Serato is a name that is synonymous with DJing. Serato is also the most widely supported DJ software platform on the planet. But with that comes a staggering amount of choices, which can be challenging to navigate.
This guide will help you discover which Serato controller is suitable for you. Our Editor’s Choice is the rock-solid Rane Four. It features excellent connectivity, performance features, and deep Stem integration.
After over 15 years of using DJ controllers, we have seen everything from glorified toys to industry-defining choices. This experience puts us in a perfect position to only recommend the best.
Due to how ubiquitous Serato is, our research method spanned multiple weeks as we carefully dissected what each controller had to offer. We then tested our top choices to ensure they met our high standards. The result is a pure showcase of the best on the market.
Comprehensive 4-channel Serato DJ controller with Stem integration, excellent connectivity, and solid build quality.
An outstanding Serato controller with motorized jog wheels. Also offers solid integration with Serato FX.
There are plenty of choices when it comes to Serato compatible controllers. From budget options to the top DJ controllers. Let’s check out the range of options to choose from.
Rane Four Review
The Best Serato DJ Controller
- Excellent Mixer Layout – The Rane Four offers a comprehensive 4-channel layout that features a predominantly club-style setup but adds FX paddles without making the mixer section feel cramped.
- Serato Stem Features – The Rane Four has the tightest integration with Serato Stems with a suite of dedicated buttons to control the Stems. Logical, fun, and ideal for creative DJs.
- Mag Four Crossfader – The tension-adjustable crossfader is superb. Perfect for quick cuts but equally great for buttery smooth transitions.
- Dependable Construction – Everything about the Rane Four screams quality. From the knobs to the FX paddles to the connection options. A premium controller from one of the leading brands in the industry.
- Non-Motorized Jogwheels – While not uncommon for most controllers Rane has traditionally provided motorized jogwheels. Scratch DJs might want to explore the Rane One instead.
The Rane Four stands out in a huge sea of Serato controllers due to the implementation of Serato Stems control. You can cut up songs on the fly into components like vocals and drums to give yourself full flexibility to create mashups and layer multiple tracks. Add to this excellent FX features and rock-solid build quality, and you have a professional DJ controller that is perfect for Serato DJ fans.
While it might lack motorized platters, the jogwheels are still responsive and fun to use. No other controller comes close to the seamless integration that the Rane Four offers, making it the perfect Serato controller.
Read our full Rane Four review for more detailed information.
Rane One Review
Excellent Serato Controller For Scratch DJs
- Outstanding Jog Wheels – The Rane One offers motorized jog wheels that replicate the feel of vinyl. The large size also makes it excellent for scratching.
- Tank Like Construction – Legendary Rane quality shines through with robust and durable construction. Component quality is very high and designed to last.
- Good FX Integration – FX paddles and quick select from Serato FX bank give you plenty of flexibility to incorporate FX into your mixes.
- Flexible Connection Options – A suite of pro-level connection options that can tackle most situations. Coupled with excellent sound quality the Rane One is gig-ready.
- Some Fiddly Switches – Ultra tiny plastic switches for the microphone on/off controls are a little awkward, especially if you have large hands or work in a dark environment.
Rane has entered the controller space with an epic entrance. The Rane One is an excellent controller that mimics the feel of mixing using turntables. It offers a refined design that keeps you focused on your mix. Clean integration with Serato is also evident with good FX implementation. The Pad modes also integrate smoothly with Serato for further flexibility.
For scratch DJs that want a Serato controller, the Rane One is a stand-out choice and one of the best Serato controllers currently available.
Read our full Rane One review for more detailed information.
Pioneer DDJ REV7 Review
Premium Serato Scratch Controller
- Advanced Jogwheels – The REV7 features motorized jogwheels that do an excellent job of making you feel like you are scratching with vinyl. Large and ultra-satisfying to use.
- Extensive Connection Options – Offers up a solid selection of connection options. This is a professional-level controller with comprehensive options including AUX.
- Battle Layout – The DDJ REV7 features a battle-style layout with a central mixer that imitates pro-level scratch mixers. An excellent choice for DJs that want to become familiar with this type of layout.
