DJ software can be an overwhelming thing when you’re a beginner DJ. There are many choices these days when it comes to DJ software, but if you’re a beginner you just don’t know what to look for. When I was a beginner DJ I had to ask someone else to help me out as well. I’m glad I did and I hope that through this DJ software for beginners guide, I can help you out as well.
DJ software is a tool that DJs use to control the sound that is coming out of the speakers. DJs can add effects, filters and can adjust the EQs of sound with DJ software. DJ software was also built to blend two tracks together by playing them simultaneously. To make the blend sound smooth, DJs use DJ software.
There is a lot of different DJ software out there today to choose from. In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know about DJ software and I’m going to share my top 3 DJ Software for Beginners.
If you already have a DJ controller, always check the DJ software compatibility before buying DJ software. If you’re looking to buy one in the future, check the DJ controller compatibility on the product page. Often you can also check the DJ controller brand website to find compatible DJ software.
Introduction to DJ Software
I had a couple of friends of mine, during live DJ gigs, ask me a lot about what I’m actually doing. They look at my laptop screen and see me twisting knobs and sliding faders. But they really don’t have a clue what I’m doing.
I don’t mind though, I kind of like it that I’m one of the few people in the room that knows. It feels funny, and a little bit mysterious.
It can all look very complicated and overwhelming if you’re new to DJing. It’s going to make sense to you soon, I promise.
What is DJ Software
You can look at DJ software kind of like the core of DJing, without DJ software you can’t DJ.
DJ software is the tool that we need to control the sound of the music that you’re playing.
You’re already doing that a lot in your daily life. For example when you’re turning down the volume of your TV, or your phone. You’re controlling the sound that is coming through.
Although turning the volume up or down is also an option, DJ software is much more advanced than that. For example, you can create an echo effect, you can make it sound like the music is played in a big open building, you can repeat micro sections of the song, and the list goes on.
Also, DJ software makes it easy for you to blend 2 tracks together. You don’t want those awkward silences in between 2 songs. Blending 2 tracks together is really the fundament of DJing.
If you’re new to DJing I highly recommend that you read my article on the basics of DJing. You’ll find information about learning all the basics and some cool resources.
Within DJ software you can load up 2 tracks, so when one track is still playing, you can already start the second track. With the crossfader or the volume faders, you can then slowly bring track 2 in while fading out track 1.
What are Popular DJ Software Brands
In your search for DJ software, you’ll come across many different brands. To save you some time, let me introduce you to the most popular ones.
While Serato has been a brand in the industry since 1999, Serato DJ was launched for the first time in 2013.
Back then Serato DJ was its flagship, but that all changed in 2018 when Serato DJ was split in two: Serato DJ Lite and Serato DJ Pro.
Serato DJ Lite is a simplified version of Serato DJ Pro. It’s a free DJ software but has fewer features than the heavier Serato DJ Pro.
With Serato DJ Lite, Serato wanted to facilitate the needs and wants of beginner DJs.
Rekordbox DJ software is a product of Pioneer DJ. You might have heard of Pioneer a couple of times because it’s a very famous DJ controller brand in the DJ industry.
Although Rekordbox is a product of Pioneer, not all pioneer DJ controllers work with Rekordbox.
Rekordbox offers 4 different plans, of which 1 is a free version. You can use this free version to DJ when you plug in one of the supported DJ controllers.
Atomix Productions, established in 1996, is the company behind VirtualDJ. In its origins, it’s a French company but over the years its offices started spreading all across the globe.
VirtualDJ has several versions of its DJ software. They have a free version for DJs that don’t own a DJ controller and paid versions for people that do own a DJ controller.
Traktor DJ is a brand owned by Native Instruments. Native Instruments has been in the business for over 20 years.
Native Instruments was founded in Berlin in 1996. Today, it has offices in Berlin, Los Angeles, Toronto, Tokyo, London, Paris, and Shenzhen.
Traktor has its own product line of DJ controllers, mixers, and a lot more.
Traktor is not compatible with a lot of DJ controllers besides their own, so if you want to DJ with Traktor, make sure you check DJ software compatibilities on your DJ controller.
Like Rekordbox is a product of Pioneer DJ, DJUCED is a product of Hercules DJ. It might not be as popular as the 4 previous DJ software but still worth mentioning.
Hercules DJ is a famous brand name in the DJ industry. They launched their first DJ console in 2003.
DJUCED is only compatible with Hercules DJ Controllers or you can use it without a controller for free.
What to Look for When You’re a Beginner DJ
Now that you have a better idea of some different DJ software brands out there, it’s time to find DJ software that you like.
