Beginner Dj – should I go for Virtual DJ or Serato?
November 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm #2082471
I am just starting out as a DJ and would like to use a Numark Mixtrak Pro II with my laptop; I just don’t know whether to go for the option of buying one with Virtual DJ or Serato intro software included.
I don’t think I would be looking to scratch too much, and I understand the upgrade to the full package is cheaper using Serato once I have mastered the basics, compared with Virtual DJ.
I guess I am looking for the best package to learn on and then progress to a pro model after a period of time.
If anyone has some tips or advice I can finally make my decision and get cracking!
ChrisNovember 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm #2082481
As usual easy question, not so easy answer.
Neither money or the controller should be grounds for your decision for the software you are gonna use.
First we advise you to decide what kind of DJ you are/want to be. Mobile or club, home or house parties, scratching or not, controllerism, remix/sampler decks and all kinds of other things. This will eventually lead to an idea about your desired workflow. Only then has the moment arrived to find the software that most closely matches your (intended) workflow. Finally you start looking at that piece of gear called a controller. It too should match your software and your workflow.
Picking a software solely based on full upgrade being cheaper on one than the other is no guarantee for succes.
If you are just starting, it’s hard to determine what your workflow is gonna be. Still, when I got my first controller severa years ago, I did a lot of research into the gear and ended up with a controller that was perfect for my needs. It came with support for both VDJ and Traktor. Since I don’t like VDJ (personal choice) I decided to go the Traktor route. While the controller was perfect, Traktor in no way suited my purposes. I ended up using Traktor for a year and a half (I had immediately bought the full package upgrade) and changing over to another program (Mixvibes Cross in my case) of which I also bought the full version.
My point is, that things might change between buying the intro/LE version of software and the moment you feel you are ready for the full version.
Again, I am no big fan of VDJ, but that is because of bad experience with it a long, long time ago. I also know just a little about Serato in the practical sense (only recently got a DDJ-SX so now toying with Serato too). But I am quite sure they are both good enough to take you through your first DJ steps.November 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm #2082501
At this time I would advise to get it with Serato Intro.
Not because Serato DJ ist the best in the end package, but because for a “light version” it is the more complete experience and even DJing at a gig with Intro is OK.
VDJ LE had some limitations that I did not particularly like and DJing at a gig with the “cheesy Effects” that come included is a no-go for me.
So for your starting journey Serato Intro will IMHO be better suited. If you extend into a workflow as a DJ where you want something else you can still buy the VDJ full package as it will only be a few bucks more than the upgrade.December 4, 2014 at 8:39 pm #2102301
Love Virtual DJ even more so now it’s been completely rebuilt, tried serato and didn’t like it. I do mainly pubs so VDJ is best for that. I’m not long back from Ibiza, everyone was using Serato. I have never seen anyone use Traktor, so forget that. If you want to be a dance DJ use Serato with preferably a Pioneer controller.December 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm #2102631
Plenty of the “dance” DJs I’ve seen play live use Traktor?
I’m a beginner myself & found VDJ pretty easy to get used to … I’ve played around with Serato & didn’t really enjoy using it, however I probably need to give it a fairer crack of the whip to be fair.December 5, 2014 at 6:18 pm #2102851
I’ve got all three on a PC at home and I like the VDJ Version 8, it does so much. I use a Numark N4 with it and I’m gonna start using Novation Launchpad with it, just for fun at home. Although mighg start using launchpad on a sat as thats the only night I have a dance floorDecember 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm #2112501
I have Both Serato and VDJ.
For EDM, Serato is a much better way to go.
For Weddings or Bars, or when you’re lazy and want to leave automix on while you handle your business in the bathroom, VDJ is much much better.
Other thing to consider is cost. VDJ has a 1 time purchase of $300. Serato will require expansion packs for certain features and will have more long term cost but shorter initial cost.
I do have to make mention that Serato does seem to have more inaccurate beat counts than VDJ. I have songs I know are around 140 bpm that Serato pins around 71 bpm. It’s bit frusterating.
Lastly, If you want to keep from getting court summons and have a legal library, VDJ does have a sub service you can get to allow you to get as many songs as you want for $10 a month. http://www.virtualdj.com/products/contentunlimited.html, It only works on VDJ and no other software, however if you stick with this software only, that should keep you from ever getting in trouble. It’s the most cost effective way to have a library going without spending $1000’s in music.
For that feature alone has me sold on VDJ.December 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm #2112521
Actually it seems that many EDM jocks prefer Traktor, with Serato and VDJ both suitable for broader DJs (like mobile DJs). And my personal choice Mixvibes Cross is also very suitable for mobile work.
As for the money part on music. Personally I am a fan of buying your music. With prices as low as 1-2 USD a track, there really isn’t any reason no to anymore. Also, if you are actually paying for every track you want, it will make you consider, reconsider and re-reconsider before buying. And that is a good thing. It really makes you think about what a certain track will add to your collection.
