Traktor To Serato: 10 Things You Need To Know

Serato DJ: We give you 10 things that you need to know about it if you're thinking of switching from Traktor.

We give you 10 things that you need to know about it if you’re thinking of switching from Traktor.

Are you a user of Traktor (or indeed Virtual DJ, MixVibes Cross or some other program – but most of our users are one or the other of the “big two”), wanting to try Serato but with questions you’re afraid to ask for fear of getting shunned by your DJ peers? Now that Serato Scratch Live (Serato’s DVS software) has been folded into Serato DJ, and a whole host of new controllers have been released for the platform, a lot of DJs seem to be curious about giving it a go.

I recently got to grips with it for the first time in order to write some forthcoming Serato articles for Digital DJ Tips, and here I’ve listed 10 essentials you need to know about making the jump to Serato DJ.

10 Key Serato Points

  1. You can’t run Serato DJ without a compatible controller/mixer/interface – unlike Traktor, you can’t use Serato DJ without using a controller supported by it. The latest version supports more controllers than ever, but you still need a licensed controller. You can find the full list here
  2. However, you can still run Serato DJ standalone for prepping tracks on the go. Just be aware that it’s (deliberately) a pared down, one-channel version of the software. It’s designed so you can set up your crates, add cue points and preview tracks when you’re on the go

    You could use Serato DJ on its own without a controller, but you only get one channel. Use this for prepping your set or setting cue points in transit.

    You could use Serato DJ on its own without a controller, but you only get one channel. Use this for prepping your set or setting cue points in transit.

  3. You can’t import your Traktor library straight into Serato – As of this writing, we don’t know of a stable, user-friendly way to convert your library for Serato DJ. There exists some programs such as ScratchTools, but there’s a lot of command line work and it’s a relatively complex job to get done, not to mention that the site looks like it was stuck in 1999. As we regularly suggest to our readers, use iTunes to organise all your DJ music. You may not be able to transfer your cue points, but at least you’ll have your folders intact!

     

  4. Serato waveforms are different from Traktor waveforms – Serato DJ uses the classic Serato “stacked” (or parallel) waveforms, and allows you to configure them in four different ways. Aside from the main waveform display, there are two more called the Beat Matching Display and Tempo Matching Display, which makes it even easier to beat match visually  (the caveat of which is the now infamous Serato face). Regardless, Serato DJ presents significantly more waveform data about your music than Traktor

    Serato DJ has four ways to view your waveforms depending on your preference. This one shows the Beat Match Display as well as the Tempo Match Display.

    Serato DJ has four ways to view your waveforms depending on your preference. This one shows the Tempo Matching Display (red and gold waveforms on top of the screen) as well as the Beat Matching Display, which are quite handy.

  5. Scratching sounds slightly different on either software – As both software use their own algorithms for determining how your audio files are reproduced when you scratch with your controller or DVS, they do sound a tad different in this aspect. It’s not a deal breaker for sure, but you may prefer one over the other
  6. Serato DJ has a ton of FX, but… – you’d have to buy the rest as expansion packs. Just like in-app purchases, Serato offers extra FX at an extra cost (US$49 for the all in bundle), radically different from Traktor’s FX that have always come free with their software updates

    Lots of FX built in, but if you want the full suite you're going to have to buy the rest.

    Lots of FX built in, but if you want the full suite you’re going to have to buy the rest.

  7. Serato DJ also has sample players, just like Traktor – the SP-6 is a four bank sample player with six sample slots per bank, enough for all the “air horn” variations the EDM world has ever known (hopefully)

     

  8. You can mix video with Serato DJ – this is the one thing that Traktor doesn’t have for the time being, and Serato DJ delivers a fantastic VDJ experience through its proprietary Serato Video plugin or through Mix Emergency 2.4
  9. You can now use timecode CDs and vinyl – Version 1.6 of Serato DJ includes DVS and CD timecode support for Rane mixers and Serato Scratch Live interfaces. There’s even an option for *gasp* sync!
  10. “But Traktor has more cue points than Serato!” – Controllerists, rejoice! Serato DJ now comes with eight cue points, probably enough to satiate your hunger for beat juggling. If you aren’t as precise as you’d want to be, you’d be pleased to know that there’s also a quantise function as well to make sure you trigger those cue points on time, every time
The Pioneer DDJ-SZ is the company's new flagship controller for Serato DJ, and has the potential to be Serato's coup de grâce.

