Battle of the 1s and 0s. Traktor Vs Ableton Vs Serato

It’s tough to compare digital DJ equipment nowadays – wildly different feature sets, approaches and, of course, price tags, mean that one man’s trash really can be another’s treasure. Let’s take a look at four of the big ones and try to figure out your ideal partner.

Put very simply, Ableton Live is the curveball, Serato Scratch Live (and its brother Itch) and Traktor are the major league players caught at loggerheads, and Virtual DJ is the everyman underdog. But, of course, nothing’s ever simple nowadays. There are a variety of flavors of each to suit various tastes  and it’s important to get to know what they can each do for you.


Something that everything in this article will rely on and assume is that you have a reasonably powerful computer. What ‘reasonably powerful’ actually constitutes is a bit of a contentious issue, as what one user is prepared to put up with at a pinch could be a dealbreaker for another. I would suggest (but by no means ‘recommend’) that a 2 ghz Core 2 Duo or equivalent and at least 2GB RAM is a good low-end solution… your mileage may vary!

A good audio interface is important for digital DJing, as minimal latency is required for accurate manipulation and usually multiple channels are required for sending audio to external equipment and monitoring. Serato and Traktor Scratch products have an advantage in their inclusion of an audio interface; you will need to research appropriate interfaces for other software.

Finally, all the products below have a few different versions. From the ‘light’ version all the way to the full fat, bells and whistles “pro” one. There’s a link to each manufacturer’s comparison page at the bottom of each section. I’ve also drawn up a comparison chart of the various software, detailing their functionality for some important features below.

Serato Scratch Live/Itch

Serato make both Scratch Live and Itch. Itch is similar in many ways to Scratch Live, but at its core it is the software that drives integrated solutions such as the Vestax VCI 300 and the Allen & Heath Xone DX. Scratch Live is a DVS – it’s founded on the principle that it can be added to an existing turntable/CD setup to bolster a user’s options and complement their existing work flow.

Both Scratch Live and Itch are closed box systems; without compatible, licensed hardware neither will run. Scratch Live only runs with certain Rane hardware, and the product you pick will give you different options, from the basic SL1 box to the world beating Sixty Eight. Itch is a bespoke solution for the product it is paired with, and customization isn’t really possible.

Serato have a couple of unique tricks up their sleeve – their visual aids are second to none, with transients from audio sources displayed in a stalagmite/stalagtite view that dynamically alters as you change the speed to align the spikes, allowing blazingly fast tempo matching. The GUI is also very no-nonsense, and Scratch Live’s approach to MIDI is a very simple Learn function. Serato also implement a Loop Roll (that grabbing the sound and then returning to the song later effect) feature that nobody else does (in that form), and a sampler too.

SL1 vs SL3 comparison

Scratch Live Pros

  • Straightforward interface
  • Simple MIDI Learn
  • Sampler
  • Supports VideoSL video mixing via addon


  • Interfaces with most options (SL3, TTM57, Sixty Eight) are expensive
  • No beat gridding


Itch Pros

  • Beat grids and sync
  • 1:1 hardware control
  • Straightforward interface


  • No customization/expandability

Native Instruments Traktor

Traktor is a highly tiered piece of software – there’s an entry level, a mid level, a fully featured level, plus several DVS versions to boot. Whereas Serato have created two products to distinguish a core difference between users who want to use traditional DJ equipment (CD/Turntable) to control the transport and mixing of their audio from those that are more interested in ‘in the box’ mixing, NI have put everything DJ under the Traktor umbrella, and this gives Traktor advantages both in customization and expandability.

MIDI control is perhaps Traktor’s forte, and whilst it lacks an on screen learn function, it does have what basically amounts to a scripting system which allows complex modifiers and multiple commands per control. It has a greater number of cue points available than Scratch Live, and its beat gridding and syncing options facilitate super tight mixing. The current version lacks a sampler and doesn’t have a loop roll function ala Serato, but it can emulate both of those features with creative use of its effects. (The newest version of Traktor that this site recently reported appears to have both samples and loop decks)

The Traktor Scratch timecode is also recorded at 2 kHz compared to Scratch Live’s 1kHz signal – doubling the accuracy at which the system can calculate the stylus position on the record.

Traktor LE/Duo/Pro comparisonScratch comparison


  • Powerful MIDI scripting
  • Traktor Scratch has most accurate vinyl timecode emulation
  • Beat grids and syncing


  • No MIDI learn means it’s more awkward to make spur of the moment changes
  • No Sampler (not counting the S4 edition)

Atomix Virtual DJ

Designed as a much more open piece of software than Traktor or Scratchlive, Virtual DJ encourages personalization through skinning, custom effects, and freedom over audio routing. It also comes in three tiers – a totally free version (for non-commercial use) Home, Pro Basic and Pro. The main difference between Pro and Home are audio routing options. With the Home version, everything must be done ‘in the box’, and channels can’t be routed to different audio interface outputs to go into an external mixer. Pro Basic also removes MIDI and timecode from the feature set. All versions feature effects, a sampler, and internal EQ, but lack any beat gridding or syncing options.

Virtual DJ is a solid piece of software, and things like its ability to use any time code and up to 99 tracks with restrictions over their output/input routing mean it may give you the options you’ve always dreamed for your zany outside-the-box setup – for those with really wild imaginations, it even acts as a ReWire master. Alternatively, if you have more limited, keyboard and mouse aspirations for your foray into digital DJing, it’s a very cost effective way to get in the game.

Virtual DJ is also what’s really under the bonnet of a few custom branded DJ solutions – these OEM versions have varying feature sets, often less routing solutions but some MIDI compatibility.

Version comparison


  • Home version is free
  • Unrivalled input/output routing
  • Highly customizable interface
  • Video mixing option


  • No MIDI control until the full priced Pro
  • Less simultaneous effects

Ableton Live

Live is the preeminent example of the hybridization of DJing and production. There are high profile users of Live in both camps, and it seems to find favor with users who like to dabble on both sides of the fence. Live comes in four tiers – Lite, Intro, Full, and Suite.

DJing with Live is somewhat different to a traditional DJing setup, as it’s very much an empty canvas that confounds the two-four deck mixing style. Live allows you to run as many audio tracks as you like, and play them on top of each other, beside each other, around each other… basically, any which way. It’s much more geared towards progressive sets which have been planned out and combine elements of live production and remix; if your style is rocking out a party with the best track for the moment, Live’s not going to be the best thing to do that – as everything needs to be ‘warped’ (pre-prepared).

It’s a supremely customizable piece of software though, and can be infinitely expanded with studio quality AU/VST plugins and Max For Live, a special version of Max/MSP that runs inside Live – even timecode control can be added to the software. Not only that, but there’s also The Bridge…

Live Lite comparisonLive Intro comparison


  • Highly customizable to suit your workflow
  • Expandable with VST/AU plugins
  • The best option for live remixing


  • Doesn’t feel like the traditional ‘DJing’
  • Doesn’t suit on-the-fly parties

The Bridge

Live and Scratch Live sitting in a tree… The Bridge is the result of Ableton and Serato’s collaboration effort. It’s not so much a product as a way to connect Scratch Live and Ableton Live, allowing you to take each best elements, throw them into a melting pot, distill them, and other clumsy alchemic metaphors. Put simply, it allows you to trigger and manipulate a Live song from within Scratch Live, letting you not only trigger clips via the Scratch Live interface but also attach the song to a deck, allowing pitch and playhead manipulation. It doesn’t turn the Live song into a scratchable track, but it does mean that nudges can be done with as much precision as you would with an audio file and your tracks can be remixed on the fly. You can also record out to Live, with pre fader outputs dropping into their own channels. This doesn’t seem like a massive deal until you use it with a TTM57sl or a Sixty Eight, and all of your fader and EQ motions are also saved – in effect you get a non-destructive mixtape, which facilitates going in and making things that little bit more special.

You do need a copy of both Scratch Live and Ableton Live to make use of The Bridge, of course…


  • Allows you to integrate the pros of Live and Scratch Live
  • Mixtape recording with a 57/Sixty Eight enables really tight fine tuning
  • Free for users of both Live and Scratch Live


  • High system toll
  • Expensive


This is a lot of info to take in so perhaps this chart will help you compare digital DJ software side by side:

Of course, the most important question is..


It’s all very well having a million tricks up your sleeve, and the temptation is always to buy the most feature laden version you can to ensure you don’t miss something you never realized you needed. In reality, though, it’s entirely likely that you’ll be just as happy with one of the intermediate level versions of a product – and don’t forget, manufacturers often provide upgrade incentives which allow you to buy in to the higher levels as your capabilities with the software grow. Here are five typical scenarios. Do any of them sound like you?

I want to bolster my vinyl/CD based setup with a few additional capabilities, but mainly the ability to use my digital music library

Traktor Scratch Duo might be the best option for you. It’s inexpensive, has a great audio interface included, and will allow new options like cueing and looping to become part of your arsenal.

My decks are important to me; I don’t want to lose any quality when scratching nor lose my edge when going to clubs. However, I want to see how far I can take DJing creatively

Look at Scratch Live with an SL3 or Traktor Scratch Pro. With the opportunity to use effects, extensive MIDI control and powerful digital manipulation options, you’ll be able to do things that are impossible with vinyl – but for the times when only vinyl will do, you’re an input switch away from putting your trusted wax back on the decks.

I’m a producer, and I want to get into DJing. I really like the idea of bringing my production skills to the table.

The obvious choice here is Ableton Live. You’ll be able to work out sets where you remix your own work on the fly and combine it with reworks and edits of other tracks. Alternatively, you could look into Traktor (and if you like the idea of scratching, Scratch Live or Traktor Scratch) for its huge effects power and cue point juggling possibilities.

I used my traditional setup because there was no other option. I’m not attached to all this gear – I want a more convenient, modern setup with lots of options.

Don’t worry about Scratch Live or Traktor Scratch – DVS isn’t for you. Take a look around for a controller that really grabs your attention. If it’s Itch, problem solved. If not, Traktor Pro has a massive amount of effects and track manipulation options, syncing, quantizing and more. If the thought of using more tracks than you have heads, shoulders knees and toes makes you giddy, Virtual DJ Pro will give you that power. Of course, so will Ableton Live, but in a very different way.

I’m a total beginner – I’ve got a computer, but a low budget. I want to dip my feet.

Virtual DJ has a home version which is free – it’s definitely geared towards hobbyists and hasn’t much in the way of control, but it’s fun for a dabble. Ableton offer 30 day trials of Live, and it’s worth taking a look to see if Intro takes your fancy.

Take a look at controllers and audio interfaces in your price range. Many come bundled with Live Lite, Traktor LE, or Virtual DJ LE. Not only will that give you excellent value for money, but discounts are available for upgrades to full versions of the software’s and you can learn as you save.

