This guide will help you to get an overview about different controller options for performing with Serato DJ. The software company is based in Auckland, New Zealand and produces powerful software solutions for DJs and music producers of all levels. Depending on your needs, there is an ideal solution for you. Reloop has been working together with Serato for several years to deliver powerful and innovative hardware options designed for Serato DJ to you.
First of all, you need to decide what the intended application for your future Serato DJ controller will be. Whether you plan to perform as a hobby DJ, on private parties, tour as a mobile DJ, or regularly play as a semi-professional or professional club DJ, there are appropriate products on the market for you.
Below we listed some of the aspects that should be considered:
Premium Serato DJ Controllers
Typically, premium DJ controllers have 4 channels and are aimed more towards professional DJs, as they are often feature-packed with higher quality quality design and multiple connectivity options. They are large in size and layout, with big jog wheels and an extensive performance pads section.
On the software side of things, they are tightly integrated with Serato DJ Pro (which is often included) and its advanced functions can be operated with dedicated hardware controls. This, for example, includes features such as looping, parameters and several performance modes like pitch play. All these functions are well-represented by the use of extensive RGB LED feedback on the hardware.
The overall build quality is typically high-grade, which makes them suitable for professional use and transportation. The integrated audio interfaces are designed to perform on club speaker systems by offering a high resolution as well as loud outputs.
Entry Level Serato DJ Controllers
Entry level DJ controllers are typically smaller and equipped with only 2 channels, however, they usually don't operate as stand-alone mixers with external inputs and can't be used for DVS. When it comes to connectivity, they're often limited to a microphone input and RCA outputs which makes them more suitable for home or hobby use where this is a common standard.
They offer core functions for software control like hot cues, loop controls and basic fx control as most of them are shipped with a license for Serato DJ Lite. The LED feedback is reduced to a monochrome minimum.
They're light-weight while being built decently. Some of them offer integrated audio interfaces, that are operating with a high resolution while the output volume differs, depending on the device.
Serato DJ Pro Mixers
DJ controllers offer a lot of convenience, being plug-and-play and easily portable, however, their all-in-one nature doesn’t offer much flexibility for users wishing to customise or update their overall DJ setup. A Serato-integrated DJ mixer on the other hand typically has multiple inputs (possibly with phono pre-amps), so they can be paired with a wide range of additional DJ gear, including turntables, CDJs, media players, or smart devices to suit performance styles.
Serato DJ PRO mixers also operate stand-alone by including an integrated sound card and license, which activates the software instantly when connected to a computer (plug-and-play). Furthermore, they also offer DVS support which allows DJs to perform with digital audio files using time-code records on analogue turntables.
As with Serato DJ controllers, Serato DJ PRO mixers also vary in price and features according to their intended user base. For example, a Serato DJ PRO mixer designed for bedroom DJs may offer little to no FX controls, less performance pads, or may have minimal connectivity options and an absence of MIDI controls. Whereas a professional solution may offer onboard FX, performance pads or MIDI controls with LED feedback for operating several of Serato’s functions, high-quality replaceable faders for scratching, and multiple output options for connecting to club sound systems and booth monitors. Dual USB audio interfaces are also a valued feature found on many professional controllers, which enables seamless changeovers between DJs, even allowing to play with two connected laptops at the same time.
Official Serato Accessories (OSA)
While Serato DJ PRO mixers and Serato DJ controllers can offer all-in-one solutions, users may want to expand their setups even further to customise their performance style using Serato’s software. In this case, there are options to add secondary devices or modular DJ controllers to spread software controls onto multiple hardware devices. Serato refers to such a device as a ‘Serato Official Accessory’, meaning they can only be used together with a licensed primary Serato device that drives the software.
These modular DJ controllers vary in size and cost according to their complexity and features required by the DJ. At the lower end, a secondary device may offer only simple MIDI controls for operating hot cues, loops, and library navigation, whereas more sophisticated secondary devices may also function as turntables with extensive MIDI capabilities, LED feedback and platter play.
Just like there are many different options to perform and express oneself as a DJ today, Serato DJ offers compatibility with a wide range of products and is the industry-leading software on the market.
What makes the Serato DJ so powerful? Their aim is to close the gap between hardware and software, so that DJing with a computer feels as simple and intuitive as possible. When a Serato compatible controller is connected, it actually acts like a dongle by automatically activating and setting up the software. This way the user does not have to deal with technical aspects and can get directly into DJing. In addition, the software offers unrivalled performance capabilities, that allow the user to uniquely manipulate the music being played. The ingenious browsing system ensures that all tracks can be found quickly.
Serato's DJ software suite is currently available in two versions: Serato DJ Pro and Serato DJ Lite. Pro offers the full experience and complete feature set for seasoned DJs, including advanced functions, such as 8 customisable hot cues, all Serato FX, and key shifting. Lite on the other hand is a more scaled down version of the software with only the core functions a beginner or bedroom DJ needs to get acquainted with the art of DJing, including 4 hot cues, auto loop, sync, and sampler. Both versions of the software offer the same stability and are subject to regular updates as new technology and techniques emerge.
The integrated audio engine captivates through extremely low latencies and crystal-clear sound, even working with little hardware resources. This makes it possible to use Serato DJ on less powerful computers without major limitations. Nevertheless, the recommended system requirements should be considered. More information can be found under the links above.
If you like to know how to get started with Serato DJ Lite or Pro, please take a look at their article help section and the respective tutorial videos:
Here at Reloop, we develop state-of-the-art equipment that works seamlessly with the industry-leading software solution Serato DJ Lite and Pro. Whether you're looking for a premium, entry level or modular Serato DJ controller, we got it covered:
Reloop Mixon 4 DJ Controller - Hybrid Performance Controller For Serato & Algoriddim (Introduction)
Reloop Beatmix 4 Trailer
Reloop Neon Add-On DJ Controller - Serato DJ Performance Drum Pad Modular Controller (Introduction)
Reloop Mixon 4 DJ Controller - How To Perform Amazingly With This DJ-Equipment (Routine)
Reloop Beatmix 4 Tutorial 4/4 Mix Demo
Reloop Neon Add-On DJ Controller - Breathtaking Turntablism Performance By JFB (Routine)
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