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The 10 Best DJ Software Applications

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Best DJ Software

The best DJ software applications offer users a wide range of features to help build high-quality sets, and they’re able to be used with a range of compatible hardware.

This article covers everything from top-of-the-line premium software with the latest effects and tools to free versions more suited for aspiring DJs looking to learn the basics.

 

The Best DJ Software Applications

We’ve assessed the available tools, features, compatible platforms, hardware, and prices to bring you this definitive guide to DJ software.

Here’s our list of the 10 best DJ software applications:

 

In A Rush? Here’s Our Top Pick:

Best DJ Software Overall
Native Instruments Traktor Pro 3

Traktor Pro 3 is the #1 DJ software for beginners and experts alike.

Try Traktor Pro 3 Demo For Free

 

10. Serato DJ Lite

Compatibility: macOS/PC

For those who can’t afford Serato DJ Pro – or would prefer to test the application before committing to a subscription – there’s Serato DJ Lite.

This free software offers users a pared-down version of the full application with enough similar features to get DJing beginners off to a great start.

Since this is a feature-limited version of the Pro option, it’s an excellent way to get a feel for professional-level DJ applications without the associated costs. 

Serato DJ Lite comes with a two-deck Practice Mode (compared to the four decks available in the Pro version), and you can play around with this feature without the need to hook up the software to Serato-compatible hardware.

That said, it is compatible with some of the best DJ controllers, which makes it a good option for DJs who are new to using this equipment and don’t want to get bogged down in endless effects and other more intricate controls.

This means you won’t be able to access as many display modes through Serato DJ Lite as you can on their Pro version while creating playlists and checking your mix history isn’t possible.

There’s still the option to play songs directly from your iTunes playlists; however, if you’re an Apple user with an extensive library here, you’ll be good to use these in your DJ sets.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Serato DJ Lite:

 

Pros:

  • Free to use
  • Compatible with iTunes
  • Includes many of the standard features found in Serato DJ Pro

 

Cons:

  • Lacks the ability to create playlists
  • Mix history isn’t available

 

Bottom Line

Overall, Serato DJ Lite is the best free DJ software, offering a great user interface, excellent file management, and a shallow learning curve to get you up and running ASAP.

 

9. Mixxx

Compatibility: macOS/PC/Linux

Available only as a free-to-download version, Mixxx delivers the virtual DJing experience in open-source form, lending it additional versatility for programming-savvy DJs who fancy dipping into the code.

The basic layout of Mixxx is simple, with twin decks displayed above the user’s playlist of tracks, along with four sample decks, hot cues, and loops.

Each deck features a rolling waveform, which can be used for scratching, and it also includes BPM detection and sync to help create smooth mixes.

If you’re feeling especially lazy, you can turn on the auto DJ function and sit back and let Mixxx do most of the hard work for you.

In addition to these basic features, Mixxx also supports over 85 controllers and time code vinyl systems.

As you’d expect from an open-source application, Mixxx has a lively community of users who can help you get your head around its full potential, and it’s also the only professional-grade DJ software compatible with Linux.

The update to version 2.1 introduced a better graphical interface and some excellent new effects, and general improvements to the overall workflow.

If you’re planning on using Mixxx for a live set, check compatibility with your hardware before heading out to the gig, as you may experience some issues with performance.

Beginner DJs who lack experience with computers and want something they can install and play straight off the bat aren’t going to get the best experience from Mixxx, even if its basic setup is fine up to a point.

But for those who enjoy tinkering with the best free beat making software and want something which gives them additional scope to upgrade and play around with, Mixxx delivers a highly customizable virtual DJ experience at no additional expense.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Mixxx:

 

Pros:

  • Completely free
  • Beginner-friendly user interface
  • Stable platform
  • Open-source for endless optimization

 

Cons:

  • No app, and not compatible with mobile
  • Steep learning curve to gain maximum benefit

 

Bottom Line

DJs who’ve dipped their toes in music production coding will have a field day with the open-source nature of Mixxx and can design and improve the software to their requirements.

 

8. Algoriddim Djay Pro AI

Compatibility: macOS/PC/iOS/Android

Apple users looking for free DJ software they can use on their devices will feel at home with Djay Pro AI, a free application designed for use with laptops, mobile devices, and tablets.

The neat interface takes its inspiration from Apple software, delivering one of the most attractive user interfaces in any DJ software.

Behind the smooth user interface lies a great application with an easy-to-use workflow, with playlists clearly displayed alongside the various controls and effects you can bring on board.