Hopefully you’re a little wiser as to the differences between these four digital DJ solutions. It would be remiss of me not to mention that there are of course a great deal more options on the market than these four, but were we to disseminate the pros and cons of everything on the market you’d never buy anything; perhaps a pertinent point is that you could DJ with a tape deck and a guitar pedal for effects if it took your fancy. Make sure your basic skills are on point and everything else will fall into place – including your sense of what features you actually need to take your DJing forward.

Good luck!

For an extensive comparison between Serato Scratch and Traktor Scratch, please check out this article as well.

About the author: Chris is a writer, artist and DJ who runs Oh Drat, an online magazine for music and the arts.

When you’re ready to purchase one of these programs, check out the following links: Traktor (bundled with an Audio 2), Serato Scratch LiveAbleton Suite 8

comparedigital djdjSoftwareTraktor vs Seratovirtual dj vs traktor
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  • esolesek

    I’ve been in Ableton Live for a long time, and have thought about it more for production than performance, but I may be changing my mind, because I am finding Traktor to be a horror show. How can a program NOT let you create your own folders for your samples and title them? HOW is this not included in any piece of modern software?

    There’s a lot of other stupid counterintuitive stuff in the software. Glad I paid 50% off because I hate it. I can see running loops in it to create new loops to play somewhere else (loop recorder), and I hope I’ll get more out of it down the road, because I know people like it, but it’s lack of clarity, lack of saving and export sound functions, and this stupid naming issue just make me hate the software from the gate.

  • replique pendentif b.zero1

    replique pendentif b.zero1

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  • Djing With Ableton Vs Traktor | Computer DJ Equipment

    […] Battle of the 1s and 0s. Traktor Vs … – DJ TechTools The largest community for DJ and producer techniques, tutorials, and tips. Traktor secrets, controller reviews, a massive MIDI mapping library … […]

  • deviant inc

    Would be nice to see a review of Mixxx here. I know it’s mostly a clone of Traktor, but it has many aspects of VDJ and Serato as well AND is an awesome open-source project meaning the software is free and more customisable (there are some really nice user-created skins)!

    And props to Dystopic – I 100% agree! I’ve had too many arguments with djs who are sure that the sync button is the end of djing. Yeah, becasue quantisation killed music production, right? It just becomes about doing something else that sounds awesome. I’ve heard djs who think that beatmatching at all isn’t ‘real’ djing (Har Mar Superstar) and that all records should be played at teh correct speed. Last night for the first time I saw a guy djing with Ableton (using an APC40) and his set was bangin’! Gonna give that a go myself, but all songs are auto-synced; so what, he sounded amazing. I’ve heard djs who just quickly cross-fade between any two players, but drop tune after tune and so can play anywhere on anything so long as they have their tracks. A dj is there to play awesome music and get a party jumping (or get a great chill-out mood – play great sounds that are scenery-appropriate), so in my mind the only ‘bad’ dj is someone who insists on playing whatever THEY want regardless of what else is going on (like killing the dancefloor mood by following some full-on DnB with minimalist downbeat dubstep, or something equally shit). And you can always tell a ‘good’ dj by how people love listening to their music, regardless of how good their technical skills are. And like Dystopic said; by relegating to a robot those tasks that can be done optimally by a robot allows the human to concentrate on all the awesome things only humans can do!

  • Anonymous

    I hope it’s been said before, but how is “expensive” a con for a FREE product?!

  • Anonymous

    I hope it’s been said before, but how is “expensive” a con for a FREE product?!

  • Ronald Edwards

    Looks like it’s time to update that chart…

  • MahdFaces!

    This was interesting read. Everyone seems to be all Serato this Serato that. I’m not knocking Serato, I love how Traktor works, but mainstream is all about Serato. Traktor Scratch is very comfortable and more cutting edge in my book. All in all I believe it’s about choice and personal perference. Know what you’re getting into.


  • MahdFaces!

    This was interesting read. Everyone seems to be all Serato this Serato that. I’m not knocking Serato, I love how Traktor works, but mainstream is all about Serato. Traktor Scratch is very comfortable and more cutting edge in my book. All in all I believe it’s about choice and personal perference. Know what you’re getting into.


  • Giabzero

    Don’t you think that Torq Synchroscience could be on the list?

  • Erkron

    traktor bridge would be fun as hell… 🙂 or at least vsts?

  • Erkron

    traktor bridge would be fun as hell… 🙂 or at least vsts?

  • Modernsound1

    “Maximus Moretta
    Oh and about VDJ being able to do layered effect on a single Channel it’s actually unlimited, the chart is slightly incorrect.”

    This guy is right, you can do multitude of layered effects on a single channel In Virtual DJ Pro 7.

    • Don Anderson

      Traktor Pro beats serato hands down in track and inventory control…. gives much quicker editing of your set list manipulation and building….Serato sometimes can be a bit cumbersum .. if scratching and “effect” DJing is your thing serato rocks …real world wedding gig
      guys (money makers) Traktor Pro is the way to go…

  • Nicolette

    Very interesting article.

    It’s a shame that some laptops out there simply do not have the processing power to run some of these programs. It would be nice if the companies that made the programs took this into consideration as most DJs use laptops for gigs–not desktops.

    I do run Virtual DJ and Ableton on my desktop PC that I built myself, but it’s got a quad core and 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. I only use Virtual DJ and Ableton to get a feel of what my mixes sound like. When I mix live, I just mix with my Pioneer CDJs and a mixer–that’s it.

    I think both are very handy tools, depending on what you want to do.

  • Chris

    Pfuuu VirtualDj. It shouldn’t even be noted in this article

    Read an honest opinion about it :

    Unusable software , crashesh every hour!

    • Drew

      if vdj crashes on you every hour you need a new computer

      • Johnathon Robert Flores

        I used VDJ for a year before switching to traktor. I played my frist gig with VDJ (the photograph loved the fact my screen was customized XD ) and I’ve NEVER had it crash on me ONCE so you must just be a hater or your computer is mechanical garbage 

      • Johnathon Robert Flores

        I used VDJ for a year before switching to traktor. I played my frist gig with VDJ (the photograph loved the fact my screen was customized XD ) and I’ve NEVER had it crash on me ONCE so you must just be a hater or your computer is mechanical garbage 

    • Drew

      if vdj crashes on you every hour you need a new computer

    • Bigron Msn

      I’ve been using Virtualdj for around 2 years. My last crash was over a year ago. It is extremely reliable software. It is unlikely you have configured your computer very well.

    • cange30

      I have used it for four years and it has never crashed. I’m not sure your computer is the reason why it crashes?!

  • Anonymous

    Able trakacjd pcvj live2

  • D3RKIN

    Living in Chicago which is mostly filled with Serato users I am the odd man out as I use Traktor with a vci 100 se with firmware 1.4. The setup is so much faster for me than everyone using time coded vinyl and I don’t have to worry about playing on broken or abused decks or a mixer with missing parts. I love my Traktor and vci 100 but would love to see a more accurate way to beat grid my older house tracks that have tempo drift. I currently use Ableton to warp my tracks, convert them back to mp3 format, and then drop them back in to Traktor. I wish Traktor would let you change the tempo between markers say like every 32 beats or so instead of the whole track. Yes I could mix without beat grids but then I would not be able to use the looping capability as they depend on the markers to be at the front of the beats. I believe Traktor then would be the best dj software. So my suggestion to NI is to fix what you have before you go making extra feature that are more preference than functionality.

  • Mkz

    Sync button should be a con.

    • D3RKIN

      I disagree, sync should be earned not a con, this allows you to be more creative but you should know how to beat match first. Besides back in the day I used to listen to plenty of Dj’s that sound like shoes in the dryer. Now I don’t have to listen that thanks to the sync function, trust me there are plenty of people that still need a sync button.

    • Rutger Willems

      is a vacum cleaner a con?

    • deviant inc

      Pitch-fader should be a con – manually turning record by hand FTW!

  • Cableaddict

    I can’t believe you guys left out two of the most important things about Traktor, one pro & one con:

    Pro: It has 4 decks.

    Con: It is not Rewire compliant.

    – So I assume you left out important things about the other software, which makes me not trust this entire article.

    • jasonmd2020

      Yeah the Rewire thing bugs me a bit when I want to use Traktor when tracking in Reaper or making beats & Renoise. I usually bounce the audio thru an unused input on the Audio DJ8. The only other thing I’d want added to Traktor is VST capability. Put your own VST’s in the effects list and map Traktor’s effects controls to whatever parameters you want, keeping the user interface easy to navigate. Since they’re putting VST capability in Maschine, this shouldn’t be to much of a hassle.

  • DJ ATP

    What about Ms. Pinky? 😛

    That was the first DVS I ever bought. I loved the black/pink vinyl theme. Really stands out.

    But man, the interface was unfriendly. Drop-down lists? Slow track-loading? I would have used it as a plugin someplace, but paying more for DAW-style software and integrating Pinky was too complicated for me. I already own FLStudio, but FLStudio and live performance don’t really sound like a good combination to me. 🙁

    I just got Traktor and a VCI and stuck with that from then on. I still pull Pinky out of the closet whenever I think I want to move to VJing…and then am reminded why I don’t and go back to my faithful Traktor/VCI-100/Maya44 setup. It’s not the best, but it wasn’t killer expensive and it gets the job done. Maybe if I keep it up I can make enough money at it to upgrade and get a real soundcard. 😛

  • Maximus Moretta

    Oh and about VDJ being able to do layered effect on a single Channel it’s actually unlimited, the chart is slightly incorrect.

    • Gros Bedo

      I agree, the chart is very incorrect for VDJ. It’s probably the most customizable and controllable traditionnal DJ software out there :

      – support for multiple effects on a single channel
      – support for VST plugins

      In the end, the 2 most important factors that could decide users are wrong.

  • Maximus Moretta

    It’s just Drama people hating programs!

    I believe it does matter what program you use as long as you know how to use it. I know of a lot SSL DJs that don’t do it Justice sometime you wanna buy them a program w/ auto-sync just to help them out. Just like how I know of many DJs that use VDJ do an awesome job mixing! There’s Pro and Con’s to every program out there!

    So tell me this, what happen a couple of years down the raod when all the DJ programs are virtually,the same; When Traktor does videos and Virtual DJ time-code is as good as Traktors or Serato scratch Live! and you know that day will ultimate come.

    The companies are doing there research to produces the best possible product they can,

    So look at DJ! acknowledge there skills or lack there of,

    I own the Pro edition of all these Programs. Virtual DJ Pro 7 suit me Best. “to each his own” and to a lot of DJ that hate on auto-sync don’t use it! VDJ has it but I dissable it.

