Price: Free – open source
System: PC/Mac/Linux; DJ controllers supported: Behringer BCD3000; DJ TechTools MIDIFighter; Evolution X-Session; FaderFox DJ2; M-Audio X-Session Pro; Mixman DM2; Griffin PowerMate; Hercules DJ Console Mk2, DJ Console RMX, DJ Control MP3 e2; Stanton SCS.3 system; Vestax VCI-100
They say: Free, open source DJ software that gives you everything you need to perform live mixes. Our advanced mixing engine gives you complete control. Hot cues, looping controls, and our high fidelity EQs.
We say: Unique project. Some attractive skins, and it’s being improved all the time. Key lock, recording, iTune integration and Midi scripting engine all add up to a lot of bang for no buck. Getting there.
Get it free at: Mixxx website
Numark Cue 7
System: PC/Mac; DJ controllers supported: Numark NS7, Mixtrack, Mixdeck, Omni Control, Stealth Control, iDJ3, Total Control
They say: Cue is the most reliable, intuitive DJ software. It empowers DJs to mix, scratch, juggle, and sample audio and video on its dual virtual decks. You can use Cue just like you use vinyl, CDs, or most other DJ formats.
We say: This is a rebadge of Virtual DJ 7, with Numark guaranteeing its compatibility with all of the Numark controllers we’ve listed here. Make perfect sense over Virtual DJ7 if you wanted to use it with one of these controllers.
System: PC/Mac; DJ controllers supported: American Audio DP-2; Reloop Digital Jockey 2; DJ Tech I-Mix, I-Mix Reload; Stanton SCS3 System; Behringer BCD2000; Hercules DJ Console RMX, DJ Console Mk2, DJ Control MP3; Vestax VCI-100; Vestax VCM-100
They say: Our flagship DJ software with up to 4 DJ players, auto-play & shuffle, BPM beat matching, effects & sampler, waveforms for easy looping & cue point setting, & auto-gain control.
We say: Library includes smart playlists which is welcome although doesn’t nest iTunes folders, which isn’t. Busy interface, although you can reskin it to suit your tastes. Waveforms could be much better.
Pro DJ 5
System: PC; DJ controllers supported: Behringer BCD2000, BCD3000; Hercules DJ Console RMX, DJ Control Steel, DJ Control MP3, DJ Control MP3 e2, DJ Console MK2; Numark Omni Control; Kontrol DJ KDJ500
They say: In addition to essential auto beat-mixing, cueing, synchronize beat-looping and MIDI mapping of all major controllers; ProDJ 5′s offers superior stability and mixing performance.
We say: 8 sampler decks on top of two normal decks, distortion, reverb and delay FX (but no filters), ability to save and load playlists, some automation features but poor choice of controllers.
See it at: Club DJ Pro shop
Serato ITCH 1.7
System: PC/Mac; DJ controllers supported: Allen & Heath Xone:DX; Numark NS7; Vestax VCI-300, VCI-300 MkII
They say: An integrated 2/4 deck (depending on controller) software and hardware system, designed to give music selectors and DJs new kinds of control. DJ music on your computer with accurate control from a range of purpose built ITCH hardware.
We say: Streamlined, simple to use yet professional and powerful, Serato ITCH plus a piece of ITCH hardware is one of the most straightforward ways to get into Digital DJing. No sampler, though, and FX sometimes require extra hardware.
Get it with: Any of the hardware listed above.
System: PC/Mac; DJ controllers supported: Torq Connectiv, Xponent, X-Session Pro (LE software only)
They say: A fully equipped DJ software workstation that provides innovative tools and production power. In addition to essential cueing, beat-matching and mixing, offers a host of real-time creative options unavailable anywhere else.
We say: Sampler, VST effects, studio ReWire support, and ability to transmit/receive Midi clock, plus tight integration with Torq hardware, which it works with exclusively. Well respected and deservedly so.
Get it with: Any of the hardware listed above.
System: PC/Mac; DJ controllers supported: NI Traktor Kontrol S4, Traktor Kontrol X1; Allen & Heath Xone:4D, Xone:3D; Behringer BCD3000; DJ Tech I-Mix Reload, I-Mix; Hercules DJ Console Mk II Mac edition; Numark Total Control, Mixdeck, Mixtrack, Stealth Control, Omni Control; Reloop Digital Jockey/Digital Jockey 2 (all editions); Stanton SCS3 system; Vestax VCM-100, VCI-100, Typhoon
They say: Traktor Pro is the new benchmark in DJ software. Mix digital files on four decks, using the high-quality internal mixer or external hardware, and the best effects suite around.
