Not to sound overly dramatic, but being a DJ is kind of like being a GOD. Think we’re exaggerating? Not necessarily…
Ok, not all DJs reach “godlike” status, but even for up-and-coming DJs, there is that feeling of connecting with a whole shitload of people. You are the conduit between the music and the people, and that can feel pretty damn good, not gonna lie.
A good DJ can work a crowd in a way that brings people together like almost no other medium. Whether its a wedding, a house party, or a huge outdoor festival in front of thousands of people, people are there to party and they are looking at you – the DJ – to bring it hard and don’t stop. If you do a good job and really rock out, people will go home and crash for an entire day, and you get a little tick in the “legend” column. I mean, come on, some DJs are already there…you gotta catch up to them!
As any good DJ can demonstrate when they’re putting on a show, DJing is a skill, and it comes from within. It is your connection to the music and your understanding of a crowd’s specific wants and needs that will make or break you as a DJ. Your familiarity with the technology, and the software must be such that you understand exactly what’s going on, and you must be able to bring the hardware and software together in such a way that it creates a mood of excitement and keeps the crowd wanting more the entire time.
At the same time as DJing is almost a spiritual connection between you and the crowd, its also something else – a job. And to do a job well, you need to understand how everything works as much as you can. You need to understand your audience, plus the hardware, PLUS the software, and this can be a lot for a beginner DJ to take in.
3 Of The Best (And Easiest) Beginner DJ Software Programs In 2016
Today we want to speak to beginner DJs, and talk a little bit about the essential software that is needed in order for you to become a master DJ. If you’re dipping your toe in the huge ocean of current DJ software in 2016, allow us to lend a hand and give you a few suggestions for software you should investigate as you start out. This software is some of the most powerful software out there, and yet perfect for the beginner DJ. Check it out.
You Need A Laptop
There are many ways to approach DJing, but one simple way is to play music off your laptop. In case you didn’t know, you kind of need a laptop to connect with both the hardware and the software. A Macbook pro does the job nicely.
If the club you’re at has a mixer of its own, it can be as simple as needing an auxiliary cord to get hooked up. You may need an adaptor to go from 1/8” to 1/4”, and those are pretty cheap to get a hold of.
This is as easy as its going to get in terms of logistics, but more often then not you’re not going to just be able to bring your laptop and an auxiliary cable. A seasoned DJ is probably going to pull up with a truck or van full of gear, but if you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have that…yet.
But let’s stick with the laptop scenario for a moment. At the very, very least, you can make an iTunes playlist, but we wouldn’t really call that DJing. To kick it up a notch, you’re going to need some dedicated DJ software that will let you do 100x more than just your laptop on its own.
Serato DJ Intro
Here’s a quick overview of Serato DJ Intro and what it can do. Its been around for years, and it is a DJing staple. Visit the Serato website and download Serato DJ Intro for free.
As you can see from the above video, Serato DJ Intro can actually do quite a bit, although you’ll be needing a compatible deck to make it shine. Some decks and controllers we recommend that are compatible with Serato DJ Intro include the following bestselling DJ decks (many of which actually come with Serato DJ Intro):
Denon DJ MC4000
Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2
Ok, so those are some sweet decks that work with Serato DJ Intro. What does Serato DJ Intro do? Here are some of the main functions and features of this free DJ software.
- Create tight grooves using Serato Sync, which locks tracks together
- Stay organized with Serato Crates, a simple file management system
- Comes with advanced iTunes integration
- Features classic DJ controls like nudge, bend, scratch, and EQ
- Capable of 4 deck mixing
- Jump to a specific part in a song using cue points
- Looping feature to repeat specific parts of songs
- FX bank containing Phaser, Reverb, Echo, Flanger, HPF, LPF
- …and more!
Traktor Pro by Native Instruments
Another great piece of software that is perfect for beginner DJs is Traktor Pro by Native Instruments.
Now, with Traktor Pro you should know it it is not a free download, but also it is not just geared at novice DJs. We would say that if you are willing to invest in software, this would be a great place to start. Its around $100, so that’s not too bad.
Some have said that the interface for Traktor Pro is quite busy (eg. confusing), but we take that as a good thing because really at the heart of it all this is a simple, great piece of software and once you get the hang of it you’ll love it. Think of it like this – its versatile, not even kidding.
Here’s a great tutorial you can watch, to get a feel for how Traktor Pro looks and feels. It goes over many of the main functions of the software and if you’re willing to put in 12 minutes to watch it, it will definitely be worth your time.
Here are some of the main selling points of Traktor Pro:
- Transforms your laptop / iOS into a club ready DJ system with the help of its ultra-portable sound card
- High quality sound (24-bit/48 kHz)
- Can send 2 stereo tracks into separate mixer channels
- Pre-listen to the upcoming track before the crowd hears it
- …and more!
Next, we’re going to take a look at a piece of software called Virtual DJ by Atomix Productions. This one is a free download which you can get right here on their website.
The difference with Virtual DJ and the others we’ve looked at is that Virtual DJ gives you an interface with some virtual decks, so if you can’t afford real decks just yet, then this software is for you.
If you want to actually learn how it works, here is a video tutorial we like that makes using Virtual DJ fairly easy to understand.
On top of being a great piece of starter DJ software for a beginner DJ, you can also play videos using the virtual decks in Virtual DJ, so that’s pretty cool as well.
For some free software, you can’t really beat it, but obviously if you want to move up the ranks and become a wedding DJ or a pro DJ of some kind, you can be sure those guys aren’t depending on Virtual DJ for their gigs – they use the real hardware, because obviously Virtual DJ is somewhat limited in what it can do. That said, its not a bad place to start.
We hoped this inspired you to get some of this software, and kick start your DJ career. Who knows where it will take you!