    Maximus Moretta

    P.S. “Hi Haters”

  • djtunji

    For the target audience of DJs looking to find either their first DVS, or complimentary DVS, or even replacement software, the article is decent.

    The comment section is primarily of djs, all of this era, fanboy-ish, albeit but relevant to the market share.

    Please note: this was not a comprehensive comparison of everything that is out, but a shootout of the popular. In this way, it really reminded me of the traditional auto mag comparisons that you see at the barber shop or dentist office or mag rack… whole different year but the same cars being compared. Still it was decent.

    Yet, let me assist with providing a perspective, so that you can step your game up, truly:

    I have been dj-ing in some capacity for more than 27 years. I used to be a vinyl purist, but I have adopted digital, and remind myself that I used to make mixes with pause buttons and razorblades. Like Elektrophix and DJ Rock Well stated before, I too love the technology but having used reel to reel, turntables, instruments, drum machines, workstations, as well as samplers you end up looking at music and the tools to create it somewhat different… [music] it is mathematical, and it is fleshy, it is constantly amazing, it is alluring, it is repetitive, clyclical and other things.

    Bucket drummers, spoon players, saw players, bottle blowers, hell tap dancers etc they manage to make beautiful music so don’t think its what you use. Its partially you… Its definitely something spiritual, but its certainly not the tools. PRACTICE and devotion to it is what it is, because silence and a wall of sound are both musical and instrumentation as well. I understand where a lot of you are coming from, but I will remind you that if someone makes a couple hits with some unknown software, or controller that will become the new flavor. Regardless if it syncs, beat matches, key pitches, slices and shocks you to make your timing accurate it won’t necessarily be the best thing for you.

    Just get to know what ever you choose to use intimately… if all you have is an old drum machine find a way to become an artist with it. Because delivering music is artistry.

    Oh, in case it matters, I use Torq for stage/production/djn cuz its light. P

  • Rolf

    I have been using the least commented upon DJ software of them all… Mixmeister Fusion. It is a digital sequencer really, not “DJ” software, more like Ableton. It doesn’t have the production capabilities that make Ableton popular and useful. But it is really good at what it does. You can mix up to eight tracks at once. You can drop stuff in on the fly. I have found it very robust over many soundscaping gigs over the past two years. As someone who never mixed two spinning platters in his life, the digital sequencer aspect, with the stationary wave forms and moving cursor seems very intuitive.
    I come from a piano bass and guitar background.
    Having played both live instruments and DJ’d, or soundscaped as I like to call it, I want to say
    It Is All About The Music.
    Doesn’t matter what software you use, or if you hew to CDJs, or vinyl, or you have a tight band you play with regularly. Pick good music, know your muisc, read the crowd, and rock the dance floor. There is nothing better.

    • RaineSupreme

      Mixmeister IS dj software. You are mixing pre recorded musical compositions.

      • Gros Bedo

        I agree, MixMeister is a real DJ software and has as much DJ capabilities as the others, though it’s presented in a different way.

  • Prodigy

    It’s not what you use, but how you use it.

  • Mihaly

    I dont understand what the big hype is about serato honestly. The screen is all cluttered with the waveforms racing like crazy and you are limited to what you can do. Why is 30% of the screen not used for anything anyway? Then you have these vertical running waveforms that you cant even read because they are so fast. No effects? Whats that about? You are also limited to 2 decks only and the equipment that Rane builds otherwise its not compatible, and they obviously have not released many hardware to complement their program. They basically have their users by the crotch. I love traktor more then anything. Everything is layed out in perfect logical order. There is 4 deck control with full effect and fully programmable control functionalities. You can setup how fast the waveforms travel, but they dont clutter the screen and try to take over because they are just a piece of what a dj needs not the most important tool. I love how NI also supports their users by working hard at developing new hardware so they can break new grounds and are starting to slowly reach similar capabilities as ableton has and it is just now up to the dj and his creativity. The sound quality is also incredible. 24bit pure sound quality through the amazing audio dj soundcard is just so crisp and nice to listen to, really makes a big difference. Virtual dj is not very professional at all IMO. Ableton is too mechanized and computerized with not much feel and input from the dj and it kind of cuts you off from the enjoyment. I want the comp to aid me, not take over. Anyways enough its just my opinion. No program is perfect, but Traktor is the best by far IMHO.

    • Elektrophix


      Dude you don’t know anything about serato LMFAO!

      Serato has the SL1(2 decks) SL3(3 decks) SL4(4 decks) and has several mixers such as the rane ttm56, ttm57, ttm58, 68, and few other controllers..

      Serato 2.0 had sample banks, fx and you can pick from 4 different screen layouts…

      Also you can pick the speed of the waveforms!!!

      Don’t shit talk a product you know nothing about!!!

      Thats like me shit talking Traktor.. I’ve never fuckin used it so how can i diss it????

    • Elektrophix

      Oh and I can use whatever gear I want!!!! I’m not limited!! I have no interest in using midi bullshit!!! I can use any brand of cd players or turntables or mixers i want!! SO HOW AM I LIMITED FUCKIN TELL ME???

      • xOrejin_Kahausx

        Well I like to see you use a different sound card than Rane.

        Like Apogee Ensemble. That will blow any rane soundcard any day.

        But less to say Serato is a good product. Also Traktor and others also. I think it’s all about what shoes fits who the best.I myself used Serato, Traktor, VDJ, Ableton.

        I own traktor, VDJ, Ableton. I can say that for the artist in me the winner is Ableton cause I play guitar, bass, drums, keyboards.I feel there nothing fun than to mix music perform the music your write.

        But the Dj in me likes any the major products DVS or DJ systems there cause they all have there different edges.

      • Maximus Moretta

        I think he mean limited by Rane products; These are all made by Rane >>>SL1(2 decks) SL3(3 decks) SL4(4 decks)<<>>ttm56, ttm57, ttm58, 68<<<….

    • Dj MahdFaces!

      Read your responce was re-assurring. I’ve been tell my friend something similar but he just stuck on Serato and would not listen to me, he wouldn’t even try traktor.

  • someome

    i think native lns will be better than now. but Ableton live is the future of electronic music =) there’s no another chance

  • Dystopic

    Bleh. There’s an awful lot of hate for (insert program you don’t like here). Who cares? This isn’t a car race or something. It doesn’t matter what program you use if you rock the crowd.

    Personally, I’m using the Traktor S4, but before that I used Virtual DJ with a number of different controllers for quite some time. I miss the customization possible in VDJ (the audio routing and scripting options really are insane). However, I love the FX of Traktor Pro. Never been a big Serato guy, but hey, whatever floats your boat. I respect people who combine producing and mixing, using Ableton, but it’s not really my thing. I do produce, but it’s very separate from most of my sets.

    I don’t have a lot of respect for people who put others down because they use some piece of hardware or software they don’t like. And you know what? If you use the Sync button, what of it? Who cares? That just means you can spend less time matching and more time being creative.. maybe you’re adding loops, or samples, or layering tracks… whatever it is that you do. Of course, you do need to be able to do it by ear, too, because sync doesn’t always work and in both Traktor and VDJ both, you still have to pitch bend a little to get it in phase exactly how you want it. I liked the stacked waveforms of VDJ, because it made this process quicker. Personally, I’d like to see that feature added to Traktor. But it doesn’t really matter.

    Use what you’re comfortable with and don’t bash other people’s gear and software just because -you- had a bad experience with it.

    • Maximus Moretta

      Big ups! to that’s Dystopic!

  • Stig Fostervold

    It might have been mentioned, but as for the part where Live is recommended for the more producing type but Traktor can be recommended for, amongst other things, it’s great effects, it should be noted that if you’re a NI-fan like me (who uses Live), you can get those effects without using Traktor.

    Many times I want to use Traktor, I have fun with it, but it’s just not very suitable for what I do and to put it lightly, there aren’t many parties/etc where I could do what I want with it without clearing the place out, and I love the effects. Because of the effects, I often exported tunes as multitracks and mixed a few of them in Traktor, which was kind of a hassle.

    But now, you don’t have to do that any more. If you use Live and like NI, you should have heard of Guitar Rig. If you haven’t, check it out. Well, NI did us all a massive favour and released a Guitar Rig-pack called Traktor’s 12. (It also works with the free Guitar RIg Player, so you don’t have to buy Guitar Rig). It’s the Traktor effects, but put into a VST-effect plug-in. I love it, and I use the effects quite a lot.

    • Gros Bedo

      Thank’s a lot for the tip!

  • Todd Laudy

    Hi Fam,
    After reading all the responses to date..I get it, you are truley gifted. Please post more songs as you did at Christmas that you thought were worth posting….please? lol..

    I wish I spoke music as well as I spoke ELECTRONICS.. lol


    Uncle Todd ( Victor ? )

  • DJ Tanner

    “if your style is rocking out a party with the best track for the moment, Live’s not going to be the best thing to do that – as everything needs to be ‘warped’ (pre-prepared).”

    I disagree with this. I DJ with one other person, we both run our own Ableton sets, and a lot of what we play is dropped into Ableton and warped on the fly. We do have a bunch of tracks already loaded, ready to go, that we know we might want to play, but a lot of those don’t end up getting used. Ableton makes it super easy to warp tracks, so if any of you are thinking about DJing with Ableton, don’t let that deter you. With some practice, you can perfectly warp tracks in about 10 seconds.

  • Elektrophix

    Honestly guys..

    I embrace the technology and what it has to offer! I started taking music lessons at 4 years old with the Royal Conservatory of Music.. I play guitar, bass, Sax, drums and Trumpet! I have all the musical theory one could ever want, I know song structure, bars, measures, time signature, the key a song is in, etc…

    I started deejaying on vinyl with 2 gemini pdt 2000 turntables and a next 2 channel mixer.. I learned how to mix with vinyl and then later on moved on to mixing with cd and dual decks.. Then came the tabletop platters like cdj’s by pioneer.. I embraced that too.. I ripped my vinyl and cd collection and tagged everything spending 2 weeks to do this and convert everything to a 320 kbps mp3 file.. And upgraded to Torq at first.. then after a few months i bought Serato 1.9 and the SL1 pack from long and mcquade music in burlington, ON.

    Now i use my ears and eyes to mix.. I love the cue points in serato and the bpm display! It enables me to mix faster and after pre-programming cue points in all my songs I can now mix flawlessly 24/7!!!! All the technology i have embraced has made my skills improve with each upgrade..

    If there was no computers left on the planet I still have my vinyl and cd collection and would still be able to dj..

    If you don’t embrace the technological advances as a dj your just going to be left behind. I’ve been deejaying since the early 90’s and I’ve seen all the technolgy advance over the years… It’s not a bad thing!!!

