Setting up a microphone isn’t just about plugging the appropriate socket. There are some subtleties that you need to know to make it work, record, or use during live streams. This post is all about fixing mic issues with Pioneer DDJs.
The main reason for a microphone not working with a Pioneer DDJ is that cheap units do not send the microphone sound through USB. In that case, you will need to record the master output instead. The second reason is that your microphone may need phantom power which the DDJ does not provide.
I will now explain all the details and how to fix these microphone problems.
Pioneer DDJ controllers do not work with condenser microphones
The first thing to check is if your microphone is a condenser microphone or not. Indeed, these types of microphones require phantom power to work and DDJs do not provide that.
The DDJ-400, DDJ-SB3, DDJ-800, DDJ-1000, and even the high-end XDJ-XZ cannot work with condenser microphones. In fact, none of the Pioneer DDJ controllers provides phantom power.
There is two ways for fixing this issue:
1. The cheapest solution is to buy a phantom power supply.
It’s a small box that will provide the phantom power on its input socket. The output socket will send the microphone sound to your Pioneer DDJ with the appropriate cable.
In the available options, the Newer Phantom Power Supply (buy here) is very popular on Amazon with 4000+ ratings.
It comes with an XLR cable to connect the microphone and the input socket together. Therefore you can use the cable you already had to connect the output socket of the “Newer” and your DDJ controller. The price is around $25 which should be cheaper than buying a new microphone.
2. Change your condenser microphone for a dynamic one.
Having a phantom power supply to carry around is not for everyone. It takes additional space and needs an additional power socket to work. In that case, some of you may prefer to change their microphones instead.
Pioneer DDJ controllers work perfectly fine with dynamic microphones. Here are some popular ones among DJs. I made my own survey by asking DJs around:
- The Shure SM58: $99, the reference
- The Audio-Technica PRO 41: $59, great for the price
- The AKG D5S: $108, loved by many
Pioneer DDJ-400, DDJ-SB3 & DDJ-FLX6 cannot record microphones by USB
The cheapest models of the Pioneer DDJ line are not made to send the mic signal through the USB. Therefore, if you are playing the music through your computer speakers or speakers connected to it, the microphone won’t be heard. The speakers should be instead wired to the DDJ, not your computer. This is mentioned in both the DDJ-400 and DDJ-FLX6 manuals:
This is not true for all Pioneer DDJs, the Pioneer DDJ-800 and DDJ-1000 do record the mic signal through USB. The DDJ controllers that don’t play the microphone sound through USB are the Pioneer DDJ-400, DDJ-SB3, & DDJ-FLX6. This is due to the internal wiring of these cheaper models:
Indeed, one must understand that these units do not have an internal mixer. The controls you have on the controller are only commands send to the computer to perform the audio processing itself. Therefore, the commands go through the USB to the computer and the computer sends back audio signals. The audio is then directly sent to the master output (red and white sockets).
On the DDJ-400, the audio from the microphone is directly sent to the master output. It does not go through the USB and therefore Rekordbox cannot record the mic with a DDJ-400, a DDJ-FLX6, or a DDJ-SB3.
How to record the microphone with a Pioneer DDJ-400, DDJ-SB3, or DDJ-FLX6?
As you can’t record the microphone on Rekordbox with a DDJ-400, the only way around is to plug the controller RCAs output with your computer line in:
For connecting your controller and your PC like in the image above, I recommend using this cable. Doing so, you can then record all your DJ mix, microphone included, with another software such as Audacity.
You may need to activate the line in of your computer in its settings:
In Audacity, use the same audio input and press record:
As your speakers were probably plugged into the controller master output, you will need two RCA splitters. That’s the only way in order to plug both your speakers and the computer line in:
The basic ones from Amazon (buy here) will do the trick. Just think of buying two splitters! In the end, the complete solution should look like this:
The microphone cannot work while streaming with Pioneer DDJ-400, DDJ-SB3, or DDJ-FLX6
This is due to the same reason as described above. The Pioneer DDJ-400 microphone is not working while streaming because the mic signal is not sent through USB.
To fix the issue, this is the same solution for when Rekordbox won’t record the microphone. That’s means to plug the RCA output of the controller into your computer line in.
Then in your streaming software, specify the “line in” as the audio to stream. Just retake the steps described above, but replacing Audacity with a streaming software such as OBS.
What DJ controllers do record the microphone? (Pioneer and others)
In order to check if a controller does record the mic by USB, I recommend looking at the Virtual DJ hardware manuals. Indeed, the Virtual DJ website is really well done on that topic. Generally speaking, the cheap controllers do not allow recording the microphone, but there are exceptions. I made a list of popular controllers below.
What DJ controller does record the microphone?
- Pioneer DDJ-800: Can record the mic.
- Pioneer DDJ-1000: Can record the mic.
- Hercules DJControl Inpulse 500: Can record the mic.
- Roland DJ-202: Can record the mic.
- Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3: Can record the mic.
- Denon MCX8000: Can record the mic.
- Numark Mixtrack Pro FX: Cannot record the mic.
- Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX: Cannot record the mic.
- Pioneer DDJ-400: Cannot record the mic.
- Pioneer DDJ-SB3: Cannot record the mic.
- Pioneer DDJ-FLX6: Cannot record the mic.
In fact, many DJ controllers can record the microphone signal with the exception of the Numark and Pioneer entry controllers.
- Pioneer DJ controllers support: https://support.pioneerdj.com/hc/en-us/sections/360006990151-DJ-Controllers
- Virtual DJ hardware manuals: http://www.virtualdj.com/manuals/hardware/index.html