Just my two cents as usual.December 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm #2112611
As always Vintage is spot on.
Also with todays feature set no DJ software is really bad.
I cannot say that I encountered that problem you describe with Serato I find its beatgridding to be near to perfect, not to mention the elastic beat grid for altering beat tunes.
If there really goes something wrong you can re-tune the beat grid of Serato with 2 clicks quite fast and faster than any other software I know.
Also for mobile check out DJAY Pro, its auto mix function is way better than any other.January 2, 2015 at 2:22 pm #2114881
thanks for the responses. Lots of great help and advice, much appreciated. I imagine myself to be a bedroom/mobile dj initially, playing out at house parties and progressing into bars once I feel able.
Having checked out the software online, I felt that traktor was a bit too complex and will probably opt for one of serato or VDJ to learn on.
One question I do have is that, once I decide on software and a controller, will i need to upload any software onto my laptop? If it’s a download then great, but my laptop has no CD or DVD drive so may struggle if the software comes in that format.
ChrisJanuary 3, 2015 at 6:23 am #2115091
Nope, most software is downloadable.January 4, 2015 at 6:16 pm #2115821
I’m seeing lots of people say “this is better for this” but nobody is saying why. As for myself, I’ve been using VDJ for 4 years and I find it ridiculously versatile, especially with version 8. Plus, once you buy your license you don’t have to buy it again. The built in FX aren’t the best but it’s so easy to download new ones on the website you won’t care. I’d like to see an in depth explanation of actual limitations of the various programs and comparisons of their strengths instead of a general “mobile DJs should use X”.January 5, 2015 at 12:16 am #2115971
I understand your frustration with that, but there is a wee problem with making such a comparison and that is the HIGHLY personal nature of the decision.
Things like workflow, type of DJ-ing, personal value for certain features, budget, all determine if something is for you or not.
There is plenty of information out there on the features of each software and all version are reviewed over at the blog, so that’s available to you as well.
Let me try giving you an example.
I know Virtual DJ since way back (like version 3.x or something) and didn’t like it then (I ended up using PC DJ Red at the time). I have followed their development and I still don’t like it. Could I use it if I had to? Of course. Is there a real “hard” reason for me not to like it? Not really. I believe the current full version is about 300 USD, which I find is way too much for DJ software (but that’s in combination with my not liking VDJ in the first place, if it was the software of choice I probably would have bought it already). I am using Cross DJ where I paid 80 euro or so for the full version (2.6 at the time) and I am still enjoying all the free updates (we are at 3.3.9 or something currently). I have no hardware limitation, a rather enthusiastic community that is very helpful in getting mappings for more exotic controllers and/or features. The software works like a charm and fits my workflow great. I recently traded some gear for a DDJ-SX so now have access to a full version of Serato. And while it appeals to me and I might pick it if I was starting now, it still has the draw-back of needing a Serato-enabled piece of gear if you are playing out. With Cross I just stick two USB cables in my laptop from the Pioneer CDJs and off I go.
I use FX, but sparingly and I personally don’t think the audience is gonna notice much about the actual quality of the FX. So unless they sound totally rubish, any FX is ok with me.
We do say that some software is more suitable for particular kinds of DJ-ing, after saying how personal the choice is.
And that is because it is. As a general “rule” mobile DJs tend to use a wider variety of music, which means flexible beatgridding is an issue if you like your FX beat-synced, your loops to be snap-to, etx. Now Traktor does NOT (as yet) have flexible beatgridding, making it less optimal for mobile DJ-ing.
Another example is iTUnes integration or RekordBox export. If you don’t use iTunes (like me until about a year ago), that feature is totally useless and not a selection criterium. If you DO play out on club gear, the option of directly exporting from your DJ software to RekordBox can be a big plus.
Multiply all these individual features and you end up with a huge matrix.
We try to fine-tune our suggestions based on what a posters asks, we will ask for additional information and we hope our answers are still general enough to benefit other readers too.
Hope that helps some.January 5, 2015 at 9:26 am #2116031
Chuck is again spot on.
Too many factors about DJ software are personal choice.
For example when I began with digital I used Traktor (had an S4) then I switched to VDJ first (had a TM4 and Serato DJ was not out yet) and it was working OKish.
Then when Serato DJ came out I tried it, fell in love with it and use it ever since.
But is there a fact based reason why I took Serato over VDJ? No, they both can do pretty much the same. As you said, yes the built in effects in Serato are way better, but then you can download and add VSTs in VDJ pretty easy.
The main thing is how I work and what I want to see at my screen. I like the stacked waveforms the way Serato does them, I like how I can switch the units easily etc. None of those are killer features.
Even when trying new things, for example I tested Cross (what Vintage uses) and find it an awesome piece of software. I just like the workflow I have in Serato better.
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