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How To Use Serato DJ – Beginners Guide [2020]

How To Use Serato DJ – Beginners Guide [2020]

Thousands of aspiring DJs are jumping on the Serato bandwagon for numerous reasons; not only is this one of the most versatile DJ software, but it’s also fairly intuitive and rather easy to use. Beginners and professionals alike use it, and if you’re not entirely sure how it works and how you should be using it, you’ve come to the right place.

Today we are going to discuss every little bit regarding the Serato DJ software, and everything you need to know about them, so without any further ado, let’s dive straight into it.

How to use Serato DJ?

Essentially, you’ll need a Serato DJ Mixer if you want to utilize the many features this wonderful program comes supplied with. Obviously, there are several elements of Serato software that can be accessed manually (such as libraries, for example), but actual mixing and tracking would be impossible without an actual controller. 

In the sections below we’ll discuss what features Serato DJ comes outfitted with, Serato DJ Pro Price, and different subscription plans, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

DJ SETUP WITH DJ CONTROLLER

Getting started

The first thing on the list today is Serato DJ Pro Download; this software isn’t exactly available in physical format, so you will need to download it directly from the brand’s official website. The Serato Studio is free to download to your DJ Laptop, although it’s fairly limited in terms of the features it comes supplied with.

  • Serato DJ Layout 

serato dj - the best dj software

Just like any other beat-making and mixing software, Serato might appear a bit intimidating at first. There are dozens of commands and features that you will need to get accustomed to, but once you do, using Serato will become your second nature.

Starting from the very top, Serato Studio packs the BPM (beats per minute) control and Key control. You can adjust the pace and tempo of your track by inputting the BPM number; the average BPM is around 120, although you can go as fast (or as slow) as you like. 

Serato DJ Waveform Section

The Key control basically sets the ‘tune’ for your tracks. The fundamental Keys correspond to chords, and right next to this is the Min-Maj toggle (Minor and Major). Basic knowledge of music theory might help you a great deal here, although it’s not exactly necessary to use the other features of Serato. Even complete laymen will be able to grasp the basic principles by which this software operates.

Right below you’ll find ‘fine-tune’ customization options that allow you to further tweak Key shifts and tempo changes, as well as alternate between monophonic and polyphonic voice modes. 

The right side of the Serato Studio is a bit more interesting; it features the heavily acclaimed Beat Maker segment that allows you to compose beats with configurable percussion effects, such as cowbell, clave, clap, kick, hi-hat, snare, and such. 

Serato DJ Cue Points

Using the Beat Maker is a breeze as you can simply click on the grid and compose. You can always add additional samples, drums, and instruments once you’ve laid down the bare bones of your new track.

  • Serato DJ Library

Serato DJ Music Library Serato DJ Selected Tracks

One of the most important elements of the Serato DJ is the massive, comprehensive library it comes supplied with. There’s a mix of fairly standard and completely unique features in there, but it’s more than safe to say that Serato’s library is one of the most versatile ones out there.

The main of the Serato Library is the tracklisting feature. Essentially, it can be used to organize tracks using different criteria, such as track number (by the date it was inserted into the library), song name (alphabetically), or by the artist (also alphabetically).

Every entry within the library also shows the BPM and length, as well as the Key the tracks are in. The Keys are colored differently for easier differentiation; for instance, E Minor is in purple, D Minor is in red, D# Minor is in green, and so on. 

Another cool feature of the Serato library is the Track categorization; you can make as many folders as you like and name them as per your preference; typically DJs name the folders after certain setlists or by genre of music. 

Serato DJ Track-1-2

  • Serato Projects

The ‘Projects’ section governs different sessions. Here you will be able to find individual tracks, drum beats, or patterns you’ve been working on. This is a standard feature that helps you organize different tracks in the simplest way possible. 

  • Drums

The ‘Drums’ section offers a better-rounded, more versatile layout of percussive instruments that can be used to dial in different tones and more complex rhythms (as opposed to the simplified Beat Maker pad). Drum Machines could also be a unique addition to your setup.

Obviously, you can further simplify this section by using a DJ Controller, although you’ll still need to do a variety of tasks manually, such as inserting different plugins, choosing different drum components, and such.

