In the last few years, tons of software developers have introduced their own versions of DJ software to help DJs transition into the digital realm. These new products vary widely from mobile app based programs to more robust software applications. However, through the fog of all these new releases, there are a handful of tried and true programs that have been a staple in the DJ industry for many years, and who have earned respect for their advanced systems.
Widely considered the number one choice in the DJ world, Traktor is a perfect program for DJs who want an affordable, yet professional system. The Traktor software suite is not only highly developed, with a number of advanced features being introduced over time, but it is also an extremely versatile DJ software. It supports a wide range of instruments and devices, including third party hardware. In addition, Traktor comes at a competitive price point that makes it affordable for new DJs as well as old. Traktor comes packed with dozens of digital effects, and is packaged with a high end sound card that adds more input and output options to your deck.
Serato has been another key player in the DJ software niche. Most importantly, it is considered the top choice for DJs who still prefer the use of turntables full time. Serato aims to mimic the way you would scratch on a turntable using digital effects on screen. For new DJs this is a great transition to make, while still adding plenty of functionality in the form of digital effects and controls. Serato has several different software platforms available which allow you to choose how you wish to interface with the system. The price tag is roughly equivalent to Traktor. Both programs are similar in nature, but provide different visual cues to the user.
In the recording industry, Ableton has a long and storied history. Ableton Live is an extremely high end DJ software with a price tag to match. Since Ableton was originally designed as a full-scale recording software suite, the capabilities of Live draw from the experience. As a result, you are given far more control over your tracks, breaking them down into instruments and sections at will. You can also conveniently store your clips and assign them to your controller so you can easily trigger playback with the press of a button. The result is a ton of extra flexibility in breaking down and recreating your mixes with ease.
If you are a new DJ searching for the perfect DJ software for your next show, consider checking out video clips and tutorials of these three programs. If you are seeking music production degrees or already taking digital audio classes you are probably familiar with the basic elements of DJ software. You can compare the three side by side to determine which system most closely fits your mixing style.