the music being converted in the N4 itself ( as the music output form the laptop is a USB to mini USB cable.

Thanks again :slight_smile:

I’m sure there is a way to do this directly from Serato (itch??) – certainly it is possible in Traktor.

See here: Serato Itch Recording | Serato.com

shannonharvey 4:34 PM - 2 February, 2010
Hello All,

I’ve read that Itch Allows for recording, but I for some reason or another cannot find this feature…can someone here direct me to a place that allows me to do this?

kraal 4:42 PM - 2 February, 2010
look above the right deck on the screen… you will see a little ‘REC’ click on it and it will start recording…
name it and press save when done

Evin Kepik 5:32 PM - 2 February, 2010
And also, right next to the REC button, make sure MIX is selected. As that will record directly what you’re hearing in the master out. Ensure that the recording meter level doesn’t hit the red light (clipping) for optimal sound. To adjust it, there’s a little knob icon which you can twist or you can always fine tune with your gain.

Hi, yes I can use any software on my laptop to play out through a usb to the N4.

It literally acts as nothing mroe than an audio mixer unless used in conjunction with serato / traktor / virtual dj le.

First of all apologies to Steve and Koz for having butted into this conversation, and done so without payng sufficiently close attention to page 1!

The problem as I see it is that your setup is wrong, and in fact so is your schematic functionally. What your N4 is actually doing is controlling the Serato/Virtual DJ/Traktor software running on your laptop.

I have never heard of a dual RCA to usb adaptor but you certainly don’t need it; the output from your DJ software is already ‘in’ the laptop, which I assume acts as your speaker in that setup. As a first step look for the option inside your DJ software to record your mixes natively.

And you would only use the N4’s outputs to connect to an external amplifier, powered speakers, or to the audio/analogue input on a soundcard.

HI Shaky, Yes you’re quite right, the n4 is a Dj controller so it is controlling the audio software, the only problem is, is that the audio software (Serato DJ Intro) does not come with an inbuilt record function as its a free version of the software, much to my dismay.

Much more to my dismay, is that you cannot upgrade to Serato Itch as it is not compatible with the N4, therefore my only option is to record the Booth ouput from the n4. I’m starting to think that if I were to get an external soundcard, slip it in the setup between the Booth out and my laptop I would be abel to record good quality.

However the only reservation I have about this is that a lot of people have said I may have run out of audio pathways, which getting a soundcard will not fix (as it will still need its own audio pathway on it’s way in to the laptop).

I’ve alaso looked into recording “what you hear” directly from the laptop, i.e. recording the sound output before it leaves the laptop, but this seems very difficult to do on Windows 7 for some reason.

The Dual RCA to USB converter cable comes with a copy of Audacity on disk (im not using that version as the newer one is more up-to-date) and an alternative sound recording software (the name escapes me) so, logically atleast, I should be able to record from line/output devices directly into my laptop using this cable, however the results are, as said before quiet, distorted and with no bass.

Let me know if you have any other sugestions, if not, I’m going to have to give a soundcard a try, although Im loathed to do it as that would toatl and expenditure of £120 with no guarantee of recording good wquality audio for my mixes.

Thanks again for al the help, and in advance for any thing welse you can do :slight_smile:

The Behringer UCA 202 is surprisingly good for the price. You need to be careful about input levels, but as you would be going in from a mixer you should be able to control that - you can pick them up (new) for around $30 US.

Steve’s suggestion is probably the cheapest one you will find.

But an alternative I would seriously consider is switching to the newly released Traktor Pro 2.5, on which prices have been slashed compared to where they were not long ago at all.

You would then get the ability to record your mixes, plus a bunch of other features, and generally buy into one of the best established DJ platforms out there.

Why not download the free trial and see whether you think that justifies the additional cost?

HI guys,

Thanks again for all the help.

SHaky I think i’ll try your option first. I’ve been thinking of getting Traktor Pro for a few weeks now as i know that is comp[atible with the n4, professional software and it has an inbuilt record function.

If that doiesnt work I’ll grab a soundcard, that Behringer one does osund like a bargain.

I’ll get back to you with the results.

Thanks :slight_smile: