Art of Deejaying, WK 7 – Which DJ Software?

Welcome to SKAH DJ Blog. Happy new month also! ‘Ember’ months are the best months for DJs. A lot of activities, celebrations, festivals and events happen towards the tail end of the year. I hope you have started chasing your clients for this big rave or that event. Good luck to you on that.

Today, we will be looking at which DJ software or platform is ideal for deejaying!

Honestly, there is no right or wrong answer to this, it is all a matter of preference/choice and of course what platform is most suitable for your deejaying style. Lets narrow this down and look at the list of DJ software currently available in the market. In alphabetical order;

Deckadance

A simple and easy-to-use DJ software with advanced features. Deckadance have 2 versions, the DVS version of this software is more expensive though it enables you to use time-coded CDs and vinyl records in your setup. It also has support for some MIDI controllers, so you can map you controller to the software to fit your deejaying style. Deckadance is from Image-Line, a leading musical software manufacturer (makers of Fruity Loops). The DVS version costs $79 and you can find it here.

DJ Mixer Pro

This DJ software is an innovative solution with a sophisticated interface. It has easy-to-use advanced features like key sync, which is vital tool for harmonic mixing. It is fully compatible with iTunes, so can play from your favourite iTunes playlist within the software. This software has MIDI control (as well as remapping), external mixer and hardware controller support. Its major limitation is there no colour-coded waveform of your audio files. Supports PC, Mac, Time-Code, MIDI Controllers. This software costs $99.95 and you can check it out here.

MixMeister Fusion

This software is highly automated and it focuses on bringing out the best of your DJ set. Further developments in this software might even eliminate the need for a human DJ. Smart playlists help you get the most out of your music. Features include; keycode system for harmonic mixing, time stretching accurately matches beats with fast or slow tempos, enhanced timeline display, effect automation via MIDI controllers, support for stored EQ settings in transition templates for advanced users, mix up to 8 songs simultaneously perfectly synced, play with on–the–fly looping and remixing functions, change the tempo of a song without changing key. OAPs, Radio DJ and music producers will find this software very useful. It costs $329.95 and you can check it out here.

MixVibes – Cross DJ

MixVibes owns a collection of DJ software that is available across various platforms such as PC, Mac, IOS and Andriod. They range from free to $39 and the most advanced version (Cross DJ) costs $89 for PC and Mac users. Cross DJ also supports over 80 MIDI controllers, time-code and it is pre-mapped on Pioneer’s CDJ. All the features you would expect from a Pro-DJ software such as key detection, video mixing with advanced effects, iTunes and SoundCloud integration. You can even import your library from Traktor, Virtual DJ etc including your hot cues and beat grid. Check out MixVibes here.

PCDJ

This software stands out amongst it peers. Its interface is quick to grasp and user friendly. PCDJ has support for ASIO and over 80+ controllers in the market, which is quite remarkable. PCDJ support several file formats for audio, video and karaoke on the 2 main OS platforms typically used by DJs. Simple, yet loaded with features for the professional DJ. You also get 2 months’ free music subscription on Pulselocker (ends Sept 5, 2016) with over 44 million songs, you also get access to The Video Pool for all your classic videos in HD format and Karaoke Club Pro for a token. This software retails at $129 for its full-pro version and $79 for less functionality, you can check it out here.

RekordBox DJ

Pioneer’s RekordBox started out as a music management software and preparatory tool for DJ sets via USB stick. Pioneer later moved into professional DJ software and in my opinion to reduce her dependence on other companies that manufacture DJ software and hardware (specifically Rane) also considering the recent acquisition of Rane by InMusic. As expected, RekordBox is in a league of its own, more like they use alien technology in our world today. This Pro DJ software has advanced features and the software can be used on various platforms such as IOS, OSX, Android or PC. You can even connect your favourite Pioneer DJ controller via Wifi, LAN cable etc. You can also use your laptop’s in-built speakers as your master out and get headphone monitor from the controller during your practice session. Access to Pulselocker, DVS, Video and much more with professional sound quality and low latency are important features for every discerning Pro DJ. RekordBox DJ cost breakdown is as follows:

RekordBox DJ license                                                                      $129

RekordBox DVS (optional for turntable users)                          $99

RekordBox Video (optional)                                                          $149

RMX Effects (optional)                                                                   $9.90

You can check it out here.

