DJs depend a lot in their musical career on both the equipment they purchase and the software they work with. And it is the software that can ensure success or failure in DJing.
In general, DJ software simulates the original way of DJing, that is, the use of a mixer, two turntables and a large number of vinyl records or CDs. Only instead, all DJ manipulations are performed using software installed on a computer or, in rare cases, an application on a smartphone or tablet. At a basic level, a DJ program allows you to take music tracks, combine them with each other, provide smooth mixing, and, in some cases, create unique remixes.
Any DJ software has many features to help with mixing. This is not only visual information, such as waveforms, tempo and keys of tracks, but also the automation of part of DJ actions. Most often, this is automatic synchronization of the tempo of the tracks, sync. In this mode, the DJ only has to work smoothly with the EQ and channel faders to perfectly mix the two songs.
Despite the usefulness of the sync function for ensuring a smooth mix, most DJs find that it “kills” the art of DJing by hand and should only be used in very critical cases. Whatever the case, it’s useful to have such a back-up computer assistant on hand, especially for those new to DJing.
Also, almost all DJ programs have effects functions in their arsenal to add creativity to the sound. Thus, if you use a mixer or controller to work in tandem with a laptop and DJ software, and the devices do not have their own effects unit, you can use software effects. Keep in mind that this involves an increased load on the system and requires serious performance from your laptop.
While all DJ programs essentially do the same thing, as with any product, there are important elements to consider before making a final decision:
- Compatibility. DJ controllers are usually only compatible with a specific set of DJ software. For example, Pioneer controllers generally only work with proprietary Rekordbox software. It is also important to pay attention to the compatibility of the software with the operating system of your computer. For example, if you are using Apple laptops, many programs may not work correctly with the latest version of the macOS operating system.
- The presence of a built-in audio path. Some inexpensive DJ controllers don’t have their own audio path and rely on laptop capabilities. As a rule, the built-in audio cards of laptops have a rather mediocre sound quality. They can be used for home workouts or performances. For more serious venues, in this case, you will need to purchase an external sound card and use a controller-laptop-external card combination. As a rule, this is not justified by the price and it would be better to purchase an inexpensive controller with its own audio path.