Nowadays, DJ software has become an indispensable and inevitable tool in every DJs arsenal.
Being a DJ is becoming a more specialized job and thanks in part to technological advances, a music session in modern times has little to do with the ancient art of mixing vinyl records.
There are hundreds of applications, apps, and all kinds of DJ programs that have expanded the creative possibilities and options that are available today when making a musical set.
In this article, we are going to review which are the best DJ software and what resources the booth artists have today to make their session different and unique.
We are not only going to look at the programs to mix music with which to DJ in the sessions, we’re also going to see what other types of tools and applications are useful in the career of a virtual DJ.
That being said, let’s start with the review of the most useful programs:
DJ Software For Mixing Music
Undoubtedly the most important category for all those who want to start in this world of musical mixing.
These are the basic programs with which we will develop our sessions, so choosing the most suitable program for mixing music for your needs is a matter of weight, especially for those who are taking their first steps in this world.
Here are the ones that we consider the most powerful and essential of the moment:
Traktor 2 Pro – Native Instruments
The industry standard for professional DJs. It is used by big stars, from Zedd to producers like Richie Hawtin, passing by thousands and thousands of DJs in all the clubs and venues of the world.
We have talked about this software on more occasions, but as a summary to say that it has everything you need today to make a modern DJ session.
Among its features is the ability to mix up to four songs at the same time plus 8 samples, high-quality effects, loops, cues, integration for the new STEMS format developed by NI (Native Instruments) as an advance for DJ mixes, powerful bpms, and key detection algorithms for harmonic mixing, and a number of features common to other professional software.
Another of Traktor’s great advantages is the number of NI controllers developed for this software, which together with pioneer also dominate this DJ hardware market.
Some of these very popular controllers among young DJs are the famous Traktor S2, s4, and s8 and the compact X1, Z1, and F1.
PRICE: $229, although it is important to note that many controllers and audio cards for DJ come with functional and adapted versions of the software, which makes the investment more profitable.
More information about Traktor from the official website: www.native-instruments.com
Ableton Live is something of an anomaly on this list, due to the fact that it’s not really a true DJ app – or at least it wasn’t originally focused as such.
This software was devised as a music production tool. However, its innovative features make this program an ideal application for live performances and therefore it has been used by many DJs to further the creativity of their sessions and incorporate live production concepts into a DJ session.
The key to its popularity with DJs is the SESSION point of view – a brilliant implementation of the program that displays a clean and innovatively designed window for launching audio samples, tracks, songs, and MIDI all in synch ( Sync).
It’s this point of view, along with the intuitive way Live handles audio and midi syncing, that makes this DAW a fantastic tool for redefining the lines between a classic DJ session and live performance.
Live presents other added advantages that will be very useful for electronic musicians such as having a lot of integrated instruments, effects, the ability to insert plugins and handle MIDI instruments in an intuitive and synchronized way, on the contrary, its learning line is something more demanding than the rest of the programs oriented only to digital mixing.
In addition to all this, LIVE also has a large number of controllers that are specifically designed to work with it, both in the studio and on the dance floor.
As a last curiosity we leave you this video of Madeon, one of the producers and DJ who uses LIVE for his sessions and with whom he does things like this:
PRICE: $99/$449/$749 – The $99 version is perfectly suited for DJ use.
Free demo: LIVE 30-day trial version
More information and LIVE online download: www.ableton.com
Virtual DJ Pro by Atomix
VirtualDJ Pro is not cheap – $299 for the Pro version makes this the most expensive option of the DJ applications that we recommend on this list – However and despite its price it is undoubtedly one of the most popular options, and its community is immense.
In fact, there is a huge amount of videos and tutorials on the Internet that teach you how to make your first music mixes using this program.
Virtual DJ is undoubtedly one of the favorite and most appropriate programs to start mixing songs like a real DJ.
In addition to its popularity, Virtual DJ offers some of the most flexible and ‘pro’ features within these applications. In particular, VirtualDJ Pro can play a huge number of tracks simultaneously, as it has up to 99 virtual decks (obviously trying to mix 99 tracks at once is not recommended, but it is nevertheless a number that offers impressive flexibility and creative options).
It also features ReWire compatibility, which means it can work in conjunction with a variety of DAWs (music production programs), opening up a world of possibilities through this union.
The software also includes support for a large number of DJ controllers. And it is also a good solution for those who need a program to automatically mix music or to mix mp4 videos. Something very useful for those who have a business where music or video is played.
Its latest version (Virtual DJ 8) has added new features such as a Sandbox for private mixes, an updated and improved audio engine, and much more.
If you don’t want to pay in advance, you can also subscribe to VirtualDJ Pro for $ 19 a month and in addition to this, there is also a perfect demo version to learn and test this software before making any kind of payment for it.
More information and Virtual DJ download: Official website.
We have already talked about Mixxx on other occasions as it is one of our favorite DJ tools. Without a doubt, the fact that it is free and open source contributes greatly to this, that is, not only can you download this application for nothing (it is free), but also the most adventurous can also delve into the code and adapt to any need.
