When it comes to DJ-ing, picking the right tools is very crucial to the entire process. All the hardware and software choices available in the market can have your head spinning, and you may find it hard to make a decision. Don’t worry, though; we have you covered!
It does not matter if you are starting or are a professional, or whether you are DJ-ing for small venues or big nightclubs – here is a comprehensive guide to everything you could need to shop for the right DJ software with the utmost confidence.
The 4 Best DJ Software
Winner: The Serato DJ
Serato started in New Zealand as exclusively only a small DJ-market based company, and it has managed to cater very successfully to a global audience.
Serato software is free to download onto your computer, and you can test it out to get a feel of the interface. This free version allows you to organize your playlist, but you can only start mixing and matching tracks after having hardware in place.
- Some of its well-known features include
- Free software upgrades for life, after the initial payments
- Automated beat syncing, loop recorder, sample decks, remix decks
- Matching track BPMs and kets at a glance
- Multi-colored bass, mid and treble waveforms
- A six decked intrinsic sample player and vinyl like experience
- Scratch Live as well as ITCH software. The former is the best bet for using on an already integrated, existant DJ system. The latter is the best for all-in-one DJ-ing application
- A Video SL plugin
On the flip side, the Serato software has a couple of well-known cons that you may not like. These include limited MIDI controller support, a relatively slow-paced development, and the need for proprietary hardware. Besides, the $540 entry-level price may put a dent in your wallet.
Runner-Up: The Rekordbox DJ
With the overall aesthetic being simplistic, balanced, cleaner, but super high-tech and functional, the Rekordbox DJ is very performance-oriented.
The device is multi-purpose, with many different trigger effects and sampler and sequencer features. It has the following additional characteristics:
- Expanded performance pad functionality including hot cue, pad FX, Slicer, Beat Jump, Beat Loop, Keyboard, Key shift and more
- Extensive effect section in each of the pads including fine-tuning options, BPM setting by manual tapping, high-end DJM mixers
- Sound color effects managed by specific knobs on the mixer dials and a Release FX for transitioning from one track to another and includes the vinyl break and backspin
- The sequencer captures loops, edits and records them, and lets you remix your tracks live
Because Rekordbox DJ features Pioneer DJ controllers, minimal controller choice is available as compared to the alternatives.
Alternative: Traktor Pro
This software is ideal for beginners. It has a tightly integrated DJ solution with a multi-functional, professional-looking interface. Some of its features include:
- Automated and manual track analysis
- Easy to access information about the track including the length, waveform and phase meter
- One of the best quality effects in the entire industry
- Incredibly performance features including 4-split-track-format: bass, drums, vocals and others
- A robust, versatile beat grid
The interface is uncluttered and visually appealing, but it might be overwhelming for beginners because of its one-too-many setting options. Additionally, there is little support for piled waveforms and video mixing.
2nd Alternative: Atomix Virtual DJ
Developed by Atomix Productions Inc, Virtual DJ has a lot to offer regarding functionality. Its primary purpose is to allow the playback of video and adults content by DJs in amateur and professional environments.
Although this software can be operated with a mouse and keyboard only, many end-users prefer hardware such as DJ mixers, CD Players and the use of vinyl emulation.
VirtualDJ provides its browser to facilitate the organization and finding of files. You can move, tag, and organize the files you copy directly from the browser and organize them into specialized folders. The core function of Virtual DJ is mixing video and audio.
The mixers and decks provide all the tools you need to mix files smoothly and seamlessly. Auto-mix offers the users the choice to select playlists or files to play automatically. Moreover, VirtualDJ also provides a video engine for karaoke use as well as video mixing.
You can edit videos in the Video Editor and record and play them directly in the sampler or decks. Karaoke is built-in for lyrics on-screen/karaoke videos.
This software is only available on PC or Mac platforms. Moreover, working with video and audio on the software can often be challenging due to shortcomings in the user interface.
From Turntables To High Tech: Understanding DJ Software
Digitalizing the DJ-ing business has brought many conveniences, including greater reliability, portability, organization and extensive control and audio manipulation.
Today’s DJ controllers are much more powerful than their vinyl predecessors, and the tech advancements allow even novices to create a jaw-dropping compilation of music – this is possible because of the integrated DJ software in the DJ controllers.
Controllers And Software
All controllers have inbuilt DJ software, and it’s usually a dialled-down version of the manufacturer’s premium software. You essentially start with a free version and then upgrade it with time by paying some cash.
The controller lets you push and pull on the buttons and dials, but the software does the real job, which is why selecting the right one is so important.
What Does A DJ Software Do?
This software configures the controller’s settings and makes it super easy for anyone, professional or beginner, to twist and turn music mixes more seamlessly. Here is a list of all the cool things that your DJ software and the app will help you do:
- Monitor your music mix and match moves
- Beat juggling and seamless beat syncing and transitioning
- Tweak, filter, and modify music waveforms
- Load and connect your music library from phone and laptop to the DJ controller
- Control, playback, and create
Some Things To Consider Before Selecting A DJ Software
Because of the incredibly versatile DJ-ing market, selecting the right tools can get a little annoying, especially if you’re new to the business. Being a DJ is fun and fulfilling, but you need to does it right, and we are here to help you out.
Before selecting the right DJ software for yourself, here are a few things that you should consider:
DJ Gear Compatibility
Some controllers are designed to work with all kinds of DJ software, while others work with only a specific few. You’d think that picking a versatile software controller would be a good option, but we would recommend software specific ones.
With software specific controllers, the hardware is designed specifically to immerse the software and provide maximum functionality fully. This feature means that when you install the software into the software-specific controller, it marks the pathways. Therefore, the controllers have better, more accessible, faster, and multi-purpose functionality.
The only downside is that they may not be so compatible with all kinds of programs. If you want your controller to work with a wide range of software and don’t particularly care for going in-depth in something particular, opt for software-versatile controllers.
The interface should ideally be clutter-free, easy-to-navigate and fully functional. You want to be able to browse through your tracks and crates easy breezy lemon squeezy. Also, an excellent display enhances the functionality of the DJ controller.
Every software has a different interface, and the manufacturer’s often prioritized one set of features over the other. Try out some software and figure out which one you have the least difficulty with – that’s your pick!
The Features And Functionality
Every software comes with a set of features and packs to help you DJ the way you want. You can opt for video expansion packs, FX expansion packs, integration of Ableton Link for better syncing, a sequencer for rearranging and looping a track and various performance modes.
For many people, this is the most critical part. If you have a low budget, then it?s best to make a list of your top-priority features for a DJ software, knowing that you will have to forgo the low-priority ones. However, if you can throw in some extra cash for expensive software, you can pretty much get a license-free with some software as well as kits and DVD packs.
Selecting the right DJ software becomes easier when you know the key features to look for and are familiar with the top software on the market.