Before we move on to the 3 beginner DJ software for you to check out I need to tell you a couple of things that are important to keep in mind.
- All DJ software is very much alike. The different DJ software brands that I just presented to you, work almost identical.
The only real differences are often in the designs of the software. There might be some slight differences in the use of features, but it won’t be that much.
This means that finding good DJ software mostly comes down to your personal style. When you look at the features there are no real big differences.
- This also means that there’s really no such thing as Beginner DJ software because they can all do pretty much the same.
There is 1 exception to this, there is 1 DJ software that qualifies as beginner DJ software. It’s a lot different from the others and is actually a great option if you’re a beginner DJ. You can find this one exception in the DJ software list that I will share later.
So besides the number one, my top 3 DJ software for beginners is mostly a list of my personal favorites that I’ve been using and love.
- 3. If you want to use your DJ software in conjunction with a DJ controller, you have to check the compatibility of your DJ software.
If you are going to buy a DJ controller in the future, check the product description, or the website of the manufacturer to find compatibility info.
Here are 3 things that could separate the DJ software for beginners from more advanced DJ software.
DJ software should not be expensive when you’re just starting out. My preference even goes to the free versions because:
- You won’t be using all the fancy features in the beginning.
- You don’t know if you’re going to be DJing for a long time, you should try it out first before buying expensive DJ stuff
Simplicity is the key to fast learning, especially if you’re easily distracted.
A lot of DJ software is pretty intimidating at first glance. In my opinion, this can be incredibly discouraging and distracting.
This also goes for DJ controllers. Simple entry-level DJ controllers are perfect to start with.
You got to have someone that will show you the way when you are going to use your DJ software for the first few weeks. You will get lost if you don’t.
The good DJ software brands have comprehensive tutorials where you will learn the absolute basics.
3 DJ Software for Beginners
Below you will find my recommendations for DJ software, taking into account the 3 previously mentioned requirements.
Serato DJ Lite
|Download Link||Serato Download Page|
The Serato DJ Lite software is the only DJ software that qualifies as beginner DJ software.
The reason why is already kind of given away by the name. Compared to other DJ software, Serato Lite is a light DJ software.
Serato DJ Lite is the only DJ software that offers limited features. Normally, this would not be a good thing, but when you’re learning how to DJ, it’s a great thing.
A DJ software that offers the basic features so you can focus on the basic DJ skills and advance from there, this is what makes Serato DJ Lite a perfect DJ software for beginners.
Serato DJ Pro
|Price||$9.99 monthly – $149 one-time purchase|
|Free Trial||Yes (click to download)|
|Download Link||Serato Download Page|
Yes, I’m a fan of Serato. I especially love their simple layouts and very easy-to-use DJ software.
Serato DJ Pro is the heavier, more advanced version of Serato DJ Lite.
Although it’s more advanced and contains all the features that DJ software could possibly have, Serato was able to keep even this heavier-weight DJ software very well structured and easy to use.
The Pro version’s extra features like FX, hotkeys, loops, and all other features, are all very easy to adjust to what’s most fit for your DJ style.
If you want to be prepared for a future with live DJ gigs and advancing to high levels of DJing, Serato DJ Pro would be a great choice.
|Price||$19/month or $49 – $99 one-time purchase|
|Download Link||VirtualDJ Download Page|
Another good option to choose when you’re a beginner and learning all the skills.
VirtualDJ is also doing a pretty good job of keeping things as easy as possible.
The layout looks simple and not too clouded, and it’s really not hard to use. It’s the least simple of the top 3 but still good enough to be a good DJ software for beginners.
You can choose 4 types of layouts: Starter, Essentials, Pro, and Performance. The first 3 types of layouts all have additional features added, so you can choose how simple or complicated you want it to be.
I chose this one over different DJ software as my 3rd pick, especially because Virtual DJ is compatible with a lot of software. It’s not limited to one brand.
VirtualDJ is a good choice if you decide to give it a go. VirtualDJ doesn’t have a trial but you can check out the free version when you don’t plug in your DJ controller just yet.
If you want to be a DJ, you can’t get around DJ software. It’s the tool that DJs use to control the music.
DJ software for beginners is not really a thing. It mostly comes down to personal style and getting used to your DJ software. However, Serato in my opinion does offer the most value for beginner DJs.
Serato is the most easy-to-use, practical, and simple DJ software that I have ever used. Not just the free version is simple, but also the Pro version, with all its features, is still very easy and easy to use.
I hope this DJ software guide was helpful to you. Please feel free to send me a message if you have any questions. You can click on the Contact button on the top menu bar.
If you’re looking for a DJ controller, check out my recommended DJ controllers for beginners page.