The Pioneer DDJ-SZ is the company’s new flagship controller for Serato DJ, and has the potential to be Serato’s coup de grâce if it becomes a hit!

My personal thoughts….

Folk have been talking about how Serato’s been too slow to adapt to a quickly changing digital DJ landscape, the pace of which has been quickened by advancements in other companies’ DJ software (such as Native Instruments’s Traktor, MixVibes Cross and so on).

 

But by cherry-picking features that they feel their existing user base needs, keeping a close eye on usability, and an ear to the ground for what the future of DJing might hold (Serato Video, Serato Remote for iOS), Serato is arguably doing what it feels needs to be done to stay relevant in the Digital DJ game.

As a matter of opinion, to me Serato DJ feels more like an aggressively strategic marketing and rebranding move by a company eager to reinvent itself: By consolidating its lineup of software into a competitive package and updating its feature set without losing touch with its traditional DVS market, Serato to me is looking to get back a bigger slice of the extremely competitive DJ market. It’s a tricky beast to tame, and whatever the outcome of the “software wars”, ultimately it’s us DJs who gain.

Have you made the switch from Traktor to Serato, or indeed have you gone the other way? What was your experience, and where do you see the strengths and weaknesses of each platform? Or don’t you rate either, and prefer Virtual DJ, Cross DJ or another program? Let us know in the comments!

Comments

  1. I still look at Serato as the happy choice for many vinyl purists who want to go digital without the added “sinful things” of sync and such. One thing I notice with Serato users I’ve encountered is they would prefer a bare-basics setup with no sync, no waveforms, nothing more than just a solid vinyl emulation.

    I’m sure though Rane can’t corner the market with just that….and thus wants a piece of NI’s market.

    • Remember that Rane and Serato are different companies. Rane is a hardware company from Seattle and Serato a Software company from New Zealand. They collaborate together on products, but operate independently.

  2. Thanks for the tips. While I don’t see myself moving away from Traktor anytime soon, a radio station I DJ for has a dedicated Serato set up. I think I want to mess around with it there just to get to know the system better so I could tag team with other djs that are dedicated Serato users. I’m all for versatility.

  3. The important thing about samples in Serato is that even if your controller has drum pads on either side (like Pioneer DDJ-SX) you are operating the same bank setting (It is impossible to control different banks on either side) which sucks…

    • ForcedHand says:

      Is this not a reason to MIDI sync to an external drum machine program? There are a LOT of hardware and software options for adding drums (that sync to the beat). While it can be a hassle to set up your drum machine with your DJ software on one machine, it’s certainly worth it if you like using drum pads during your set.

      • Sadly there’s no MIDI out in Serato DJ yet. The Bridge (between Serato and Ableton) has also fallen by the wayside in the migration to Serato DJ, so Serato users are bereft of a MIDI synchronization option for the time being.

        • ForcedHand says:

          Wow, you’re right. I had assumed that since Serato DJ included MIDI Devices it would also include MIDI time code out. What an oversight and shortcoming. I’m glad I have a couple of choices when it comes to DJ programs, but this should have been there from the moment Scratch Live was shoehorned into Serato DJ.

  4. I try serato and Traktor in my pioneer ddj -sx and for me the sound quality it’s better in traktor and you are allowed to map your controller as you want and the scratch indeed sounds different but not so much and of course Traktor comes with more effects, the music library for me is easier to make in Traktor and you can export it with the music right away the only plus in serato is the video plug in that’s why I just used seraro for that .

