Professional DJs don’t just show up on stage and plug an iPod into a PA. DJs require high-performance software that can mix beats using a wide range of hardware interfaces.
Today, two major players have emerged as popular options for professional DJs: Serato DJ Pro and Rekordbox DJ. Here’s a look at what both solutions have to offer, and which ones DJs should use in their everyday setup.
Serato DJ Pro
Serato DJ Pro is one of the world’s most popular and well-known DJ software platforms. Offering high performance, wide pro hardware compatibility, and native integration with major music streaming services, Serato DJ Pro is trusted on stage and in studio to create and share killer beats with any audience.
And if it’s good enough for Questlove and DJ Jazzy Jeff, it’s good enough for you.
Professionals trust Serato DJ Pro because of its legendary reliability. Used in clubs and at festivals across the world, it’s a professional-grade DJ tool that doesn’t buckle under pressure. The software is compatible with a wide range of professional hardware, including controllers and mixers like the Pioneer DJ DDJ SX3, audio interfaces like the Denon DJ DS1, and turntables like the Reloop RP-8000.
Optional expansion packs are also available to extend the functionality of Serato DJ Pro. The Serato Play expansion enables advanced DJ functionality like split-cue monitoring without the need of additional hardware, Serato Video adds a visual element to live sets through in-depth video effects and transitions, and Serato DVS adds expanded compatibility with vinyl and CD hardware. The optional Serato Remote iPad app also offers comprehensive control over Serato DJ Pro through a clean and functional touchscreen interface.
The Serato DJ Pro platform also makes it easy to access high-quality streaming music libraries directly from the app. With a SoundCloud Go+ subscription, Serato DJ Pro can grab songs in 256kbps AAC, browse playlists, and search within SoundCloud directly through the Serato DJ Pro interface. For access to a high-fidelity music library, Serato DJ Pro is also compatible with both TIDAL membership tiers: HIFI, offering FLAC or AAC files in 320Kbps or 256Kbps, and Premium for AAC files.
Because of its reliability, wide range of hardware and software integrations, and optional expansions for added functionality, Serato DJ Pro is a great choice for experienced and emerging DJs ready to hit the scene. Serato DJ Pro is available through a one-time $129 purchase or a $9.99 monthly subscription plan.
Rekordbox DJ is a next-generation DJ platform developed by the engineers at Pioneer DJ, one of the leading names in DJ hardware and equipment. As a long-time manufacturer of turntables, headphones, and professional monitors, Pioneer DJ knows exactly what capabilities DJs are looking for - and doesn’t fail to deliver.
Focused on pro performance, Rekordbox DJ delivers professional sound quality with incredibly low latency and high reliability. The user interface is also built to match the layout of connected pro hardware, creating a seamless and intuitive user experience that mirrors your existing rig.
Rekordbox DJ‘s next-generation engine also features intelligent capabilities to make finding, playing, and recording tracks even easier. A new Track Suggestion feature automatically recommends tracks in your library that match your set based on mood, era, or other associations. The Rekordbox DJ auto mix feature accurately helps mix playlists through phrase analysis that accounts for beat position, KPM, and key, making it easy to apply effects and change track orders on the fly.
For live experiences, Rekordbox DJ also includes lighting controls to automatically or manually sync mixes with stage lights.
The Rekordbox DJ music library is highly portable, supporting most controllers and CDJs. Libraries can be exported to USB storage, and the software can be connected to iPhones, PCs, Macs, and directly to a DJ controller. It’s also easy to share sets over social media with native YouTube, Mixcloud, and KUVO integrations that will automatically synchronize your mix, track titles, and timestamps.
Offering professional capabilities and optional expansion packs for video controls, lyrics, and remix effects, Rekordbox DJ has been carefully built with professional DJs in mind.
Rekordbox offers multiple payment options, including a one-time $129 purchase, or a fully-featured premium subscription for $14.90/month.
Which DJ Software Is Right for Me?
At identical price points, choosing between both platforms can be difficult. With high hardware compatibility and affordable expansions, Serato DJ Pro is a great choice for DJs looking to jump in using an industry standard. But Rekordbox offers powerful and unique features of its own, like powerful auto-mixing and a hardware-matched user interface.
How do you choose between Rekordbox vs Serato? Give each a try for a few weeks - both platforms feature free trials, enabling DJs to give each solution a spin before committing full-time.