The Best DJ Software for Mixing – UPDATE 2018.
The years have past when even the best DJ software would never appear in a professional live DJ setup. The DJ software is 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 software is responsible for this small revolution.
If you still desire classic setup check the best DJ mixers and the 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 emulates 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. Most of our picks also offer iTunes integration.
That will offer the BPM, the keys they’re in and many other essential DJ pieces of information to improve your mixing skills. The mixer is an exact replica of a traditional DJ mixer but unless you want to use your keyboard and mouse you will have to invest on a DJ Controller or DJ mixer with MIDI connectivity.
Pretty amazing to run on your computer a piece of software that offers full DJ experience without spending a fortune.
How does a DJ software 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 vinyl 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 the auto loop, FX controls, and drum pads. The best DJ controllers offer perfect connectivity with the best DJ software 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.
Digital Vinyl System (DVS).
Even if you still desire a classic DJ setup with turntables and a vinyl feel, you can now combine them with your software. Both DJ software that dominates the market and has to bring this digital revolution the last years, can easily set up with your turntables and a DJ mixer. The DJ software receives the “moves” of your turntables and DJ mixer to give you a real feel of djing, beat-matching, and scratching. If you prefer the traditional mixing or you are a vinyl lover go and check The best DJ turntables for every budget.
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. A big plus for your mixing is also those color waveforms display on each track.
- DJ controller integration: The market is filled with DJ controllers that offer perfect integration with the top DJ softwares such as Traktor Pro, Ableton Live and Serato DJ. However, they may not function at all or as well with other DJ software so it is important to get one that is compatible with the software you are currently using.
Consisting of knobs, encoders, jog wheels’ faders, backlit buttons, touch strips the DJ controller will give the same feel of the conventional DJ setup. Controllers are flexible in their use and can help make a DJ software do a lot more.
- Reputation: An important factor to create our list is to find which DJ software the top DJ’s are using. Furthermore, how intermediate and beginners
- Price: Even if the majority of DJ softwares are surprisingly cheap, there are some great FREE options as well. Those softwares are not lacking much from their competitors and definitely worth your attention if you have a limited budget.
Other use of a DJ software.
Weddings, club/bar owners and in general whoever wants a mixed set on “auto-pilot”. Of course, we are not talking about DJing here, but sometimes as a DJ, you need to focus on other things and less on the technical aspects of mixing music. Don’t forget that the basic principle of a DJ is to keep the crowd entertained and the dance floor filled.
If there is any hip-hop DJ or anyone who truly loves mixing and scratching, by reading this they will probably close this post right away. I understand that the only possible way for you to use a DJ software is with the digital vinyl system (DVS). Which means that you will have your turntables and mixer for DJing and your software will only work as a track selection tool.
A lot has changed 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 software used by beginners and professional DJ all around the world. Taking consideration of which DJ software the top DJ’s are using as well as features, interface, and budget we found the best 5 DJ software for you to choose.
5 BEST DJ SOFTWARE IN THE MARKET
1. NATIVE INSTRUMENTS TRAKTOR PRO
Native Instruments have been established in the music equipment industry for decades. NI is well known for its 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. Notice that this software is widely for it’s digital vinyl system (DVS)
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 its sweet price tag. Traktor Pro 2 can handle situations in the biggest clubs and the most DJ crowded festivals in the world. Its 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 software offers supreme features and user-friendly interface. The main has taken digital DJing to a whole new level of mixing experience. The price difference between those two is so small that there is no purpose to the 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 DJ controllers on 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 pieces of information 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 by 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 the 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 for 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 number 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. Mixxx can be installed on WIN, MAC or/and Linux Operating System.
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 software. A standard two-deck system with colorful waveform display similar to Serato Dj is what you need. As soon as you expert mixing with two channels, you can go up to 4 decks for mixing, scratching and more. In addition, the powerful DJ mixer with FX slots and a music library that integrated with iTunes to import and organize your lists its ideal. And not just iTunes but can also read Traktor, and Rhythmbox libraries for ultimate and fast connection.
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. If you know a bit of coding you can also customize it by yourself.
On the other hand, there are not many reviews on forums and websites to get the feedback that you might want. Even if this software is easy to use, you will have to explore it by yourself, as you won’t find as many tutorials as the first three options above.
conclusion: Without a doubt the best FREE DJ software available. Download the new version 2.0 and start mixing today. If you can afford 10 bucks check the pro version.
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 recorded 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. A premium but a probably needless feature is that you can add much more than 4 desks at the same time. In fact, you can add up to 99 tracks or vocals for mixing, scratching or sampling. 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.
Furthermore, Virtual DJ offers more than the basics. You can mix karaoke, record your podcast and except for track desks, you can also do video mixing. As the most popular DJ software on the market, you will find a huge number of tutorials and community forums that will solve any problems you might have.
However, the free version is only available for non-commercial use. If you want to use a DJ controller you will have to invest and order a pricing version. Otherwise, you will have to compromise with your Laptop’s keyboard and mouse.
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.
DJ software does not have to be expensive to get the job done. All choices above, especially the first two, are professional mixing software’s used by the majority of famous DJs in clubs or/and big festivals. By taking into consideration the price, user-friendly interface, features and user ratings you will be able to make the best possible choice for your current and future needs.
We hope in this guide we collected all the necessary tips and pieces of information you need to make the best decision.
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