    • Joey Santos says:

      That’s cool! I find the “scratch” sound in Serato DJ a bit more realistic than the one in Traktor, but honestly both sound fantastic and saying one is better than the other is just splitting hairs ;)

      Wonder if NI will come out with a video plugin for Traktor? Now THAT would be interesting!

    • ForcedHand says:

      If the sound quality is better in Traktor, try looking at your audio settings in Serato DJ. These programs don’t change playback quality on their own. In fact, it’s a good idea to check your audio settings whenever you make changes to your hardware or software, for a myriad of reasons.

  5. I have a Pioneer DDJ-SB and I’m trying to make the change from Traktor to Serato. My only problem is that I have to buy Serato DJ because the controller comes with Serato DJ Intro. We’ll see what happens.

    • knighteric966@gmail.com says:

      The DDJ-SB is a Serato Controller but It can be used with Traktor. Go to Traktor Bible or DJTT and get the Mapping for it.

  6. MrChippa says:

    Because I only play techno/tech house/minimal and sometimes Deep/Nu disco I often think about moving from serato to traktor (have a novation twitch). And that’s only because everybody in this genre uses traktor so I get the feeling that Traktor works better with the music I play. Are there members here who can tell me anything about moving from serato to Trakter and share their experiences? I’ve played around with Traktor once and it doesn’te look as clean as Serato. (I do loooove the traktor DJ app, the way you can rock a small house party with that is just amazing)!
    Serato does it’s job, but I wonder if Traktor gives me something extra for the genres I play.
    Then again Pioneer has made clear that they are working with Serato and I don’t see Traktor becoming a club standard anytime soon. But still I’m curious! because I’m looking to upgrade to a new controller this year.

    Thanks in advance guys!

  7. Ive started out true to Serato (Scratch Live) for a good 5 years and then migrated to Traktor for another 3 years. Now I recently have come back to Serato (Serato DJ) and find that I do truly like Serato much better than Traktor. Of course each one has it’s good and bad.

  8. john parker says:

    I think serato’s biggest plus is it’s ease of use. My 1st controller was a mixtrack pro and came with dj intro and tracktor le. I opted for serato for the hot cues but as I became more experienced I thought I’d give tracktor a go, but what I found was an installation procedure that was such a pain on the ass that I got no further! So now I’m serato dj and ddj sx and I must admit I don’t think I would contemplate tracktor now even though it is more suited to the genres I play. You can’t beat ease of use in my books. :)
    K.I.S.S. keep it simple stupid!

  9. Great article. I’ve currently been using Traktor for about 3 years now and have been debating using Serato as well because it would be easier switching out with dj friends at clubs between sets because they use Serato as well. I organize my music in iTunes, so i won’t lose my playlist folders, but I am curious about my Traktor metadata like cue points. By reading this article, I realize they won’t be visible in Serato, and I am ok with setting new ones in Serato. However, if I set new cue points in Serato, will I lose my original Traktor cue points?

    • Joey Santos says:

      Hey Gregg! As far as I know, setting cue points in Serato DJ for a song won’t mess up your Traktor cue points because they store metadata in their own respective libraries :) I tried it with mine on one song (I have both Traktor and Serato DJ), and seemed to work just fine.

  10. john parker says:

    On another note if the sz becomes a club standard then the serato / tracktor debate will become a none event as it will support both!

  11. I went from Traktor to Serato and have never been happier. I am a purist, I focus on my DJing and turntablism and not on effects and syncing up a party.

  12. Phil Worrell says:

    I looked at both about a year ago and went for traktor purely because I’m a geek and like playing with setting etc. Also I had a controller already I wanted to remap and I could not do that in Serato.

    Now with all the controllers coming out with Serato makes me wonder when it will be time to swap or just wait and hang on in there and see what NI have up their sleeves.

