Your Questions: Why Am I Scared Of Serato DJ?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 7 November, 2017

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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