Which DJ software suits your needs?
There are a lot of great DJ software platforms on the market, but which is the right one for you?
Here’s our pick of the four most prevalent DJ software platforms on offer.
Traktor Pro 3
What is it:
Traktor Pro 3 definitely has the edge in terms of customization, almost every aspect of the GUI, mapping and settings can be fine-tuned to suit what you need. It works with any standard MIDI hardware, not just DJ controllers and considering the array of features – it is very well priced.
The latest update to Traktor Pro 3 opened the Traktor DVS system for use with third-party audio interfaces (a very welcomed addition for the turntablists). The entire platform is incredibly customizable and almost any parameter can be MIDI mapped. On top of that it supports standard MIDI output for feedback to LED’s and it allows you to configure these to suit almost any hardware. This will take a bit of menu-diving, but for the power-users it should be a breeze.
Traktor Pro 3 features an internal mixer, allowing you to prepare sets without any hardware (some of the other platforms need an additional license to be purchased for this) and it features over 40 high-quality effects to choose from. This is definitely the platform for those DJs who are looking for that extra level of customization.
Traktor Pro 3 retails at a flat rate of USD $99 (Around R1500)
Serato DJ Pro
What is it:
Serato is a very well-known name in the professional DJ sphere, they’ve been at the head of the DVS market for over a decade and recently stepped into the controller space. Serato DJ Pro is their professional controller software that is designed to work with a variety of hardware from different manufacturers.
One thing to note is that Serato DJ Pro is designed around a plug-and-play experience, it’s supposed to be simple and easy to setup and work with the hardware – every time. This makes customization a bit limited and you only have very basic MIDI mapping capabilities.
Serato DJ Pro also offers great library management capabilities, not quite on Rekordbox DJ level but certainly better than Traktor Pro 3. The expansion packs are also a great way of only adding the features you need, keeping your system streamlined. This is certainly the platform for those DJs who are looking for that simplified, “it just works” experience.
Serato DJ Pro retails at USD $129 (Around R2000)
Serato DJ Pro is also available on subscription for USD $15 (Around R230) per month
Check out the expansion packs at the Serato website
What is it:
Rekordbox DJ is Pioneer’s DJ software platform, it is plug-and-play with various Pioneer DJ hardware, however it does offer some MIDI mapping capabilities to get it up and running with third-party hardware.
Rekordbox DJ’s key features are the incredibly library management and organization tools, while most other applications rely on iTunes for library management. Rekordbox DJ features Pioneer DJM style effects that work in group or single mode for more advanced controls.
Rekordbox DJ features a standalone sampler with 16 sample slots in four banks, there’s also an internal mixer allowing you to practice without hardware. Rekordbox DJ features video mixing capabilities and the ability to sync up to a DMX lighting system using the correct interface. Rekordbox DJ is a great choice for DJ’s who want to practice for a set, who may not have a Pioneer setup at home – the effects and layout will make the transition seamless.
Rekordbox DJ retails at USD $129 (Around R2000)
Something to note for the vinyl users, the DVS addon goes for – USD $99 (Around R1500)
Rekordbox DJ is also available on subscription for USD $10 (Around R150) per month
What is it:
Virtual DJ is the most downloaded DJ software application on the web, due in part to the fact that it’s free for non-professional users. The focus behind Virtual DJ is accessibility, so chances are it will work with any hardware, it may not be as seamless as a Pioneer hardware/software combo – but it will work.
The number of features in Virtual DJ is actually insane, especially considering its price. It can do almost anything the other programs can do, although maybe not as seamlessly.
A very cool unique feature in Virtual DJ is the Sandbox mode, basically this carries on playing the current mix to the audience, but it allows you to make changes to the mix on the cue channel. This allows you to try out an upcoming mix before doing it. It’s also got some pretty advanced video mixing and editing capabilities, and even allows you to stream your video mixes directly to YouTube or other online platforms.
Virtual DJ is free for those home users without professional hardware, basically if you have a DJ Controller, you’ll need to purchase the Virtual DJ Home Plus license to open up MIDI compatibility. Virtual DJ is a great platform for those getting into DJing, you may not know what features you need in your ideal software – but having access to a variety of features for free allows you to feel it out before investing in a more “professional software platform” or just stick with Virtual DJ if you’re comfortable with that.
Like I mentioned above, Virtual DJ is free for home users, however there are a variety of different licenses to add depending on what features you want to use. Check out the website below for more information.
It all depends what you’re looking for…
As you can see there are a variety of things to consider when looking into your ideal DJ software platform, if you’re using Pioneer hardware – then you’re probably going to have a better time with Rekordbox. If you’re looking for a fully customisable and cross-compatible platform – I would opt for Traktor Pro 3.