    That DDJ-SZ is just so tempting…… :) must resist… must resist…

    Back the music…. :)

  13. I am a proud owner of the Pioneer DDJ SR & runs Serato. Simply put, as aforementioned is Serato’s simplicity of usage. Another bonus is that currently, it’s users get full users get upgrades for free. Also, the fact is Serato has made strides on adding expansion packs for users who require more effects for their specific playing style, & surely more will follow.
    In the end, it boils down to what the user is more comfortable with. It becomes a bit of headache to learn the ins & out of software then change a few years later. Not that it can’t be done; just that it would undoubted mean that the learning curve would affect my overall performance. The idea that I bought into when opting to go digital was to decide my software first, then get a DJ controller made for it.

    • “It becomes a bit of headache to learn the ins & out of software then change a few years later. ” – Definitely agree with that. That’s why we say ideally, you should choose your software first, your controller second.

  14. I’m almost In the opposite camp;
    I’ve used Serato for years with turntables and an SL1box and only recently sold it. it’s served me very well coming from a Vinyl background. then bought a vci300 and upgraded to a vci380 which is awesome for scratching mixing and ease of setup in a club.
    But now I have sold my SL1 box which means I have 3 unused tts lying around I’m cut between buying a second hand sl3 or making the jump to Traktor as I have a maschine and would love to incorporate it into my dj setup.
    My main hesitation with Traktor is due to other djs I know having setup issues when going to a club and stability. I kind of want to make the jump but it’s difficult choice knowing Serato has been so solid for me. Also Native Instruments activation/upgrade process is messy imho.
    One thing i find lacking in Serato Dj is the midi mapping and although I’m not too geeky I do like the idea of mapping an external controller exactly how I want which seems to be where Traktor wins out currently.

    Anyone wanting to make the switch from Traktor to Serato though won’t be disappointed with stability and dvs control but if remix decks and advance mappings are your thing you may feel you have stepped back a little

    Just my 2 cents

    • We’re very lucky in having loads of gear, software etc to play with and I agree that nothing is perfect and there are valid reasons for preferring either over the other.

      • Phil based upon your experience with both of these DJ software programs can you make a write up making a list answering everyone’s biggest misconceptions about them? I use. Traktor, Serato DJ Intro, and Virtual DJ Pro. I am tired of everyone saying “Traktor is difficult to install, unstable, etc. when a good amount those people commenting clearly have not had a lot of experience with Traktor. Each software has its benefits and detriments and as you all point out it is clearly up to the potential user which one would work best for them. For example I run Traktor with a Windows 8.1 laptop and installing and updating it couldn’t be simpler. Also no stability issues to report. I have been performing live with it since I bought it in October and Zero issues. According to people Windows anything is terrible and those same people are shocked I have had no issues? I have no problem with Serato DJ Intro other than my #1 gripe which is the user interface. I personally feel that Serato’s user interface it just not friendly with respect to the search and music folder access. It is sooooooooo small I can barely read it on my 15.6″ 1080P screen. I also don’t like the general look and especially the waveforms. They waveforms are not as defined as the ones found in Traktor or VDJ 7 Pro.

        • John Trend says:

          i deeply agree with you . Traktor has a much friendlier user interface, everything is where it suppose to be ! Like a german car :)

    • I play on Traktor since the beginning, that is about 5 years ago. I ran it on Windows and from time to time i encountered some stability problems. I´ve bought a macbook pro and never had any stability or latency issues again. There were a couple of times, where the program did not work properly (sound dropouts, high latency, etc), but about 2 minutes later, after restarting the program and going back to the part that was played, everything worked out for the rest of the evening. So, to sum it up, i had none or very little stability issues on Traktor Pro and Traktor Pro 2. Almost every DJ i´ve played with, used Serato, but even though i had the possibility to try it, it never tempted me to get it myself.
      Traktor offers everything i need and even more than that. I do not say, Serato is better or worse, only, being used to Traktor and its functions hold me back from switching. In the end, there is no real reason: The programs, to me, are exactly the same. The only difference that Serato has a little bit more of this, Traktor has a bit more of that.
      The Video function does not really interest me at all.. i would have become a VJ if i wanted to play around with videos. It is a nice function, but it really is not needed in a DJ program in my opinion.
      In my opinion, the real quest is to make the program work the way you want it to work and enable you to use all the important functions you need to use. If you are not too picky and don´t want very special things to work in a very special way, i think both DJ programs are very suitable for all kinds of music.

