Your Questions: Why Am I Scared Of Serato DJ?


Pioneer's DDJ-SZ: It's a great controller, but for a reader who's scared of the switch from Serato DJ Intro to Serato DJ 'proper', it may well be a step too far, too soon...

Digital DJ Tips reader Jamie writes: "I have been teaching myself how to DJ for quite a while now. I use a Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 with Serato DJ Intro. On occasions I have been offered the free trial of Serato DJ which I accept but always seem to revert back to Intro just because I find it so much easier to use. It feels to me like Serato DJ has so much more on it then my controller can offer up soIi seem to spend most of my time with my head in the software rather then on the decks. Overall I feel that mixes are easier on the Intro software and I can do more with the music I am playing.

"I am planning on getting the Pioneer DDJ-SZ next month which is obviously built with Serato DJ in mind and has a lot of the functions of the software built into the controller. Do you think this device will be easier to use (once used to it) with Serato DJ then the Mixtrack Pro 2?"

Digital DJ Tips says:

It's fair point as many of the smaller and cheaper DJ controllers don't have anywhere like the functionality of the more fully featured, expensive models. Many DJs (quite rightfully) really want to avoid touching the keyboard and/or trackpad when DJing, preferring to control everything from the controller, so in that respect Serato DJ Intro (the free version that comes with many budget-to-mid controllers) is often simple and easy to use with those models.

However, Serato DJ Intro does lack some pretty basic essentials. The big one is that you can't record, but also the looping doesn't go particularly low or high, and you're tied to two decks, to name a couple of the other big limitations. As you're buying the DDJ-SZ, which is the single most fully featured Serato DJ controller of all time, you'd be crazy to use it with intro - it'd be like using a Formula 1 car to pop to the shops - pretty pointless. Serato DJ "proper" isn't so hard to learn, and certainly if you want to take anything like proper advantage of your new controller, you need to use the software it was designed for.

To be honest, I'd question why you want to by a DDJ-SZ at all; it sounds like you're doing fine with your controller. But if you're buying the DDJ-SZ in the hope that it'll let you intuitively use all the extra features that Serato DJ has over Serato DJ Intro it certainly will. Just - as with any complex, modern software in any area, not just DJing - expect a learning curve as you get used to it.

Have you found the simplicity of Serato DJ Intro a bonus not a hindrance? How complex does DJ hardware and software really have to be for you to be able to DJ well on it? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. Andy Dolan says:

    I used to have a mix track pro 2 and changed to the ddj_sz sometimes I wish I had stuck with my mix track but the pionner is a good piece of kit still don't know more than half it does

  2. DJ Compiler says:

    I'm curious as to what specific issues the reader is having. There's a bit of a difference between Serato DJ and DJ intro but once you understand some of the broader differences its not so bad. I moved from intro to DJ fall of last year and I'm much happier that I did. If you have any questions about something in the software you can either reply to this comment or read the manual on senators website for the software to better understand how to use the software.

    • DJ Compiler says:


    • Was chatting to Serato at Musikmesse and they're very proud of how elegant/easy to use Serato DJ Intro is, and respectful of the fact that for many DJs, it is actually enough. Remember it can do more than two decks and a mixer, vinyl style, by about 100-fold...

      • I have tried all three major software offerings by the Traktor, VDJ, and now Serato. I'm a beginner and I purchased the Denon MC2000 last year. I have been using Serato intro and have really enjoyed how easy it is to start DJing right away. However, I have reached the point where it is time to graduate and start recording some mixes. Thus, I just started my trial version of Serato DJ, and honestly at first I was feeling much the same way that Andy was feeling. I was like, wait, what are all these extra little tabs and panels? I don't really like the fact that I have to use the computer at times to click stuff, so I wish I had a controller that was mapped a little tighter. Additionally, I found the layout of Serato DJ to be more similar to Traktor in some aspects, which I don't like. That being said, the full version of the software is a much more powerful tool than the intro version. So i say to you Andy, figure out what you need to use to DJ the way that you want to and eventually you'll figure out how you want to use all that the software has to offer. Personally, I am really happy to be able to use the Smart Crates, and eventually mess around a little bit with the video plug-in.

  3. Go ahead bro, SeratoDJ is easy and w DJ-SZ you can make magic.

  4. I bought my first controller (Numark Mix Track Pro) about a year and a half ago, with Serato dj intro. I then upgrade to Pioneer ddj sx, with Serato dj. I have to say it was slightly intimidating at first but just about couple of months in I found that there no way i could go back to intro. I'm sure u'll feel the same too!

  5. I own my venue and DJ as a filler when needed.. I have more fun and success with my I pad and the $20 traktor app.. I have 2 dvj1000 and svm1000 mixer and don't use them anymore..

  6. Agree with the DDJ-SZ comment/assessment, though if you really have your mind set on a piece of kit it can be really hard to look outside of that and think about what might be more beneficial (and considering the SZ's price point there's a lot of other kit you could buy if you don't NEED to have a high end Pioneer setup).

