How to hook up a laptop to turntables & a mixer

Written by ryan bauer
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Hooking up a laptop computer to both turntables and a mixer allows an already-mixed audio stream to be recorded directly to the computer. Though several cables and adaptors will be required, it is fairly simple to make the connections, and all of the hardware needed can be purchased at an electronics retailer. Once installed, multiple vocal and instrumental tracks can be mixed with the turntables and recorded at the same time. The turntables can also be recorded in conjunction with a song by connecting a CD player to the mixer.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 1/4" male to 1/8" female adaptor
  • 1/8" male-to-male audio cable
  • 1/4" male-to-male audio cable

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  1. 1

    Plug a 1/4" male to 1/8" female adaptor into the mixer's output, and connect the two devices together using a male-to-male 1/8" audio cable. The cable should plug into the laptop's microphone port unless the laptop happens to have a line-in port, in which case that input should be used instead.

  2. 2

    Connect one end of a 1/4" male-to-male audio cable to the turntable's output, and plug the other end into any of the track inputs on the mixer. If multiple turntables are being used, connect each one in the same fashion, using a different mixing board channel for each one. Connect the other devices to the mixer, such as a CD player, microphone or instrument cable for a guitar. Use a separate channel for each one.

  3. 3

    Open up an audio recording program to test the connection. Move the channel sliders up and down to adjust the volume level for each device, which will stream a single mixed track to the computer. Alternatively, each track can be recorded individually, then mixed together in the audio program.

Tips and warnings

  • If the computer has problems recording, ensure the proper sound drivers are installed. Also check the recording options to make sure that the recording volume is turned up and the right channel is selected.

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