Using Pioneer CDJs in HID mode with Serato DJ/Scratch Live

Earlier this week we looked at how Traktor DJs can have a plug and play setup with Pioneer CDJs in HID mode. Today Ryan Dejaegher is going to show Serato DJ and Scratch Live DJs how they can use CDJs in HID mode. The control is quite similar between Traktor and Serato but there are some notable differences in the models that are supported and the hardware required.

Which Pioneer CDJ models are HID compatible?

A major plus for Serato users is support for more CDJ models compared to Traktor. Serato DJ supports advanced HID control for these Pioneer CDJs:

The list varies slightly for Serato users that are running Scratch Live:

  • CDJ 350
  • CDJ 400
  • CDJ 850
  • CDJ 900
  • CDJ 2000/Nexus

The good news for Serato users is that Pioneer and Serato appear to have a solid relationship. Most CDJ models had HID support in Serato before Traktor. Most recently the XDJ 1000 had HID support for Serato immediately upon release. That means people waiting for the inevitable XDJ 2000 can probably count on Serato HID support.

Pioneer CDJ 2000 HID Setup

There are a few things that need to be done to ensure smooth operation with your CDJs and Serato. First, DJs will want to make sure the CDJs are running the latest firmware. Although this tutorial focuses on the CDJ 2000, DJs can find the latest firmware for all Serato supported CDJs at Pioneer Support. Highlight the CDJ of choice and select “Software Download” to find the latest firmware.

If the CDJ 2000s aren’t running the latest firmware, follow this guide to update the firmware on your CDJ 2000sThe next step is to download and install the latest version of Serato DJ or Scratch Live software. Once the CDJ firmware and Serato software have been updated, we can move on to the hardware setup.

Serato DJ/Scratch Live Hardware Setup

One of the downsides to using CDJs in HID mode with Serato is that DJs still need a Serato compatible soundcard, mixer, or DJ controller (not accessory) connected to unlock the Serato software and HID support.

For DJs using Serato DJ there are alot of options for Serato DJ enabled hardware and mixers, especially after the announcement of the Club Kit expansion at NAMM 2015. Club Kit will unlock Serato DJ and enable Serato DVS support for the internal soundcards of popular mixers such as the Pioneer DJM 850, DJM 900 Nexus, and the Xone DB2/DB4. For all Serato DJ enabled hardware check out the hardware section for Serato DJ.

With Scratch Live there are fewer options. DJs are limited to Rane soundcards (SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4) and mixers (Rane TTM57 SL, Rane 61/62/68). However most Rane hardware with the exception of the SL1 and TTM57 SL are supported in Serato DJ, so Scratch Live DJs can make the switch when they are ready.

To use the CDJs in HID mode, Serato hardware will need to be connected first. After the hardware has been connected, DJs will be able to assign the CDJs to decks in Serato DJ/Scratch Live. Make sure the CDJs are connected by USB and that the HID setting is set to “Advanced” on each CDJ, this can be done from the Menu/Utility on the CDJ 2000s.

Now click “Link” on the CDJs and select “USB MIDI”. Rotate the encoder to choose a deck (Deck 1, Deck 2 etc.), once you’ve selected the desired deck, press the encoder and the CDJ will automatically be setup with Serato DJ/Scratch Live, nothing to map or configure. DJs can now view the track waveform, browse/load tracks from their Serato library, and control all of Serato’s main functions such as tempo, looping, and hot cues.

HID Showdown: Traktor vs. Serato

There are a couple big differences when it comes to an HID setup with Traktor and Serato. Serato requires Serato DJ enabled hardware to unlock the software and HID support, while Traktor lets DJs use the CDJs soundcards and doesn’t require a Traktor soundcard or mixer. This makes Serato DJ less plug and play for club DJs because they’ll still need to setup a Serato soundcard and share/switch the same soundcard in a multi DJ lineup (check out Eans trick for switching DJs when sharing a soundcard). People have been working with soundcards for a long time now so it’s not a huge deal, but its always nice to declutter and reduce the amount of cables and gear in a booth.

The HID controls are very similar with Traktor and Serato with a few minor differences. On the CDJ 2000s there is no sync control for Serato. The direction on the CDJ 2000 will activate Serato’s reverse/censor function, with Traktor this control is inactive. The CDJs can’t be remapped with Serato, whereas Traktor gives you the ability to modify the default HID mapping to suit your workflow.

The last thing to note is the difference in supported hardware. Serato has repeatedly beat Traktor to the punch when it comes to HID support and supports more Pioneer CDJs models. The brand new Pioneer XDJ-1000 was announced with Serato HID support upon release and so far there is no word on Traktor support. For DJs that are looking for the most hardware options and best future support for advanced HID control, Serato DJ is the way to go.

What CDJs do you use? What would be your dream CDJ or software setup?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Comments (35)
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  • Deejay M-Rush

    hiya i couldnt find any topic to answer cdj 2000 nexus 2 with cross dj HID integration would u give me some info about that is it workin with cdj 2000 nxs 2 ?

  • TURBO777

    Please take the 350s off Serato DJ compatibility list. Almost bought a set 2nd hand based on this article and would have been in for a sh1t suprise

  • Jeremy Alisauskas

    Is there any way to do this on a 2012 macbook pro that only has two USB ports? one of the ports will be taken up by my SL3.. Will a USB hub work or nah?

  • Duncan Meulema

    Anyone have any news on the HID integration with the Pioneer CDJ 2000 NEXUS 2 ? I dont understand why this DOES NOT WORK !!! the Scratch mode with a USB traktor signal often gives me loads of calibration failure errors, really frustrating,…

  • Christopher Carew

    I am playing a spot with the following setup.
    Pioneer DJM-900NXS Mixer
    2 CDJ 850’s

    I have Serato DJ, but no Serato interface.