Serato DJ

This software is an industry leader and has earned a reputation for its stability and versatility. Serato DJ’s predecessor (Serato Scratch Live 2.5) is still in use till date despite discontinued support attesting to the stability of the software. Serato boasts of colour-coded waveform, which makes it easy to identify kick, snare, hit hats, vocals and even bass-lines. The software has an SP6 sampler and a bank of effects. Other advanced features include Stickerlock for turntablism, Serato Flip for remixing tracks, Pitch ‘n Time for harmonic mixing and maintaining the key of a song despite very extreme changes in tempo (i.e. +/-50) and other expansion packs (in-app purchases) such as Serato Video, FX packs powered by iZotope. You can also access iTunes, Pulselocker, Whitelabel and other music stores. Serato DJ supports DVS and several MIDI controllers in the market. I personally look forward to improved library management. It comes free with selected hardware while all the expansion packs are available for monthly lease at $9.99 per month and a breakdown for an outright purchase of the expansion packs is shown below;

Serato Video                                                                                     $149

Mix Emergency for advanced video mixing *                            $199

Serato Flip                                                                                         $29

Serato Pitch ‘n Time DJ                                                                  $29

Serato DVS                                                                                        $99

Serato FX Pack                                                                                 $29

If you do not have supported hardware, you can also lease Serato DJ and all its expansion packs for $14.99 while an outright purchase of a Serato DJ license is $129. Click here for more details.

*Mix Emergency is not included in the $9.99 or $14.99 monthly lease package as the plug-in is from an independent developer.

Traktor Pro 2/Traktor Scratch Pro 2

Native Instruments’ Traktor Pro 2 is another versatile and stable DJ software. The software features remix Deck, which can be synced to the main deck or looped or scratched separately. The remix decks have 4 slots each for loops, samples and from the loop recorder. Contents of your remix deck can be saved as a remix set into your library and the remix set can easily be recalled with all the previously saved samples and settings.

Native Instruments/Traktor pioneered a new file format called STEMS, which holds every component of a song independently. In other words, you can easily create accapella from a song by cutting the beats of a song and other instruments or create an instrumental by cutting the vocals. This is truly phenomenal for DJs, producers and artistes. We look forward to Traktor Video in the near future. Traktor Pro 2 retails at $99. Click here for more details.

Virtual DJ

This DJ software is the most downloaded DJ software on the planet with over 150 million downloads and counting. Their main competitors have less than 10 million downloads. Virtual DJ possesses all the important features of a Pro-DJ software, yet it is simple enough for a beginner to quickly grasp.

Virtual DJ has an excellent library management system, streaming function, video, karaoke, responsive support and it is compatible with most controllers and hardware. It has support for DVS/Time-Code, MIDI, ASIO etc. You can subscribe for Virtual DJ at $19 monthly or $299 for an outright purchase. Click here for more details.

Zulu DJ

Zulu DJ is an easy-to-use DJ software with all the advanced features of a Pro-DJ software. Create loops, save and send loops to sample banks. It supports several file formats and you apply effects in real time. This software costs $39.95 click here for more details.

Locally here, the 3 most common DJ software are Virtual DJ, Serato DJ and Traktor Pro 2. DJs generally believe or feel that Virtual DJ is for beginners while Serato DJ is for Pro-DJs and Traktor Pro 2 ‘is just there’! Well, what a fallacy. Others are worried about the crash-rate of their cracked software; only if they bought the original, then they would not experience such a problem.

In conclusion, the key factors that will/should influence your choice of DJ software are; your preference, your style, your mentor/trainer, what is readily available and commonly used around you and finally, maybe this should have been number 1, your budget. As mentioned earlier there is no right or wrong answer to this, the embedded videos show Pro-DJs using some of the software other DJs (especially here) consider being inferior. Choose what is best suited for you and do not be caught up in peer pressure. Also, learn how to use more than just 1 DJ software and stay away from cracked software too.

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