  7. I use a Mixtrack Pro 2 right now, and love the Intro software and this controller for learning on. I've used it for a handful of gigs and aside from one workable issue it's been OK. I was looking into a better controller and/or upgrading to the full Serato DJ, but as you've probably found, the MTP2 isn't set up to really take advantage of the added features well. I do like some of the added features, and I know that having them will help me grow as a DJ and stuff. But I could understand the frustration of trying to use all the bells and whistles of the full version, with a Mixtrack Pro 2. Having a controller designed to utilize the software will hopefully work out well for the OP, myself, and for others in similar situations.
    If I had endless money, I would love a DDJ-SZ... but for a number of reasons including size, layout, features, inclusion of the full Serato DJ software, and others, I decided to get a Reloop Terminal Mix 8. It has a similar layout to the MTP2, and ticks nearly every box in my list. I hope to have it soon so I can give more detailed info and a user review, but I would also wonder why the jump all the way to the SZ... for that $$ I would get a list of stuff and some more new music, but they may have a PA and lights already, or plenty of his desired tunes...
    Looking forward to the upgrade, and already have some ideas on how I'll be using the new features, especially more cue points, stored loops, and some of the added sample features. Keep shining folks..... Moonshadow

    • I'd vouch for this one. Having tried Reloop TM 4, the TM8 would be high on my checklist. Didn't they even had some bundle offer to include the Serato DJ?

      Anyway. I used the Serato DJ for several months before upgrading. The upgrading really felt a little stoopid, Since with intro I used mostly 8 beat auto-loops, high-pass and low-pass filters and 2 decks. I upgraded and still use mostly 8 beat loops, and hi+low pass filters. Note that I'm a Denon MC2000 user, so I can't go up to 4 decks, and don't have built in knobs for these effects, and my workflow uses other effects very sparingly.

      • still waiting for the TM8 to get here.... almost getting so impatient I'm looking into other uses of those funds in the meantime...... took another healthy look at the DDJ-SR and a couple others, but the Terminal Mix 8 just ticks all the right boxes.... hope it gets here soon!

  8. I started to use Intro after I used Itch and was not happy with intros limits. (I used both because at the time, I had two different controllers) Once you get the hang of using serato DJ, Intro will be an afterthought. What concerns me is, to go from the Mixdeck Pro 2 to th SZ is quite a jump. I think you will be happier saving $1000 and ging with the DDJ-SX. But, if you can afford it and you have your heart set on it, then full speed ahead!

  9. DJOutlandish says:

    Personally!!! Serato DJ seems not as performance reliable as Serato Sratch Live. I was one of the many that purchased the DDJ SX when it dropped in 2012. I find that it's a little unreliable. I'm just scared to use it in public, so i've stuck to using sratch live. I will not be buying the SZ. Not worth the headache. Pioneer will probably come out with a new model in a few months anyway.

  10. Understanding what the software does and what functions do to songs will cure your fear. Many functions are almost to much. In fact I use a NS6 and had to buy a midi controller for the extra fx and sp6 functions. You know, it just takes messing around with it and watching videos.I mean thank god for ellaskins and brian s and these guys. There is a lot of time to listing to horrible mixing and weird effects so go ahead and annoy the neighbors.. Also don't fall into the advertising pressure as company's try to make consumers feel that they are inadequate or their gear is, if you do not have the latest whatever. So yes push on to the more advanced software, never become complacent!

  11. I don't understand what there is to be scared of. I have had the sx since release no issues with the software or controller with the exception of a platter breaking shock pioneer quickly took care of.

  12. WildcardX says:

    While I understood what the post was about, in my case it was the opposite. I got a DDJ-SB with Intro and was moving to Serato from VDJ with a Hercules RMX. I was determined to use Serato and learn it well after messing with an NS6 on ITCH and enjoying the layout. With the 14 day trial for Serato DJ I used it one day and stopped myself because it made me realize how much the SB lacked and how much more features SDJ allowed. Skip forward about a month and my SDJ trial expired and I get a survey from Serato to fill out and in return I get another 14 Day trial, so I said why not. Decided this time to give it a good explore and here I am now wanting to get rid of my SB and get a SR, though I loved the NS6 it lacks at least the features that I would need to get a SP-1 to compensate for and due to the SX and SZ being out of my budget and overkill for my current usage even though I am a retired club dj and now just do it at home or the occasional gig. I actually prefer SDJ over Intro now because of the feature set, though I did experience at least 3 situations with it they only occurred while I was at home and at the end of my 14 day trial so I decided it was better to just buy a better controller rather than the license for the SB. Like with everything and technology, it makes better sense to buy for what suits your needs rather than buy the latest and greatest, you just might end up actually not using a lot of features in the tech in question. Also as being part of the ICT industry many folks seem intimidated by software/applications when it is new, I say go at it and learn it if you really want to even if you may not end up using half the feature set. At least you will know how it works and why it won't really work for you and you work flow.