- Dependable – Fantastic build quality. From the jogwheels to the knobs. The Magvel Fader Pro is also an excellent inclusion.
- Unfamiliar Layout – If you are already used to the standard controller layout the REV7 will take some getting used to.
The Pioneer DDJ REV7 is one of the most exciting Serato controllers available today. The large motorized jogwheels feature onboard displays and are a joy to use. Extensive performance pad options and paddle FX make it a creative scratch DJs dream option.
While it is expensive there are few controllers that cater to the scratch DJ market as well as this one does. If you are a serious scratch DJ the Pioneer REV7 is the best Serato controller available today.
Read our full Pioneer DDJ-REV7 review for more detailed information.
Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT Review
Comprehensive Pioneer DJ Controller
- Full-Size Jogwheels – The first thing you’ll notice is the full-size 8-inch aluminum jogwheels. They are responsive and accurate. LCD screens display critical information so you spend less time looking at your laptop.
- Club Standard Layout – If you’re looking to replicate the club environment you can’t get anything better than the 1000SRT. It’s perfect for new DJs to prepare for club gear. Also great for established DJs that don’t want to spend the money for a full club layout for their home studio.
- Good Connection Options – Full suite of connection options to handle a variety of setup preferences. 2 microphone options also make this controller useful for mobile DJs. Dual USB ports are also handy for DJ changeovers or back to back sessions.
- Improved Crossfader – The updated Magvel crossfader can withstand the most aggressive of cuts to the finest of crab scratches.
- Less Info On Screens – Less information displayed on the LCD screens compared to the DDJ 1000. The main omissions are the lack of colored waveform or cue info.
The long-awaited Serato version of the popular Pioneer DDJ 1000. This controller takes all the excellent features of the 1000 and integrates it with Serato DJ Pro. While it lacks direct control over Serato FX the built-in Pioneer FX works great.
For any serious DJ, the Pioneer 1000SRT is the ideal controller to use to practice your sets thanks to the club-level layout. While it is expensive you do get a lot of value.
Read our full Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT review for more detailed information.
Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT
Pioneer XDJ XZ Review
Premium 4 Channel Pioneer Controller
- Central Screen – The XDJ XZ features a 7-inch full-color screen. Scroll through your library, load tracks, and keep an eye on your mix with stacked waveforms.
- Club Layout – The layout is directly inspired by the line of Pioneer club-level gear. Controls are in familiar locations making it a great choice for the aspiring or working pro DJ.
- Hi-Res Jogwheel Display – Color LCD screens sit in the middle of the full-size jogwheels. Key information like BPM and track position helps you keep your eyes on the controller and not on your laptop.
- Good Build Quality – A solid controller that features premium materials. From the jog wheels to the crossfader the component quality is high.
- 2 Channel In Standalone Mode – While the XDJ XZ is an excellent 4 channel controller you’ll only have access to the full 4 channels when it is plugged into a laptop.
Pioneer has a dominant hold on the club scene. This is the main reason why the XDJ XZ is an appealing 4 channel option for DJs. While originally a Rekordbox only controller it now supports Serato. This is an excellent choice if you want to work in clubs or want a set of decks at home to practice on. With the high build quality and an expansive mixer section, you can easily translate your skills from this unit to the club level. The only drawback is the requirement for a laptop connection to unlock all 4-channels.
Despite the limited channel capability, it’s still one of the best 4 channel controllers available today.
Read our full Pioneer XDJ-XZ review for more detailed information.
Pioneer XDJ XZ
Denon Prime 4 Plus Review
Feature-Packed Option With Screen
- Excellent Screen – The stand out feature is the excellent screen. Bright and vibrant with intuitive and snappy touch controls. Adjustable viewing angle is another huge benefit over what competitors offer.
- 4 Channel Mixing – Access to 4 decks in standalone mode is another feature that is not common among DJ gear with screens.
- Performance Ready – Standalone capable and providing an extensive range of connection options. The addition of a zone output tips it over the edge and makes it the perfect mobile DJ rig.
- Good Value – The price point is excellent. When you factor in the features you get it’s hard to fault. The unit also unlocks Serato DJ Pro further adding to the value proposition.
- Jog Wheels Could Be Bigger – For a unit this size and price the jog wheels could have been a little larger and more responsive.
