Gone are the days when you needed to lug crates of vinyl records to your DJ gig. And while you can still do that if you choose, you’re probably going to prefer a streamlined – and much lighter – DJ software package.
A DJ software program gives you the ability to create remixes, sound effects, and loops on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. In addition, you can tap into your own digital music library to create your own mixes and set lists without ever having to drag your crates of CDs out of the house.
There are several big-name software programs available, and a few others we think you should know about so you can choose the one that’s best for you. In this article, we’ll discuss the six best DJ software programs and the criteria we used to select each one. We’ll also give you our pick for what we think is the best one. Let’s get started!
Serato Pro is a 4-deck DJ Software. It includes a built-in sample player, effects, and iOS Remote Support. This software is available for both Mac and PC. You’ll get an exceptionally flexible controller with a customizable layout to suit your DJing style.
For example, you can organize your music lists into virtual crates, much like you would organize your physical CDs into crates or boxes. In addition, color-coded wav forms help you see and align your tracks to get the remixes you want, and quantize mode automatically syncs your beats per minute for you.
This software also has an onboard sampler and plenty of effects to make your music sound exactly the way you want. It’s no wonder this software is so popular among DJs.
Ableton Live was created as a Digital Audio Workstation to produce music and tracks. However, it has since entered the DJ scene and works great as DJ software, as well. So, if you are a digital musician and really want your creativity to shine in your mixes, then Ableton Live might be the right deal for you.
Ableton live has an easy-to-read display where you can drag and drop tracks, sync bpm, and layer effects. In addition, you’ll be able to manipulate sounds and mixes to create precisely what you want to hear.
So if you’re a musician who records as well as DJs, this is the software that can do it all, saving you time and money because you don’t have to purchase separate software.
Traktor Pro is extremely customizable DJ software that lets your creativity run free. With years of experience and development, Traktor Pro keeps improving its user interface. In addition, it is highly compatible with all sorts of hardware and seamlessly integrates with Native Instruments Hardware.
If scratching is your thing, you’ll love the digital vinyl system and how easy it is to manage and organize your music library. Time stretch and sync functions assist you in making beatmatching easy for seamless mixes.
Rekordbox Pro is an intuitively designed DJ software program that helps you manage your music library and create mixes from streaming services and your digital library. You only ever need this one Dj software because Rekordbox grows with you! Start with the free program, and then add features as you need them and gain more skills. Rekordbox offers high-quality outputs as well as rhythm analysis to help you sync your tunes and create seamless mixes.
If your mixes seem like they are getting stale, don’t worry because Rekordbox can recommend tracks for you based on the parameters you suggest. And it will seamlessly sync your music libraries, so you don’t have to do it manually. Thanks to Rekordbox Pro, your music will be there for you!
Mixx is open-sourced DJ software that you can download for free, which is great if you are on a super-tight budget or you aren’t ready to commit to a pricier software option. It works well with a variety of third-party hardware controllers, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility, either. Mixx includes free vinyl time control software so you can scratch your mixes, too. You can also organize your playlists, sort your tunes, and place them in virtual crates for easy retrieval. Not only does it integrate with iTunes, but it also includes auto DJ so you can set up a premixed playlist and take a break!
VirtualDJ is a powerful mix app that allows you to separate elements of each track. You can make a song a capella and create mashups on the fly. This app is highly customizable and includes support for turntables. There are tons of effects so you can unleash your creativity.
Virtual DJ offers modern EQ for more exciting mixes and effects.
DJ Player Pro can also mix videos to create karaoke mixes, as well and plug and play support means it works easily with a variety of hardware devices. You can even project your mixes on a big screen.
DJ software can you save you a lot of extra work! Rather than lugging binders full of CDs and cartons of vinyl records, you can use a digital library to create your mixes and effects. If you are computer savvy, you can even use the same software to mimic the real-time work of the hardware. For example, your digital software package might come with virtual turntables, virtual crossfaders, and of course, a virtual mixer, saving you from having to carry in the hardware versions of those features.
On the other hand, some people prefer the tactile feeling of physical crossfaders and turntables, and if that’s you, you’ll want to make sure your software can work with your hardware.
Let’s take a closer look at that and some other criteria that we used to help you choose the best DJ software for your needs.
The first thing you need to examine is your level of experience and your goals. For example, if you are just starting out, you might prefer a simpler, basic program that doesn’t cost as much as a high-end program. On the other hand, if you are an experienced DJ, you might need the most high-end version of a software package available to meet the needs of your audience.
Also, if you are just going to be creating mixes for fun at home or for your family and friends, you might not want to invest a lot into a fancy software package. But if DJ-ing is your primary source of income, you might want to make that investment to help you reach your potential.
What features are you looking for when you are DJing an event? Most apps or software have a core group of features, including:
Crossfaders are virtual sliders that allow you to fade in, out, and mix tunes. Your software or app may have virtual crossfaders or sync to hardware crossfaders.
EQ and Gain Controls
Of course, you’ll need to tweak the sound to fit your room, your crowd, and your style. You’ll need EQ to adjust the highs, lows, and mid ranges. Adjustable gain features will help you to balance the audio output or volume between your mixes, decks, and external hardware.
You can create percussion sounds, scratching effects, and other sound effects with the use of virtual turntables or sync to your hardware turntable.
You should be able to layer effects in real time to create the unique atmosphere you need for your event. You may want to use some additional effects, such as Beat Sync.
You need controls such as start, stop pitch, bpm counter, and cues.
Before you purchase software and/or hardware, you need to check compatibility. Some DJ software is compatible with all hardware, but some are created to work with specific hardware. Do your research to be absolutely certain any existing hardware you have will work with your software’ Don't forget to check your iPad or Laptop to make sure that it's compatible, as well.
Where will you be playing? If you are doing your own gigs, you can choose the software that best fits your purpose, style, and mindset. However, if you are playing for clubs or established venues that already have their own software systems, you might want to purchase the same one so you can be familiar with how it works.
Hopefully, the software you choose will come with updates, so your software package doesn’t get outdated quickly.
Of course, a software package is going to save you money over purchasing individual CDs and vinyl records. But how much can you really afford to spend? What features are the most important to you? What features can you skimp on?
These are all great DJ software programs that will give you plenty of flexibility and mixing effects. However, there is one clear winner, and we think that is Serato DJ Pro Software.
We love Serato because it is already popular among DJs, so you’re in good company if you use it. Even more so, we love how flexible the interface is, so you can customize it to fit your needs. And although it requires supported hardware, the hardware it supports is also pretty popular and widely used, so it shouldn’t cause you too much trouble.
We also love the extra features, such as built-in quantization that helps you sync up the beats of different songs. And we also love the wide variety of effects and turntable tricks that you can use to create the mixes you love, and that will excite your audience.
This isn’t the cheapest software, but it certainly is worth the money for the effects. Even if you’re just starting out, it isn’t a huge expenditure to manage your library and organize all your tracks. And if you’re already a pro DJ, you’ll be able to jump right in and mix.
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