Mixxx meets most of the industry-standard features such as four simultaneous decks for triggering samples, iTunes integration, waveform, automatic mixing (sync), loops, effects, hot cues, and support for a wide range of audio formats. Audio.
There’s BPM and sync detection and also an Auto DJ feature for when you’re feeling lazy.
In addition, Mixx has support for more than 30 controllers, a time-code system for vinyl, and an immense community that makes the tool this in continuous evolution.
If you don’t have a favorite DJ show yet, you should try Mixxx, after all, as we say, it’s free and you have nothing to lose.
PRICE: FREE DOWNLOAD.
More information and free Download Mixxx: Official website.
Serato DJ is one of the pioneering programs in the DJ world. It was the most innovative tool in the first moments of transition between the world of vinyl and the era of digital DJs more than a decade ago.
Although, as we say, there was a time when Serato was the most respected tool by DJs around the world, possibly thanks to the fact that it could boast of being the most “stable” application of this type and therefore most recommended for performances in alive, (at a time when resources were more limited and computers were less powerful) today, however, it has asked for its prominence as the tool most used by DJs around the world for Native Instruments software: Traktor.
Serato may have lost its position as a market leader with Traktor in recent years, but nevertheless, constant development has allowed this software to continue to be considered one of the best.
With the launch of Serato DJ in 2013, the company finally combined the two different alternatives of its software – the option based on mixing live with vinyl: Scratch Live and the one intended for DJ controllers – into a single unified application.
The application has developed very well since then, offering good compatibility with a wide range of drivers, expansion packs that allow adding new capabilities to the software (such as video mixing), and other interesting options, some of them not available in its competition. Traktor.
Official website and download: Official Serato
Rekordbox DJ Pioneer
Originally developed for Pioneer DJ by French developer MixVibes, Rekordbox existed for a few years as a music library and track preparation tool for use with Pioneer’s range of CDJs and professional digital music players.
In 2015, Rekordbox got a major update in the form of Rekordbox DJ – an expanded ‘performance’ version of the software with full capabilities for mixing tracks, effects, and sampling.
There are up to four-track control decks, a library browser with a track labeling and recommendation system, effects per track, and masters – each with multiple slots – along with a looper, hit cutter, and eight-slot sampler.
More recently, it has been expanded with an Auto-Mix feature, an automated tool that will do a lot of work for you, making it a great option for beginners looking to do their first sessions at a party without wanting to spend weeks rehearsing first.
On the more ‘pro’ end of things, you can sync and control light shows and stage effects. Rekordbox DJ can also be expanded with additional packages for digital vinyl, video mixing, and lyrical functionality, which is ideal for karaoke and event DJs.
It’s no wonder that rekordbox DJ is best used with Pioneer’s own controller hardware. Its biggest draw is probably cross-platform compatibility, as its library of workflows and tracks is shared with standard Pioneer CDJs and mixers.
Price and download: Rekordbox DJ can be downloaded as a 30-day free trial version, and is also available in a variety of different purchase options, including monthly subscription plans.
Denon’s Engine DJ Prime
In a perfect world, DJs could use more tools like these in booths. Engine DJ is the alternative to Rekordbox for Denon gear and honestly, in many ways we like it better than Pioneer software.
Engine PRIME is Denon DJ’s music management and analysis software for enhancing and optimizing your playing experience on PRIME series DJ gear and Engine compatible gear.
Free to download and compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems, Engine PRIME ensures fast and easy creation of digital music databases. Includes full integration with rekordbox®, iTunes, Serato DJ, and NI Traktor collections, plus advanced track editing and performance customization.
Engine PRIME has advanced BPM detection and song analysis technology as well as other typical functions of this software. If you are thinking of buying a DENON device you are in luck because this is one of the most powerful tools on the market and it is also completely free.
Learn more and free download: Denon’s Engine DJ
Other DJ Software To Create Mashups
Many of these programs are of an absolutely professional quality, comparable to the examples already cited.
We have simply highlighted the previous ones because they are surely the ones with the most support within the professional world and whose communities are more active, which will be very useful when solving any questions or learning how to handle these applications, especially if you are starting out, learning or taking your first steps as a DJ.
However, we do not want to ignore these tools, which as we say some have very advanced features and could be of interest to any future DJ.
These are some of the main DJ applications that stand out from the rest today:
Main features: 4 mixing decks, 16 slots for samples, highly configurable and customizable, a lower price than the most popular options.
Official web link for more information: http://www.stantondj.com/deckadance-2.html
Main features: CROSS is a program that has received great development in the last year, this makes its functionalities at the level of any professional DJ program.
One of the main innovations of this software is the possibility of managing the program remotely through the applications available for Android or iPhone. It also incorporates the possibility of synchronization with iTunes and a new synchronization with Soundcloud.
A program to take into account for the future of this profession.
Official web link for more information: http://www.mixvibes.com/
Algoriddim Djay Pro
Main characteristics: In this case, we are talking about an application designed mainly to be used in the mobile market.
