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View Full Version : Pro's and Con's of each DJ software



whiterob
03-08-2012, 01:05 PM
OK so I don't want this to be a talk crap about everyone because of what they choose to use, I just think it would be good to write formal reviews of each DJ software. Also including a poll to click which one you prefer for anyone researching.

I will type a short formal review of the three I have used with the pro's and con's later today and post it, and am saving some space below so that I can edit the first posts so we can have one review for each software. Hope others will join the bandwagon to help out other aspiring DJ's.


And keep them short so it's easier to read through.. anytime you read a review they go too far into detail for some people to understand

Traktor This includes all forms of Traktor software

Traktor Pro: Go ahead and apply these to Traktor Scratch Pro as well…I'm completely convinced it's timecode tracking is perfectly good.

Pros:
Ridiculously extensive MIDI mapping.
Lots of effects.
Great controllers made by NI with sensible default mappings.
Interesting possibilities involving hybrid controller/DVS setups.
MIDI Clock output (double edged sword: requires accurate beat grids).

Traktor for EDM due to its effects or SSL for scratching / simple mixing

t's the most comprehensive DJing software on the market with the most available customization and hardware support of any other. Pretty much any type of functionality that can be imagined can be programmed using the extensive command system that Traktor has built in. Whether timecode on turntables, CD decks with HID, full all-in-one controllers or separate deck emulation devices with a real mixer, however you want to use Traktor the flexibility, stability and support is there.

Cons:
Ridiculously obtuse MIDI mapping.
Effects don't sound that awesome.
DVS control gets expensive.
Nothing all that advanced works without beat grids.
Fugly.
Horrible gain staging and 100% useless metering.

whiterob
03-08-2012, 01:06 PM
Serato This includes all forms of Serato software

PROs
Dual USB ports
Stackable waveforms
Multiple deck/waveform viewing options
Multiple cover art viewing options
Uncluttered, streamlined GUI
Simplified file management
Seamless integration with ITCH
Practically a standard at majority of events I play
Rock-solid stability
Top-notch support
Free updates
It just kind of works.
It's insanely stable and not very resource intensive.
MIDI Learn.
Reads iTunes library perfectly, including all metadata, playlists, cover art…everything.

CONs
Don't particularly like the fact that SL and ITCH are two different programs for several reasons, although the gap between them continues to close.

MIDI mapping isn't that intensive.
Using more than 2 decks gets expensive.
Bridge requires beat grids. (I really hate beat grids)

djpenguin
03-08-2012, 01:06 PM
You know this is going to devolve into a "my software of choice is better than your software of choice" pissing match no matter what you say, right?

whiterob
03-08-2012, 01:08 PM
Virtual DJ

Pros
It does what I want and it does it well. I do not have to pay for upgrades (which comes often) it does both DVS and controller, it does video, it does vst plugins and it does not lock you into a specific brand of sound interface or controller. It just works.

PS: When I owned my NS7 I used VDJ with it instead of itch.

Sidelist is nice
Auto DJ works well
Videos w/ effects
the premium member GrooveShark (get songs on the fly) is handy, but more aimed towards mobile/bar DJ's


Cons
Most newer computers it doesn't affect, but it is a CPU hog

whiterob
03-08-2012, 01:09 PM
Abelton

Pros:
Insanely powerful.
Great effects.
Great time stretching.
"The sky is the limit"
It's trivial to play drum machines, synths, or loops along with your DJ set.
Production-level effects, because they are production effects.
Insanely flexible routing.

Cons:
Expensive.
Mapping gets complicated very quickly if you're not happy with the few options out there.
Requires a good level of audio engineering knowledge to get anything out of.
Decoding Cache gets huge.
Even simple things like hot cues and loops are a bit more complicated than other systems.
If you don't know it really well…it's easy to fall into the trap of pre-planning everything.
It isn't possible to DJ without warping everything.

whiterob
03-08-2012, 01:11 PM
Numark Cue

whiterob
03-08-2012, 01:11 PM
M-Audio Torq

Pros

Really extensive feature set, including sampler and MIDI mappable "snapshots"
Warping (I'm still waiting for Traktor to get this functionality)
Over-under waveforms
Customizable GUI (if you want to get into XML)
Ridiculously fast and simple basic MIDI mapping.