  • Audio Samples

The ‘Audio Samples’ is basically another ‘library’ of Serato DJ Studio; instead of containing tracks and track information, it contains samples that you can use to add crazy and wild elements to your tracks, as well as play them back whenever you choose.

  • Serato Effects

Just like the Audio Samples category, FX is a library of effects you have at your disposal. The initial Serato software comes with a modest selection of usable effects, but you can always upgrade the library by subscribing to a more advanced subscription plan or by adding your own effects. Check out the Best DJ effect units for more.

  • Instruments

The Instruments library shows VSTs and instruments that you can use within the Serato DJ Studio. Again, the original selection of instruments is pretty humble, and you’ll be able to upgrade it by opting for a newer, upgraded subscription plan.

  • Serato Plugins

The plugins section is one of the most important elements of Serato DJ Studio; it contains all the virtual modifications that alter the very performance of the software; the more plugins you have, the bigger the burden you’ll put on your PC, but it’s incomprehensibly rewarding. 

However, you should keep in mind that not all virtual plugins are compatible with Serato Studio; currently supported formats are VST2 in 64 bits and Audio Unit in 64 bit exclusively. You can always contact Serato’s support team for further information about plugin compatibility. 

  • Serato Sounds

Serato Sounds are basically official Serato packages that feature compilations of plugins, samples, instruments, and sound effects. They are usually categorized by music genres (such as Serato Trap Starter Pack and EDM Starter Pack), but there are also packages that consist solely of virtual instruments.

These packages aren’t exactly free, but they’re more reliable and comprehensive than standalone effects, instruments, or samples that you’d have to integrate on your own.

Important also to learn how to record your sets on Serato DJ and share it with your public. 

Main-Serato DJ for beginners

Serato Subscription Plans & Price

Serato DJ Pro is the ‘original’ Serato software that can be upgraded with numerous ‘expansions’. The original Serato is packed with high-quality features that will be more than enough for a beginner DJ to get accustomed to mixing, tracking, and engineering different tracks, but if you wish to break out and embark on your journey of becoming a bit more recognized, expansion packs are a necessity. 

The standard Serato DJ Pro Subscription is $9.99 per month, and this is the most basic package without any expansions. Like mentioned earlier, this subscription plan is best suited for beginners and new DJs.

The Serato DJ Essentials is $11.99 per month, and it includes Serato Play, Serato Flip, Serato Pitch ‘n Time, and Serato FX package; Serato DJ Suite is the most comprehensive subscription plan that also features Serato DVS and Serato Video as well as all expansions from the DJ Essentials subscription and it costs $14.99 per month.

Serato DJ Lite

serato dj intro - best free dj software

Serato DJ Lite is basically a stripped-back variant of the original Serato. It’s an excellent way for starters to get familiar with the simplest and most basic features of the Serato Software, and more importantly, it also features the Practice mode that will help you get a feel for composing, rhythm, tempo, and other key elements of producing tracks. 

The Serato DJ Lite download is available on the Serato official website for free; you don’t need any kind of subscription or external hardware to run it. We could also consider it as a ‘trial version’ of Serato for those who are not entirely sure whether or not they want to use it. There are a few DJ controllers with under $400 that come with Serato DJ Lite.

Serato DJ Intro Versus Serato DJ Pro

Serato-DJ-Intro-VS-Serato-DJ Pro

Video: How To Use Serato DJ Software?

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Serato DJ? Is it suitable for beginners?

Serato DJ is one of the most versatile and advanced DJ software laden with premium-quality features that are suitable for both professional and beginner DJs. 

  1. Is Serato Software free?

Downloading the Serato DJ Studio is completely free of charge, although if you want to use it you will need to choose one of the aforementioned subscription plans. 

  1. What are the differences between Serato DJ and Serato DJ Pro?

Serato DJ Pro is, basically, a gratis upgrade over the original Serato DJ for anyone who already has a valid license. 

  1. Which Serato subscription plans are available and how much do they cost?

Serato DJ Pro, Serato DJ Essentials, and Serato DJ Suite are the main subscription plans that cost $9.99, $11.99, and $14.99 per month in the listed order.

Final Thoughts

If you are ready for the next step check out The Complete Guide To Beginner DJ Mixing With A Serato DJ Controller Course. 

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