This Denon Prime 4 Plus offers one of the most comprehensive suite of features in a standalone controller. But for dedicated Serato fans, the unit also supports Serato DJ Pro with free unlock. Integration is fairly tight and you’ll be able to rapidly get to grips with where your favorite Serato features are. A well-built controller with a massive screen and ample versatility for both home and mobile DJs.
It is an excellent choice for Serato DJ fans who want a comprehensive controller that also can double as a standalone unit with Engine DJ.
Read our full Denon DJ Prime 4 Plus review for more detailed information.
Denon Prime 4 Plus
Pioneer DDJ REV5 Review
Performance Orientated Serato Controller
- Superb Stem Integration – The REV5 features dedicated buttons for Serato Stem Separation, and the EQs can also manipulate individual Stem levels.
- Spacious Layout – For scratch DJs, the layout will be familiar and comfortable. Good placement of features to encourage a logical scratching-focused workflow.
- Capable Jogwheels – While the REV5 doesn’t feature motorized jogwheels like the REV7, the CDJ-style jogwheels are excellent and comfortable to use.
- Also Compatible With Rekordbox – This controller will unlock both Serato DJ Pro and Rekordbox DJ, giving you access to both platforms.
- Lacks Inputs – You won’t be able to connect external players or turntables which is a bit of a letdown for a controller at this price point.
The Pioneer DDJ-REV5 is an excellent Serato DJ controller thanks to its tight integration with Serato features especially Stems. It also features comprehensive performance pad modes and unique features like Auto BPM Transition and Piano Play. But it does lack additional inputs and is a little expensive for what you get.
If you are a scratch-focused DJ that wants to have tactile access to Stems on your controller, the DDJ-REV5 is a superb choice.
Read our full Pioneer DDJ-REV5 review for more detailed information.
Pioneer DDJ REV5
Denon SC Live 4 Review
Advanced Streaming Focused Controller
- Comprehensive Mixer Section – The SC Live 4 offers a detailed and spacious mixer section with a club-style layout. 4 channels with full EQs along with a comprehensive range of Beat FX and Sweep FX.
- Super Screens – The 7-inch touchscreen screen is vibrant and responsive. Excellent selection of layout types and easy navigation to keep you focused on your gear. Jogwheels also feature screens.
- Solid Price Point – A cheaper alternative to the popular Prime 4 while still giving you access to all the core features you’d expect from a standalone controller.
- Streaming Compatibility – Support for a range of streaming services like Beatport, Beatsource, Dropbox, SoundCloud Go+, and Tidal. Plus the only controller with Amazon Music Unlimited support.
- Gimmicky Speakers – The built-in speakers pack a decent punch but you can’t use them for a party. Only good for practice sessions or as booth monitors.
If the price tag of the Prime 4 is too high for your liking, the SC Live 4 is a solid alternative. Extensive streaming support sets it apart from the competition and makes it an enticing option for mobile DJs. A robust and durable controller that also features standalone capability. Modern design and familiar layout add to the appeal.
If you want a 4-channel Serato controller with extensive streaming support, the SC Live 4 should be on your list of options.
Denon SC Live 4
Hercules DJControl Inpulse T7 Review
Affordable Serato Controller With Motorized Jogs
- Vinyl-Like Jogwheels – The jogwheels on the Inpulse T7 are motorized to replicate the feeling of using turnatables. Tactile control that feels very close to the real deal.
- Beat Aligh Guide – Small indicators will help guide you when you are attempting to beatmatch. A handy feature for new DJs that don’t want to use Sync functionality.
- Built-In Feet – This control features pop-out feet to elevate the controller to a more comfortable height for DJing.
- Excellent Value – This is the most affordable controller on the market that features motorized jogwheels. It is also well-constructed and offers a lot of pro-level features.
- Intro Software – While you can use the included DJUCED software if you want to use Serato DJ you’ll only have access to the Lite version. You’ll have to spend extra to upgrade to Serato DJ Pro.
The Hercules DJControl Inpulse T7 is another excellent controller that will appeal to scratch-focused DJs. The motorized platters are excellent and, at this price point, better than what you might expect. The layout is logical and features FX paddles. 8 RGB-backlit performance pads on each side also open up multiple creative modes.