    However I believe what all of you dj’s are frusterated with is the fact that some new guy with no training, practice or experience can buy a digital solution like VDJ or Serato and within a few hours be able to beatmix and match songs… OK THIS SUCKS!!! I AGREE.. But look at the big picture, they still have to get music, they still don’t know anything about when to mix beats, vocals or how to mix keys.. If the laptop crashed they’d be F*cked!! And yes they play for like 50 bucks and undercut us all.. Let them who cares!!??? They know nothing and will only get so far! And if your so insecure as a dj that your worries about some dude that just bought serato or vdj with no real skills undercutting and taking your gig then maybe you should re-think your career and skillset!!! No Offense!!!

  • balthur

    Why do you say SSL doesn’t have beatgrids ?
    When you fire off Bridge once, the markers stay there ;]
    Even without ableton running.

  • JuanSOLO

    Such a strange article and comment session.

    The author may know the material, but made poor choice of words to describe many things. Many of us have pointed this out only to get a rubuttle from the author. To me this clearly states someone who has difficulty with critique, and is probably why this article suffers so.

    Then you have a ton of DJ’s praising the article, I would say the just dont know, which seems typical of many DJ’s.

    Then you have people going on about which one is better, or who won. Not the sharpest tools in the shed fer sure.

    This thread blows and this is my final contribution to make it worse, I mean it’s not like it could be helped.

  • Sam Ben-David

    Great post as usual 🙂

    I’m a big Traktor fan and user…but i’m slowly being converted to Ableton…it just seems like…the future? More control and creative expression

  • JOHN

    Soon your vdj and traktor toys will be completely replaced with ableton… if Ableton will do an massive dj friendly update (in 10 version of live or even 9; but i think 9 is too quick) and IF guys from pinky vst will work with guys from ableton (same situation like in the case of m4l) all the traktors, vdjs will be DEAD.

  • zeba

    i tested twice Virtual DJ Timecode with my Audio4Dj and the sound when you scratch is HORRIBLE !!! Virtual DJ is all but not a professional DJ DVS system trust me !!! Serato & Traktor are both very well for scratching and mixing at night clubs

  • alexio

    @Joeyj virtual dj has a bad audio engine….that is all to say

  • Joeyj

    Anyone who says virtual dj is a joke must have gotten confused when they tried to run it. It allows for full customization of your setup and doesn’t require a expensive piece of hardware. Traktor is the only other low hardware price option but does require a more expensive computer to run to the fullest of it’s ability. Itch and scratch are solid as hell just too damn expencive for young djs, but the obvious option for a serious but simple setup. That’s my two cents.

  • Waiting S4 delivery :(

    Cant believe i read the whole page…Wish CPA was as interesting as this….DJTT you got me glued to the screen….anyways back to BOOKS 🙁
    DJTT pls do something…i cant wait for my S4

  • Waiting for S4 delivery :(

    Cant believe i read the whole page…Wish CPA was as interesting as this….DJTT you got me glued to the screen….anyways back to BOOKS 🙁
    DJTT pls do something…i cant wait for my S4

  • Yello

    im a traktor fan, but dam that “bridge” looked pretty cool!!

    Keen to see what Traktor 2 brings to the table….hopefully something innovative

  • tito

    Good Article, djtechtools is back at his best.

  • kru-kut


  • Dj PC3

    There’s no winner, as long as a the software is stable, and you can rock a crowd with it (whether with scratching, mixing, throwing-in-samples, etc), then its a winner.

    But I personally use Traktor for most gigs and the Serato Video-SL to do VJ’ing…

  • 6StringMercenary

    Article is off the mark – Live doesn’t really fit compared to the more relevant options neglected…Deckadance, Torq and Mixxx. About the only similarity of Ableton Live is that it’s portable and can interface with a couple DJ specifically designed ‘traditional’ platforms. Y’all know, the ones mimicing / based on decks + mixer history, are very different from Live’s grid view master control + sends triggering approach. This article barely pays lip service to the role of VSTs, unfortunately, because a big draw to Live is being able to run synths + keyboard controller in the box and mix them in when on a computer with enough performance to handle it.

    As a side note, with external audio I can get Live and Mixxx running on a netbook, but neither Traktor (too heavy), Serato (screen resolution too low) nor DeckaDance (too heavy) could in my configuration. While I have seen one dude using a nanoKontrol with Traktor instead of a deck-based system – with great results – that’s hardly the norm. Netbook + RAM upgrade to 2GB + nanoKontrol + soundcard + Live = wicked portability and way below the average Traktor/Serato/Itch price point and not a closed-sandbox/proprietary system in comparison.

  • hihiii

    I Use VDJ pro and Traktor scratch pro
    in the comparaison i found one error VDJ have a beat grid.
    my point of view is
    traktor strong point are, sound quality, effect, internal mixer, stability, timecode really good as good as serato
    weakness: track visualisation, wave visualisation, beat grid sometime in other type than electro house the beat grid is completly false, and the midi mapping BORING

    VDJ strong point: track visualisation very clear you see if the intro do 16 or 32 beat in 5seconde, wave visualisation you see clearly the beat and break not a big yellow wave. video , pluggin vst like FL vst and you can add vsti. camelot, auto gain when it scan it your not oblige to scan all your track before you play it in your set. AND the MIDI mapping i never see something so easy, your just write a commend a macro with “if,and,or” you can creat in 10s a complex macro between traktor it’s boring with the little windows

    VDJ weakness: the sound quality with the internal mixer (but in club many people scream and drunk, so i don’t think they will do any difference), the sound quality of the basic effect but with the pluggin it’s good, timecode not as stable as traktor

    after everyone do like he want but is not because you use one software you will be better than another, use the software you need for your set lot of effect (another than analog mixer like DJM,XONE,…) use traktor. For time code use traktor because it will give you more possibility the serato and less expensive with the same quality in timecode mode.

    it’s the same in any artistic thing some people have paintshop, photoshop,…, but they will never do a better think then Dali or Picasso and they had only pen. The important is your creativity

  • Aronika

    My favourite setup is Traktor Pro in sync with Ableton Live.

    • Yello

      Ableton Live in sync with CDjs is also very cool……just +/- 0.8% on the CDJ (10x pitch) to change the BPM by one and you will never run into any trouble

  • Anonymous

    All the software’s mentioned in the article are as good as the person using it. We need to stop this whole Coke vs. Pepsi mentality and focus on what works.

    Ableton is good for on the spot inspiration,(Great for Remixing)

    Traktor works really good with Dance Music (Techno, House, Progressive) because of the SYNC button.

    Serato is for DJ’s who have experience with actual vinyl records.

    Virtual DJ has video, and vst support, and has 4 decks

    Torq 2.0 has elastic audio (Pro-Tools), VST Support, Sampler, Rewire, MIDI

    My point is there is something for everyone.

  • wikkid1

    im actually a bit surprised that VDJ is in this comparison and Deckadance isnt. ive used both pretty extensively and havent had any stability issues with either. i really enjoyed playing with VDJ but for some reason i didnt like the way it sounds, like no matter how carefully i beat matched my tracks it always sounded like there are 2 separate beats playing, like they would almost never actually blend into one whole. and of course VDJ is somewhat weak in the effects section. personally i would be using VDJ regularly if i could get it to sound the way TPro does, which brings me to Deckadance…

    great piece of software, for me it combined the sound of TPro and the visual aspects of VDJ that i like, so lately im primarily using DDance. its not without faults of course. messing around with dubstep i noticed that there was no quick way to either *2 or /2 the track bpm, which is easily done on Traktor cuz it has buttons dedicated to do just that.

    basically id say everybody should try as many of these programs as possible, if your friends are using something other then what youre using, ask them to let you mess around for a bit to see how it works. in the end all of these comparison articles are mostly useless, none of them list ALL dis/advantages of the various softwares. and what is irrelevant to me may be a deal breaker for the next guy. so you gotta decide for yourself, get demos if you cant get access to full versions, just remember that a lot of the time demo versions will lack some essential functions, so it may be hard to judge. so yeah, go out there, test everything you can get your hands on, find out what works for you, have fun playing!

  • AJSA

    It all depends on what u wanna play with… I love torq as well.. but sticker drift on 1.5.2 kept me away.. I love traktor.. but programing and midi gives me a headache sometimes.. though it sounds incredible.. serato well I fell in love on the simplicity.. and how good it sounds too with the sl3.. I love serato.. though I ain’t a fan boy.. hahaha.. well a little.. free updates << yes sir.. can't wait for torq but right now.. I'm looking to see what to sell.. serato is my number one choice for gigs… but I do wanna sell torq or traktor.. just waiting to see the updates.. and make my decision.. great article.. can't wait for that review on torq 2.0.. how bout a review on powered speakers.. mackie thumps, qsc and jbl.. I'm looking for a portable solution cuz I got tired of lifting my b-52's.. hahaha

    • DJ Sir Andy

      +1 on Torq 2.0 and the Mackie Thumps. Just bought the Thumps and wanna see a comparison against the Jbls and Qscs. Prolly gonna upgrade to Torq 2.0 from Torq 1.5, just need to upgrade my OS from Tiger to Snow Leopard first-today is payday baby!

  • Mr Draxx

    @ Chris Cartledge,
    good work on the article kid, it does indeed reflect knowledge and wisdom on the products and thanks for replying to the many disagreements on the thread, it shows your concern, dedication and character. Keep up the good work!

  • mike_o

    just wanted to chime in and say that this is a damned good article and was really well written.

  • Anonymous

    Traktor with colored waveforms,I can’t wait ….anxiety is killing me!!!

    • Paul Smith

      As intellectual as a pack of Crayola Crayons! Yeeeeay!

  • Anonymous

    I’d rather use MixVibes than Torq, if there was an underdog comparison.

  • Grizu

    After deejaying regular vinyl for about a decade I jumped into the digital world with Final Scratch for Mac in 2003. Then moved to Torq in 2007, in 2008 came VCI-300 & ITCH, Scratch Live and Traktor Scratch in 2009.
    Also tried Ableton.
    My personal winner is the Torq underdog. Loved the easy midimapping with simple on/off comands, Quickscratch buttons and 16 bank sampleplayer. Never had a problem on my Mac and now I’m using Torq 2 with timecode vinyls, Dicers, Maschine, nanoPad and PMC-05 Pro4.
    But I will also upgrade Traktor to the new version with sampler, allways liked the accurate timecode of Traktor, but run into a lot of problems with incompatible soundfiles and difficult Midi setup.
    Guess I’ll compare Torq2 and the new Traktor, both with Turntables and Timecode Vinyl for a few months.
    VCI & ITCH will stay my backup system, Ableton isn’t my thing a all and I allready sold my SL box.

  • Redskyy

    The way I see it is that everyone has there own preference don’t hate on others for using what they like. In the end we as djs aren’t in a competition with each other we make music for fans to enjoy. So if its abbleton, serato, torq, vdj,mixxx, traktor. Does it really matter in the end. Because the end result with either is music.