  15. Regarding point #5, yes the tracking algorithms are different between Serato and Traktor. Traktor by default has the superior algorithm in that it is more efficient and uses less memory. This gives Traktor an odd sound when attempting to scratch with it. However, by going to the Traktor settings at Transport > Keylock > Mode, you can switch from the default “Normal” to “Scratch” and get almost exactly the same sound you would get in Serato. In fact this is pretty much a must if you’re going to scratch in Traktor.

    • Joey Santos says:

      Yes, I was referring to “Scratch” mode on Traktor :) and as you mentioned, it is “almost” the exact same scratch sound as in Serato, but again it’s not 100% identical, so some people may prefer one to the other :)

  16. I changed from Traktor (which just didn’t suit my -mostly mobile- DJ style at all, to Mixvibes Cross. At the time I was tempted to move to Serato, but didn’t want to toss my much loved MC6000 controller that wasn’t Serato-approved. I never regretted the move. But I am upgrading to the MC6000 mkII and it has … Serato-approval!

    So I’ll definitely give it a try.

    Good article as usual, Phil!

  17. i haven’t tried the full Serato DJ software so i don’t have a full comparison point versus Traktor, but i know that software is a thing that evolves and changes from night to day, and many of the little “details” people would like changed in each software may already been under the eye of the developers.

    quick example, a big complain for Traktor users is the way it uses the screen space, how bad the layout is, Serato on the other hand has a much more compact and organized layout and allows a lower resolution. The thing is, this is all software, and software can be changed to appear in many different ways depending on the development.

  18. I was at Musikmesse this year and it was pretty clear that Traktor was getting a lot less love around Hall 5. The Pioneer controllers in the DDJ-S… range were a joy to use, as was the Numark NS7 II, but as a Traktor user I did feel a bit out of my depth with Serato. Thanks for the article above, Phil!

    I already committed to a Traktor/Denon controller setup a few months ago and won’t be ditching it any time soon [too much hard work and time spent learning both, frankly].

    I did leave wondering this:

    What is Native Instruments making of all this and why – as I write this – are they being so passive? They have their own line of great controllers and the Z2; having spent a while on both the DDJ-SZ and the NS7 II it’s a great loss to Traktor users that Traktor is not officially supported or integrated. What a boon it would be if these powerhouse controllers could keep both crowds happy.

    By no means do I presume that the majority of us outside of club installations need these hefty, pricey controllers. They’re top-of-the-range for a reason. The link is their usage of Serato as the weapon of choice; please don’t misunderstand this is a slur on Serato, though. I found it great fun to use after some initial confusion and it’s a powerhouse bit of software. I just felt like I’d backed the wrong horse for the future of DJing software and future controllers!

    • Remember Native is a DJ/production company, with its own range of hardware/Software. The R&D involved there is huge. I am sure in good time we’ll see some amazing new stuff from Native that builds on their philosophy which to me seems to be to blur the lines between DJing and production. It’s not for everyone, but hats off to them for the approach.

  19. I just bought the DDJ-SX after using the MC6000 with Virtual DJ for years. I am still learning the software. It certainly is the change I though I wanted. The learning curve is a bit frustrating simply because I’ve become so accustomed to vdj. It does feel more pro and but not necessarily easier nor convenient to use as opposed to vdj. I find the track importing and managing to be more cumbersome. Although I have only practiced at home with it I did have a crash which scares me. Can’t wait to master this software though, this hardware/software combo really makes it feel as if my Djing creativity has no bound.