Despite it only offering Serato DJ Lite out of the box, the Inpulse T7 is still superb value for money if you want motorized jogwheels that feel like using turntables.
Hercules DJControl Inpulse T7
Reloop Mixon 8 Pro Review
Ideal Serato Controller For iPad Users
- Built For iPad – The Mixon 8 Pro is tailor-made for DJs that want to use an iPad instead of a laptop. The integrated dock is perfectly situated and can support 12.9-inch iPad Pros.
- Feature Rich 4 Channel Controller – Full 3 band EQ for each of the 4 channels and an abundance of performance features via the color-coded performance pads.
- Multiple FX Options – The main mixer section features FX paddles for quick FX activation but you’ll also have access to a dedicated FX bank for each deck.
- Excellent Connection Options – Full professional-grade connection options, including Booth output. Adding turntables or players to supplement the controller is also available.
- Dated Layout – The Mixon 8 Pro features a mirrored layout that is reminiscent of what DJ controller layouts used to be like. I much prefer the modern approach of duplicating the decks as opposed to mirroring.
The Reloop Mixon 8 Pro pulls double duty. You can use it in tandem with a laptop or PC running Serato, or you can utilize the iPad dock and use Algoriddim djay Pro AI. Full flexibility to use the controller the way you want to. Extensive connectivity, multiple performance features, and decent build quality are also highlights.
The slightly dated layout and general appearance might be a dealbreaker for some, but there is no denying the Mixon 8 Pro is a comprehensive 4-Channel DJ controller that works great with Serato.
Reloop Mixon 8
Roland DJ 505 Review
Great Serato Controller For Producers
- Built-In Drum Machine – The creative options are endless with the addition of a drum sequencer. This allows you to program your beats to incorporate into your DJ sets.
- Low-Latency Jogwheels – Responsive and comfortable jogwheels. They’re a good size as well, which makes scratching feel natural.
- Good FX Integration – Serato FX is easily accessible with dedicated FX controls. This further opens the options up for creative mixing.
- Solid Construction – While not as solid as more expensive controllers, it’s still well-built. Plastic is the dominant material, but it can take some punishment.
- Not The Most Attractive – The drum-machine functionality is amazing. But, it has resulted in a rather odd-looking controller.
One of the more unique options for Serato DJ Pro is the Roland DJ 505. It’s the only controller that blurs the line between producing and DJing. It has access to the legendary range of TR-S drum machines. You can layer your beats, then scratch using the high-quality jogwheels to deliver unique performances. Taking it a step further, you can use this controller as the hub for other external MIDI gear, like a synth.
For performance-oriented DJs, this is a strong contender for the best Serato DJ Pro controller.
Read our full Roland DJ 505 review for more detailed information.
Roland DJ 505
Denon SC Live 2 Review
Affordable Standalone Serato Controller
- Streamlined – The layout is refined and straightforward. Perfectly suited to DJs that need the essentials and don’t want o much around with additional channels.
- Streaming Variety – Add a subscription service to unlock millions of tracks. Reliable Wi-Fi ensures connectivity is crisp and sharp. You can even stream your tracks from Dropbox. Highly flexible.
- Full License – A full version of Serato DJ Pro ensures there are no hidden costs. It also works well with the onboard Engine OS and is compatible with Virtual DJ.
- Useful Screen – The 7-inch touchscreen is the same as the one on the more expensive SC Live 4. Excellent clarity and useability.
- Price – While it is an affordable entry into standalone territory it isn’t that much cheaper than its bigger sibling the SC Live 4.
The SC Live 2 is the smaller sibling of the SC Live 4. It inherits a lot of the same fantastic features, like streaming support and a gorgeous touchscreen. But it does strip everything back to the core essentials, and with only 4 pads it does feel a little restricted.
While it might not have all the extra bells and whistles, it is still a highly capable 2-channel standalone controller with precise integration with Serato.
Denon SC Live 2
Pioneer DDJ REV1 Review
Battle Style Controller For Beginners
- Scratch Orientated – The Pioneer DDJ REV1 features a battle-style layout reminiscent of what vinyl DJs would use. A great stepping stone if you want to move in that direction as a DJ.