  • Chuck

    As i often remarked, most posts are Traktor Serato Ableton Live oriented. Torq is the only software on the market that supports vst and has the best timestretch.
    You mentioned it once, but act like if Serato, NI, ABLETON paid you to brag about their products.

    I regularly read the posts cuz they contain good advices concerning most cases dj’s can meet, but i’m disappointed that you don’t talk about all real dvs on the market.
    Torq 2.0 will be out in a few.
    Thankfully NAMM 2011 made you talk about it, but it’s like you were obliged.
    You never tried the trial version available on download or made a video about its features and your impressions.

    I wish more equality concerning the software you talk about , that would be more fair for your readers.

    • Ean Golden

      As soon as Torq 2.0 is available in a full version (non-beta) we will provide an extensive review and comparison to the other software on the market. Because of space constraints, we are unable to review and include all the software available. The 4 programs here do represent the largest share of the market and of our readership at this time- which is why we focused on them.

  • Rolfski

    Don’t forget to take Ean’s own Serato/Traktor comparison into account, also featuring a comparison by dj Qbert

  • Phil Morse

    [quote comment=”44258″]@triune – side by side waveforms eh? Keep it on the downlow, but rumor has it that some DJs actually line these up visually to beatmatch their music… some of then even use multi-coloured waveforms to tell them which bit “boom” and which bit goes “bap” – of course these are generally the kind of DJs who wouldn’t be caught dead with a “sync” button!

    They would have hated the old days when we had to beatmatch with a pair of devices called “ears”, which of course aren’t strictly side by side either… although at least ears are separated by a device called a “brain” which is rumoured to have many, many uses.[/quote]

    LOL love it, DJ Rock Well… truly brought a smile to my face. You a pro journalist? If not, you should be! 😀

    • DJ Rock Well

      Phil, thanks for the compliment mate but no, I’m not a journalist – just a smart-arse secondhand record shop manager with a surplus of sarcasm!

  • Patch

    The winner of this battle will be the one that enable sync’ing of timecode vinyl to the master tempo, so that beat sync’d effects can be used.

    How hard can it be?

    Ableton MUST be working on it. The bridge is ALMOST there – it just needs refining…

    • Jeff

      That would probably be Torq then.
      1. You can use rewire or midi beat clock to sync.
      2. Torq sends tempo info to all vst plugins.
      3. There are Ms.Pinky plugins available (both vst and Max4Live) that enable you to use Torq vinyl to control clips inside of Ableton.

      • FDRK

        Wouldn’t the Traktor Midi sync setup be used for this purpose.
        Torq has one amazing thing that really kick ass and that is variable beat grids or tempo ancors i think they call it. Haven’t tried it, but a collegue of mine swears to it.

  • Darrell

    I am a Traktor guy. I started with pro and the Denon DNHC 4500 and now I am happy to say I am the proud owner of an S4. I love this thing. However, I and the butt of much scrutiny among my DJ friends and the company I work for, when I am not working on my own, who all use Serato. It’s to the point that I have actually thought of getting Serato as well. For certain club gigs it would be more convenient to just hookup in to their house CDJ’s plus I really miss my Technics. The cost of over 700$us has been stopping me and with the S4 its really not that space consuming although I do plan to get a VCI 100 MkII when DJ Tech starts making it better (hint hint… Ahem… Start working on it guys! I don’t like using up my USB’s with external sound cards!) But I digress. But that being said my S4 is so amazing that I have almost forgot about my Technics and I am willing to tell the other DJ I work with at the tight boothed gig to just deal with it. I mean I am out of his way in literally 30 seconds.

    I guess all this babble was to get to my latest conundrum which kind of fits into this whole comparison. Lately, Thanks to the awesome flexibility of my S4 I have been wanting to stand out more as a DJ and start dabbling in remixing tracks and producing some of my own. I mean I spent a small fortune in college studying this stuff (audio and electronic music) I might as well put it to use. I have a friend who does this and DJ’s using Ableton. She loves it and swears by it. She’s taken it all around the world with her. Although she said in Europe they like to see turntables. Lol.. But again I digress. It’s expensive and if you haven’t guessed I am kind of an equipment junkie. So, I’ve been spending a lot on this stuff. So I am trying to reign in the budget and get something that is the most compatible but will give me the ability to create and play some of my own work.

    I recently have been looking at the NI Machine. It seems to be a really cool all in one and will mix with my DJ set up. Although, I am not really happy with the information I am finding on it. Do you guys know anything about it? Would Ableton be my best bet.
    I do all kinds of work from clubs to bars to weddings and sweet 16’s (hey DJ’s got to eat… And what do you think funds this little addiction of mine).

    Please, I need help… Not nasty comments… hahaha…

    • FDRK

      If your thinking of getting a DVS I would wait untill the next Traktor is released… Not just go for Serato cause that’s what your mates use.
      The Maschine is very nice for programing beats and using it as a supplement for Traktor S4 is pretty cool stuff.
      However… If you’ve got some nice production tools and want to up your game as a DJ: Get a second computer, APC-40 and Abelton and hook it up to Traktor. 🙂

  • Saleem

    As a producer it is good know what to look into. I have always used traktor, since it evolved from NI scratch. I now have a library of music releasing tracks for the past 2 years so it looks like I need to possibly make the jump to ableton or at least give it a shot. Any ableton users out there with any insights, please feel free to contact me. As always awesome article.

  • Punky

    I realize a lot of hands go into an article like that. I’m an English major, so I’m a bit of a grammar Nazi. Sorry.

    • Anonymous

      Chek owt sum of the commints hear, youd hav a fearld dai

    • DJdj

      I’m not even a native english speaker and I usually spot lots of typos and misspelled words in djtt. I think it’s become part of the fun of this site

  • Punky

    Also… nothing on Torq 2.0?

  • Punky

    Guys… it’s “contenders” not “contendors”. A google search could’ve told you that, before you slapped it on those boxing gloves.

    • Chris Cartledge

      I can’t take credit for that one, sorry DJTT – it was out of my hands… or gloves…

  • DjRo

    And yet again, DJTT not showing any love to Torq. You include Virtual DJ and not the new Torq? Fail!

    • Chris Cartledge

      Unfortunately, M-Audio never responded to any correspondence or requests for review models. Perhaps it’s because they were concentrating on Torq 2… who knows.

      • RaineSupreme

        Chris, you really should have spent more than no time at all thinking about including Torq. Items about Torq have been listed on this site before , i am guessing someone had to have used it to put together those articles?
        And you also could have had someone behind the wheels of TORQ 2.0 for over 1.5 weeks now…it is a free trial after all.

  • alexio

    @Chris Cartledge
    how can you say a thing like
    “MIDI learn does not feature in Traktor in the same way that you might expect by just hearing the term.“.
    “it then requires you to manually map what you want that controller to control by selecting from a menu“
    come on…traktor has midi learn!its different but its still midi learn!
    about the manually input mehtod: you do it at home,like a pro,selecting the right features to map as you want it.
    traktor would be a pain in the ass to map with GUI midi-learn, that would set a limit to your creativity as a digital dj with a midi controller.
    the best part in mapping with traktor pro is that you have more options then you would with a simple midi learn button on a GUI interface in a dj software,excluding ableton,that is not a dj mixing software,no comment!
    thing about the modifiers option,smart knobs,the led outputs,the jog wheels sensitivity and acceleration,ALL the thing are better better then a dumb GUI midi learn.

    • Chris Cartledge

      Hi Alexio,

      I understand your point, but MIDI Learn, as a term, more or less universally means an automatic way to connect a software function via MIDI. The term is understood across production software and DJ software. Traktor’s ‘learn’ button would be more accurately described as ‘identify’, as the step it replaces is looking in your controller’s manual for what CC the control you want to map sends out.
      The difference between the two methods is really down to preference, which is the point I made, but interestingly there is a lot more to Scratch Live’s MIDI implementation than many people give it credit for, and fairly advanced mappings can still be created.

      • alexio

        we dont need midi learn as a term,we need it as a fact!
        in terms saying that traktor has no midi-learn,does it makes you thing that you cannot do midi mapping?come on…
        why dose the button you press to assign something is called learn? because it is midi learn.
        why does guys like richie hawtin,ean golde works and other dj who are addicted to controler are using traktor instead of serato?beside the fx,or other things that they like in traktor,the are using it 100% for its midi mapping.

        • Paul Smith

          ^^^Paul Smith Likes this.

      • Shiiny

        Let’s just say Traktor has an advanced midi mapping feature than the other software mentioned in the discussion.Traktor takes midi mapping to a higher level giving producers and experienced DJS (not playlist DJS) a tool to redesign any controller on the market without the hassle of hardware production.You can take any controller with a button called Cue for example and tell Traktor you know what I want this button to function as loop roll (if/and/or).How cool is that? Traktor gives DJs a chance to think ahead of the game to redesign the software the way you want it and the controller how you want it.Virtual DJ comes second in the list in terms of advanced midi mapping.You need to have a little knowledge in computer programming and probability to manipulate the advanced mapping of these two programs.

  • Jeff

    I’m a Torq user and know of 4 other DJs in my town that also use it, plus some other DJs that jumped to serato (because nearly everybody is using it in the clubs) but still have Torq.

    You should have included some less popular options in the battle: Torq, Deckadance, or even Mixxx instead Ableton. Ableton vs any DJ app to me seems like apple vs oranges. 99% of working DJs would not mess with Ableton at a gig.

    I also think that one main thing that was left off the comparison: “perception/reputation”. That’s one of the biggest factors in a purchasing decision unless you live in a cave.

    Most guys get serato because it’s the most popular. You know the “herd mentality”. Some people stay away from Virtual DJ because it has a stigma of being a lesser app for beginners. Really VDJ in features/flexibility/price shits all over serato and traktor if you investigate. Ean didn’t mention that VDJ supports vst plugins, by which you can easily bypass midi and fx limitations by using chainer-type plugin.

    Running plugins like Artillery, Effectrix, Glitch, or BT’s Stutteredit on a unlimited amount of decks, along with real-time visuals reacting to the music…and all in one app?!?!? That’s some next level stuff…just make sure you laptop is powerful enough.

    • andrew

      couldnt agree more with the virtual dj comment. the possibilities are endless!! i have used traktor for 5 yrs and was a dedicated user. when virtual dj 7 came out i had a look and made the switch havent looked back running 8 decks at once is pretty freaking good!!!