We say: The industry standard digital DJing software. Powerful and fully featured, it has a fair learning curve, and doesn’t have the nicest user interface, but a pro’s choice nonetheless.
Traktor Pro S4
System: PC/Mac; DI controllers supported: Traktor Kontrol S4
They say: Developed in perfect synergy with the S4’s controller, new features have been added to the Traktor Pro S4 software to fully take advantage of this all-in-one solution.
We say: We suspect many Traktor Pro users are looking enviously at this software update wondering when they can get their hands on it. Presumably some of the functions will come to the next version of Traktor Pro.
Get it with: Traktor Kontrol S4 hardware
UltraMixer 2 Professional
System: PC/Mac/Linux; DJ controllers supported: American Audio DP-2; Behringer BCD2000, BCD3000; Hercules DJ Console MP3 e2, DJ Console RMX, DJ Console, DJ Console MkII, DJ Console MP3; Numark Total Control; M-Audio Torq Xponent; Reloop Digital Jockey
They say: First DJ software available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. No matter whether you want to use UltraMixer for a professional gig or at a private party or as virtual jukebox in restaurants, hair studios or medical surgeries – it will prove the right choice!
We say: Old fashioned-looking, no waveforms, no iTunes playlist integration. Does have rudimentary effects and a sampler but hard to see what this does that would sway you away from its more popular competitors, especially at this price point.
See it at: Ultramixer shop
Virtual DJ 7
System: Pc/Mac; DJ controllers supported: American Audio VMS4, DP2; DJ Tech i-Mix, i-Mix Reload, i-Mix Reload MKII; Gemini CTRL ONE / CTRL SIX; Hercules 4-Mx, Mk2, Mk4 (pre pre prod), MP3 e2, RMX; ION iCue; M-Audio X-Session; Numark DMC-2, iDJ3 (pre prod), MixDeck, MixTrack (pre prod), Numark MixTrack Pro, Omni Control, Stealth Control, Total Control; Reloop Digital Jockey, Digital Jockey 2, Digital Jockey 2 Interface Edition; Stanton SCS.3d (2), SCS.3m; Synq PCM-1; Vestax Spin, Typhoon, VCI-100, VCI-300 Mk1
They say: VirtualDJ is the hottest audio and video mixing software, targeting DJs from the bedroom, mobile, and professional superstars like Carl Cox.
We say: Easy to use and powerful, now with up to 99 decks. Great video support. Ability to broadcast on the internet. Virtual DJ seems to divide DJs into those who love and those who hate it, but we think it gets better and better.
See it at: Virtual DJ shop
It’s been fascinating to formally look at all the DJ software that’s out there.
Of course, Traktor dominates professionally, and the new S4 incarnation is a welcome leap forward for that brand, jumping into Serato ITCH territory with its hardware/software integration. Both S4 and ITCH are the ultimate in out-of-the-box ease of use and tight integration with their respective hardware, although Torq gives them a good run for their money in this department too.
Virtual DJ is a viable alternative to any of the other options, although with the recent Traktor price drop it looks pretty pricey. It certainly has legions of fans, though Meanwhile, Mixmeister and Ableton offer radically alternative takes, stretching what’s possible with Digital DJing, and even what digital DJing means.
Just like cars brands on the road, there’s room for all, and every piece of software we have reviewed here has got something that it does differently or better than the rest.
Then we have the chasing pack. These packages haven’t discovered 4-deck support, yet, and that may allow the big names to pull away if it gains traction. How many DJs actually want four decks as opposed to two decks and a good built-in sampler, though, is something for debate.
Anyway, of the remaining packages, Deckadance and MixVibes come at digital DJing from different ends, Deckadance is fully featured, powerful and worthy of consideration for DJ/producers (witha price to match), while good-value little MixVibes offers simple to use and attractive software for the DJ looking to “just play records”. Both are great at what they do.
What about all the rest?
Finally, there are all the other brands. Just like cars brands on the road, there’s room for all, and every piece of software we have reviewed here has got something that it does differently or better than all of the rest – be it automation, video support, playlist features, operating system (there are two Linux packages, for instance) – whatever.
Our best advice is to have a download and a play and see what fits your needs. One thing is for certain – for the digital DJ , there’s more choice of software today than ever before, and that’s got to be a good thing.
What do you think? Have we left out your favourite software? Do you agree with our ratings? Let us know below.
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Tags: ableton live, deckadance club, disco xt, djay 3, e-mix pro, futuredecks pro, mixmeister fusion, mixvibes cross dj, mixxx, numark cue, pcdj dex, pro dj 5, Serato ITCH, Software, torq 1.5, traktor pro, traktor pro s4, ultramixer 2 professional, virtual dj 7
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