- Chunky Jogwheels – The large jogwheels are excellent for executing scratch routines. Much more comfortable than other entry-level controllers.
- Beginner Friendly – Lots of features to help new DJs get to grips with scratching and workflow. Paddle FX is fun to use. Automated crossfader cuts with the Tracking mode help ease scratch DJs into routines.
- Affordable – It is hard to find a high-quality Serato controller with large jogwheels at this price. It is also the only battle-style option for the budget-conscious.
- Intro Software – As is the case with many entry-level controllers the software is a stripped-back version. You’ll still be able to access the core features. Extra features like set recording and some performance features are only accessible by upgrading to Pro.
The Pioneer DDJ REV1 is a DJ controller for Serato focused on scratching. And it’s one of the best entry-level controllers available. This controller has the new scratch DJ in mind with features like large jogwheels and a battle-style layout. Extremely lightweight at 2.1kg also opens it up as the ideal compact controller for working DJs.
If you’re new to DJing and don’t want to break the bank the REV1 is an excellent Serato controller for DJs wanting to get into scratching.
Read our full Pioneer DDJ-REV1 review for more detailed information.
Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX Review
Beginner Friendly Serato Controller
- On-Board Display – LCD screens sit on the jogwheels giving you access to important information. Current BPM, track time remaining and needle position help keep you prepared for your next mix.
- Long Pitch Faders – The long pitch faders are ideal for manual beatmatching. In combination with the screens, you can ignore the sync function and master the fundamental skill of beatmatching.
- Built-In Soundcard – Includes a 24-bit audio interface. This allows you to not have to worry about compatibility or drivers.
- FX Paddles – Clean FX integration with dedicated buttons for quick FX activation. Toggles work well and are very fun to use.
- Only One Output Option – With one RCA output option you’re restricted to the types of speakers you can connect to the controller.
The Mixtrack Platinum FX offers new DJs a feature-packed Serato controller. It’s a controller that helps beginner DJs get to grips with the basics but still offers room for growth. Long pitch faders and displays give you the tools to master beatmatching. Plenty of fun and intuitive FX options round out this cheap DJ controller.
If your budget is slim this is a controller worth considering.
Read our full Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX review for more detailed information.
Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX
Hercules DJControl Inpulse 500 Review
Affordable Serato Controller For New DJs
- Beatmatching Assist – Visual reference guides to assist with matching the tempo of the two channels. Both underneath the jog wheels as well as on the pitch faders. Excellent learning tool for new DJs.
- Capable Connections – Despite the entry-level price the Inpulse 500 offers an impressive range of connection options. Great addition as you progress from beginner to working DJ.
- Added Elevation – Built-in feet to help elevate the controller to a more standard standalone player height. Perfect for proper ergonomics and allows you to slide your laptop underneath.
- Excellent Value – The low price would lead most to believe the unit is of poor quality. But, that isn’t the case here. The unit feels robust enough for a plastic controller and offers features rarely seen at this price point.
- Intro Software – The unit only comes with DJuced and Serato DJ Lite. To unlock the full feature set in Serato you’ll need to factor in the upgrade cost to Serato DJ Pro.
The Hercules DJControl Inpulse 500 offers exceptional value for new DJs. A suite of excellent features helps take you from a beginner bedroom DJ to a working mobile DJ. Normally stepping up in your career involves having to invest in some new hardware but this controller bridges the gap wonderfully. Clean execution and a more mature design lift the Hercules brand beyond the ‘toy’ DJ controller space.
A great choice for new DJs that are wary of having to upgrade equipment to perform gigs.
Hercules DJControl Inpulse 500
Pioneer DDJ FLX6-GT Review
Solid Mid-Tier Serato DJ Controller
- Large Jog Wheels – The FLX6-GT offers DJs large and capable jog wheels that are very capable of handling scratch routines. The added needle position marker adds an extra layer of visual feedback.
- 4 Channels – Access to 4 channels at this price point is unusual from Pioneer. A good upgrade target if you are moving from traditional 2 channel entry-level controllers.
