The Ultimate DJ Software Showdown

Serato

Rekordbox

Traktor

Algoriddim Djay

Virtual DJ

This software guide aims to offer DJ’s a clear and concise overview of all the major software platforms to aid your purchasing decision. We have focused this comparison on five well-established software platforms that allow the DJ to perform with the software. It’s for this reason that we left out software such as Denon Engine Prime which only prepares music.

Which DJ software you use is always a personal choice and there are many factors that can influence your decision. Remember, throughout this comparison that each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses.

These strengths and weaknesses aren’t always shown in a comparison table.

For example, Serato offers a very simple set up process, with all of its hardware being plug and play with very minimal setup. This means Serato doesn’t work with quite as many controllers as its rivals, but you know the set up will be flawless and straightforward.

Throughout this comparison, we will refer back to Serato, Rekordbox and Traktor as the big three. This is due to the fact the platforms have the most significant market share and the most hardware built specifically for them.

System Requirements

You don’t need a top of the range laptop to get started. But you do need to meet these requirements.

Every application you install on your computer will require the hardware to meet certain requirements to run correctly. If your computer doesn’t meet the recommended specifications, you run the risk of bad performance, stalls and even crashes.

When DJ’ing, it’s always best to minimise background tasks on your machine to optimise the computer. This usually means closing all background programmes, disconnecting from Wi-Fi if not in use and turning off battery saving settings. If you would like to learn more about optimising your machine for DJ’ing, you can follow our Mac or Windows optimisation guides.

It’s worth noting that none of the software recommends using AMD processors in your PC’s, however more recent AMD processors such as the Ryzen series have been reported to work well.

 

Windows

Mac

High-Resolution Supported

Serato DJ Pro

Windows 7 with SP1 or above
Intel Core i3 Processor or better

4GB RAM
5GB Free Storage

macOS High Sierra 10.13 or above
Intel Core i3 Processor or better
4GB RAM
5GB Free Storage

Yes

rekordbox

Windows 7 with SP1 or above
Intel Core i3 Processor or better
4GB RAM
2GB Free Storage

macOS Sierra 10.12 or above
Intel Core i3 Processor or better
4GB RAM
2GB Free Storage

Yes

Traktor Pro 3

Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 version 1803 or later (64 Bit)
Intel Core i5 or equivalent CPU
4 GB RAM
1GB Free Storage

macOS 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, 10.15 (latest update)
Intel Core i5 or equivalent CPU

4 GB RAM
1GB Free Storage

No

Algoriddim Djay Pro

Windows v1607 or later

Mac OS 10.11 and above

Yes

Virtual DJ 8

Windows 7,

Intel i5 Processor or better

2GB RAM

200MB Free

Mac 10.8,

Intel i5 processor

2GB RAM

200MB Free Storage

Yes

 

Serato DJ Pro

Windows:

Windows 7 with SP1 or above
Intel Core i3 Processor or better

4GB RAM
5GB Free Storage

Mac:

macOS High Sierra 10.13 or above
Intel Core i3 Processor or better

4GB RAM
5GB Free Storage

High-Resolution Supported:

Yes

rekordbox

Windows:

Windows 7 with SP1 or above
Intel Core i3 Processor or better

4GB RAM
2GB Free Storage

Mac:

macOS Sierra 10.12 or above
Intel Core i3 Processor or better

4GB RAM
2GB Free Storage

High-Resolution Supported:

Yes

Traktor Pro 3

Windows:

Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 version 1803 or later (64 Bit)
Intel Core i5 or equivalent CPU

4 GB RAM
1GB Free Storage

Mac:

macOS 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, 10.15 (latest update)
Intel Core i5 or equivalent CPU

4 GB RAM
1GB Free Storage

High-Resolution Supported:

No

Algoriddim Djay Pro

Windows:

Windows v1607 or later

Mac:

Mac OS 10.11 and above

High-Resolution Supported:

Yes

Virtual DJ 8

Windows:

Windows 7,

Intel i5 Processor or better

2GB RAM

200MB Free

Mac:

Mac 10.8,

Intel i5 processor

2GB RAM

200MB Free Storage

High-Resolution Supported:

Yes

In Summary

There are no clear winners here with all of the software requiring roughly the same performance to work well. Remember if you are planning on installing expansion packs to your software such as Video DJ’ing to check the requirements of the expansion packs individually too!