Djay Pro was born natively under the Apple platforms: iPhone and iPad, and although it has recently made the leap to being used by Android devices, it is under apple hardware where it can develop better results and more professional power.
One of the most interesting features of Djay Pro, apart from its mobility, is the possibility of doing sessions mixing songs from your Spotify account, which makes this system really portable.
How To Choose DJ Software?
Some DJ shows are free, some are not. We have tried all these tools and that is why we are going to give you our opinion so that you can consider whether it is worth spending money on certain software or not.
Keep in mind that part of the fundamental software for a DJ will be associated, at least in order to get the most out of it, with some type of hardware, mainly DJ controllers. So you should also consider the price of this hardware when deciding which programs to use.
Other important factors when choosing the most appropriate software will be things like the type of music to be mixed, the type of venues or events where one wants to act as a DJ or of course the platform (PC or Mac, Android or Apple) to be used.
Conclusion: The Best DJ Software For Mixing
If you want to become a DJ and access some of the latest features in the world of Djing such as effects (FX), stems, samples, mixing to four or more decks (channels), and endless modern functions; Traktor is probably the best option and the one that is ahead in terms of news and new features in the world of DJing.
Traktor is also an affordable product and often comes bundled with a host of DJ controllers (or other DJ hardware like audio cards, etc.) that you are likely to use to learn and get started in the world of music mixing.
The support community for Traktor is amazing. In it you will find answers to any question in an easy way and in addition to the numerous forums, YouTube and the web is full of tutorials made by professionals that will clarify any doubts about this software.
If you are a die-hard vinyl lover, wanting to make use of scratch in your sessions and other “old school” techniques we recommend that you take a good look at Serato. Both Traktor and Serato (and other applications seen) support the use of vinyl through timecodes and a sound card. The difference between the two in the end really comes down to personal choice.
If you are a music producer or you are clear that your future as a DJ involves creating your own songs, then Ableton Live is probably one of your best options. You can not only create your own tracks and loops but also make your sets as a DJ unique and unrepeatable.
The learning curve is somewhat more complicated in Live than in programs made specifically for mixing, but in the long run, mastering its handling will be very satisfying thanks to the surprising number of options available to a DJ who uses this application in their sessions. .
If you are just thinking about learning to DJ for fun and don’t want to spend excessively high on professional software, your best option is probably to use the free MIXXX program or the versions of Traktor, Virtual DJ, Serato, etc. bundled together with controllers like S2, Mixtrack, Numark controllers, etc.
If you’re still not sure what then consider doing a little homework on what software favorite DJs use and how they use it.
It is not unlikely that your platform and system are within your budget.
DJ Software To Prepare Music
In this category, we are going to include programs that will be very useful to prepare the session before going to the place where we are going to play our music. Mainly they are programs to organize and in some cases enhance our music library.
Mixed in Key
It is a program widely used by DJs around the world. Its main function is to facilitate harmonic mixing, that is, the mixing of songs that have compatible musical scales.
With this, we achieve much more pleasant results to the ear and avoid mixing songs that are “incompatible” at a musical level.
The information that this program gives us is also used to make “energy changes” from one song to another. That is to say, create for example a feeling of increased energy by mixing from one song to the next.
This, like Mixed in Key, is a tool that will allow us to obtain extra information about our songs, such as their tone, color, compatibility with other themes, etc.
This will mainly achieve two things, to have our music better ordered and classified in playlists, and to achieve more perfect mixes.
DJ Software To Make Music
Any DJ who wants to take his career to another level will reach a point where he will have to consider not only mixing the songs made by other people but also creating his own. This is the only thing that can give a DJ the differentiation and recognition of the stars of the music industry.
Although we have a more complete guide on programs to make music, here we are going to summarize the main tools that will help you when creating your own style through your original creations, remixes, or mashups.
Other Software For DJs, Musicians, Or Producers
There are a series of programs that are not directly related to the world of DJing or music production but will nevertheless be very useful for any DJ or producer.
In the music or live industry, there is no room for failure, no matter how small. If you want to reach the top you will have to take this job very seriously and these are some of the tools that will undoubtedly help you in your professional work:
This program seeks to facilitate the task of creating DJ mashups, that is, the combination of two or more songs on a new track.
We personally are advocates of using more professional music production software to perform these types of tasks, but Mashup 2 is much more intuitive and simple than these professional production programs and could be a good starting point when you want to take it a step further.
This is the little sister app of the already mentioned DJAY PRO by Alggodin. So we have little to add. It has some less functionality and is not optimized for the iPad PRO, but this was the first app on a tablet that made it possible to achieve an almost professional level of mixing thanks to an iPad.
This has been an in-depth review of the main programs that can be useful in the career of a DJ today.
As a final conclusion, we remind you that your choice should be based on the type of DJ and artist you want to be.
Although the right software can make your path much easier, we will never tire of remembering that the most important thing will always be your dedication, work, and attitude (or talent).
And remember that these programs are nothing more than tools, with them, we will have the potential to create unique moments and wonderful works, but do not expect these applications to do anything by themselves, without your effort and dedication.
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