Serato DJ Tutorial For Beginners
In this Serato tutorial, we look at the basics to get you up and running with the software. Whether you use a Pioneer DJ DDJ-REV1, a Numark Mixtrack Pro or a Roland DJ 808, the essentials to get started in Serato DJ Lite or Serato DJ Pro remain the same.
Before we can start DJing, we need to ensure our music is loaded into Serato correctly and that we have analysed it for the best results. Below, we will break down the various ways to import your music into Serato DJ.
If you haven’t downloaded any music just yet, click this link and download our FREE starter pack, as used in our tutorial video.
Serato DJ Crates
Serato DJ uses a crate system to store music in its library. To create a new crate, simply click the New Crate button. You can rename crates by double-clicking on their names and stack them by dragging one on top of another. This creates subcrates which can help with organisation. To add music to a crate, you can simply navigate to your music files with Finder on a Mac or Windows Explorer on a PC and drag them in. Alternatively, you can use Serato’s inbuilt navigation system by pressing Files and dragging your chosen tracks into a crate.
iTunes in Serato DJ
Using iTunes in Serato couldn’t be easier. Simply click the gear icon to access Settings, then navigate to Library and View Settings. You will see the Show iTunes Library option. Simply check this to show your iTunes library above the crates section. Serato will need restarting before any changes made in your iTunes library appear, so avoid adding to your playlists in iTunes whilst Serato is running..
Streaming Services – TIDAL, Beatport Streaming, Beatsource and SoundCloud Go+
The integration of streaming into Serato DJ allows DJs to stream tracks straight into Serato. You will need a valid subscription to a compatible provider to access streamed music.
To link a streaming provider to Serato, navigate to the Library and click View Settings. Now log in to your streaming service account. Once logged in, your playlists will show above the crates. You can also add playlists that have been created in the SoundCloud Go+ or TIDAL websites and apps.
You currently cannot drag streaming tracks into local crates. You also can’t record your mixes whilst using streamed tracks and you must be connected to the internet to play them. However, Beatport Streaming and Beatsource offer an offline locker for local playback of 1,000 tracks with selected plans.
Once your tracks are loaded into your Serato library via any of the above methods, you will need to analyse them. Analysing a track gives your Serato library important information such as volume, BPM and the key it’s in. Track analysis will happen the first time you play a song in Serato DJ; however, this can slow down your workflow as you wait for the BPM information etc, to be displayed. For this reason, we recommend you pre-analyse your library before sets.
How to Analyse Music In Serato DJ
Launch Serato DJ without any hardware plugged in to enter Preparation Mode. From here, all the tracks in the library can be selected by pressing CMD+A on a Mac or CTRL+A on Windows. Once all the tracks in the library or crate are highlighted, simply drag them over the Analyse Tracks button and analysis will begin. Once the Analyse window automatically closes, you’re ready to plug in some decks and begin DJing!
In the Analysis Settings window, you will have the option to Set Key and Set Beat Grid/ BPM, ensure that both options are checked to have this data written to your music library.
Setting Up Your DJ Controller
Now that your library is set up and ready, it’s time to plug in some decks. This varies for each piece of equipment, so if you are unsure please check your owner’s manual. However, for the majority of hardware it’s as simple as plugging in your USB cable and, if necessary, the power adaptor. Once the decks are plugged in and turned on, Serato should change view slightly with the on-screen crossfader disappearing.
Now that we are all set up and ready to play we need to connect some speakers to the ‘Master Out’ on the rear of the decks. The connectors will vary depending on the speakers you have but the vast majority of beginner controllers use red and white RCA connectors which are commonplace with most home-grade AV equipment.
Preparing your controller for Serato DJ 3
Serato DJ 3 has arrived, and with it comes the amazing ability to mix with stems. DJs can isolate vocals, drums, melodies and basslines to create smoother mixes and get creative by quickly and easily remixing tracks live!
In order to update an older Serato controller with the new stems feature, check our guide.
Your First Serato DJ Mix
We are now fully set up and ready to perform our first mix in Serato DJ! Click here to watch our DJ tutor, Jamie Hartley, show you how to perform your first basic mix within Serato DJ Lite on the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 controller. If you enjoyed this quick getting started guide and want to learn more, make sure to check out our dedicated Serato DJ Beginner course in the link below. Best of luck and happy mixing!