  • djefromv

    Where is M-Audio/Avid’s Torq in all this??I have used Torq since 2007 with the few versions and now testing the 2.0 with four decks (like Traktor) along with innovative new features. Torq 1.5 has all of the features and then some (Anchor Points) compared to the discussed. The only feature I can see lacking is the video portion….Great, Stable, Competative Price…

    • DJ Girish

      Agreed. Torq is missing. I would like a review on Torq 2.0

  • g$

    [quote comment=”44291″]price tag? go Linux… there’s open source out there that perform just as well (xwax, mixxx, jokosher)[/quote]

    straight up.. im cheap

  • g$

    price tag? go Linux… there’s open source out there that perform just as well (xwax, mixxx, jokosher)

    • ToOntown

      I was wondering when somebody was going to mention Mixxx. Mixx is like somebody asking you if you want a free car and when you accept they give it to you unassembled with no manual. Only certain people will know how to make it run right away, but for the most part people will spend too much time trying to figure it out, and they end up going out to buy an assembled car. Not good for the masses but good for some.

      • D.J. Pegasus

        Have you tried Mixxx recently? (Your description fits xwax more than it does Mixxx. But you can run xwax on a 7-year old PC and it works great! But it is strictly no-nonsense DVS.)

        Mixxx 1.8 is very easy to set up in most cases. The only things you have to adjust is the audio hardware properties (API, sound card, sample rate, latency) and you’re off.

    • jasonmd2020

      When I was broke and in a fit of “Linux Uber Alles” I tried using Xwax. Completly spartan interface. If all you want is to spin two mp3 files have at it, and even then it was still buggy (I was using Ubuntu at the time, your milage may vary.) No sync, no midi control, no effects, no crates/playlists, no looping. In short no more Linux. I saved up got a new laptop got Traktor Duo which was quickly upgraded to Pro and never looked back.

      You get what you pay for.

  • looproll

    I mapped a loop roll effect in traktor to my xone dx… idk why people keep saying there is no loop roll. all you have to do is map the push button to engage loop and set it to “hold” then map the encoder to adjust the loop size… and BOOM… loop roll EXACTLY like in serato itch. If you want I can make a tuturial video. All you need is the endless encoder knob with a push feature.

    • Chris Cartledge

      This is not ‘loop roll’ as it is understood by most people – the playhead in a loop roll effect ala DJM800 and Scratch Live continues to move, and the effect actually works on a sampled section of the audio over the top. This means that when the loop roll is disengaged, the track continues from where it would have been if the effect was never used. This effect can be achieved in Traktor by using the Beatmasher effect, though!

      • Paul Smith

        well duh

    • Shiiny

      Let me test an idea real quick. If I set up a loop using two different cue points since Traktor is good at this one, don’t you guys call it loop roll.I know Traktor for a fact allows you to set a cue point and designate that cue point as loop in or loop out.That simply means when I activate the loop and let it play as long as I want and then hit the cue point designated as the loop out anytime doesn’t it create the same effect as the one button called loop roll in Scratch Live? I strongly suggest you guys try my idea before you jump on here like blinded homeless and hopeless 60 year-old man in downtown Manhattan to just spill your non-sense about a powerful DJ software whether it’s Scratch Live, Traktor, Ableton.I perform will all of them for versatility and know-how.Thank you

  • Hot Rabbit

    Great Article and really objective for once!

    I use Traktor, Scratch Live and Virtual DJ,

    I’ve been disappointed a lot with Traktor lately, lot of crashes, the beat grid and BPM detection is totally wrong on some tracks, it makes them impossible to mix… but still it’s a powerful software and I’m really looking for the next version, hoping for improvement.

    I used first to dislike Scratch Live because there no auto SYNC so I can’t be fast and creative enough while doing Mash-up sessions, but since I got the Dicers, I love to use turntable and vinyl again!

    But I do not understand why so many DJ hate Virtual DJ software, it’s the most open software, so fucking easy to use and configure with any equipment, incredibly stable, anybody who’s a little bit creative can very quickly make awesome mix session. For the SYNC and Beatgrid it’s the best, even if not as precise than Traktor, you often need to pitch bend a little for final adjustment and get a perfect beat match.
    However it always get the BPM right (not like Traktor) and when the beat grid is wrong you can still use the parallel waveforms to easily beat matching. But it’s true that sound engine is not as good than Traktor or Scratch Live and for the FX, it totally sucks!

  • korona

    Why is the requirement to use special hardware with the Serato software not listed as a con? Not only do I see it as a con, but a complete dealbreaker for me. And as has been previously pointed out, Traktor does have MIDI learn. Yes, it functions differently than the MIDI learn feature _you_ describe, but it’s still MIDI learn.

  • some_dj

    So what traktor pro wins then?

    • Mr Draxx

      No traktor doesn’t win!!…Aren’t you reading the article??..Torq wins the battle!! haha

      • Casey Dougall

        Torq Does win, sorry peeps, it is what it is…You can battle it out all you want but taking it from yeah, torq rules. If you got skills to put to the test holla back!

  • stafford


  • Roman Seoul

    This is probably one of the best and most objective comparison articles I’ve seen on the subject. I really like five scenarios at the end, that’s how DJ technology should be approached and presented to newcomers. Kudos!

      • DJ Girish

        Chris. +1 on Roman’s comment. This is definately one of the best articles on the internet comparing three industry leading DJ software. Thanks for writing and I hope to see more articles coming from you.

  • Flik

    You can do a million more things in Ableton live than traktor and serato put together. No contest.

    • Anonymous

      [quote post=”10110″]You can do a million more things in Ableton live than traktor and serato put together. No contest.[/quote]

      You can do a million more things in Serato/Bridge than you can in Traktor and Ableton put together. No contest.

    • ToOntown

      If we’re only talking about using it to DJ then I disagree. Unless you’re talking about playing a million more tracks, then yes, I agree.

      • Anonymous

        Ableton on it’s own: Can do a million things.

        Ableton + serato: Even better

        You can’t scratch in Ableton, so there’s a million scratches you’ll never do.

        • ToOntown

          Incorrect. You can scratch in Ableton.

    • Anonymous

      Ableton, on its own!? You can scartch?

      I fail to see how, without the use of something like Ms Pinky, or serato Bridge; in either case, you’re not doing it in Ableton.

      • ToOntown

        Ms. Pinky for Max4Live is one way. The Stanton SCS1 VST is another. You didn’t say anything about add-ons. You just made a blanket statement that you can’t in Ableton 🙂

        • Anonymous

          lol internet.

  • Mostapha

    Yay. Another contributor who honestly thinks that you have to pre-plan sets in Live. Thanks for saying you have no idea what you’re talking about…it makes reading articles quicker.

    • Chris Cartledge

      Hi Mostapha,

      I’m afraid you have misread the article. The point I made is that Live is not as suited to ‘on the fly’ mixing as what it’s up against – and that’s a point I stand by wholeheartedly. Conversely, it excels at allowing you to hybridise DJing and production, combining pre-orchestrated set planning with live improvisation. I stand by that, too!

      I can assure you, honestly, that I know exactly what I’m talking about.

      Nevertheless, thanks for your comments,

  • JuanSOLO

    I usually like DJTT articles but this one seems poorly written. It sounds as if the authors research is based more on hearsay than experience, and the entire article is more mis-informative than it is helpful. If I bought software based on this I wold have felt lied too. For example, “no midi learn in Traktor???” BS!, Traktor has midi learn, it’s just in preferences instead of being on the GUI of the Decks. You dont have to warp tracks to play them in Ableton, and your not restricted to planning out your sets. There is no mention that Serato has postfader FX and Traktor does not, and there is no mention of how warping tracks works, and what are it’s benefits and downfalls. This article is missing A LOT and is not even true in some areas.

    Geez the more I think about it the more I realize how uninformative this article is.

    If I worked at DJTT I would pull this one down and have someone do a re-write, someone that has more to offer than this.

    • Chris Cartledge

      Hi JuanSOLO,

      I’m sorry you feel this way – first off, let me assure you that I have many years’ first hand experience with various iterations of all of the software in this guide, and that the latest versions were used side by side for the purposes of this writeup.

      Please allow me to address your points:

      MIDI learn does not feature in Traktor in the same way that you might expect by just hearing the term. Traktor will certainly learn which controller you want to map by listening to your input, but it then requires you to manually map what you want that controller to control by selecting from a menu. The ‘learn’ function simply removes the need for you to know which CC message each control on your device is sending, whereas in the other software, MIDI learn functions fully, allowing instant learning of a desired software control by clicking the control then moving the controller.

      Whilst you don’t have to warp tracks to play them in Live, it totally defeats the object of using Live in the first place if you don’t, as tempo syncing is lost – using iTunes would be as viable a solution. If you read again, you will notice that the article doesn’t state that you are restricted in any way, merely that what the product is suited to is different.

      I’m afraid you are somewhat confused when it comes to post fader effects, as you are comparing apples and oranges. Mixing totally internally, effects are pre fader in Traktor. However, Scratch Live simply cannot work totally internally, and requires external mixing. Effects in Scratch Live are also pre fader. However with an SL3 (or automatically with a 57 or Sixty Eight), just as with an Audio 8 and Traktor Scratch Pro, the effects can be used as a send/return effect with compatible mixers.

      The article is not written as a guide to Ableton Live – how warping tracks works is not covered because there are plenty of articles that are written to deal with the ins and outs of single pieces of software.

      Thank you for your comments, though.

    • what do ya expect

      It just some dj’s writing article no grad students writing papers. I can see what you mean that they did not phrase things well, but I can see what he means when their is no midi learn the way in which we have it in ableton.

      But I do agree that if your going to be take seriously as a reference for new folks to learn about software they need to get better at writing, or find other folks to write articles.

  • jfd6812

    Good article, but basically leaving the S4 software makes the comparison feeling awfully incomplete. And, I’ve never used VDJ, but I would be surprised if it doesn’t have sync,as this article suggests. Maybe I misunderstood that part.

    • jfd6812

      edit: “leaving the S4 software [out] makes the comparison…”

  • Gareth Jones

    Virtual DJ does include both beatgrids and sync. In fact it’s beat detection (auto beat grids) are both easier to use and more accurate naturally than traktor.

    It falls down on effects, but otherwise it’s a great bit of kit.

    • Extra Classic

      Yes Gareth I was wondering why Cris said there’s no Beatgridding an Sync?

  • DJ Rock Well

    @Chris Cartledge – excellent article, the best overview I have read yet on different types of DJing software… It’s clear, unbiased and I’m glad you made it clear that it doesn’t matter which brand you use, just get what’s vest for your own genuine needs.

    @triune – side by side waveforms eh? Keep it on the downlow, but rumor has it that some DJs actually line these up visually to beatmatch their music… some of then even use multi-coloured waveforms to tell them which bit “boom” and which bit goes “bap” – of course these are generally the kind of DJs who wouldn’t be caught dead with a “sync” button!

    They would have hated the old days when we had to beatmatch with a pair of devices called “ears”, which of course aren’t strictly side by side either… although at least ears are separated by a device called a “brain” which is rumoured to have many, many uses.