Along with Virtual DJ, Djay Pro AI is the only DJ application that utilizes the live stems mixing feature, an excellent tool that can help DJs to shape unique and original sets.

Other features include extensive video DJing options for those who like to introduce visual elements to their sets, compatibility with streaming services, and even integration with Shazam.

You can use Djay Pro AI with a decent selection of hardware, and while there is only a small selection of Djay Pro-specific hardware available, it will work with most other DJ equipment.

Djay Pro AI excels with the iPad version, which delivers everything you’ll find from the traditional desktop software on the go.

It’s an Apple-centric application through and through, so if you’re using Djay Pro AI on macOS, you can expect to get the latest updates well before Windows and Android users.

While the application does require a subscription (there’s no one-off payment option here), it will cover you for all platforms, including mobile, tablet, and desktop.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Algoriddim’s Djay AI Pro:

 

Pros:

  • Excellent interface inspired by Apple
  • Great workflow
  • Works as well on tablets as it does on desktop

 

Cons:

  • Non-Apple users have to wait for updates

 

Bottom Line

With its beautiful user interface and excellent functionality on mobile phones and tablets, Djay Pro AI offers everything hobby DJs need to mix sets on the go and is ideal for DJs familiar with Apple’s user interface.

 

7. Engine DJ

Compatibility: macOS/PC

Engine DJ functions similarly to Rekordbox and is designed first and foremost as a library preparation tool that can then be exported to stand-alone DJ equipment.

It’s a good alternative for DJs who don’t want to work with the “club standard” Pioneer DJ gear and runs on its own Engine DJ operating system.

While you can’t use it with Pioneer hardware, it’s compatible with a good selection of Denon DJ equipment and some hardware manufactured by Numark.

Engine DJ doesn’t function as laptop DJ software, but once you’ve exported your tracks to your hardware of choice, there’s a good selection of features to capitalize on.

One of its strongest selling points is its compatibility with streaming platforms, including Wi-Fi music streaming, which removes the need for any desktop software.

Additional savings can be made through its list of compatible hardware at a range of price points, including some great budget options that you won’t find with alternatives like Rekordbox.

As a relatively new platform for virtual DJs, Engine DJ lacks the comprehensive array of tools and effects found in some of its competitors, with some limitations on its overall functionality.

But for DJs who want to use more affordable hardware and are focused mainly on streaming services, it’s a reliable budget option that can be used without desktop software.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Engine DJ:

 

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • It doesn’t require any desktop software
  • Compatible hardware for all price points

 

Cons:

  • It doesn’t work with Pioneer DJ equipment
  • Limited features compared to competitors

 

Bottom Line

DJs who aren’t interested in adopting the high-priced approach to the craft using Pioneer setups will find Engine DJ a budget-friendly alternative for live streaming.

 

6. Mixvibes Cross DJ

Compatibility: macOS/PC/iOS/Android

With both free and paid versions available, Cross DJ is one of the best DJ software packages available for aspiring DJs looking for the best DJ apps for iPhones and wanting something a little more advanced.

It’s a basic digital vinyl DJ package with a reasonable selection of features accessible through its robust, customizable interface.

You can select up to eight assignable cue points, with an additional fourteen effects to apply to your tracks, and Cross DJ works with various digital libraries to help bring your tracks to the platform.

There are also plenty of hardware and controller options for those who want to take things beyond simply using Cross DJ on their tablet or mobile phone and into the realm of live sets.

Created by French developer MixVibes, Cross DJ might not have the same pedigree as some of the best DJ software applications mentioned on this list, but it’s well worth considering as beginner tools go.

A stand-out feature you’ll also get with Cross DJ is its integration with SoundCloud and iTunes, giving users access to an expanded library to help them build eclectic DJ sets.

Upgrading to the premium version of Cross DJ will introduce a decent selection of video mixing features, so if you’re interested in progressing to VJ sets (Virtual DJ), this represents an affordable way to do so.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Cross DJ:

 

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Very easy to use
  • Good integration with SoundCloud and iTunes

 

Cons:

  • Lacks the in-depth features of more professional applications
  • Premium version required for VJ sets

 

Bottom Line

For those who are just starting DJing, Cross DJ delivers a user-friendly experience that will ease you into digital vinyl software.

 

5. Atomix Virtual DJ

Compatibility: macOS/PC

Virtual DJ offers a pared-down alternative to some of the more advanced DJ software applications for DJs just starting out.

It offers a solid selection of tools, including real-time stem separation, automatic key matching, and video mixing, and can be used without investing in expensive hardware.