  20. Digital wise, started with VDJ, then Serato ITCH /Serato VCI 300 which I really like. Dabbed a little in Traktor to later stay there.

    Tried going back to ITCH and tried going to Serato DJ, but I no longer like the layout. Something about the UI in Serato that its isn’t appealing to my eyes as Traktor (easier to see where I am in the song, phase meter, what’s on or off, like filers etc). And there’s crashes or sound drops with Serato. For music management, stability, ability and ease of use stuck with Traktor.

    Serato has been in the “limelight” more than usual lately.
    Traktor was pretty much “there”, Serato was playing catch up. Still feel there’s room for improvement, but with the recent push a seems like a lot of DJs did the switch to Serato (internet world)

    But locally, funny enough most DJs I’ve met use Traktor (some new converts) or straight Pioneer with no software.

  21. I love Traktor, but them being such a-holes about non-NI controller compatibility is really getting to me….and those Pioneer controllers look SOOOOOOOO nice.

    • There’s some great videos on learning how to map your desired controller to Traktor. Also if you’re looking at Pioneer controllers they provide .tsi files with mappings they have made for you to be able to use your desired DDJ-SR/SX with Traktor as well as many other of their products. I started out using a WeGO and eventually bought Traktor Pro after using Virtual DJ 7 Pro for a while and Pioneer was ready with a .tsi file to download right from their support site and I was up and running. Serato DJ comparably only allows you to use approved controllers so you are more limited with what you can choose even though they have a good amount of various ones from different manufacturers to choose from.

    • Believe me, if you have a non-Traktor approved controller, there will be a .tsi file with the basic mapping somewheree out there. Had the same issues, was fooling around with a lot of different controllers and a bunch of them were not supported/had to be mapped accordingly.
      There are a couple of pages and forums where you will find people discussing and some people offering downloads.
      I have found more than enough, there were standard mappings, like they should be appearing on your controller and different mappings, where, for example a jog wheel would be used as the dry/wet knob.
      I found it also to be a quite interesting to try out the mapping for myself, as it occurred to me that i might find a mapping that suits me more than the standard one. It takes a bit of time though :)

  22. A few thoughts:

    1You can’t run Serato DJ without a compatible controller/mixer/interface

    Not really correct IMO
    If you get a SSL soundcard you can midi map anything that has MIDI the same way you can with Traktor.
    Traktor does not work if you don’t have a Traktor certified soundcard
    So I do not see any big difference here but that Serato is more plug and play than Traktor IMO.

    Also the latest year or so no one of the “top DJ gear” companies has released anything for Traktor but all of them has released Serato DJ compatible gear.
    (Pioneer Denon Numark)
    NI has IMO painted themself in to a corner when they refuse to cooperate with others and now in a near future you can only get NI gear in order to paly ´NI Traktor
    And IMO their hardware is not that good and not value for money in the same way that other gear that runs Serato DJ is.

    So when other new stuff that runs Serato DJ hit the market NI will be in a minorite and
    Serato DJ will be the leading software I strongly believe.

    So to be future secure (if you plan on buying new gear in a few years) it is better to get a Serato DJ controller if you shall get a controller now or you will have to later on anyway.
    At least that is my thughts.

    I also think that NI as company acts very wrong against us DJs when they first cooperate with all other brands and then when they make their own IMO inferior products refuse to cooperate with other brands in order to sell their own hardware. That is IMO hybris!

    //DJ Hessler
    http://www.djhessler.se

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to map jogwheels in Serato.

      • That is correct
        Quote from Serato user manual
        “MIDI Platters
        The Serato DJ virtual decks are not user assignable to MIDI control. MIDI devices with platters on
        them all send different data so user mapping is not possible. To control the platter use a natively
        supported Serato DJ controller, or if your hardware allows, Vinyl or CDJs.”

        There are as you well know a few controllers without joggwheels wich might work well or am I wrong??