    • Chris Cartledge

      Thank you DJ Rock Well! Your comments are appreciated 🙂

  • Fleater

    Very informative………

    This is great as I can now send a link to the (many) people who are asking (loaded) questions on what software to use.

    I hate to advise on what to buy as if I don’t give balanced advice and ascertain what they want to get from their set up then invariably I get the blame for suggesting the wrong product…….(or their inability to get a grasp of what can be very complex setups)!

    Well done DJTT for a balanced article.

  • alexio

    No MIDI learn means it’s more awkward to make spur of the moment changes
    you guys mean no midi learn button…
    c`mon,its traktor PRO for a reason,you can make your own midi map like in no other dj software…only stupid ppl wants midi learn button.nobody kills you if you do your mapping home in 1 hour max,and then go every where and rock the crowds with your controller.
    serato live or itch has the most ugly user interface,you cannot communicate properly with such a interface.i need to see thing clear and nice to know exactly what i am doing,so traktor is my choice because of his flexible interface.and not just that,the fx,beat grid,the sound,the preferences,all that means traktor.
    i can assign multiple screens in traktor pro,can you do that in serato?
    and about ableton,its a my daily daw where i produce,when i use it as standalone i use it to make live acts,and when i use it for dj`ing its just a tool combined with traktor.
    so no standalone “live“ mixing with abelton for me

    • WooDz

      Not sure about the mapping a controller in an hour.

      It took me 4 days to map my 2 Xone:1Ds

      : /

  • Ben P

    +1 for sonictim’s point

    Ableton allows for drag and drop from itunes, so if you suddenly need a song that isn’t in there just drag and drop it anywhere in your live set, it will auto warp in seconds (which i recommend deleting and doing manually to be sure), then you’re free to play it whenever you see would be a good point in your set.

    Ableton’s options for colour coding the clips in your set are very useful too, allowing you to set reminders for yourself etc so you can instantly pick a song you know will fit without having to go and read the comments you left attached to that track.

    Although I do appreciate the argument that people make of simply automating everything in live and simply pushing one button and letting the software do the rest for them. The people that do that shouldn’t really be called “DJs” at all.

    Great post though, I’ve used Traktor several times in the past and I picked up a few things I didn’t know, thanks Chris.

  • dj Lu'Ap

    Traktor Kontrol S4 has a Loop Roll effect, but it’s called “BeatMasher”. Been using Serato SL for the past 4 years, just recently converted to Traktor via S4 (and Lovin it)..

    oh, here’s an additional “pro” for Serato SL, the free music downloads from, unfortunately all those WhiteLabel Tracks don’t sound too good on Traktor.

    • Shiiny

      “oh, here’s an additional “pro” for Serato SL, the free music downloads from, unfortunately all those WhiteLabel Tracks don’t sound too good on Traktor.”

      They have encoded the songs in a specfiic format called .wl to make them play at only 32kbs if the interface is not connected in Scratch Live or Itch. You only have 320kbs with dedicated hardware.

  • superfly

    I have both Traktor (controlled with DV) and Ableton, and sometimes use them together, sending the MIDI clock out from Traktor to Ableton, which allows you to launch clips in sync with what’s playing on the TTs.

    Ableton is routed to channel 2 on my 3 channel mixer, with TTs on 1 and 3, lot of flexibility, but a lot of prep too, still re-doing a lot of tracks so they are ready to go in either program.

  • Redskyy

    Im not sure why some of you hate on Virtual DJ, I Run it with my RMX. I have never had an issue what so ever. Ever think Its your computer? Now that ive said that. I enjoyed This Article Im not like those Few that will only use one software because if everyones using it im using it too. not my style. I have tried almost all of these minus ableton. And Like the Article says Its software that you choose. So dont hate cause I dont see you make any software. I am curious of the Ableton live, im going to check that out once again great article

    • ToOntown

      I began my digital DJ experience with VDJ so there will always be a spot in my heart for it. I don’t prefer it now because it’s a huge resource hog on my Mac but most will tell you that it sucks with Macs in general. Once I used Traktor 3 I ditched VDJ. Now I use TPro and prefer it over all. But it’s fine on PC. The TT support is pretty wack too. I wouldn’t recommend VDJ for timecode vinyl or CDJ.

      People hate on Virtual DJ because it’s fashionable to hate on it. It’s like when everybody at school makes fun of one kid, then everybody joins in because it seems like the cool thing to do. It’s now an easy target.

      Any gripe somebody has about VDJ can be debunked or applied to other softwares. For example:

      it’s heavily pirated–so are Ableton, Traktor, Deckadance, MixVibes, etc… hate the pirate, not the software.

      well, since it’s heavily pirated, some noob can download it, throw it on his laptop with his pirated music, and boom he’s a DJ–who cares? If this legitimately bothers anyone they need to grow up.

      the effects suck–then make ones that don’t. VDJ allows you to import custom effects. there are a shitload of custom effects that people have created and they share in forums. plus, it supports most VSTs.

      the GUI sucks–again, make one that doesn’t. VDJ supports custom GUIs too. there are thousands of skins out there. even ones that look like Traktor, SSL, etc.

      FUCK AUTOSYNC, AUTO BEATMATCHING, ROAARRR!!–this is the worst one… name a software (not called Serato) that doesn’t have a Sync feature. Even Ean uses sync and I don’t see anybody hating on him… hell, in Ableton you warp tracks so that they are incapable of NOT being synced.

      So it’s pretty rare that someone can bring up valid complaints about the software that cannot be bypassed or are not due to user incompetence and stupidity.

      • Redskyy

        i use a mac, and I have no issues with it hogging resoruces, I agree w the skins they are quite retrded. i never change my skin due to the fact i dont care if it looks like a cool set up.

      • halfasemitone

        The reason why no one is hating on Ean about using autosync is because he’s being EXTREMELY musical about it. No one could pull off half the musical shit he does if autosync didn’t exsist. If you’re blending two tracks like back in the day then autosync isn’t necessary. If you’re pulling tricks like Ean, autosync will step up your musical game leaving your hands to be musical.

      • Maximus Moretta

        I also use Mac with VDJ Pro 7, I which from PC because of latency issues and a bunch of bugs. but as soon as I which whala! no problems. Yeah a lot of DJ hate on VDJ because toontown said it’s fashionable to hate on it. It’s like when everybody at school makes fun of one kid, then everybody joins in because it seems like the cool thing to do. It’s now an easy target.I would say all the point that toontown made about Virtual DJ are true, but they’re fixable or adjustable to all of them!

        If you’re in to scratching VDJ is not for you! not “just” yet. I use two DN-S3700 in hybrid midi mode which has great time code Responsiveness zero latency. but I’m also not a scratch DJ; I’m a Latin DJ I’ll do a scratch or two to drop in a Reggaton or Merengue video ones in a while. and DN-MC6000 as my mixer so I have a total of four video decks to mix with.

        but it’s just Drama! I believe it does matter what program you use as long as you know how to use it. I know of a lot SSL DJs that don’t do it Justice sometime you wanna buy them a program w/ auto-sync just to help them out. Just like how I know of many DJs that use VDJ do an awesome job mixing! There’s Pro and Con’s to everything program!

        So tell me this, what happen a couple of years down the raod when all the DJ programs are “Virtually” LOL,the same; When Traktor does videos and Virtual DJ time-code is as good as Traktors or Serato scratch Live! and you know that day will ultimate come and all the companies are doing there research to produces the best possible product they can, so look at DJ. acknowledge there skills or lack there of,

        Maximus Moretta

        P.S. “Hi Haters”

  • DJCmE

    I had Torq. I was a great program I never had any problems with it. but I switched to Traktor wanted the 4 decks and more effects.

    • DJ stay in School

      [quote post=”10110″]I had Torq. I was a great program I never had any problems with it. but I switched to Traktor wanted the 4 decks and more effects.[/quote]

      Me too.. And Torq was kind of dead in the water until just recently. It is a GREAT intro to Digital DJing though as it’s cheap, simple and works well. Also, they were on to something with the addition of anchor points that let you put an accuarte beat grid on tracks that change tempo.

      • Floyd

        Me too I had it loved but moved to Traktor and would not go back THE END..

  • sonictim

    I’ve been using Ableton Live to DJ for 6 years now, and I’d really like to dispel this myth that Ableton is not an “on the fly” DJ program. YES, you need to prewarp all your songs before you head to your gig, but what self respecting digital DJ doesn’t spend time with his tracks on his own before a gig, organizing his library, prepping loop points, etc? Once you’ve done that, you have everything at your fingertips. While Ableton does have a few cons in my book (the most obvious being it’s lack of a good built in library/track organizational system), the inability to be “on the fly” is certainly not one of them.

    Ok, so what about requests? Well, there are two categories here. 1, you play your own style of music and you don’t take requests, so the point is moot. 2, you are catering to a crowd (say a birthday party) and want to honor them. If this is the situation, then a good DJ does his homework and talks to person throwing the event and asks ahead of time if there are any special requests a VIP at the party (in this case, the birthday girl/boy) might want to hear. Find out what the crowd is like, and what king of songs they are going to be looking for. Planning ahead and preparing, whether you have to warp your songs or not, is always important. In theory, you should be ready to play any request you may be given if you’ve done your homework.

    Alright fine, lets say you did your homework but the birthday girl comes up to you and throws you a curveball, requesting her favorite song that you don’t have. Why not download it from the internet, warp it (a process that, with practice, takes less than a minute), and then play it? I’ve done it myself a couple of times with perfect results. Further more, you can adjust the tempo of ableton to beat match any other source. So you can always mix out of ableton to the song somewhere else (CD player, or iPod, or whatever), and then mix back in if you really wanted to. Think on your feet, be creative. That’s your job!

    I’m not saying that ableton is the right solution for everyone, but IMO, anyone who complains about it not being “on the fly” is not doing their homework or isn’t familiar enough with the program to handle such demands. It definitely doesn’t feel like you are DJing in the traditional sense, and therefore requires a different thought process and approach to using it. I will concede, it’s not drag, drop and play, but drag, drop, warp, and play doesn’t take that much more time.

    Track preparation and library organization are an important part of digital DJing whether that process includes “warping” or not. Sure Ableton requires this extra step, but you only need to do it once per song, and you will never need to again. Once it’s done, that song is ready to be mixed in “on the fly” whenever you want it.

    • Tony S

      Couldn’t agree more.
      I came to djing via producing and have been playing out with Ableton for about three years now. Whereas I agree that it doesn’t feel like traditional djing, I think that as a user you develop a set of different, but equivalent skills.
      For example, for the majority of the time that I’ve played out I have done so as part of a duo, playing tunes back-to-back with a Serato dj who uses CDs for tempo control, and so have learned my own techniques for beatmatching to an external source using Ableton, laptop and controller.
      Regarding “on the fly” flexibility I regularly warp tunes while I’m playing in response to requests (and have also downloaded and warped tunes in the background and then mixed into my set, all while playing). I think that being comfortable with the warping process is another skill that you develop with use of Live and provides the fexibility that a lot of people seem to see as missing from the programme.

