Review & Video: Serato Remote 1.1 for iPad

Review Summary:

Serato Remote is a great app for Serato DJ users who want to get more out of their existing controller or DVS setup. If you already own an iPad, that makes it an even easier decision, considering that you only need to spend under US$20 to get features that are usually only reserved for higher end gear. Would've given this a five out of five rating if there was the ability to browse and load directly from my iPad and stack waveforms!

Remote
  • Remote
  • Rating: 4.5
  • From: Serato
  • Version: 1.1
  • Price: US$19
  • Reviewed by:
  • On May 14, 2014
  • Last modified:August 19, 2014
Serato Remote: Is this the easiest and least expensive way to add features and functions to your controller if you already own an iPad?

Serato Remote: The easiest and least expensive way to add features and functions to your controller, especially if you already own an iPad.

Serato Remote 1.1 Review

Last year, Serato unveiled its Serato Remote iOS app. For company that had previously pushed the traditional turntable/DVS digital solution, this was a move some thought to be bold, especially as it came on the back of a new, unified platform (Serato DJ). As the name suggests, Serato Remote lets you do things remotely, like launch cues, control FX and check out the status of your virtual decks on a screen that isn’t your laptop.

Fast forward to 2014, and the latest version of Serato Remote comes with features that bring top shelf functionality to even the most basic of DJ controllers. While the initial version allowed your iPad to be an extension of your laptop, the great thing about this update is that it now seeks to become an integral augmentation to your controller as well. (If you haven’t tried out Serato Remote prior to this version, check out our first Serato Remote review) – but read on for some killer new features added in v1.1.

First impressions

You connect Serato Remote by first pairing it with your computer using your iPad’s cable. Do it once, and you’ll never have to set it up again. You can even use it wirelessly through ad hoc mode, but to keep the latency as low as possible you’ll probably want to use the USB cable.

Serato Remote

Serato Remote gives you an intuitive overview of the function tabs that you can control via this split screen layout. Should you wish to view the extended features of each tab, you can click on the arrow to the left.

Upon starting the app, you’re greeted by a screen split in half: The top shows your horizontal Serato waveforms as well as virtual decks, while the bottom half now contains four tabs: Pads (for your cue points), Sampler, FX, and Slicer. Slicer is new to this version of Serato Remote, and is a killer addition. Also note that there are now eight cue pads instead of five, making it up to date with what seems to be the standard for most high-end controllers with performance pads these days.

In use

Do keep in mind that even in this latest version of Serato Remote, the app remains as such: A remote. There are no transport buttons, and you can’t browse your library without having to look at your crates on your laptop screen. There still isn’t an option to reconfigure the waveforms to appear as stacks too, which in my opinion would be a useful key feature as its one of the most recognisable traits of Serato DJ. But having covered these limitations, let’s get into the good stuff…

Pads

Serato Remote

Serato Remote comes packed with eight pads for eight cue points, perfect for beat juggling and contemporary cue point performance.

The eight pads are large and responsive, perfect for cue point juggling if you don’t mind using a touchscreen for that sort of performance. Even though the iPad screen’s real estate is fully utilised, it never feels like it’s a cramped and puzzling endeavour, which truly can’t be said for some smaller controllers out there that employ counter-intuitive shift layers and odd layouts to maximise a feature set at the expense of ease of use.

Sampler

Serato DJ

You can control Serato DJ’s SP6 Sample Player through the Sampler tab. It also gives you access to deeper functions and options if you expand the lower half of the screen via the arrow on the far left.

The Serato SP-6 sampler is beautifully represented in Serato Remote: All four banks are easily accessible, and all six sample players within those banks appear as large rectangle pads. While they may not be velocity sensitive like those found on a Pioneer DDJ-SX or similar performance pad-equipped controller, these do a fine job of translating a touch-based pad playing experience. It’s worth noting that to the far left of the screen is an arrow that, when enabled, extends the visual real estate of whatever tab function you have enabled, showing deeper features. In this case, the Sampler screen now shows options for Sync, looping, individual volume bars and playback options.

Slicer

Slicer

The Slicer is a new feature that isn’t commonly available in entry-level controllers or even some expensive Serato controllers. With Serato Remote, you can now gain access to this without having to trade up to an exalted controller.

The Slicer is a new feature included in Serato Remote. Previously the territory of the Novation Twitch and some controllers like the Numark NS7II and the aforementioned Pioneer DDJ-SX, Serato Remote democratises this aspect and brings its functionality to any Serato DJ user regardless of hardware controller.


The Slicer basically “slices” a section of your track into the eight pads found on your controller, and Serato Remote does this by arranging those slices onto eight rectangles on its screen. Think of it as a loop and roll effect combined that travels along with the track as it plays. Pressing the arrow to the left of the screen gives you access to two effects that you’ve set in the FX tab, which are perfect for manipulating audio and creating buildups, all in one screen!