EQUIPMENT SUPPORTED

All of our major DJ software can be used with a mouse and keyboard to output sound via the speakers of your computer. That said, we need to connect hardware to the software to output high-quality audio to external speakers and to control the software better.

The equipment your software supports often dictates a DJ’s decision to stick to one platform over another. It’s worth remembering that many manufacturers correctly build their hardware and software only officially to work with each other. This makes for some interesting comparisons when comparing controller-specific software such as Rekordbox with platforms such as Virtual DJ, which aim to work with anything.

Pioneer DDJ SX2

Controllers like the Pioneer DJ SX2 can be used with more than one platform. (Serato, Rekordbox, Virtual DJ and Algoriddim)

Given that Serato and Rekordbox only allow you to use hardware that they officially support, there is no confusing process to get started. The software works exactly as the manufacturer planned. A big bonus for beginners wanting just to plug in and play with very little fuss.

More modular software such as Algoriddim and Virtual DJ enables the user to use almost any hardware they wish. Still, a basic knowledge of MIDI mapping and Audio Routing may be required to get the most out of the software. You can check online to see which controllers are “officially supported” and require no mapping.

 

MIDI Map unofficial hardware

Controllers

Sound Card

Mixers

Media Players

All in One

Serato DJ Pro

No

61

4

24

10 (HID Only)

2

rekordbox

No

23

1

14

12

6

Traktor Pro 3

Yes

6

Any

24

8

0

Algoriddim Djay Pro

Yes

91

Any

Any with USB Soundcard

11

0

Virtual DJ 8

Yes

215

Any

Any with USB Soundcard

51

14

Serato DJ Pro

MIDI Map Unofficial Hardware: No

Controllers: 61

Sound Card:

Mixers: 24

Media Players: 10 (HID Only)

All In One: 2

rekordbox

MIDI Map Unofficial Hardware: No

Controllers: 23

Sound Card: 1

Mixers: 14

Media Players: 12

All In One: 6

Traktor Pro 3

MIDI Map Unofficial Hardware: Yes

Controllers: 6

Sound Card: Any

Mixers: 24

Media Players: 8

All In One: 0

Algoriddim Djay Pro

MIDI Map Unofficial Hardware: Yes

Controllers: 91

Sound Card: Any

Mixers: Any with USB Soundcard

Media Players: 11

All In One: 0

Virtual DJ 8

MIDI Map Unofficial Hardware: Yes

Controllers: 215

Sound Card: Any

Mixers: Any with USB Soundcard

Media Players: 51

All In One: 14

In Summary

Our recommendation here is to buy a controller and then stick to the platform it recommends. Being designed to work with that platform will mean seamless integration, minimal fuss and the best possible performance.

File formats supported

One thing every DJ needs is music, and what music you already own may play a factor in your software choice. Most DJ software can play all the major formats of music, including lossless formats such as FLAC and WAV. However, the streaming partners offered vary from platform to platform. With streaming giants Spotify and Apple Music not being available in DJ software, you may find yourself needing to change service if you wish to DJ with their library on the software of your choice.

Copy-protected (DRM) music, such as that purchased through the iTunes Store can cause issues with DJ software with only Algoriddim Djay officially supporting playback if you can update the songs to the iTunes Plus format. If you have an extensive library of DRM protected music, you may need to look at repurchasing it or using third-party tools to unlock the files before DJ’ing with that music.