- Unique FX Implementation – New Merge FX allows you to activate preset transition FX. A nice tool to have up your sleeve when faced with a difficult transition. Can be customized so you can develop your own presets that suit you style.
- Pioneer Layout – The familiar Pioneer club-style layout is evident on this controller. A seamless step up from Pioneer beginner gear and also a good introduction to club level gear.
- Jog Cutter – The Jog Cutter feature is a little gimmicky and difficult to utilize. It often sounds a bit off and not really that useful for most DJs.
The Pioneer DDJ FLX6-GT is a slight departure from Pioneer’s usual approach to gear. The addition of new Merge FX features aims to assist DJs but most DJs will find that these can get a bit repetitive. Great in a pinch but should not be used as a crutch. Beyond that, the rest of the controller gives you access to a wealth of features. Dual compatibility with both Serato and Rekordbox also offers you full flexibility to try both pieces of software out.
A great intermediate controller if you don’t want to spend more money on Pioneer’s top-of-the-line offerings.
Numark Mixtrack Pro FX Review
Ultra-Affordable Serato Controller
- Good Value – The Mixtrack Pro FX is one of the cheapest entry-level controllers on the market. While cheap it still offers all the core features you need to control Serato.
- Long Pitch Faders – Like all Numark controllers there is an emphasis on long pitch faders. Making fine adjustments to BPM is much easier on these faders compared to other controllers.
- Built-In Audio Interface – The Mixtrack Pro FX has a 24-bit integrated audio interface. You won’t need to worry about compatibility making it plug and play friendly.
- Full EQ – Unlike other cheap controllers, the Pro FX gives you access to a full 3 band EQ and filter. When you factor in the FX paddles it completes a capable mixer section for new DJs.
- Intro Software – To keep the price low the controller only comes with Serato DJ Lite. If you want access to all the features you’ll need to factor in the upgrade cost.
The Numark Mixtrack Pro FX is a perfect example of how technology has made DJing more accessible. A budget-priced controller that still contains everything you need to learn the art of DJing. This controller makes it easy to get started with the included software and a built-in audio interface.
With a solid feature set and fun FX controls, it’s a cheap Serato controller worth considering.
Read our full Numark Mixtrack Pro FX review for more detailed information.
Numark Mixtrack Pro FX
Roland DJ 202 Review
Budget Serato Controller With MIDI
- Built-In Drum Machine – Much like the Roland DJ 505 you have access to an onboard drum machine. This allows you to create drum patterns. You can integrate these with your DJ set to deliver unique performances.
- 4 Channels – You can access up to 4 decks via a button next to each jogwheel. This highlights the creative and performance emphasis of the controller. You can layer acapellas, tracks, and samples.
- MIDI Input – The addition of a MIDI port on a controller at this price level is a stand out feature. This allows you to plug in an external MIDI device like a synth keyboard. Add a melody over your drum pattern while still having the option of mixing tracks.
- Good Jogwheels – The jogwheels are responsive and offer low-latency. While not huge they are larger than the jogwheels you’ll find in other controllers of this size and price bracket.
- Drum-Machine Integration – The 202 features a condensed drum-machine section. This can make it fiddly to control as you’ll need to execute a series of button presses to get to certain features. Not a deal-breaker but not as natural feeling as the 505.
The entry-level option from Roland packages up the excellent feature set of the 505 into a smaller controller. It’s also the only controller at this price point that offers MIDI connectivity. If the 505 is out of your price range it’s a good alternative. While the integration of the drum machine is a little awkward it’s still a solid Serato controller.
Read our full Roland DJ 202 review for more detailed information.
Roland DJ 202
Our Expert Buying Guide
There are a few key considerations to factor in when you’re looking to buy DJ controllers with Serato. In this guide, we cover the top 3 elements you need to be aware of.
Serato DJ Lite vs Serato DJ Pro Features
The first thing to consider is what level of software comes with the controller.
Serato DJ Lite is free-to-use DJ software that is often bundled with entry-level controllers. This stripped-back version still retains all the core features new DJs need to start DJing.
You’ll be able to crossfade, beatmatch, and adjust EQ to create mixes. You’ll also be able to set cue points and loops. You can also use Serato DJ Lite in practice mode without a controller.
