Bye Bye ITCH, Hello Serato DJ

Serato DJ

Prepare for takeoff - Serato DJ is splashed across the company's website, and is scheduled for November 1.

Serato today announced Serato DJ, the successor to its Serato ITCH controller software and the long-awaited upgrade path for Serato DJ Intro users. Headline features include Midi mapping, and all-new effects powered by iZotope.

The first DJ controller to be bundled with Serato DJ in the box will be called the Pioneer DDJ-SX, launched to coincide with the software on November 1. Meanwhile, the software will be made available to users of current Serato ITCH controllers in a rolling programme throughout winter.

Main features of Serato DJ

Here are the important new features of Serato DJ, which build on the features of Serato ITCH:

  1. Midi mapping. Finally, Midi mapping comes to Serato. Want to map your SP-6 sample player to external hardware? Feel like adding a pad controller for your FX? It's all now possible. While Midi mapping will only be possible for secondary controller initially (ie you won't be able to remap your main controller), the second part is coming down the line
  2. New FX from iZotope. Delay, echo, ping pong delay, reverb, phaser, flanger, distortion, HP filter, LP filter, combo filter
  3. Combo filter. Just to draw your attention to that last effect, now there is a combo filter. This means if your controller doesn't have a one-knob filter, you can select it in the FX section and use it from there
  4. Double the cue points. There are now eight cue-points available for jumping to different sections of your tracks
  5. New user interface. Serato wouldn't let us see any screenshots at this stage, so we'll have to take their word that the "greatly improved software layout" is just that

First thoughts

An upgrade path for users of Serato DJ Intro was of course a gaping hole in Serato's strategy that had to be filled. Now, controllers like the Numark N4 and Reloop Terminal Mix 4 can finally control four decks in Serato. Also, things like the new FX and the one-knob filter are long-wished for improvements. But overall, this release is less about features, more about acknowledging that the Native Instruments approach (Midi mappability, one piece of software with variations to cover all bases) makes the most sense.

"Serato DJ brings us a step closer to a unified customer experience across our entire product range." says Serato CEO Sam Gribben.

That quote seems to suggest the company's longer-term plan is indeed to have just the one piece of software that works with everything, including digital vinyl.

So I think we can expect Serato Scratch Live to become "Serato DJ Scratch" at some point. Like with Native Instruments, however, I suspect you will always pay a premium on top if you want to use the software with digital vinyl solutions (ie as with Traktor / Traktor Scratch). That's not to say this is copycat stuff, though. Serato's unique selling points continue to mark it apart. It has true plug and play, and offers video DJing as an option, for starters. (Virtual DJ has the latter as standard, but is still not as easy to set up as Serato. Ease of set-up is a major bug-bear for DJs switching to digital, and something Serato has always addressed well.)

Also, Serato DJ still retains a more traditional mix of DJ-oriented features. Primarily, the new software doesn't try to walk a route similar to that trodden by Traktor's 2.5 and the Traktor Kontrol F1 (and indeed in the delayed Virtual DJ 8).

So far, this "Ableton Lite" tack has had a mixed market response for Native Instruments, and could yet prove to be a courageous but ultimately niche path for the company. While Serato Scratch Live has The Bridge for Ableton, there's no sign of its integration here.

Meanwhile, if Serato's changes mean some of the objections to the platform are judged to have been answered, the company may have just repositioned itself into a space where it can grow far more rapidly among controller DJs.

So, you'll now be able to Midi map your Serato software to extra control surfaces without hacking. Does this and the other improvements above signal a strong repositioning for Serato among controller DJs? I'd love to hear your thoughts below.

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  1. Any progress and updates that will help the end user is always a good thing. I just hope the final product is a solid package that works well both in Mac and Win environments. If they market it as such, it should work as such.

  2. You must be kidding me Serato. What do you mean that the new Serato Dj software is coming to every ITCH controller out there EXCEPT for the A&H Xone:DX? Are you discontinuing this?