 

Audio Files

Video Files

Streaming

Serato DJ Pro

.MP3

.OGG

.ALAC

.FLAC

.AIF

.WAV

.WL.MP3

.MP4

.M4A

.AAC (Mac only)

REQUIRES SERATO VIDEO EXPANSION PACK

MOV

MP4

M4V

AVI (Windows only)

MPG

MPEG

DV

QTZ (Mac only)

MP3+G (.cdg)

Soundcloud GO

Tidal

rekordbox

.ALAC

.FLAC

.WAV

.AIFF

.MP3

.AAC

REQUIRES REKORDBOX VIDEO EXPANSION PACK

AVI, (Windows only

MPG,

MP4,

M4V,

MOV,

QTZ (Mac only)

Soundcloud GO
BeatPort Link

Traktor Pro 3

.MP3

.WAV

.AIFF

.FLAC

.Ogg Vorbis

.AAC (Mac Only)

N/A

N/A

Algoriddim Djay Pro

.ALAC

.FLAC

.WAV

.AIFF

.MP3

.AAC

MAC ONLY

.MP4
.MOV

.M4V

Soundcloud GO

Tidal
Spotify

Virtual DJ 8

.mp3

.wav

.cda

.wma

.asf

.ogg

.ogm

.m4a

.aac

.aif

.aiff

.flac

.mpc

.ape

.avi

.mpg

.mpeg

.wmv

.vob

.mov

.divx

.mp4

.m4v

.vix

.mkv

.flv

.webm

iDJ Pool
VJ’Pro
Digitrax

Deezer

Soundcloud GO
BeatPort Link

Serato DJ Pro

Audio Files:

.MP3

.OGG

.ALAC

.FLAC

.AIF

.WAV

.WL.MP3

.MP4

.M4A

.AAC (Mac only)

Video Files:

REQUIRES SERATO VIDEO EXPANSION PACK

MOV

MP4

M4V

AVI (Windows only)

MPG

MPEG

DV

QTZ (Mac only)

MP3+G (.cdg)

Streaming:

Soundcloud GO

Tidal

rekordbox

Audio Files:

.ALAC

.FLAC

.WAV

.AIFF

.MP3

.AAC

Video Files:

REQUIRES REKORDBOX VIDEO EXPANSION PACK

AVI, (Windows only

MPG,

MP4,

M4V,

MOV,

QTZ (Mac only)

Streaming:

Soundcloud GO
BeatPort Link

Traktor Pro 3

Audio Files:

.MP3

.WAV

.AIFF

.FLAC

.Ogg Vorbis

.AAC (Mac Only)

Video Files:

N/A

Streaming:

N/A

Algoriddim Djay Pro

Audio Files:

.ALAC

.FLAC

.WAV

.AIFF

.MP3

.AAC

Video Files:

MAC ONLY

.MP4

.MOV

.M4V

Streaming:

Soundcloud GO

Tidal
Spotify

Virtual DJ 8

Audio Files:

.mp3

.wav

.cda

.wma

.asf

.ogg

.ogm

.m4a

.aac

.aif

.aiff

.flac

.mpc

.ape

Video Files:

.avi

.mpg

.mpeg

.wmv

.vob

.mov

.divx

.mp4

.m4v

.vix

.mkv

.flv

.webm

Streaming:

iDJ Pool
VJ’Pro
Digitrax

Deezer

Soundcloud GO
BeatPort Link

In Summary

There was never going to be a clear winner here as all the platforms play the major formats. It simply boils down to the streaming services offered by each platform should you be looking to incorporate that feature into your sets.

LIBRARY MANAGEMENT

Every DJ organises their music differently, and there are various tools now built into DJ software to help make this process easier. Advanced tools such as automatically updating playlists, related tracks and key detection can help a DJ not only perform better but provide inspiration too.

It’s worth considering your workflow when looking at different DJ platforms, as features you may already rely upon may not be in other software. If you’re new to DJ’ing, it’s worth taking into consideration the automated aspects of library management. Having the software suggest tracks, analyse the key and automatically create playlists can help speed up building your first ever library.

Rekordbox-Related-Tracks

Rekordbox has advanced library tools such as Related Tracks

 