        Pioneer CDJ900, CDJ2000 and CDJ2000Nexus are sertified to be used plug and play
        among others
        http://serato.com/dj/hardware/accessories

        If you use a controller I see no difference bcause you need a certified Traktor soundcard as well as a certified Serato DJ soundcard isn’t that the case?

        • Terry_42 says:

          That is actually the reason why Serato works so perfectly with the jogwheels they support. Because Serato uses the full bandwidth of bits sent to the software (aka HID mode) of the platters.

    • DJ Vintage says:

      Not so sure if Traktor isn’t working with non-NI supported soundcards. This is true for DVS, but not for normal soundcards, but correct me if I am wrong.

      The other thing is that it sounds like you think there must be a best or only DJ software at some point in the future. First of all there are more options than Traktor and Serato (Mixvibes Cross and Virtual DJ just to name two of the bigger ones), secondly if -as a DJ- you allow hardware manufacturers (say your controller choice) to determine what software you can/cannot use, that is handing them too much power, imho.

      I started on an MC6000 with Traktor and when I decided I didn’t like Traktor for my workflow, I looked at Serato. They didn’s support the MC6000. So, no way am I re-selling (and taking a loss on) my MC6000 to buy something that Serato says is ok. I ended up switching to Cross which has worked quite well for my workflow AND with all the hardware I own.

      It also is fully plug and play HID integration with Pioneer CDJs, so in a club I plug in 2 USB cables to my laptop and I am off to the races.

      My point being that I don’t see one “winner” emerge. People will and should be led by their workflow and not by what’s available in the market.

      Greetinx.

      • I have a Pioneer WeGO that I use with Traktor that has a Pioneer created .tsi file for it to be able to map and work with Traktor flawlessly. I am sure that the WeGO does not use a “Traktor Certified” sound card. This again relates to my post above saying “Phil based upon your experience with both of these DJ software programs can you make a write up making a list answering everyone’s biggest misconceptions about them?” People speak on things they are not really sure about and actually can misguide or influence a user to choose something based upon hearsay, not fact. I am sure Phil has heard 1 to 1 million of these misconceptions and can shed some light to all about the truths to squash these goofy misconceptions flat.

    • Marco Hooghuis says:

      You’re wrong on Traktor. I use it with a Mixtrack Pro II or a DDJ-SR and neither are Traktor certified. The situation you talk about is only for DVS for which you need a special soundcard anyway.
      And just because companies release stuff for Serato it doesn’t mean it won’t work for other software. Not every software is as locked down as Serato is. Both my main controllers are for Serato as standard and they work fine on Virtual DJ, Traktor, Cross, Deckadance, etc.

    • “1You can’t run Serato DJ without a compatible controller/mixer/interface
      Not really correct IMO
      If you get a SSL soundcard you can midi map anything that has MIDI the same way you can with Traktor.”

      You do know that the SSL is a Serato DJ compatible interface so the statement is still true
      And Serato DJ has no midi out meaning no visual feedback on the midi controller you mapped.

      I have tried every update from SeratoDJ 1 to 1.6 and just don’t like it.
      Analizing songs I need to disconnect my DDJ SX for it to go into single player mode so I can’t listen to the songs while I edit the grids through the DDJ SX that I have hooked up to my studio monitors. If I have a song that has been analyzed in tractor it will most of the time show up as corrupted file in Serato DJ, The same songs work fine in all my other DJ software. Cross, VDJ, Deckadance, Djay and Traktor. this has stopped me from ever really using Serato for more then just trying it out.
      I used Traktor before going to Cross witch means I have a lot of songs that show up as corrupted in Serato DJ (witch means no beat grids, no slicer, no loop roll) so there def is a problem with how Searto reads files. It’s enough to need to set all you cue points again but to make new versions of every corrupted file I will never do.