  3. Dan Hunke says:

    This is pretty good news.. I've been feeling like ITCH is too limiting (although 2.2.2 is running well with my NS6 these days) and I'm glad to hear something new is coming down the pipeline. New effects is a definite plus and the ability to add additional controllers to the mix (hello, proper sample deck mapping) will be much appreciated too.

  4. MasterHolten354 says:

    So...its straight upgrade from Intro to DJ? What would be needed? Do i pay just as i am going to buy for the first time or do Intri owner get a discount?

  5. Jayson Joyce says:

    This is the best news Serato has had in long time. Was worried that Traktor was taking over and as a Pioneer Hardware lover I was worried the new Traktor Mixer might be the beginning of the end, but this stops all that. If priced right, which is a big if, Pioneer should sell these like crazy and Serato may get some converts who don't want a Kontrol mixer, Kontrol units, a Maschine, etc all over the DJ booth. Plus the people that have Itch don't get screwed over. I suspect that A&H/ Xone will come out with a new player soon and probably why they haven't updated the DX in so long (should be hot) and also why the VCI 400 is so customizable and looked crazy for DJ Intro only and not Itch . Sometimes we have to have faith that their is a bigger picture out there and Serato or Pioneer or even Native Instruments can't just put out new stuff every week. The best stuff takes time and thought and a plan with hardware partners.

    Thank you Serato- Can't Wait till November 1st. Where can I order my DDJ - SX

    • DJ Forced Hand says:

      I have a Novation Twitch and use both platforms. I too was afraid that Serato was just going to silently slip away into obscurity because they announced very little and answered few questions for a very long time. Traktor 2.5 was a very big step for Native Instruments and honestly I like it more than I do ITCH right now even though ITCH has over-under wave comparison, pinch loops (optional Serato Video) and Slicer mode (synch just rubs me the wrong way in ITCH).

      I'm OK with Ableton Live in the background (for samples and using VSTs and such) and I do enjoy triggering cue points with pads but I'd really like to have the integrated functionality (of the Bridge). I got Ableton Live based on the promise that the Bridge was being made for ITCH. I hope that promise will be fulfilled soon, because I'm using Traktor with Ableton Live now and I keep finding new ways to improve my performance each time I use them together. MIDI mapping for add-on components (such as keyboards and drum pads) is very welcome.

      RE: the Pioneer DDJ-SX:
      For what it's worth, I would love to have one of these mixers. Everything you want to control in Traktor is right there on the controller and hopefully, Serato DJ will make a great challenger to Traktor.

      • Jayson Joyce says:

        its $999, just preordered. Shipping November 12th Can't believe the PRICE!!!

      • Did you find a way to rewire Serato and Ableton. I'm using both Itch and Ableton but so far I still have to take the output of Twitch into an external soundcard to go into Ableton. A dirty solution, I know so I can't wait to be able to simply rewire the 2 softwares and also have a common MIDI/BPM CLOCK.

  6. Jam-Master Jake says:

    Great news! Itch is finally being "fixed" and brought up more in-line with what it should be to take on Traktor (and it still has a long way to go, btw)...and now there's only ONE product for Serato to maintain! This means that they can focus their entire team on ONE DJ product while developing other exciting things at the same time.

    New FX, Midi-mapping, new interface...what's not to love about the sound of this? Looking forward to giving it a proper test-drive!

    Now I just hope that they fix their crummy beatgridding to be more in line with Traktor so I don't have to spend hours fixing the beatgrids that Itch just can't seem to get right 40-50% of the time....

    I'm very excited and look forward to upgrading as soon as I can!

    • Jam-Master Jake says:

      Also, the timing couldn't be better. I was just getting ready to invest in a new Traktor Controller and make the leap from Itch to Traktor. Now I can stick with Serato, which I know and am very comfortable with.