Smart Playlists

Custom Tagging

Key Detection

Suggested Tracks

Dynamic BPM

Serato DJ Pro

Yes

No

Yes

No

Manual Input

rekordbox

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Auto-Detect

Traktor Pro 3

No

No

Yes

No

No

Algoriddim Djay Pro

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Virtual DJ 8

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Manual Input

Serato DJ Pro

Smart Playlists: Yes

Custom Tagging: No

Key Detection: Yes

Suggested Tracks: No

Dynamic BPM: Manual Input

rekordbox

Smart Playlists: Yes

Custom Tagging: Yes

Key Detection: Yes

Suggested Tracks: Yes

Dynamic BPM: Auto-Detect

Traktor Pro 3

Smart Playlists: No

Custom Tagging: No

Key Detection: Yes

Suggested Tracks: No

Dynamic BPM: No

Algoriddim Djay Pro

Smart Playlists: Yes

Custom Tagging: No

Key Detection: Yes

Suggested Tracks: No

Dynamic BPM: No

Virtual DJ 8

Smart Playlists: Yes

Custom Tagging: Yes

Key Detection: Yes

Suggested Tracks: Yes

Dynamic BPM: Manual Input

OUR THOUGHTS ON LIBRARY MANAGEMENT

In our opinion, we find Serato’s simplicity and Rekordbox’s power as the two clear winners. Virtual DJ 8 on paper is every bit as powerful, but its interface can be overwhelming and confusing due to the vast options it provides. Traktor struggles in its library management and unfortunately has been left way behind, even by its cheaper rivals.

Performance Features

Kontrol S2 Mk3 Performance Pads

Every platform now uses performance pads on their controllers

After importing and organising your library, you’ll want to perform with it. The vast majority of performance features are available on all the platforms. However, they all each have their strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your style of DJ’ing and how you want to manipulate the music will massively influence the platform you progress with.

It’s worth noting that Serato, rekordbox and Algoriddim have expansion packs sold separately to add new features such as DVS, more effects and much more. Virtual DJ also boasts a fantastic catalogue of expansion packs from home developers available for free download.

 

Deck Effects

Mixer Effects

Slip Mode

DVS Support

Performance Modes

Unique Features

Serato DJ Pro

12

1

Yes

Optional Extra

Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer, Sampler, Cue Loop, Slicer Loop, Tone Play, Beat Jump

Serato Flip (available separately)

rekordbox

22

9

Yes

Optional Extra

Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer, Sampler, Cue Loop, Slicer Loop, Tone Play, Beat Jump

Pad Effects

Traktor Pro 3

43

5

Yes

Yes

Hot Cue, Sampler, Beat Jump

Remix Decks, Stems

Algoriddim Djay Pro

5

1

Yes

No

Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer, Sampler, Cue Loop, Slicer Loop, Tone Play

6 XY Pad Effects

Virtual DJ 8

21

10

Yes

Yes

Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer, Sampler, Cue Loop, Slicer Loop, Tone Play, Pad Effects

Custom Pad Modes, Scratch Mode, Remix Points

 

Serato DJ Pro

Deck Effects: 12

Mixer Effects: 1

Slip Mode: Yes

DVS Support: Optional Extra

Performance Modes: Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer, Sampler, Cue Loop, Slicer Loop, Tone Play, Beat Jump

Unique Features: Serato Flip (available separately)

rekordbox

Deck Effects: 22

Mixer Effects: 9

Slip Mode: Yes

DVS Support: Optional Extra

Performance Modes: Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer, Sampler, Cue Loop, Slicer Loop, Tone Play, Beat Jump

Unique Features: Pad Effects

Traktor Pro 3

Deck Effects: 43

Mixer Effects:  5

Slip Mode: Yes

DVS Support: Yes

Performance Modes: Hot Cue, Sampler, Beat Jump

Unique Features: Remix Decks, Stems

Algoriddim Djay Pro

Deck Effects: 5

Mixer Effects: 1

Slip Mode: Yes

DVS Support: No

Performance Modes: Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer, Sampler, Cue Loop, Slicer Loop, Tone Play

Unique Features: 6 XY Pad Effects

Virtual DJ 8

Deck Effects: 21

Mixer Effects: 10

Slip Mode: Yes

DVS Support: Yes

Performance Modes: Hot Cue, Roll, Slicer, Sampler, Cue Loop, Slicer Loop, Tone Play, Pad Effects

Unique Features: Custom Pad Modes, Scratch Mode, Remix Points

In Summary

Virtual DJ once again streaks ahead on paper, but in reality, to use all these features would take time mapping controllers to perform each action. Serato, Traktor and Rekordbox have the vast majority of their features mapped out to work correctly on their supported hardware, taking the hassle away from the DJ.

