Over To You: How Do I Add More Effects Than Serato Offers?

Serato FX

Our DDJ-SX-owning reader is disappointed by the FX available to him in Serato, and is thinking of switching to Traktor.

Digital DJ Tips reader Germán writes: "I have the Pioneer DDJ-SX and I think that the lack of effects kill my sets. (I don't know why Serato and Pioneer tells to iZotope to put only six effects into the software!) So my question is, do you know if Serato-Pioneer are going to incorporate more effects into the software? Because I'm considering two things: firstly, to sell my DDJ-SX and migrate to Traktor (buy a S4 or Z2 but is very very expensive gear) or secondly, to buy the Pioneer RMX-1000 and cross my fingers to that gear fill my needs. So what do you recomend?"

Digital DJ Tips says:

The RMX-1000 would not be ideal as it is designed to be plugged into a mixer's send/return loop, which the DDJ-SX doesn't have. That means you'd have to plug it across the DDJ-SX's master output, which limits its flexibility. I'd personally suggest that most audiences don't really care a massive amount for FX, though, and that Serato has more than enough for most DJs, especially as you can now daisychain its effects - but that's just my opinion.

If you're one of those DJs who wants to do more with FX than Serato offers, then you're right - switching to Traktor is probably your best bet. Just bear in mind that your audience probably doesn't care as much as you may feel they do.

Over to you: Do you find Serato's effects limiting? Are you tempted to make the switch the Traktor? Or is what's provided sufficient? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Get access to all our free DJ training!

Join over 150,000 Digital DJ Tips members to get exclusive free DJ training videos, articles & resources plus twice-weekly emails with the best of our tutorials, reviews and DJ news. It’s free, and you can unsubscribe at any time!


  1. How is selling your more expensive DDJ-SX and buying a significantly cheaper S4 expensive stuff compared to keeping the DDJ-SX and then buying an RMX-1000 that on its own costs more that the S4?

  2. I've noticed the same thing with Serato Itch. But, I thought that add'l effects and effects chaining were being added in the unified Serato DJ that is being rolled out?

    • Jam-Master Jake says:

      According to Serato, there are more FX coming in the future. Who knows when that will be.

      • My first time responding, I've always been a creep at the back reading all this great information from everyone!

        I'm in the same situation as Jam-Master Jake; waiting for the free upgrade to Serato DJ from ITCH (Summer 2013)... Serato DJ offers improved FX/FX control (chaining FX as mentioned here) and better FX overall compared to ITCH.

        I'm a strictly digital DJ but spend my time using constant EQ changes while focusing on beat matching, listening to my mix points within the existing song structure, counting beats, breakdowns, etc. instead of FX. I find FX are very easy to ignore maybe compared to those other components.

        On the flip side, maybe FX can help to tell the story or add intensity in a live setting (e.g. 1/2 beat Delay FX in ITCH to create beat doubling kick, etc.) or help with a difficult transition (change in BPM, genre change, etc...)

        All 3 of my current mixes up now don't have any FX with the exception of a little LPF FX on my drone mix...that's my 2 megs on FX!

  3. Don't know much about the FX in serato but I'm pretty sure that there's more than enough! However from a Traktor user I'd say that you don't need all the FX that traktor offers! I mainly use Reverb, Delay,Gate & sometimes flanger. But I'm not a big FX user. Then off course I use the filter quite a lot, but the number of FX in Traktor are overkill, and if you want to switch to traktor, use a TSI mapping for your DDJ-SX, since it is a great controller! :)

  4. There is no need to sell you DDJ SX if you want to change to some other Software. The DDJ SX works with all other DJ software. I've used mine with SeratoDJ, Virtual DJ, Traktor, Djay, Deckadance, Mixxx and Mixvibes Cross. It works fine with all of them only Deckadance won'y let you map midi out so you would have no visual feedback from the SX. for FX options sure Traktor has most to offer but out of all it's FX I only ever use the Delay ( for Echo Freeze) and ice reverb. I now use Cross and it has 14 FX and I still only use about 2.
    So keep your DDJ SX and switch to Traktor if you really need more FX.

    • Hello Gulli: I've been having some trouble getting Virtual DJ to recognize the Pioneer DDJ-SX as a sound card (Win 7) so I'm learning Serato as I go. Did you have to do anything special when you installed it?