  23. Phil, is there any new data on the software used from the annual surveys that you do? I only found online results from 2012 – where Serato actually only came 4th, after Traktor, VDJ and Ableton (!) http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2012/10/digital-dj-tips-2012-reader-survey-results/

  24. Find this article very relevant given that I have both TSP and SDJ and spend all my time in Serato.

    IMO SDJs strengths are:
    - stretchable beat grids
    - parallel stacked waveforms
    - dedicated loop roll/slicer modes with native mapped pads
    - non clickly (think S2/4) scratchable platters (vci380 best in the business)
    - arguably more resiliant native hardware build quality (vestax, pioneer vs NI kontrol series)
    - (on the DDJSX and Twitch) native hardware functions to -quickly- adjust beatgrids on the fly

    Not so good with SDJ at the moment:
    1) crashing with large libraries (more of a PC issue, and there is a workaround now…)
    2) SP6 (very basic at the moment)
    3) midi mapping, specifically ability to send midi out (surely it must be coming soon, all those SSL users are expecting it)

    DDJSX / MBP combo is most fun setup i’ve had to date, highly reccomended

  25. djceeo@yahoo.com says:

    Great responses, and now is a great time to be a DJ that has come up using vinyl and now has the ability to use creativity to use the digital tools that are out… I run Traktor (almost 6 years) and have only had issues when I tried to update to this last version. I made a few changes and was fine. PCs and Apples will never be as stable as analog sound, but most of what I am reading is about personal preferences. My whole crew (3 other djs) come from using vinyl, and they all use serato… I may convert at least one of them. I started out with Traktor simply because the first version could record live mixes, and do some other things serato could not. However, Serato has upped its game and its all about preferences now. I have an F1 that I love, and I rock out with it all the time… However, I carry a small record bag at all times. So if something happens, I flip a switch, and play a classic record… I will never feel completely comfortable with a laptop!

  26. I moved from Traktor to Serato about 2 years ago and have been incredibly happy. Never going back. :) Nice article, as usual.

  27. Double V says:

    I switched this year from Traktor DVS (on Traktor since 2007) to Serato DVS and I have not gone back. I love all that Traktor had to offer but Serato was like my dream girl once I got my hands on it. Great article and the only thing I will add is that you will need to analyze your files prior to getting to play with Serato.

  28. Ok with all this talk about switching…I am new to Digital DJing but not to DJing 35years Ouch!…. I just purchased a New Numark Mix Quad what software should I use ? Traktor or Serato… I have been using the Serato Dj Intro that came with the board but I have the ability to use either with the board~

  29. i started on serato scratch and left it for vdj….. haven’t looked back. i use just about every controller on vdj and always works fine… i actually know use the ddj sx with vdj never and issue….. i started getting into SDJ because they are now pretty much vdj… the only thing stopping me from really giving SDJ a full shot is………… my big ass cued up data based. i have no intention or re doing my library… i have all of my cue points and beat grids perfect on vdj. don’t feel like starting all over….. i just keep enough prepared music on serato dj to do 1-2 hours if i have to, other wise it’s vdj all night

  30. I started using Serato in 2006 when I was switching from CDs at the time. I thought it was the greatest tool for DJs since the turntable itself. However, once I learned more about Traktor (and NI as a company), I switched to Traktor and have enjoyed the additional features (love the Key column sort), the easy of use and being able to customize it and the waveform view is much better than Serato.

    I see Native Instruments as a better developer of software and so I doubt I would go back to Serato. I do like the DDJ-SZ and hope Pioneer and NI will release an update to their DDJ-T1 controller soon. All of these Serato based controllers are saturating the market.

  31. DJ PHIL IT! says:

    the problem I got with it you must use a controller

  32. Got serato with the DDJ-SX, so I really tried to like it, but went back to VDJ after two weeks.
    Then I tested Traktor pro2 and I absolutly love it.
    Now I know why Traktor is the most used dj software, and I can´t understand why Pioneer focus so much on serato?! Is it all economics?
    Pioneer do have released their own sx-mapping for traktor, but it´s not that good.
    DDJ-SX, Tractor Pro2 with JaJa Artwork mapping is for me the perfect combination :-)

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