Pricing

The price of software won’t cross many DJ’s minds very often as most will be either unlocked or come with a free serial code with the purchase of a supported controller. 

That essentially means that if you buy a controller for software such as Traktor, it will come with a free licence code to unlock the software. It’s essential to make sure this licence code comes with the controller if you are purchasing secondhand, and that it is deactivated from the previous owners’ account. 

Serato and Rekordbox on the other hand, use a dongle system. This means that the software is free for everyone to download and it unlocks for free when a controller is plugged in that comes with a free licence. Hardware that doesn’t come with a free unlock, such as older controllers and stand-alone mixers will require you to purchase a licence for Serato or a subscription for Rekordbox to be used.

Virtual DJ and Algoriddim Djay come with free licence codes with specific hardware but the vast majority of cases will require them to be purchased before you can use them fully. This is due to the lack of dedicated devices for these platforms in comparison to the big three. 

You can check what licence your DJ equipment comes bundled with on any of the software websites. If you don’t already own a piece of hardware, you can use the same websites to see which controllers you can use and if they come with a free licence or require purchase.

 

Free Trial

One Time Purchase

Subscription per Month

Serato DJ Pro

30 Days

$129

$9.99

rekordbox

30 Days

$129

$9.90

Traktor Pro 3

30 Minute Session

$89

N/A

Algoriddim Djay Pro

15 Days

$50

N/A

Virtual DJ 8

No Hardware Support

$299

$19

Serato DJ Pro

Free Trial: 30 Days

One Time Purchase: $129

Subscription Per Month: $9.99

rekordbox

Free Trial: Free Download for Export Mode & Hardware Unlock Devices

One Time Purchase: N/A

Subscription Per Month: $10 Core Plan (Performance Mode + DVS) / $15 Creative Plan (Cloud Library Sync/ Lyric / Video / Sequencer / RMX)

Traktor Pro 3

Free Trial: 30 Minute Session

One Time Purchase: $89

Subscription Per Month: N/A

Algoriddim Djay Pro

Free Trial: 15 Days

One Time Purchase: $50

Subscription Per Month: N/A

Virtual DJ 8

Free Trial: No Hardware Support

One Time Purchase: $299

Subscription Per Month: $19

In summary

Serato and Rekordbox are the clear winners here for the sheer amount of controllers that come with a free licence. The recent changes to Rekordbox’s subscription model has angered many users, with no one time purchase option being available. Algoriddim shines as being a well rounded cheap alternative to the big three and Traktor is also a reasonable price. That said, however, the lack of features in Traktor does probably contribute to this price. 

Virtual DJ is compelling and works with almost any piece of hardware, but you will need to pay for this, and it’s the most expensive by quite some margin. You’d need to be making good use of those extra features in our eyes to warrant the additional price over the superb Serato and Rekordbox. 

In Conclusion

Unfortunately, no comparison table will ever be able to tell you exactly which platform is best for each DJ. A large part of a DJ’s decision will be made by the hardware they wish to use and the style of music they want to play. With Serato having a great background with turntablists and Traktor with producers, each platform certainly suits a different style.

In the past changing from one software to another was a significant undertaking, with analysation and performance data such as hot cues not being transferable. Fortunately, we now have dedicated tools such as Rekordbuddy 2 and The DJ Conversion Utility to help transfer libraries from one software to another with minimal fuss. So if you are curious about another software, download a free trial and see what works best for you.

Serato DJ Pro

Pro’s – Ease of use, powerful library management, a wide variety of hardware

Con’s – Limited to officially supported hardware

Rekordbox

Pro’s – Class-leading hardware, Most powerful library management

Con’s – Subscription Only Plans, Confusing settings, Cluttered interface

Traktor Pro 3

Pro’s – Amazing effects, powerful remix decks

Con’s – Low-resolution interface, lacklustre library management

Algoriddim Djay Pro

Pro’s – Cheap, exclusive Spotify streaming, modern interface

Con’s – Limited effects, features hidden in confusing tabs, Windows version lacks Video DJ

Virtual DJ 8

Pro’s – Massive hardware support, powerful performance features, innovative features

Con’s – Expensive, confusing settings, jack of all trades master of none