      The Serato worked perfectly the first time, easy setup - I'm just used to VDJ and all of the shortcuts I had


      • the lates version 7.4 has DDJ SX natively supported. I just intalled on my old Windows laptop. I only use mac since 2010. It installed without problems and recognised the DDJ SX no problem. I set it up in advanced config
        Master -> Pioneer DDJ-SX ASIO -> output1&2
        Headphones -> Pioneer DDJ-SX ASIO -> output3&4

        But my laptop can't handle VDJ 7 so lots of cliping. but thats how I got it working.

  5. If you are looking for outboard FX the Korg Kaoss Pad is not too expensive, really fun and a good crowd-pleaser in smaller rooms. It has Dry / Wet knob right there so u always have control over the amount of FX so will go between your master output and amp or whatever.

    Also you could look at serato bridge with ableton and set up some dutty chains and macro controls in there? You cant say Ableton doesn't have enough FX 😛

    • Jam-Master Jake says:

      The Bridge only works with Serato Scratch Live, not Serato DJ or any other DJ software. To use SSL and The Bridge would require an expenditure that the original poster doesn't seem to have.

      And while the Korg KP3 is a wonderful little unit (AVOID the KP-Quad!!!!), don't the Korg Kaoss Pads require an FX loop just like the Pioneer RMX-1000? If so, it wouldn't really work with the DDJ-SX. At least, not in an ideal manner.

  6. The DDJ SX is one of the best controllers out there right now, don't be so quick to get rid of it!

  7. Here's a mind blowing Traktor set:

    and here's an awesome one using Serato:

    The point being that it's personal preference on what software you pick, and that DJs around the world can rock shows using either of them (and their alternatives).

  8. I've always been wondering, why people want that many effects. I personally only need reverb, delay and flanger. The echo freeze in Traktor is of course a really nice feature but i bet you won't use the other fx that often.
    I suggest sticking with your SX. And if you really want more fx just switch to Traktor WITH it.

  9. Robert Wulfman says:

    "How Do I Add More Effects Than Serato Offers?" You buy Traktor 😛

  10. I'm with Phil here, audiences don't care that much about too much effects. In fact, I personally think that if you want or need more effects, you might be on the wrong track. If your set isn't interesting without effects, it won't be with them. And if you feel that you'll need something more than what you already do, you might be better off on the traktor route because of it's live remixing and more sophisticated looping abilities.

  11. Serato lets you DJ. (As do all other DJ softwares). DJing isn't boring. That's kind of the point I'm making: It's where you go, not what you use to get there.

    • Indeed!

      As for myself I think I like effects use so much because I don't produce; it helps put an even more personal spin on the tracks I'm mixing together and helps make them even more "mine" in a sense.

  12. Too many effects can kill your sets to.

  13. Mikey H says:

    I've found that while the DDJ-SX and Serato have been quite capable, there are some simple things that I would have liked, like a gate effect (which I've at times emulated by simply tapping on the jog wheels in vinyl mode).

    As Phil said above (and in the original review for the DDJ-SX on this site) being able to chain effects together really opened up a lot of possibilities compared to what it was like closer to release. Making sure you have the latest version of Serato would be my first suggestion, but failing that if you've used Traktor before have a go at using that (you'll have to find or create a mapping for it).

    Maybe Virtual DJ or some other software could provide what you're after, I believe Virtual DJ lets you add more effects (Traktor may too, I don't know since I simply stick to Serato).

    But all in all, have a look around, since you chose a controller you aren't limited to one software package, just like people running CDJs aren't limited to one mixer if they are unhappy with the effects offered or the cross-fader or things of that nature.

  14. Jam-Master Jake says:

    A well-crafted setlist that's smoothly mixed (in that order) can be enhanced with JUDICIOUS use of FX used properly. I barely use FX...I use my filter (HPF/LPF) and some occasional delay/reverb. That's about it. You really shouldn't need FX, despite what Ean Golden and other controllerists might tell you on other websites. (And that's no diss on Ean, he's quite the DJ!)

    With that being said, I'd like to see Serato add in a gate effect into SDJ, as well as a few more colorful FX, plus updated versions of all the old effects they removed from Itch. Sometimes it's neat to just be able to pull something out and use it once for a "dazzling" effect.

    With that being said, YOU WILL KILL YOUR DANCE FLOOR by going overboard with FX and button mashing. Sure, it looks cool in product promo videos and for DJ competitions, but for your average dancer/fellow DJ, you'll lose your crowd. Learn how to DJ first, and THEN learn how/when to use FX.

    My opinion and my two cents.