Cons

Avid's support for the platform is shaky at best.
Not quite as snazzy looking as some DJ software.
Slightly simpler MIDI mapping engine than Traktor.
Torq has massive sticker drift. Any pure (meaning standard) MIDI platter implementations will be loose relative to HID implementations.

whiterob
03-08-2012, 01:12 PM
Mixvibes

Gjhowe1
03-08-2012, 01:24 PM
Traktor for EDM due to its effects or SSL for scratching / simple mixing. Used ITCH for a while but was disappointed by how limited it is, with not being able to midi map.

mrkleen
03-08-2012, 01:42 PM
I mostly play techno. Traktor works best for me.

login
03-08-2012, 02:44 PM
Traktor,

Pros: all the features I want, extenden midi mapping, customization of layout

Cons: The interface can be too clutered, I dont like I can't select a bigger font than 16 (I like to see the screen from a good distance I hate having to come close as cheking my email).

DJNR
03-08-2012, 03:33 PM
Honestly, the Serato vs Traktor debate has been beaten to death. As far as I'm concerned, the only difference is native Ableton support and Video mixing.

Edit: Forgot to mention I use Traktor.

[O/][iii][O/]
03-08-2012, 03:48 PM
Serato Scratch Live

PROs
Dual USB ports
Stackable waveforms
Multiple deck/waveform viewing options
Multiple cover art viewing options
Uncluttered, streamlined GUI
Simplified file management
Seamless integration with ITCH
Practically a standard at majority of events I play
Rock-solid stability
Top-notch support
Free updates

CONs
Don't particularly like the fact that SL and ITCH are two different programs for several reasons, although the gap between them continues to close.

Interracial Tea
03-08-2012, 03:58 PM
[iii][O/];38047']Serato Scratch Live
CONs
Don't particularly like the fact that SL and ITCH are two different programs for several reasons, although the gap between them continues to close.
I would also add that the effects aren't all that great.

mostapha
03-08-2012, 04:00 PM
I've used Serato Scratch Live, Traktor Pro, and Ableton Live fairly extensively. I've used Deckadance brifely but won't comment. I've used Torq very briefly. Here are my observations. I'll try to be relatively objective, becuase I did enjoy all of them to some degree…but there's obviously opinion in here.

Serato Scratch Live:

Pros:
It just kind of works.
It's insanely stable and not very resource intensive.
MIDI Learn.
Reads iTunes library perfectly, including all metadata, playlists, cover art…everything.


Cons:
MIDI mapping isn't that intensive.
Using more than 2 decks gets expensive.
Bridge requires beat grids. (I really hate beat grids)


Traktor Pro: Go ahead and apply these to Traktor Scratch Pro as well…I'm completely convinced it's timecode tracking is perfectly good.

Pros:
Ridiculously extensive MIDI mapping.
Lots of effects.
Great controllers made by NI with sensible default mappings.
Interesting possibilities involving hybrid controller/DVS setups.
MIDI Clock output (double edged sword: requires accurate beat grids).


Cons:
Ridiculously obtuse MIDI mapping.
Effects don't sound that awesome.
DVS control gets expensive.
Nothing all that advanced works without beat grids.
Fugly.
Horrible gain staging and 100% useless metering.


Ableton Live:

Pros:
Insanely powerful.
Great effects.
Great time stretching.
"The sky is the limit"
It's trivial to play drum machines, synths, or loops along with your DJ set.
Production-level effects, because they are production effects.
Insanely flexible routing.


Cons:
Expensive.
Mapping gets complicated very quickly if you're not happy with the few options out there.
Requires a good level of audio engineering knowledge to get anything out of.
Decoding Cache gets huge.
Even simple things like hot cues and loops are a bit more complicated than other systems.
If you don't know it really well…it's easy to fall into the trap of pre-planning everything.
It isn't possible to DJ without warping everything.


I'll let you draw your conclusions. But, I'm on SSL.

[O/][iii][O/]
03-08-2012, 04:01 PM
I would also add that the effects aren't all that great.

I've heard that before, but since I can't stand effects to begin with I never use them so I wouldn't know how they compare to others.

KLH
03-08-2012, 07:37 PM
Most nailed it.

For ITCH, see Mos's SSL description and remove the MIDI mapping.

I'd also add s clarification that Ableton Live is a production DAW that has been adapted to DJing... thus the Bridge.