The stem separation tool is handy for creating more unique sets. This allows users to isolate various aspects of a given track, including drums, melody, vocals, and bassline.

While this feature works better on some tracks than others, the fact that it runs automatically makes it incredibly easy to use and opens up endless new avenues to explore while DJing.

There’s also a handy Genius DJ feature, which uses an algorithm to automatically select the next track in your set based on the one currently playing, which is handy for newbies getting used to building their playlists.

As with Rekordbox, Virtual DJ comes with live streaming options, with its Broadcast feature allowing you to stream live sets to YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and even a radio server.

Using the Event Scheduler tool, you can also schedule your tracks, samples, videos, and playlists to begin at a pre-defined time.

While Virtual DJ doesn’t manufacture its own bespoke hardware to use in conjunction with its software, it is compatible with most other equipment you can buy, so most devices will work fine.

Some potential latency issues and other minor quirks have prevented Virtual DJ from being widely adopted by professional DJs, but for the bedroom enthusiast, it’s an excellent application for practicing your DJ sets.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Virtual DJ:

 

Pros:

  • Affordable software
  • Automatic key matching
  • Great for beginners
  • Instant BPM detection

 

Cons:

  • Not ideal for use with turntables
  • Better alternatives for live DJs are available

 

Bottom Line

New DJs who want to learn the basics on a budget will be impressed with Virtual DJs’ quick learning curve and abundance of handy tutorials.

 

4. Pioneer DJ Rekordbox

Compatibility: macOS/PC

Not all DJs are looking for applications to use in live venues, and if you prefer to stream your sets on Twitch, YouTube, or other streaming services, Rekordbox is a great DJ software option for you to consider.

Created for Pioneer DJ by France-based MixVibes developer, Rekordbox offers a good range of tools for music cataloging and track preparation ready for streaming sets.

As you’d expect, given its provenance, Rekordbox is ideally suited for DJs who are already in Pioneer’s CDJ hardware ecosphere, and it works best when used alongside Pioneer’s unique hardware.

It does, however, offer cross-platform compatibility, so you don’t have to own any Pioneer DJ hardware, as the track library and general workflow are a part of industry-standard CDJs.

Rekordbox offers a clean and easy-to-use interface with multi-deck mixing and brings an auto-mix feature to the table, which performs a lot of the heavy lifting.

It’s also a reliable and stable platform and even includes a Mobile Library Synch function to allow you to move your music playlists from one device to another, as well as cloud syncing capabilities.

One feature you won’t find on other free DJ software programs is lighting mode, exclusive to Rekordbox, which creates lighting sequences based on your track’s waveform.

It’s a cool additional touch to help you enhance your sets with light shows and effects, even if some DJs may consider it an unnecessary luxury.

Rokordbox is a solid choice of DJ software enhanced by its colorful interface that helps you assemble playlists from the best DJ record pools and create the best DJ experience.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Rekordbox:

 

Pros:

  • Ideal for online DJs using streaming platforms
  • Ableton Link support included
  • Mobile Library Sync function is free

 

Cons:

  • Scratching isn’t the best sound quality
  • Cluttered user interface

 

Bottom Line

With its excellent cloud syncing capabilities and playlist management, Rekordbox is a perfect application for DJs who focus primarily on streaming their sets.

 

3. Ableton Live

Compatibility: macOS/PC

One of the most popular DAWs on the market, Ableton Live, was initially created as a comprehensive production tool but quickly became a popular software for DJs.

Ableton Live’s advantage over its competitors is the extensive selection of built-in effects and instruments you can bring to your live DJ sets.

The ability to host a range of plugins and its MIDI learning function opens up a near-endless range of effects to the tracks you choose to mix.

Ableton Live also boasts a selection of powerful automation tools and fast navigation, meaning you can get to the track or effect you’re looking for in a heartbeat and keep the mix flowing.

The Session View feature is ideal for digital DJs, allowing them to launch a selection of synched audio samples, MIDI clips (here’s our list of free MIDI files you can get your hands on), and full tracks.

This makes it easy to edit, record live sets, and create tracks by introducing new elements through plugins and instruments.

The advanced warping capabilities sometimes called “elastic beat gridding,” make mixing a dream, bringing up a “beat grid” of the current track to help with synchronization.

Essentially, this feature serves as a shortcut for the traditional DJing process of beat matching. As a result, it saves valuable time when loading in new tunes and ensures their tempo is at the right speed.

If you’re a professional DJ looking for a digital vinyl system, Ableton Live might not be up to the task of meeting your requirements and is a better all-around option for beginners.