FX

FX

Controlling Serato DJ’s onboard effects becomes a simpler and more tactile affair if you haven’t got sufficient knobs and buttons on your DJ controller, thanks to Serato Remote.

The FX tab is where you can choose from Serato DJ’s list of effects like echo, pan delay, phaser and high-pass filters. You can set them as latch effects, which you can turn on and off, or as temp effects, whose parameters only affect the audio when you have your fingers touching the effect bar. This is a generally straightforward effect section, but you’d be surprised how much easier it is to use than the one found on many controllers, especially if you have a controller that lacks a decent number of knobs and buttons to chisel sounds and manage effect variables.

Conclusion

It’s easy to pass off Serato Remote as a gimmicky accessory that would just complicate your spartan Serato DJ set-up: After all, why would you want to have another screen in the DJ booth when your laptop provides more than enough already? But such a question misses the entire point of this app. For US$19.99, you’re basically getting the software equivalent of a pair of Novation Dicers (USD99), a Pioneer DDJ-SP1 pad sample player (USD399) and the FX and Slicer sections of some mid-tier/high-end controllers, all in one comprehensive and easy to use package.

If you’re a Serato user and you have an iPad, it would be difficult to make a case against using Serato Remote.

Even if you’ve got a flagship unit like the Pioneer DDJ-SZ, having a touchscreen controller dedicated for a particular use (Slicer, for instance) lessens the need to flip between function buttons on your hardware controller, thus reducing confusion in the heat of an intense mix moment. As you go down the list to even more inexpensive, introductory controllers with limited performance capabilities such as the Pioneer DDJ-SB or the Numark Mixtrack Edge, the benefits begin to increase exponentially.

Review Summary:

Serato Remote is a great app for Serato DJ users who want to get more out of their existing controller or DVS setup. If you already own an iPad, that makes it an even easier decision, considering that you only need to spend under US$20 to get features that are usually only reserved for higher end gear. Would've given this a five out of five rating if there was the ability to browse and load directly from my iPad and stack waveforms!

Remote
  • Remote
  • Rating: 4.5
  • From: Serato
  • Version: 1.1
  • Price: US$19
  • Reviewed by:
  • On May 14, 2014
  • Last modified:August 19, 2014

Video Review

Do you use Serato Remote as an integral part of your set-up? Would you even consider adding another device to your setup at the risk of complicating it Can you see touchscreen control becoming standard protocol in future DJ applications? Tell us below…

Comments

  1. Benn waiting for a Traktor equivalent. Made my own in touchOSC, but the Serato remote apps is hands down better.

    • Joey Santos says:

      I’ve been using touchOSC too for Traktor, but I really do like how tight and no-fuss Remote is with Serato DJ :)

  2. If you can play/pause the song using the remote that would be great!

  3. DJ Vintage says:

    humm … this combined with a Beatmix 4 with Full Serato at 299 euro, total cost 319 euro (assuming you have an iPad). That is very little money for very much functionality. Especially with the BM4 having a 5th fader for just the sampler.

    One question remains (and I might have just missed it, so sue me): “can you do beatgridding on it?”. I feel being on the road with hours to kill at airports, in planes or on trains, the option of beatgridding (new) tracks while travelling is a terrific time-saver function.

    Since this is a remote app and not an iPad DJ app, I am guessing it doesn’t have that.

    Greetinx.

  4. I use this app, it’s very nice. Althought I don’t need it since everything is on my NS7II controller, I can say it is pretty nice to have.
    Stacked waveforms are my future development request, if Serato makes one screen to show only waveforms it would be marveolus – that way I could put my laptop somewhere under or beside and just use iPad as a main screen!

  5. Does it work with the latest version of “Serato Scratch Live” too?

  6. d.j.paul says:

    Serato Remote for Windows Phone please!!!

  7. As someone who plays on a Mixtrack Pro 1, this app is awesome.
    Much easier to work effects (the mapping of the effects buttons on the Mixtrack Pro 1 is a shame on Serato – truly awful and counter intuitive), it brings in to play firing off samples without touching the laptop, and the slicer is just the icing on the cake. As shown on the video, it is super tight with lots of options. As Joey says in the review, if you have a cheaper, low-function controller, Serato DJ and an iPad, getting this should be a no-brainer.
    No Chuck, no beatgridding.

  8. Been using remote for a while with my Novation Twitch, since the Serato DJ upgrade messed up the slider FX and I always found the other FX controls on the Twitch in intuitive. Having both Twitch and remote is a great budget setup IMO.

  9. Does it work with the latest version of SSL?

Leave a Comment