-KLH

mostapha
03-08-2012, 08:30 PM
Well…it's a production DAW that makes a lot of concessions towards jamming and live performance. It's perfectly capable of traditional DJing……some of it is just weird and IMHO it's not worth the prep work to use it like that.

whiterob
03-09-2012, 11:14 AM
This is going a lot better than I expected.. Thanks for good posts rather than flaming. Now we just need some people who have experience with the lesser thought of softwares to post their opinions

whiterob
03-09-2012, 11:21 AM
Also wanted to say.. I have never tried Serato, so don't know anything about it.. Will my Audio 8 work with it? or will Ihave to resort to the sound cards built in my cdj's? I really want to try it now.

drzinc
03-09-2012, 11:29 AM
I am a Virtual DJ user since Version 3. I does what I want and it does it well. I do not have to pay for upgrades (which comes often) it does both DVS and controller, it does video, it does vst plugins and it does not lock you into a specific brand of sound interface or controller. It just works.

PS: When I owned my NS7 I used VDJ with it instead of itch.

KLH
03-09-2012, 02:18 PM
Will my Audio 8 work with it? or will Ihave to resort to the sound cards built in my cdj's? I really want to try it now.
Nope. The big two (SSL and TSP) work only with their own interfaces. As the interfaces are used mostly for copy protection, there is no interface that works for both DVSes.

-KLH

punky
03-09-2012, 03:22 PM
Torq

Pros

Really extensive feature set, including sampler and MIDI mappable "snapshots"
Warping (I'm still waiting for Traktor to get this functionality)
Over-under waveforms
Customizable GUI (if you want to get into XML)
Ridiculously fast and simple basic MIDI mapping.

Cons
Avid's support for the platform is shaky at best.
Not quite as snazzy looking as some DJ software.
Slightly simpler MIDI mapping engine than Traktor.

CheekyDelinquent
03-09-2012, 04:30 PM
Traktor only with a controller.

Serato for timecodes

KLH
03-09-2012, 05:57 PM
^ Huh? TSP is solid. TP is solid. ITCH is solid.

Torq has massive sticker drift. Any pure (meaning standard) MIDI platter implementations will be loose relative to HID implementations.

-KLH

l0ckd0wn
03-09-2012, 08:08 PM
I choose Traktor Scratch Pro 2 because It's what I bought initially to use with Turntables, but since then I basically only use the Traktor Pro 2 functionality (no timecode).

My review is brief and to the point;

It's the most comprehensive DJing software on the market with the most available customization and hardware support of any other. Pretty much any type of functionality that can be imagined can be programmed using the extensive command system that Traktor has built in. Whether timecode on turntables, CD decks with HID, full all-in-one controllers or separate deck emulation devices with a real mixer, however you want to use Traktor the flexibility, stability and support is there.

DjZzeless
03-09-2012, 09:12 PM
SSL for me, coming from vinyl it just feels right, I dont need SYNC or the efx, just let the music play!
Before going digital I was all for Traktor, but found just every venue/club is on SSL.
Would like to try other software tho!

Defiance
03-09-2012, 09:57 PM
Can you do a global song search in Traktor?

I am going to try Traktor again with my NS6 as no midi support and poopy sounding fx in itch are a huge turn off. If I am doing a simple night then itch/vdj are great.

When you PAY for VDJ the effects and plugins that you can download just about (not quite there) rival traktor.

Itch is solid, loads quick and is right on par with VDJ, but interfaces with the NS6 flawlessly.

Traktor I found to be clumsy, VDJ and Itch can both display 4 decks and still look clean, Traktor looks like I am running a nuclear power plant. I was just plain flustered with Traktor to give it a far chance but it had some major turn-offs for me.

If I rank these three:

1.Itch
2.VDJ
3.Traktor


Also, is there a way to make traktor's beat matching work like all the other programs, I move the platter and it moves the pitch fader in a really crappy way. I hate using the pitch blend buttons and always move the jog wheels to pitch blend, Traktor makes it like a game trying to get it right.

AlexC
03-10-2012, 10:49 AM
Right now I'm kinda stuck between the whole SSL vs Traktor Scratch thing cause I'm deciding which to get. SL2 ($500) vs TSD2 ($350)

I have Traktor Pro and I like it but it (and TSP) has lots of faults in my opinion.
- Cluttered layout when using more than 2 decks
- Very poor iTunes integration (most tracks say 0 bpm after analyzation)
- Can't stack waveforms
- Need a software license to run it even with the DVS soundcard.

What I like most about SSL is that any of your friends can just plug into your soundcard and go as long as they have Scratch Live installed (which is free).
With TSP or TSD (which not many people have around here anyway) it would need to be installed on their laptop and I think each package only comes with 2 licenses (which I'd want to use on my laptop and desktop anyway). Just a convenience feature of SL I guess.