While I have developed mixes on a laptop nothing compares to the tactile experience that a controller offers you.
Serato DJ Pro as the name implies is a professional piece of DJ software. It’s available as a monthly subscription or via a one-off purchase.
Many controllers will come with the full version of the software. It’s worth factoring this in when you’re comparing prices between controllers.
Serato DJ Pro opens up all the tools you’ll need for both home use and for gigs.
Serato DJ Pro opens up the full range of 46 built-in FX. It also provides further track analysis to give you more detailed information like the Key of the song. A sampler also opens up to give you more creative options when mixing.
But, by far the biggest upgrade is the ability to record your mixes. This becomes even more important for new DJs. You want to be able to record and playback your mixes. Not only for your enjoyment but to also analyze and critique your mixes.
Serato DJ Lite is capable. When you do get the opportunity you’ll want to upgrade to the Pro version.
2 vs 4 Channel
The other thing to consider is what type of DJ you are and if you’ll need 4 channels. When I began my DJ journey I had a cheap 2 channel controller. This allowed me to grasp and master the fundamentals.
As my skills evolved I moved on to a 4 channel controller. While I did use 4 channels it wasn’t as big of a game-changer as I imagined.
The style of mixes I was creating at the time didn’t need access to 4 channels. I’ve since embraced 4 channel controllers and the creative options it opens up but they’re not for everyone.
Keep this in mind when selecting a controller. If you are a new DJ stick to a 2 channel option. Not only will it be cheaper it will be easier to learn on. Then once you have a better understanding of the type of DJ you are you can explore different options.
If you find 2 channels is enough you can then get a 2 channel controller stacked with features. Without paying the extra for a 4 channel version. If you want to get more creative with how many tracks you play you can look at a 4 channel controller.
Knowing what type of DJ you are can help guide your buying decisions to take your DJing journey to the next level.
One of the deciding differences between various Serato controllers is the way that they handle FX. Having access to a good set of knobs to control the wet/dry mix makes using DJ effects much easier. Also having access to activate and layer several FX at the same time opens up your creative choices even further.
If adding FX is a critical part of your DJ experience it’s worth paying extra close attention to this section of the controller. Some Serato controllers handle this better than others.
The Future Of DJ Software
For a long time, the only real alternative was Traktor but that did limit you to the Native Instruments ecosystem of controllers. But, Native Instruments does make some fantastic controllers.
Virtual DJ is another popular piece of software but it was often not what you would encounter in clubs.
DJ software is an evolving space. For a long time, Serato had a firm grip on the marketplace. As a result, all the major DJ gear manufacturers were creating Serato DJ equipment.
At the very least, it was easy to find mappings so that other controllers would also work with Serato.
With the release of the rekordbox DJ from Pioneer and associated Pioneer DJ equipment, the game changed and many thought the days of Serato dominance may be coming to a close.
But, the continued popularity and excellent feature set that Serato offers has kept it as one of the most popular DJ software platforms.
Check out this launch video for the Pioneer DDJ 1000SRT featuring a mix from J. Espinosa showcasing what you can do with a quality controller running Serato DJ Pro.
The growing interest in portable DJing has led to a rise in apps that allow DJs to use their smartphones or tablets as an alternative to a laptop.
While Serato has dipped their toes in the water their strengths lay in the classic laptop environment. The growth of these apps could lead to a shift in taste.
But, even then you won’t see the juggernaut that is Serato disappearing from both club and home environments anytime soon.
Is Serato DJ Good For Beginners?
Serato DJ is an excellent piece of DJ software for beginners. You can test the features with the free Serato DJ Lite version and then upgrade to Serato DJ Pro when ready.
Which One Should You Buy?
The landscape of controllers available for Serato is broad. All levels of DJs can dive in and experience one of the world’s best pieces of DJ software. And it’s all backed by outstanding Serato DJ hardware. When determining the best it can be difficult as every DJ has different needs and different budget levels.
Once you take price out of the equation the Rane One is the best controller for Serato. High-quality gear that is suitable for both regular and scratch DJs. Tight integration with Serato and rock-solid build quality. While it is an expensive piece of DJ gear you do get what you pay for. A controller built to last and at the top of professional-level Serato DJ controllers.