  13. Well I got the Pioneer dj-sb over christmas and bought the SeratoDJ one thing I found with all the Serato software is no way of using playlists as in Virtual DJ which I use when playing in Public. I may be wrong on this point but that is one of the reasons I stopped using it .At mo I've gone back to my old controller as Pioneer has aquired a fault in the Mixer.

  14. Brendan Wrixon says:

    As for software upgrading, dive in head first and try it out. Maybe give traktor a spin, or even mixxx(in my recent quest to find a DVS working software for my friends laptops, I am quite happy with mixxx albeit freeware). Granted the only deal breaker intro had for me is the inability to record.

    As for buying a DDJ sz, I feel like the reader has a bit of a "take my money" complex on just wanting the best possible thing wtihout questioning. Ive never messed with an sz, but for the serious amount of cash it costs id buy an ns7II/ddjsx/turntable DVS and a laser or a bunch of tracks with the leftover money. New controllers come out all the time and the big thing will not be the big thing forever(remember when the sx was the big thing). If you have the means to get an SZ and you are serious about djaying and its not just a serious hobby to you then by all means go for it. Though i do know people that have bought djay equipment in that price range and a year later thought I could have bought a car

  15. John Bigboote says:

    I've been driving my Camry for a while now. I tried driving a manual transmission, but didn't like it so much, and keep going back to the Camry. I'm going to buy a Porsche Carrera GT next month. Do you think I'll like it?

  16. If you're satisfied with your current setup, why upgrade. But when you get bored, go for it.

  17. says:

    I hate serato DJ intro. i wanted to try it out to see if would make the move to Serato Dj but it is just a horrible piece of software it crashes all the time and is generally pretty slow. i have had much better results with algoriddim's DJay. until i upgrade my controller i am not even thinking of switching software.

  18. Don't get caught up with all the features that the software can do and don't feel that you need to know or use every feature that's available - people rarely use all of them and if you don't use them all it's probably because you don't need to. I'd suggest sticking with your current controller for now - sounds like the Pioneer might be overkill. Sometimes less is more.

  19. I am new to Serato DJ myself, having transitioned from using Virtual DJ before that to learn on. I must admit that coming straight to Serato DJ was a bit daunting considering that I had never used any Serato product previously. However, having a cousin who is also a DJ show me the ropes a little bit at a time, I've actually grown quite fond of Serato DJ. I use it with the Pioneer DDJ-S1, and so far I am loving it much more than Virtual DJ. I will admit though that Virtual taught me the basics of digital DJing, so I had a tad bit of a learning curve to work out. Using any software or controller usually has most of the same fundamentals that will give you the ability to quickly learn Serato DJ.

  20. I've been a long time user of Scratch Live with turntables and I even used Itch with an NS7 for a while. I recently bought the Denon MC2000 that came with Intro. I've been using it for a couple of days and even once at a gig. I've thoroughly read the manuals and have pretty much figured out everything this controller can do with Intro. I think I'm ready to jump to DJ now. I appreciate the controller coming with Intro and thus allowing me to transition from Scratch Live to DJ. I know my SL1 is not gonna last forever and I really do need to upgrade my Rane hardware to something with a better sound quality. I figure I'll go ahead and do the 14 day trial tomorrow and really get my feet wet with Serato DJ. After seeing the new updates with features like multiple panels, I'm pretty excited to check it out.

  21. Hey! ..."want to by a DDJ-SZ" I'd say "buy", sorry! 😉

  22. Stephen says:

    I know what you mean. Intro has a no fuss and frill attraction that offers an easy and straight forward rule of play. I simpley could not afford an SX so I have an MTP2 with full SDJ. Yes I have to go the laptop for a couple of functions but it cannot be any worse than clipping an angry Polar bears claws with slight hangover and cvucumber! I would say the MTP2 with full SDJ could cover 90% of venues.

  23. I bought a Numark NS6 and it came with Serato Itch, that would freeze up then shut down an hour into a gig. Then when adding the rest of my library from my external HD it opens and immediately crashes. Shortly after that the controller had failure of its own so returned it for another NS6. Came with Serato DJ, starts to load, 20 seconds later crash. Virtual DJ 7 works fine (even with limited resources on my la5ptop) but Serato wont work. Anyone have any suggestions?

  24. Jesse Snowden says:

    I upgraded a few years ago from the numark mixtrack pro 2 and felt the very same way. The more I started doing little new things with serato dj the more familiar and confident I became with it. Change is scary and you may began to feel hopeless if it takes to long for you to get it, but don't give up. I would take a step back for a second then go back to it. It also helps to just play around a bit. I would record lots of mixes to see what I needed to improve. Like my first mix would be no trick just all about smooth transitions from one song to the next. Remember everyday is a learning experience and you won't learn everything in one day. Keep practicing and watch how you will begin to improve and how your creativity will increase as your skills does. Remember intro is intended to get you started and it did that, but serato dj takes it to another level and take it from me if you got serato intro you can and will get serato dj. I never imagined that i would be showing other people how to operate things in serato dj, Just hang in there and before you know it you will get it.

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