The years have past when even the best DJ software would never appear in a professional live DJ setup. Dj softwares are not substandard anymore. The majority of the best DJs in the globe now perform with their laptop, a DJ software and a club mixer.
Let’s face it, you can get the same or even more capabilities from a DJ software than a very expensive setup with a pair of turntables and a mixer. Two DJ softwares are responsible for this small revolution.
If you still desire classic setup check the best DJ mixers and best DJ CD players
What is a DJ software?
I bet you already have an idea what is or what might offer a DJ software. Installed in your PC or Mac it emulate turntables and a dj mixer. With a DJ software you can deliver the job by simply “drag-drop” a track from anywhere in your computer into the software. You can create, and edit music libraries of your choice in no time. By creating music libraries in your software, it can quickly then scan and analyze your music. And that will offer the BPM, the keys they’re in and many other essential DJ informations to improve your mixing skills.
Most of our picks also offer iTunes integration.
Pretty amazing to run on your computer a piece of software that offers full DJ experience without spending a fortune.
What to consider when choosing your DJ software?
There are two major factors to consider before buying a DJ software.
- Features: Standard features we consider a desc with two or more tracks playing at the same time and a DJ mixer with FX controls such as echo, reverb, filter. As well as an easy way to set the BPM, crossfade and save cue points. Feature more difficult to find is the digital vinyl system (DVS) with which you can connect it to your turntables. Big plus for your mixing are also those color waveforms display on each track.
- DJ controller integration: The market is filled with DJ controllers that offer extreme integration with the top DJ softwares such as Traktor Pro, Ableton Live and Serato DJ.
How DJ softwares work?
Imagine a DJ setup with two turntables or cd players that are used to play the music of your choice. You can either enter CDs, USB sticks or vinyls and re-produce your music, on whatever sound format it is. But with a DJ software you can deliver the job by creating and manage your music libraries inside your computer software.
Without a doubt, performing with only your computer and the software feels a bit unnatural. A mouse-clicking cannot anyhow be compared to turning knobs, faders and manual beat matching. But the equation now enters the DJ controllers. The tool that combines mixer controls and two player simulators with jog wheels and cue points, as well as auto loop, FX controls and drum pads. The best dj controllers offer perfect connectivity with the best DJ softwares we will see later. The best of all is that most dj controllers offer a trial or full version of their supported software such as Traktor Pro and Serato DJ. Follow the link to find the best dj controller available for under $400.
Even if you still desire a classic DJ setup with turntables and a vinyl feel, you can now combine them with your software. Both softwares that dominate the market and have bring this digital revolution the last years, can easily setup with your turntables and a DJ mixer. The DJ desc of the software copy the “moves” of the DJ turntable to give you a real feel of djing, beat-matching and scratching.
A lot have change since Virtual Dj. The most popular software a decade ago was a bar/club standard for “auto-pilot” sets. The baton received by Traktor Pro and Serato DJ, two very popular softwares used by beginners and professional DJ all around the world.
5 BEST DJ SOFTWARE IN THE MARKET
1. NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR PRO
Native Instruments have been established in music equipment industry in decades. NI is well known for it’s DJ equipment as well as keyboards, controllers and virtual instruments. For nearly 10 years since it’s launch, Traktor Pro has been used by the majority of professional DJs around the world such as Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Joris Voorn and Sasha. The attention to details is what made it our first pick for the best dj software.
An important factor of Traktor’s success:
After it’s release, it followed a numerous of midi controllers and DJ controllers to dominate the market. DJ controllers like the Traktor Kontrol S2 are a perfect fit for beginners who want a complete DJ setup “look” from only one tool. While midi controllers such as Kontrol X1 or F1 are more affordable choices but with limited functions.
Traktor Pro offers superb remix and sample decks. Either you want a classic 2 deck setup, either a more advanced 4 channel environment. On each desc you will find color coded waveforms that will help you identify the kicks, hi-hats and snares of the track. In addition, Traktor’s extremely accurate beat grid-ding not only will improve your mixing skills but also give character and color to your performance. It was never easier to manipulate, edit and cut a track into loops and samples.
