While purists will insist that the best way to DJ is using vinyl, CDs, or other types of controllers, digital options have become the go-to option for those who are looking for convenience, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. These apps and software have come a long way, and DJs are using them to practice, to get their name out there and even to land gigs.
If you are looking to DJ using software or an app, you will need the right one, whether it is for PC, Mac, Android or iOS. The good news is that there are so many apps and software to choose from, and we are going to look at the best ones below.
Native Instruments Traktor Pro 3
Traktor’s main appeal lies in its interface. The interface is well-designed and organized so that it is easy for someone who has never used it to understand it within a few minutes of tinkering with it. Traktor Pro also packs a lot of advanced options, especially after you connect external hardware to your laptop.
Traktor Pro also comes with a Loop Recorder, Remix Decks and Sample Decks to make it easier to blend music in various ways. Its key and beat analysis, as well as high-quality effects, also make it an excellent software for DJs who are able to take advantage of these features. For DJs who prefer vinyl, a digital vinyl system upgrade is also available in the Traktor Scratch Upgrade.
Traktor Pro also supports most of the popular DJ hardware out there, including interfaces and controllers made by Native Instruments and other third-party companies. For extra flexibility, Traktor Pro can also be mapped to all the controllers it is compatible with.
Atomix VirtualDJ Pro
VirtualDJ is arguably the most popular DJ software for wannabe DJs who do not have access to a deck and only have access to a laptop. VirtualDJ is free for home use and because it does not need to be connected to a deck to play or mix, it is the perfect DJ software for those who want to learn how to DJ on a laptop before moving on to DJing on decks or other DJ hardware.
One of the most appealing features of VirtualDJ is that the layout is sensible and resembles that of a professional setup. This makes it easy to move from DJing on a laptop to DJing on the decks because you will already be familiar with the layout.
VirtualDJ is also compatible with most of the professional decks out there and with lots of skins to try and use, wannabe DJs can customize the look and feel of the software to their liking. VirtualDJ also supports audio and video mixing, broadcasting, audio separation, and up to 99 virtual tracks so you can mix as many songs and samples as you like.
VirtualDJ, especially the home edition that comes with fewer features, is very light on system resources, making it perfect for those who are learning how to DJ on a laptop and only have access to older laptops. Once you have VirtualDJ installed, the next thing to do is to practice using professional equipment.
Since many wannabe DJs do not have the budget to buy high-end DJ equipment, they can practice at one of the Pirate DJ studios around the world. These DJ studios have everything you need to recreate a club environment so you know what to expect when you finally land your first gig.
Their DJ studios are large enough for five so you can bring friends, tutors, or even colleagues along to help with your practice. Pirate also has plenty of useful resources you can use to your advantage, such as this guide on how to DJ on a laptop.
Serato DJ Pro
Since it landed on the scene in the early 2000s, Serato D Pro has remained a popular option for DJs, especially those who love vinyl, complex scratches, and juggling. The software did have some issues in the past where the company’s different software programs had different names. However, their offerings have become more streamlined since everything was put under the Serato DJ banner.
Since its refinement starters, Serato DJ Pro has become more reliable and has a lower latency which has made it great for club and concert DJs who need things to load much faster and be very responsive. Serato DJ Pro also supports most of the popular decks and controllers in the market and has excellent digital vinyl functionality.
Other features that make it popular among DJs are its effects, sync, song analysis tools and algorithms, four-deck mixing capabilities, and sampling capabilities.
Users can sample the software by downloading Serato DJ Lite, although this version lacks many features that its full counterpart comes with.
DJ Player Pro
For those looking for a customizable and capable mobile DJing setup, DJ Player Pro is the app for them. The developer’s main emphasis is on the interface which is clean and easy to understand for both wannabe and pro DJs. The app’s interface makes it easy to play, manipulate and mix tracks and is highly responsive even though it is controlled through a touch screen.
The app also supports numerous MIDI controllers, and there is a customization option for mapping to MIDI controllers that are not supported yet. If you use an iOS device, you can hook up the app to turntables using a compatible interface.
There is a healthy selection of looping effects, samples built-in effects, pitch control tools, and solid sync to play with. The addition of many other tools that wannabe DJs would not normally demand on such an app helps earn its “Pro” name.
Although the app is free, you will have to subscribe to get full use out of it.
If you are thinking of becoming a DJ, you need to practice. Since you might not have the budget to buy or hire high-end equipment, DJ apps and software can help. There are numerous options to choose from, but the apps and software discussed above have been tested by thousands and DJs and deemed to be the best on their respective platforms and for what they are intended to be used for.