    Do I need the interface with this setup?

    Thank you in advance!

    • monk

      Hello Christopher you need to either upgrade serato with the club kit or you can use a serato interface.

    • James Crawley

      If you purchase the dvs plugin for serato then you will be able to use your djm 900 nxs as a serato interface, but if you dont purchase that you will need a serato interface like the rane sl2 for example

  • neil dunmore

    I just got the new XDJ 1000’s and the DDJ S9 and running HID mode. I got the whole system to link up but it became unlinked twice in the night. I have all the newest firm wear updates and serato. Im using a powered usb3 hub which i put the XDJ on and my external hard drive. i put that on one usb port on the computer and my DDJ S9 on the other USB port. Anyone else have this problem or any ideas?????

  • neil dunmore

    i just used my new xdj !000 last night and it became unlinked not once but twice using HID mode. I ended using my old system and had no problems. Im running Serato on a MAC and my mixer is a dim s9. My dj partner has the same mixer but uses the 2000 and never has this problem. I did all the firm wear updates. anyone else having this problem or know a fix????

  • Siegfried Siggy Everaerts

    powered usb-hub => USB2.0 or 3.0????

    • ConstructDubs

      doesnt matter

  • Tom

    Do you even test this stuff before you publish your articles? Why am I asking?… obviously you dont!

  • JJooaaOO

    Hello people, my question is, can I use pioneer cdj in HID MODE with Serato Rane SL1 ?

  • JJooaaOO

    Hello people, my question is, can I use pioneer cdj in HID MODE with Serato Rane SL1 ?

  • DMcRMX

    I was doing a pool gig yesterday and using CDJ900 Nexus players and Serato Scratch.. I was trying to set them up for HID mode but they wouldn’t connect.. I went in the Utility menu and looked for Advanced option but there wasn’t one… Not sure what firmware they have on them but they’re new so they should be up to date… Anyone have this issue, am I doing something wrong?

  • SPARK972

    Guys need to check MixVibes Cross HID… 😉

  • testify

    Three understated words from your Traktor-apologetic article:

    Serato club kit !!

    for most all clubs you now have the mixer sound card supported

    you bring your laptop, hub and three usb cables, boom! no mucking around wiring up a serato box ORRRR aggregating sound cards for Traktor

    in case you want sync and other functions you now got options, AMX/SP1/K1 or just map your own controller (midi lighting out is now working)

    the only thing I see Traktor having an advantage is for the small % of DJs who feel they need to remap things on the CDJ itself or need advanced mapping capabilities on an extra controller

    Traktor/NI seems to be gradually painting itself into a corner trying to be all Apple like with their walled garden approach.

    Your article seems to understate the importance of the Serato club kit and make it sound like there will still be major advantages to using Traktor’s (now starting to lag behind) approach

    DJTT = DJ-TRAKTOR-TOOLS more like!

    • David Masters

      Nothing out of the ordinary on DJTechTools aka N.I. part 2.

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      Hey testify, I specifically mentioned that Club Kit expands the available options for Serato DJs. Of course there are multiple add on controllers for both Traktor and Serato that expand the capabilities, however this was specifically focusing on the CDJs functionality between the 2 software.

      At the end of the article I tried to point out some of the pros and cons of both software.

      Serato: more CDJ support, tight HID control, requires Serato Hardware

      Traktor: no traktor hardware/soundcard required, remappable controls, less models supported.

      I’m not going to outright suggest one is superior to the other, it really varies for each person and hopefully knowing these differences makes it easier for someone to decide what’s best for them.

  • Gu3d3Z

    Cdj 350 is Hid on Serto DJ?

    • radikarl77

      No. That is a mistake they made in the article

  • DJ Peeti-V

    I still don’t think HID has been perfected. I still get random audio glitches and can’t isolate the issue

    • Chris Silver

      what kind of glitches?

      • DJ Peeti-V

        Pitch slips. It is so weird. I know others who have experienced this too

        • Chris Silver

          At home or at the club?

          • DJ Peeti-V

            Club. Time code seems to be more consistent even tho you lose advanced features

          • Chris Silver

            are you using a powered USB hub?

          • DJ Peeti-V

            yes. That is the only way to use it with newer macs. The usb hub is powered as well

          • Chris Silver

            only thing i could think of is maybe the firmware on the cdjs isnt up to date
            i havent had any problems so far

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      I experienced a couple of issues with Serato and the CDJs, the needle strip sometimes wouldn’t go to the very beginning or end and the track and Cue sometimes wouldn’t respond.

      • Chris Silver

        did you check the latest firmware on the cdjs? did you check your version of serato dj? also you should use a powered USB hub to connect the cdjs to your laptop

  • entro

    I really wish Serato would just make CDJs officially supported hardware (not accessories). Lots of clubs have mixers that aren’t part of the club kit. With Serato HID, you have to bring in a sound card and likely a powered USB hub to get it all working. With Traktor/Mixvibes you just need two USB cables.

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      With the release of Club Kit, it’s possible that Serato could add support for CDJ soundcards in the future. If Traktor can already do it, it seems like Serato should be able to use the CDJ soundcards as well.

      • Brent Cox

        Nice video Ryan. I just want to clarify; if you have a pair of HID CDJ’s, a Serato licence compatible mixer and a Serato licence (without DVS licence) then you should be able to plug all three devices into your laptop and off you go?