Guide to DJing - Part.3 Software & Hardware
Updated: Sep 7, 2020
In part 3 of the simplified creative guide to djing I will discuss the hardware & software that we require or can choose from to getting started with DJing!
We are so spoilt with choice, so spoilt. I can write a book about software and hardware for DJs, but I'd like to focus on the core options and the ones that are common through 90% of the DJ setups based on below essential choices of DJ softwares.
There are 3 softwares that are kings of the DJing world, kind of:
Rekordbox is pioneer's flagship software, late into the DJ software game, but a leader never the less, as it interfaces with the leading DJ hardware. You can manage your music, use it as an iTunes Player at home, prepare, arrange, sort, analyze your music, do all the technical stuff beforehand, and stay creative during your DJ set. All pioneer gear, from a 50$ controller to the flagship club-standard CDJ line, use Rekordbox.
The Software has 2 modes, "performance" to use with the controllers that support it, and "export" mode to take your music on a USB and plug into the club system. You can even connect your laptop directly to the gear too, and although on some days am against laptops on stage, I seem to look the other way lately.
If you know the true art-form of DJing then you are free to use what you like on stage.
Again this is dangerous and misunderstood, for anyone starting or early into their creative journey, I recommend staying away from screens and technology and train your ears. Visual screens tend to bore you quicker, and that reflects on your crappy DJ set.
If you got pioneer gear, and you should, then Rekordbox is the way to go. If you want to be a club DJ then this is the only option.
2. Serato DJ
Serato is probably one of the first DJ digital technologies, super popular, I would say as popular as Rekordbox, and honestly very similar. They have their brands/hardware that the software works with, including pioneer gear too. Even Pioneer makes serato controllers. Serato just focused on software for the last couple of years, but since it was one of the first software, it has a huge base of die-hard fans. Also, Serato is huge with the turntablist community.
Serato's algorithm is falsely believed to be better for a wide music genre more like hip-hop music, than dance music.
Again this is false, but I guess it has to do with branding and marketing. Who are there ideal customers? Bedroom DJs, Hip Hop DJs, Turntablists, etc... But believe me, Serato can analyze any genre of music better than current softwares.
A noteworthy mention, Traktor, I have not used this much lately, but it's a powerhouse, again a different take than Rekordbox or Serato.
Traktor is made by Native Instruments, They make their controllers too. Again Traktor's, marketing made it very popular with techno DJs. Again false, it can do wonders with any type of genre. What Traktor sets it apart from the rest is Remix Decks and Stems, where you can jump from DJing to live performing, remixing, and mashing up live.
My 2 cents, this is a great tool, but it's 'DJing' capabilities lack behind the other two, but through STEMS you get super creative control over your music. Traktor Pro with the right DJ controller is a great tool to explore your creative impulses. The Software has some crazy good sounding Effect engine, ofcourse this is made in Germnay, a high-quality product.
Traktor and Native Instruments bridge the gap between DJing and producing. So, I do not recommend it for starters, and also for those that want to be behind the decks in the shortest period. I do recommend Traktor for the bedroom DJs or producers that want to get into DJing.
A side note, I want to make clear, software and hardware do not make the DJ. A DJ can and should be able to use the technology they resonate with the most to bring out their best creative sparks to the world. Whichever tech you choose to use, its a start, and if you are consistent you will do great things with it.