  15. Most DJ's don't know how to use FX properly, abusing more than using, thinking that the crowd is enjoying, when all they're doing is destroying the groove. I hope you're not this type of DJ:) If you want more FX, Traktor is better than Serato, but then you would probably have to buy new gear to take full advantage of it, and remember that you will no longer be able to mix Video. Also, using both softwares can be tricky, as you'll have double work maintaining your bit grids, cue points, etc... Tough decision, I know... Speaking of which, I wish all DJ softwares would follow some kind of common track preparation standards, so that we would be able to use multiple softwares for different purposes or just be free to change software without loosing years of music preparation effort... freedom should be mandatory:)

  16. scooterADAM says:

    agree that one need not go overboard with FX usage

    however, on my VCI380 there is no dedicated channel filter, you must use one of the two fx banks for this... not ideal, can kinda work around it with using multifx mode but this means that you don't get to use all the izotope params available in single fx mode

    all SDJ would have to do is make a midi mappable channel filter adn this would be solved. sadly this seems against their current ethos of no midi mapping internal mixing functions

    this is my biggest gripe and where I tend to agree with OP

    a question to you all, does any one know of a small hardware solution to add an effects loop, say a small form mixer or something? then you could at least add an external fx processor on the master and still have a dedicated hardware dry wet and monitoring cabability?

  17. Gloomy Bear says:

    take a look at deckadance 2, it supports vst's (just make sure they're 0 latency and stable!!)

  18. Danny (DjAcido) says:

    For me all of the effects that the software brings work for me and agree with most of us here that usually there is not that many that you need to use.. before that you could not do all effects at once maybe but now that is open a lot of good things can happen. This is an earlier post on the website....pretty much everything you can expect out of Serato's software. Enjoy it again..

  19. Germán says:

    Thank's to all you guys. I'm a digital dj tips follower because always can obtains good vibe and constructive critics by the readers. For this moment I'm going to stay with my DDJ-SX and better work into clean and polished my technique instead to expend more money in new gear, for example new music.By the way If you can check my very rookie session and give some advises it will be very helpful for me. https://soundcloud.com/germx-coronel/hard-1

  20. DJ_ForcedHand says:

    I suppose you can always pick up a software VST host if you want more effects. There are some free ones out there, but usage of Effects should always be considered "the spice", not "the meal." There are lots of free (and low-cost) VST effects as well. My biggest concern at this point is being able to display the effect controls while you're DJing. Internal routing of audio isn't that hard and it may just be what you're looking for.

  21. DJ_ForcedHand says:

    If you really want more effects, there are some inexpensive and/or free VST Hosts you can use to host inexpensive/free VST effects with. Routing your outputs should be easy, but (as most everyone before me posted) effects should be "the spice" of your DJ set, not "the meal." I hope this helps in some way.

  22. Stick with what you have. You can't buy a better dj controller than the one you already have. I, personally, use Traktor with the S4 and F1 controllers. The S4 is a great controller and Traktor is a great software.....but does it warrant trading in THE mack daddy of all DJ controllers w/ it's true analogue mixer, great LED metering, dual deck control, etc....
    The only thing that controller needs is a slot on each side to put in cd's and you have a mixer with a pair of Pioneer CDJ's.
    If you absolutely MUST give Traktor a go then i know their are afew mappings floating around out there that allow you to use the DDJ-SX with Traktor. Go that route.

  23. I've been playing around with multiple mapping ideas regard controlling effects within Serato DJ on the Mixtrack Pro and Traktor on the Pioneer DDJ-T1. I like both pieces of hardware and software very much. For me, the only difference is when I play with Serato, it's a very open and natural process, like picking one record and then the next. With Traktor, I feel like the more time I spend preparing my tracks with various flags and cues, the more interesting things I can do when I play. Again, in the end they are all the same.

    I was mapping my AKAI LPD8 to both for effects just to have something that was fast and "off controller." Then I started looking over various modular single jogwheel controllers, the Reloop Contour being my favorite so far, as something I could use as a standalone player and an additional controller for effects, samples, and so on. Then I had a really crazy idea:

    To map the Mixtrack Pro strictly for controlling the effects, loops, and Remix Decks in Traktor alongside the DDJ-T1. Incidentally, I fired up Serato DJ with both controllers attached and the DDJ-T1 showed up, ready to map most of the functions. 😉

    Any advanced mappers out there feel like jumping in on this project let me know. Yes, Traktor has more/better effects than Serato DJ. But in Serato DJ, try setting Echo, Delay, and Reverb on a 1/4 loop and giving it a post fader spin. Basic but it shows that you have to put in work to make the best out of what you already have. Definitely do not sell that controller bro.

  24. i dont mind much of my ddj sx i love it its just there are some effects on serato itch that i would love serato to enable use on the controller like the Tremolo fx would be nice

Have Your Say