What I don't like about SL in my case is:
- Inferior soundcard (SL2 vs Audio 6). Not speaking in terms of sound quality but just ins and outs and the fact that you could use the Audio 6 to record in Traktor and use the 1/4 inch jack as a headphone port for iTunes or any other software to not have to use the internal sound card on your computer (the one in my laptop sucks).
- More expensive
- Inferior effects (not a huge con for me however, I spin House and many of its various sub-genres, along with Dancehall, Hiphop, etc. But at this point in time effects aren't a necessity for me, I'd much rather use the effects on an external mixer anyway).


I'm looking around for more threads like these that can lead me to make a more informed decision for which one to get as I can't try either of them out where I live. However I guess I'd be familiar with TS seeing as I currently use TP2.

Any advice would be appreciated. :)
I'll be using TTs btw.

FaderCrusader
03-11-2012, 12:22 AM
I have only spent a small amount of time using Traktor, but found its interface to be less straightforward than SSL. I suspect, though, that this is mostly due to the fact that I've been a Scratch Live user for years now and am very familiar and comfortable with it.

Anything more than that and I'd just be rehashing what's already been said a million times. A couple of nice bonuses for Serato (but nothing that would sway me to use it over anything else) are the copious amounts of colored vinyl they release, and the free promo music they provide through whitelabel.net.

DJ Matt
03-11-2012, 07:10 AM
Virtual DJ

pro
1. easy to use from the off,
2. awsome Live Tech support via remote desktop
3. Video!
4. more versatile, works with a whole variety of hardware and time code

con
1.effects section is good, but has room for improvement (video and audio)IMO

2. break effect should save the settings ! i alwas have to reset the damn things i every time i turn on VDJ

i havent used the others apart from a few minutes and all seemed very tricky to get started with

punky
03-11-2012, 11:16 AM
Right now I'm kinda stuck between the whole SSL vs Traktor Scratch thing cause I'm deciding which to get. SL2 ($500) vs TSD2 ($350)

I have Traktor Pro and I like it but it (and TSP) has lots of faults in my opinion.
- Cluttered layout when using more than 2 decks
- Very poor iTunes integration (most tracks say 0 bpm after analyzation)
- Can't stack waveforms
- Need a software license to run it even with the DVS soundcard.

What I like most about SSL is that any of your friends can just plug into your soundcard and go as long as they have Scratch Live installed (which is free).
With TSP or TSD (which not many people have around here anyway) it would need to be installed on their laptop and I think each package only comes with 2 licenses (which I'd want to use on my laptop and desktop anyway). Just a convenience feature of SL I guess.

What I don't like about SL in my case is:
- Inferior soundcard (SL2 vs Audio 6). Not speaking in terms of sound quality but just ins and outs and the fact that you could use the Audio 6 to record in Traktor and use the 1/4 inch jack as a headphone port for iTunes or any other software to not have to use the internal sound card on your computer (the one in my laptop sucks).
- More expensive
- Inferior effects (not a huge con for me however, I spin House and many of its various sub-genres, along with Dancehall, Hiphop, etc. But at this point in time effects aren't a necessity for me, I'd much rather use the effects on an external mixer anyway).


I'm looking around for more threads like these that can lead me to make a more informed decision for which one to get as I can't try either of them out where I live. However I guess I'd be familiar with TS seeing as I currently use TP2.

Any advice would be appreciated. :)
I'll be using TTs btw.

That 0 BPM thing is really weird. It shouldn't be doing that. It certainly doesn't do it on mine. Might want to update all the ID3 version on all your MP3s.

TooHypE
03-11-2012, 04:19 PM
Serato

PROs
Dual USB ports **<3 SL4 <3** =)
Stackable waveforms
Multiple deck/waveform viewing options
Multiple cover art viewing options
Uncluttered, streamlined GUI
Simplified file management
Seamless integration with ITCH
Practically a standard at majority of events I play
Rock-solid stability ** =) **
Top-notch support ** =) **
Free updates ** =) **
It just kind of works. ** =) **
It's insanely stable and not very resource intensive.
MIDI Learn.
Reads iTunes library perfectly, including all metadata, playlists, cover art…everything.

CONs
Don't particularly like the fact that SL and ITCH are two different programs for several reasons, although the gap between them continues to close.

