Transmission Zero

Connect Your Decks To Your Computer


This is a walk through on connecting your decks to your computer. This will allow you to make backup copies of all of your records, by recording them onto the computer and then onto a CD. You will also be able to save a mix onto the computer, either to create a mix CD, or just so you can admire your own beat matching skills!


If any of your equipment is under warranty, you may want to check to make sure that following this article doesn’t void your warranty. From what I have experienced, sound cards are fairly tough devices, but don’t tempt fate by doing anything silly with them. Always start with your faders at zero, and take the usual precautions against speaker thump at switch on.

Please also remember to respect the wishes of copyright holders. There are some very talented producers out there, and I wouldn’t want to think my article is being used to undermine their hard work.


To connect your decks to your computer, you will need the following:

Yes, I realise some of them are rather obvious!

Connect Your Decks To Your Mixer

I’m assuming you already know how to do this, but don’t forget to make sure everything is connected properly, and that you have the left and right channels the right way around.

Connect Your Mixer To Your Sound Card

Without getting carried away and switching everything on, you first need to connect your mixer to your sound card’s line input. Don’t confuse the line input with the microphone input, as the microphone input is much too sensitive for the job. If in doubt, consult the sound card’s manual.

Your mixer’s main output is most likely to have 2 RCA phono sockets, and your sound card’s line input is most likely to be a 3.5 mm stereo jack socket. If your sound card happens to have a pair of phono inputs, then you only need to use a standard set of phono to phono leads. Otherwise, you will need a set of leads which have two phono plugs on one end, and a 3.5 mm stereo jack plug on the other end.

[image showing the phono to phono, and the phono to jack leads interfacing the mixer to the sound card]

The other alternative when connecting them up, is to use your standard phono to phono leads, and connect them to an adaptor which has a jack plug on the other end.

Switching On

With the computer switched on, make sure your speaker volume is right down and all your faders are set to minimum, switch on your decks and your mixer.

Play a sound file of average volume from your hard drive or a CD and adjust your speaker volume for a comfortable level of sound. Open the your operating system’s volume control (usually by double-clicking a speaker symbol in your task bar). Make sure “Line Balance” is selected and the slider is about midway up it’s scale. Put your channel faders up to their normal level, but keep the mixers output level at zero. Play a record which is of average volume. Adjust your mixers main output until it is the same volume as the sound file you played from your hard disk. If for any reason, you need your mixer’s output level to be at a certain level, then use the volume control in your task bar to adjust the volume. Just make sure you don’t put the level up so high that it distorts the sound.

Recording To Your Hard Disk

You are now more or less ready to record to your hard disk if you wish to. The only thing you will need now is some audio recording software. That’s if you don’t already have some. The procedure is covered fully in the audio recording article.