You can sign up to Ableton Live in a range of tiered packages, with the affordable intro package giving you access to sixteen MIDI and audio tracks, plenty to get your live DJ sets off the ground.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Ableton Live:

 

Pros:

  • 90-day free trial available
  • Superb user interface
  • Unlimited audio tracks
  • Excellent automation
  • Supports MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE)

 

Cons:

  • Lacks pitch correction
  • Not ideal for vinyl users

 

Bottom Line

Flexible and intuitive, Ableton Live is a serious piece of DJ software with the potential to take you to the next level of fully-fledged music production.

 

2. Serato DJ Pro

Compatibility: macOS/PC

The most popular DJ software on the market is Serato DJ Pro, which is used by most of the world’s best DJs.

Originally launched in 1999 under the name Pitch ‘n Time, Serato DJ Pro has earned a solid reputation among club DJs ever since.

It also boasts an excellent selection of tools geared toward a smooth DJ experience, including the Smart Crates feature, which pulls up tracks that meet your criteria.

The interface itself is pleasing to look at, and it’s compatible with a good selection of hardware controllers and has solid digital vinyl capabilities.

Beyond simply allowing you to mix tracks, there are various creative elements to spice up your sets, including sampling options, multiple effects, sync and analysis tools, and four-deck mixing.

In combination, these tools and features allow for the creation of creative and precise mixes with minimal hassle, while excellent music library management speeds up the process even more.

This makes Serato DJ Pro simple enough to use for beginners, yet at the same time versatile enough to offer professional DJs the scope required to take their sets to the next level.

If your budget is tight to non-existent, there’s Serato DJ Lite, which delivers a free, if pared down, version of the app that doesn’t support playlists but will allow you to familiarize yourself with the platform before investing in Serato DJ Pro.

 

Here are the main pros and cons of using Serato DJ Pro:

 

Pros:

  • Impressive range of features
  • Hi-res interface
  • Four bank sampler allows for eight samples each
  • iZotope-powered effects

 

Cons:

  • Unable to integrate hardware that isn’t natively compatible
  • Lacks full MIDI mapping

 

Bottom Line

Serato DJ Pro brings superior advanced features to the table and, combined with efficiency and functionality, is a top choice for DJing professionals looking for versatility.

 

1. Native Instruments Traktor Pro 3

Compatibility: macOS/PC

With over ten years’ experience refining its platform, Traktor Pro 3 has become the go-to DJ software application for beginners and experts alike. 

Developed by Native Instruments, Traktor Pro 3 stands out from the crowd with its intuitive interface, making using the platform a pleasure rather than a chore.

There’s an excellent range of sample decks on offer and remix and loop recording options that give users plenty of options.

It also comes with a digital vinyl system upgrade called Scratch and comprehensive hardware support for DJs who want to expand their options when performing live.

Indeed, many controllers are available specifically for Traktor Pro 3, like Remix Decks, which brings enhanced sample decks that add up to 64 effects to the set and automatically sync them to your track.

The layout for Traktor Pro 3 is neat and easy to use, with the browser located at the bottom, the effects at the top, and the respective decks to the left and right of the screen.

Parallel waveforms support up to four decks, while mapping features to S8 buttons and knobs gives users the scope to assign custom functions to controls without changing the default mapping.

You can sign up for a free version of Traktor Pro 3 and check out its mixing capabilities before deciding whether to invest in a subscription, although the demo only lasts 30 minutes each time you start the app.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Traktor Pro:

 

Pros:

  • Intuitive controller options
  • 2GB of performance sounds included
  • Useful preparation mode
  • Comes with free stems from a range of genres

 

Cons:

  • Demo only lasts 30 minutes
  • No Smart Playlists
  • No custom tags

 

Bottom Line

Traktor Pro, a classic DJ tool with a raft of excellent features, has earned its reputation as one of the most comprehensive DJ applications.

 

Best DJ Software Overall
Native Instruments Traktor Pro 3

Traktor Pro 3 is the #1 DJ software for beginners and experts alike.

Try Traktor Pro 3 Demo For Free

 

Summary

We hope this guide to the best DJ software has been useful.

Hopefully, it has helped you choose the most suitable software for your DJing needs or provided enough suggestions and insights to upgrade your existing software.

What’s the best DJ software, in your opinion? Leave a comment below. 

Andy has been producing music since the early days of Cubase and spent much of the 2000s mixing house and techno with his trusty Technics 1200s. Fast forward two decades, you'll find him in his home studio experimenting with the latest music production software, tinkering with Ableton plug-ins, and occasionally trying (and failing) to complete Cuphead for the hundredth time.

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