MIDI mapping isn't that intensive.
Using more than 2 decks gets expensive.
Bridge requires beat grids. (I really hate beat grids)

Simplicity is what won me over with SSL

Defiance
03-11-2012, 04:54 PM
Virtual DJ

pro
1. easy to use from the off,
2. awsome Live Tech support via remote desktop
3. Video!
4. more versatile, works with a whole variety of hardware and time code

con
1.effects section is good, but has room for improvement (video and audio)IMO

2. break effect should save the settings ! i alwas have to reset the damn things i every time i turn on VDJ

i havent used the others apart from a few minutes and all seemed very tricky to get started with

If you purchased it you can find much better effects on their website.

DJ Matt
03-12-2012, 04:36 AM
If you purchased it you can find much better effects on their website.

of course i did. otherwise i wouldnt have this


Live Tech support

:P

Andrew1207
03-12-2012, 09:12 AM
I DJ just about everything, but majority open-format club music - house/dubstep/top40/hip hop, both long and short blends. I have used both SSL and TSD2. For my needs, I really like traktor scratch more, which is what I use now. I was having issues (as well as a few people I know) with SSL audio drop outs, which is unacceptable. Haven't had one issue of that (yet) with traktor, so that's the most important thing for me. Also, it's significantly less expensive which is always a plus.

I can't speak for effects since I don't really use them, with the exception of echo here and there. I got dicers for that and loops/cues though. I really like that I could change the mappings to my liking for that so I have everything I want and nothing I don't. They work perfectly with the software. Also, I use the basic screen so that it's not too cluttered.

Quentin Legend
03-12-2012, 10:06 AM
Virtual DJ effects suck.

Every time I listen to a mix and the DJ uses a Virtual DJ effect I instantly know he's using VDJ.

JonnyFlash
03-12-2012, 11:34 AM
Mixvibes
Pros
Free (but lacks midi and only has three effects)
Simple view
Very Intergrated with Itunes


Cons
Inability to layer effects
Only mapped for a few controllers

hoff
03-12-2012, 12:09 PM
I use traktor but mix externally and use external effects. I'm not a huge fan of Traktor's effects, but the ease of using 4 decks is the primary pro for me as I only mix EDM. For those who find it cluttered, there are different view options available, with 'essential' having only waveform/basic transport and browser.

I use Traktor as a cost-effective replacement for four cdj's, giving me more control over tracks and nice waveforms to look at while still being able to use an external mixer to its full capacity. I sold 2 CDJ 850's and was able to get an X1, audio 10 soundcard and maschine and still have money left over..

I haven't used serato much, but it seems to fit the simple 2-deck mixing style that most top-40/hip-hop dj's use. For EDM traktor seems the way to go... but this has been said about 10000000000 times in the past so nothing new here.

Defiance
03-12-2012, 12:46 PM
Virtual DJ effects suck.

Every time I listen to a mix and the DJ uses a Virtual DJ effect I instantly know he's using VDJ.

Trust me your hearing the difference between a paying VDJ user and one is who is not. The DL effects on their site are awesome, but never have heard anyone actually using them.

hoff
03-12-2012, 02:32 PM
Virtual DJ effects suck.

Every time I listen to a mix and the DJ uses a Virtual DJ effect I instantly know he's using VDJ.

OMGZ THERE'S A SIREN NO WAYYY YAYY IM A DJ.

I know exactly what you mean hahah

Quentin Legend
03-12-2012, 04:12 PM
OMGZ THERE'S A SIREN NO WAYYY YAYY IM A DJ.

I know exactly what you mean hahah

And noobs abusing that horrible beatgrid, every few seconds! lol

I use Virtual DJ when I just want to screw around with some songs and Traktor for gigs.

Drevo
03-14-2012, 11:29 PM
Serato Scratch Live

Pros

It is simple. so simple
Itunes library is ready flawlessly
Midi mapping is simple
It is the norm for most club DJs at least in my area
most clubs have an sl box already (again around here)
god forbid you forget your vinyl or it somehow gets damaged on your way to the club the other dj's most likely use serato and have some
Serato is plug and play. I used traktor for quite some time and plug and play never happened ever


Cons

effects are just bad (but being on a DJM800 almost at every gig negates this)
midi mapping is limitted if you are into that stuff (I only run dicers)
the SL4 with dual usb is quite expensive



I used Traktor/controller combo for a long time and moved to Serato when I bought technics and haven't looked back. Now that I do some club gigs I can't imagine using traktor and a controller in that setting.