      • 7oniiiC


        I would like to see Ableton improve the library system, but, it’s current situation isn’t a game stopper.

        BTW, warping has improved my ability to disect the nuances of a track. It forces you to dig deep into a track.

    • ableton

      This is why you either have traktor smart mixing ready to go.

      I think a con of ableton is stability.

      8 is much better but still some people have issues with it. I have not had traktor, or serato crash on me. But then again I guess I’m just lucky

      I think the s4 and the sl4 should be in the pro’s and con’s list since there in the mix

      • Dirk Gently

        [quote post=”10110″]I think a con of ableton is stability.[/quote]

        Sorry, but I really can’t agree with this statement. The debate about stability will always be an issue revolving around the specs of your laptop, especially when using high-end programs for audio and video manipulation.

        In my personal experience of digital djing in the past 10 years or so, Ableton has by far been the most stable djing program I’ve ever used, even when it’s handling 5 or 6 tracks simultaneously, loaded with VSTs, FX racks, and sending signals back and forth to my APC and Trigger Finger!

    • bizmuth

      FYI you don’t HAVE to warp anything in Live if you don’t want to. You can play tracks unwarped no prob…. the one caveat being you can’t ‘needle drop’ unwarped tracks so it can be tough… but I’ve done it at gigs where random requests are coming in from people who just want to hear certain songs, and couldn’t care less if the songs were mixed. Also, don’t forget about Pinky VST which can run inside Abes and acts as a DVS deck plugin.

  • Plo

    I’m happy with traktor; but I think this article is missing a key piece of software: Torq! I know at least one dj who uses this.

    • FTW

      I also only know 1 DJ that uses Torq. The rest of the DJ’s I know use Serato or Traktor, unless they’re the wedding/prom/sweet 16 etc dj’s… Those guys love Virtual DJ. Oh, I just remembered I know 2 DJ’s that use itch, and I know a lot of DJ’s.

      • GRiNSER

        Hah, when you’re talking about wedding/prom/sweet 16 dj’s – don’t forget BPM Studio 😀

    • djerikt

      I actually know 2 djs using torq. both are pretty good.

      • Floyd

        Yeah Torq is an option you can pick it up cheap second hand on ebay in fact I might just sell my conectiv on ebay. Afetr I got use to using Trakor Scratch I have no desire to go back to Torq but I was new to DVS when I bought it and did not want to shell out the cash for Traktor or Serato at the time and Traktor Duo was not out yet if someone ask me today whats a good DVS to start with I would say Traktor Duo then they can upgrade to pro later if they like it.

  • JesC

    seraktor ftw!

    • Tyfurious

      Oh JesC… How you make me “lol.”

    • theory28

      virtual seraktor.

      • jdog667jkt

        Don’t you mean virtual seraktor live?

    • Anonymous

      Virtual Trakato Scratch (‘n Sniff) Live Pro.

  • triune

    traktor needs parallel waveforms…if it had this, it would be the ultimate solution and above all the rest in my opinion. its a big plus that virtual dj has going for it right now…

    • DoubleDutchdj

      Hopefully your in the minority with that, personally I couldn’t be less excited buy yet another reason to stair at my screen rather than my hardware of choice.
      I’d rather see NI developing more exciting features rather than postponing new innovations as there to busy adding pretty color waveforms like they have in Traktor 2.

      • DJ Rock Well

        I couldn’t agree more – I have already posted my thoughts on such matters further down the comments…

        I like the differences between the different softwares, it gives the consumer a greater choice – I hope DJing software doesn’t end up like DAWs where most different programs have added more and more of the rival’s features with each update until they are all sort of the same

        • halfasemitone

          I couldn’t agree EVEN more. Waveforms are useful only for jumping to different parts of the tune. If you mix by looking at your screen and not your ears, you’re in a world of unmusical hurt.

      • Wabberjocky

        Agree with everyone above, in my mind the computer becomes an infinitely large music crate not the center of your attention. Example:

    • Deeper

      I don’t get the parallel waveform gripes.

      i’m a DJ and i mix with my ears, not my eyes. i don’t need to see waveforms to tell me i’m matching beats.

      one thing this article didn’t mention as a “con” for Serato is how muffled it sounds compared to TSP. the frequency range on the control vinyl for TSP is much wider than Serato, unless that’s changed.

      • sgb

        [quote post=”10110″]I don’t get the parallel waveform gripes.
        i’m a DJ and i mix with my ears, not my eyes. i don’t need to see waveforms to tell me i’m matching beats. one thing this article didn’t mention as a “con” for Serato is how muffled it sounds compared to TSP. the frequency range on the control vinyl for TSP is much wider than Serato, unless that’s changed.[/quote]

        Parallel waveforms are really helpful when you are using tracks that are not quantized. I can use my ears as well, but when playing older funk tracks (that have not been quantized), a track can go out of sync very easily, and the parallel view makes correcting this a lot easier and faster (because an out of sync break sounds is an instant train wreck and floor clearer).

        And the frequency range of the vinyl has nothing to do with the sound quality, that is all about accuracy of tracking of the vinyl (though I don’t dispute traktor sounds better).

        • Carl

          I have been a pro dj for over 25 years, and ultimately gone deaf. Having taken 5 years out to consider options, I have now come back to reality that being a dj is in my blood. I cant beatmix by ear any more due to certain frequency levels lost, so the waveform et al is a great feature for me. And as above I also am old skool soul and funk player, so have to agree with synching issues mixing unquantized tracks..I see other jocks playing and struggling to keep tempo by cdj cd’s etc. On screen no problem, you iron out by pitching, touch move etc before it gets to the train wreck!!! /

      • DJ Girish

        If my nose would help me do a better mix, I would use that too, not just the ear. Eye definitely yes. So Traktor we need waveforms before we move to Serato.

      • halfasemitone

        If my eyes made my sync up music better then I’d use them. In this case it doesn’t. Audio will always be the best choice because it’s all about your ears. Ear training is necessary. Not eye training. Since the video is usually slightly late, and I mean very slightly, I can only rely on my ears. Think about it. It’s the end result that’s necessary to make the mix, tight and sample accurate. If we were mixing video, then that would be another story. But we’re not. How do you think real musicians stay in tune and on time???? ….. exactly.

        • Matt

          [quote post=”10110″]Since the video is usually slightly late, and I mean very slightly, I can only rely on my ears.[/quote]

          Your lack of understanding of the speed of sound waves vs. light waves makes me lose hope in Earth’s future.

        • halfasemitone

          Audio takes precedent over video in a DVS system anyday. This is why good scratch DJ’s prefer that the audio is tight to the timecode. This isn’t a debate of sound waves vs. light waves. This is an issue of sharpening your sense of hearing over relying on your sense of sight. If there was an “out-of-this-world” glitch where you couldn’t see the waveforms at a gig, what would you do? Your ears would do all the work. That’s how it’s always been done because it’s the most reliable.

          Drummers can’t and don’t rely on a blinking light to stay in time. They work together with other sounds to blend with and internal groove. Don’t DJ’s work with other sounds to blend with and groove? or are they relying on a visual representation of a waveform and not being musical about it using their ears? I don’t rely on visual representation of waveforms because I don’t trust them. After all, it IS about the music. Audio vs. Video, I prefer listening closely to a mix, not “watching” one.

          Try scratching, video is out the window. Now you REALLY have to be musical about and rely on your ears.

          Your lack of understanding of music makes me lose hope in DJ’s of the future.

    • knarf

      “parallel waveforms”
      especially in live-remixing tracks this would be a powerful solution! therefore pls integrate this feature!!! ++

    • Dj NYLO

      I love the overlapping waveforms on vdj. It’s so easy to line up for example the break in one track with the drop in another or the outro of one track with the verse of another etc. for perfectly phrased mixes. I use it zoomed out as far as it can go so I can line up parts of songs not line up the beats, i use my ears for that :P…I want to move to traktor because of the way better effects but this is a real issue for me as I’m so used to this great feature in vdj. If traktor had this I’d switch in a heartbeat.

      • Double DutchDj


        I totally get where your coming from, I mix a lot of old reggae, ska and breaks that wander all over the place. I’m sort of caught in the middle of the old and new school way of thinking.
        I really don’t like features that mean I have to look at my screen more than my control surface. Sure I use tech to further some aspects of my mixing, but I also enjoy being able to maintain the same mixing skills without tech. My real gripe with parallel waveforms is once you’ve used them for a bit, it then seems many (not all) become quite reliant on them.
        When it come’s to wonky beats I look up at the likes of Mr Scruff who gets more respect from me doing it the old fashion way faultlessly.

    • Jared

      Parallel waveforms in Traktor is redundant. If you have your tracks gridded out, you don’t need it. There is a phase meter that gives you the same work around being able to beatmatch with your ears as if you had Parallel waveforms. My advice is practice enough that you don’t need to look no matter if your playing quantized, unquantized, reversed, or any kind of track. If you can’t do it by ear, you shouldn’t be worrying about advanced features of for DJing. Work on your basics.

      • halfasemitone

        Very true. Finally, someone used the words “practice” and “dj” in the same post. Musicians practice, why shouldn’t dj’s?

      • knarf

        “Parallel waveforms in Traktor is redundant. If you have your tracks gridded out, you don’t need it.”

        @ Jared
        it isn’t that point. When you are remixing up to 4 tracks live you just have to know in which position your songs are. for example to prevent playing 2 lyrics at the same time.

        example: (dj nylo already mentioned it) i play one track that comes to the end and want the last beat to close up perfecly with the first beat of my second song. in this case it is essential to _SEE_ the two overlapped waveforms.
        at the moment you only can estimate if the beat close-up perfecly and only hear it when the crossing is already over (pls don’t start a discussion about 1/4 tact ;-))

        sorry for my bad english, i hope you understand what i’ve written…

    • Discotizer

      I’d like to have parallel waveforms in Traktor too! That’s one of the features why i stay with VDJ. It’s not about syncing with eyes, but: when you got TWO inputs – ears and eyes – you can get more information about the track / mixing / erros at the same time.
      It should be an optional feature in Traktor!

  • gogomillard

    Virtual DJ!


  • Dj PC3

    If Traktor got video or if Serato got Sync (and beat-grid abilities), it’d be game over for the other companies… And I’ll never use Virtual DJ, tried and it must of crashed like 1000 times, running video caused my computer to hum like it was singing and half time the “video-codec” didn’t’ work..

  • Razehell