Traktor gives you the opportunity to create and manipulate music libraries and arrange your music according to BPM, title, duration and many other characteristics. It also integrates with iTunes to make it easier for you to add tracks. Traktor’s key features are the powerful looping and with over 40 effects to experiment and perform smooth mixing.
conclusion: Even if some might doubt it, Traktor Pro by NI is the most reliable, highly rated and trusted by top DJs worldwide. This fully featured professional DJ software definitely worth every penny of it’s sweet price tag. Traktor Pro 2 can handle situations in the biggest clubs and the most DJ crowded festivals in the world. It’s interface is still manageable and user-friendly for every beginner DJ. Find more info and price tag at native-instruments.com
2. SERATO DJ
The biggest competitor of Traktor Pro is a perfect fit for any amateur or pro. Both DJ softwares offer supreme features and user friendly interface. The main have take digital DJing to a whole new level of mixing experience. The price difference between those two is so small that there is no purpose of report.
Serato scratch DJ is a winner for scratch and hip hop artists with its impressive DVS (digital vinyl system) support. Same for electronic music DJs, it offers pro features and a very friendly with minimal design interface. You can accommodate both 2 and 4 deck mixing and still be able to view BPM, time elapsed and time remaining of each track. The color-coded waveforms are great to monitor the path of the songs.
The frequencies are easily to identify in order to succeed a perfect smooth mix. Red shade waves represent low frequencies such as bass and kicks. Green are the natural mid-range frequencies. And with the blue shades you will see the high-ends.
A single click on your mouse or a push of a button on your controller/CDJ is enough to create hot cues and loops. More than creating list, Serato also gives you the ability to add rules to keep your track list well organize and ordered.
conclusion: You can check the free Intro version of Serato before you decide to buy one. A quick reminder that if you buy a DJ controller is common to receive a full version of the software. As well, perfect compatibility for plug and play adjustment. There are numerous of DJ controllers in the market for you to pick and for a very affordable price. You will also find interfaces, mixers and accessories with perfect compatibility with Serato DJ. Visit serato.com for more more informations and other DJ products.
3. ABLETON LIVE
Even if Ableton live is not a natural DJ software it can still deliver the job with extreme features and capabilities. The most popular music production software (DAW) in the market has been used from the majority of professional DJs and producers around the world.
We leave the arrangement view for the mixing and mastering and we work in the session view. Instead the standard look of desks and a DJ mixer we move into an environment with grid with rows and columns, where you drag and drop your tracks or music samples. I know it sounds a bit inorganic but with DJ controllers such as APC40 it super easy and fun to play and experiment with your DJ set.
Except audio samples you can also insert midi clips and perform live with plug-in instruments to produce your own sounds. Ableton Live offers audio and midi effects such as filter, reverb, delay and dozens more that will give you everything you need to perform a perfect mix. There is not enough time for you to even cover a small amount of tutorials available on the web. From amateur bedroom videos to complete track walkthroughs by world class music producers.
conclusion: It’s price tag might scare you but don’t forget that we are talking about a high-end professional music production software. The market includes excellent pieces of equipment such as Ableton Push and APC25/40 by AKAI that offer perfect integration and lite version of the software to start using it from day one. Find the best DJ controllers for Ableton Live.
I kept you waiting for the first free DJ software of our list. Mixxx is the less known software in the market but i personally believe that it deserves more attention.
Even if we forget the important factor of a free and open source music application, Mixxx offers most of the pro features we met before from the previous DJ softwares. A standard two-deck system with colorful waveform display similar to Serato Dj is what you need. As well as a powerful DJ mixer with FX slots and a music library that integrated with iTunes to import and organize your lists.
You can control tracks with actual turntables, as Mixxx gives you the opportunity to set it up with a vinyl control system (DVS). The dark “look” doesn’t excite anyone but the premium features worth looking.
conclusion: Without a doubt the best FREE DJ software available. Download the new version 2.0 and start mixing today.
5. VIRTUAL DJ
The DJ software that spread the word around the globe and made it a perfect option for every bedroom DJ. Virtual DJ has been around for ages and has record over 150 million downloads. From beginner DJs to bar and club owners that are looking for perfect and easy “auto-pilot” sets this is the answer.
It couldn’t be in our list if it didn’t offer at least the basic features. Play two or more tracks at the same time with FX control such as flanger, echo, and beat slicer. You can set the BPM and you will also find cross-fader and of course cue points. It is lacking however on color-coded waveforms that help your mixing.
As the most popular DJ software in the market you will find a huge number of tutorials and community forums that will solve any problems you might have.
conclusion: If Virtual DJ looks very basic for your taste, remember that it has been endorsed by DJs like Carl Cox and Tiesto. It is available for download at virtualdj.com and here you will find the prices of DJ equipment that offer the software for free.