  7. I really do wish they would add "labeling" functionality to the cue points! I would love to be able to label my cue points eg. "1st vocal", "Break" etc- just like in Virtual DJ. That would be cool!

    • Fully agree on labeling your cues, would be a really useful feature!

    • Itch has optional colour cue points. Or is that only in SSL?
      I have red as 1st beat and on time drops. Green for beginning of vocal. And blue for kicks and snares and such for juggling.
      Colours are great cause its instantaneous compared to reading a label not to mention screen real estate saved.
      Give it a try if you can.

  8. Great news. I must admit to a certain amount of 'buyers remorse' after buying the vci-380 and finding certain features a bit lacking (FX,SP6,Mix Record) and then seeing NI release their new mixer, coupled with the fact that ITCH 2.2.2 seemed very slow to emerge and then didn't address certain features. Now it all falls into place, roll on the rolling program of roll outs !

  9. Just a quick and maybe stupid question, but does "Meanwhile, the software will be made available to users of current Serato ITCH controllers in a rolling programme throughout winter." include all Serato Itch Controllers? NS6??

  10. Hi guys :

    i was wondering if mapping would mean to allow using Serato DJ with 2 twitch devices connected to one only laptop?

    the reason why is : I am mixing in a group of DJs where we all have our controller and laptop that we connect to a mixer (or the general console of the club). Some of the guys are turning into twitch following me and i was thinking we could assign one twitch to 2 of the 4 decks, and the second one to the 2 decks left. meaning we could better prepare the following set and also share the same library and make sure we don't play two times the same track etc...

    but then how would it deal with the sound card etc?

  11. djdiamondlee says:

    I am a numark V7 Dj. What kind of upgrade can I expect the same thing??? Because I feel we are getting passed bye.

  12. I've recently migrated from Itch to Traktor and although it was the right move for me as a house music DJ in the UK, I'm jealous of the accompanying DDJ-SX controller. I just hope Pioneer have got a Traktor version up their sleeve.

  13. I recently bought a Vestax VCI-300 MKII, and was just about to pick up the VFX-1 effects box for it. Sounds like Serato DJ is going to include software effects - wondering if I should wait for that and control effects with my keyboard, or if perhaps there's a different (better) controller I should get to control effects on the hardware, rather than investing in VFX-1? Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks!

  14. Andy Lawrence says:

    Sorry for the silly question, but I'm using a TWITCH controller, but does that mean it won't be supported on launch day, but rather support will be added throughout the winter period?

  15. Does anyone know if it will have Midi Clock Out added? I'd really like to use my Kaoss Pad with it!

  16. So any controller that uses Serato Intro (such as the mix track pro) can upgrade to this new software?

    • Yes you can. I have the nu mark N4 which is amazing BTW, and it came with a Vdj 4 deck and serato DJ intro. I never liked vdj but serato never had 4 deck and recording until now! Your deck is on the serato site it will work !

  17. I have the DDJ - S1 I like to know if the the Serato DJ is going to be available for the DDJ - S1

    I been using the Serato itch on my S1 but is nothing like Virtual DJ and Traktor Pro 2. I want a better DJ Program for my S1 to allow me to do anything like Virtual DJ and Traktor Pro2

  18. Sweet! I'm stoked for an upgrade.

  19. 3J Million says:

    PLEASE BRING BRIDGE 2 ITCH!! def looking foward to the upgrade as I happily recently hooked up on the Vestax 380 but very curious on the upgrade.. keep up the great topics DDTz

  20. Derek Ross says:

    So I just bought novation twitch it has serato itch version 2. I know there's a 2.2 upgrade but how do I go about upgrading to serato dj and is it free?

  21. Michalis Papamichael says:

    Hey guys! I am currently using the Pioneer DDJ-S1, the Serato ITCH version and I wonder if Serato dj is compatible with it because when I tried usong it with the current Serato dj software I don't have sound coming out my controller! If you have any suggestions how to fix it or if you know about any updates please let me know
    Thanks a lot

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